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Lord of the Rings – celebrates 20th Anniversary of the famous trilogy

Lord of the Rings has a date with December 10th, 2021 as it will mark 20 years since the international premiere of the first film in the iconic The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring.

And with that, the world saw its first glimpse of New Zealand as Middle-earth, setting the scene for J.R. R Tolkien’s novel series.

Lord of the Rings Riders in Ringwraith costumes on horseback filming the Ford of Buinen sequence on location near Arrowtown. PC ©2021 WBEI
Lord of the Rings Riders in Ringwraith costumes on horseback filming the Ford of Buinen sequence on location near Arrowtown. PC ©2021 WBEI

The impact of the films on tourism in New Zealand has been monumental, and it remains a driver for visitation 20 years on.

The 2019 International Visitor Survey conducted by MBIE found 18% of holiday visitors cited Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit films as the reason they first became interested in visiting New Zealand.

The 2019 International Visitor Survey conducted by MBIE found approximately 33% of all holiday visitors to New Zealand will visit a film location.
Lord of the Rings Carlos Slater works on foam-latex Uruk-hai prosthetic appliances PC_PC Wētā Workshop
Lord of the Rings Carlos Slater works on foam-latex Uruk-hai prosthetic appliances PC_PC Wētā Workshop

Jaw-dropping natural landscapes across both New Zealand’s North and South Islands play a backdrop for many of the film’s iconic scenes.

Wētā Workshop [based in Wellington, New Zealand] were the masterminds behind the concept design, armour, weapons, creatures, miniatures, and special makeup effects for The Lord of The Rings Trilogy.

 Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set - The Green Dragon Inn PC Hobbiton Movie Set
Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set – The Green Dragon Inn PC Hobbiton Movie Set

To mark this milestone, Hobbiton Movie Set will be celebrating with a special outdoor film screening where the adventure first began, on the grassy clearing of The Party Field, where Bilbo celebrated his eleventy-first birthday.

It was here in January 2000 that over 100 extras and approximately 300 crew filmed one of the most memorable scenes from the film, over the course of three nights. The event will be the first 4k screening of The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Australasia.

Experience the magical world of The Lord Of The Rings in real life at the film locations only in New Zealand once the borders open in the near future.

Five of the Best Lord of the Rings Experiences

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the Lord of the Rings series movie adventure began? The first film in the epic trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released on December 10th, 2011 at a world premiere in London, and if you’re a fan of Peter Jackson’s cinematic magic then a visit to New Zealand is an absolute must.

Step foot into the perfect backdrop for the cinematic trilogy, and learn behind the scenes information as you discover Middle-earth for yourself with these five experiences.

 Lord of the Rings Hobbiton 1 PC Shaun Jeffers
Lord of the Rings Hobbiton 1 PC Shaun Jeffers

Hobbiton, Hamilton Waikato

It’s impossible not to compare New Zealand to Middle-earth, and nowhere is this more true than the enchanting village of the Hobbiton Movie Set. The rolling green hills and lush Matamata farmland show clearly why Sir Peter Jackson chose this area to create the village of Hobbiton in 1998.

Experience it for yourself as you witness the real-life set up close, walk the same path as your favourite characters, elves in the lord of the rings, grab a pint at The Green Dragon Inn, get a photo in front of a hobbit-hole, and dance under the Party Tree. Hear behind-the-scenes tales from the filming and feast like a hobbit on the Evening Banquet tour.

Weta Workshop, Wellington

Wellington’s Miramar suburb is home to the Academy Award Winning company that produced the special effects, costumes and creatures from The Lord of the Rings, brought to life at the hands of creative geniuses such as Sir Richard Taylor and his team.

Witness up close the artistry behind filmmaking creativity and discover the people, processes and props that bring the imaginary worlds to life.

Jens Hansen, Nelson -The makers of the world’s most famous ring

 Lord of the Rings The One Ring at Jens Hansen PC supplied Tourism New Zealand
Lord of the Rings The One Ring at Jens Hansen PC supplied Tourism New Zealand

The movie’s Academy Award Winning Art Direction team first approached Jens Hansen about making the infamous One Ring in March 1999. Jens submitted 15 prototypes in a variety of weights and finishes, and from this extensive collection, the final movie ring design was selected.

More than 40 variations were used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. One original ring is on display and for true fans, you can take home your very own ‘precious’ replica. Elvish engraving is optional!

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters, Queenstown

 Lord of the Rings Tongariro Alpine Crossing Emerald Lakes with Snow PC_Visit Ruapehu
Lord of the Rings Tongariro Alpine Crossing Emerald Lakes with Snow PC_Visit Ruapehu

The aerial film company for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with senior pilot Alfie Speight the principal pilot for the filming. All of the pilots are familiar with the unique landscapes that appear in the films and as part of the production crew can share insider secrets from behind the scenes.

Soar into the air and above the famously majestic Queenstown and Fiordland landscapes that featured in the films, over the Shotover River gorge recognisable as the Ford of Bruinen as well as Isengard, Lothlorien, and Dimrill Dale. Land high on a glacier alongside the Misty Mountains and get a sense of what it might be like to cross The Redhorn Pass .

Nomad Safaris, Queenstown

Off-road adventure meets Middle-earth magic as the films come to life on location around the dramatic scenery of Queenstown. Travel into the out-of-this-world scenery that inspired the film location scouts and had this area featured prominently in the films. Witness the real-life locations of the battle of the Wargs, Argonath (Pillars of the Kings), the Forrest of Lothlorien, and the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields.

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