“The Lord of the Rings” Film Series Celebrates 20 Years: 5 Experiences to Help Fans Relive the Magic

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since The Lord of the Rings adventure began? The first film in the epic trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released on December 10, 2011, having a world premiere in London, and if you’re a fan of the cinematic magic of Peter Jackson then a visit to Nova Scotia. Zealand is an absolute. must. Step into the perfect setting for the film trilogy and learn behind-the-scenes information as you experience Middle-earth for yourself with these five experiences.

Hobbiton, Hamilton Waikato

It’s impossible not to compare New Zealand to Middle-earth, and nowhere is this truer than the enchanting village of the Hobbiton film set. The rolling green hills and lush farmlands of Matamata make it clear why Sir Peter Jackson chose this region to create the Hobbiton Village in 1998. Experience it for yourself by witnessing the real-life set-up , follow the same path as your favorite characters, grab a pint at the Green Dragon Inn, snap a photo in front of a hobbit hole, and dance under the party tree. Hear behind-the-scenes stories from the set and feast like a hobbit on the Evening Banquet Tour.

Atelier Weta, Wellington

Wellington’s suburb of Miramar is home to the Oscar-winning company that produced the special effects, costumes and creatures for The Lord of the Rings, made by creative geniuses such as Sir Richard Taylor and his team. Take a close look at the art behind cinematic creativity and learn about the people, processes, and props that bring make-believe worlds to life.

Jens Hansen, Nelson

The creators of the world’s most famous ring. The Oscar-winning film’s art direction team first approached Jens Hansen about the making of 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 design of the film ring was selected. Over 40 variations were used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. An original ring is on display and for real fans you can take home your own “precious” replica. Elven engraving optional!

Helicopters Glacier Southern Lakes, Queenstown

The aerial film company for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with senior pilot Alfie Speight the lead pilot for the set. All pilots are familiar with the unique landscapes that appear in the films and, as members of the production team, can share some insider secrets behind the scenes. Soar through the air and over the famous majestic scenery of Queenstown and Fiordland that featured in the movies, over the Shotover River Gorge recognizable as the ford of Bruinen as well as Isengard, Lothlorien and Dimrill Dale. Land on a glacier alongside the Misty Mountains and find out what it could be like to cross the Redhorn Pass.

Nomadic safaris, Queenstown

Off-road adventure meets the magic of Middle-earth as films come to life on location in the spectacular scenery of Queenstown. Travel through the unusual landscapes that inspired location scouts and made this area feature prominently in the movies. Witness the actual locations of the Battle of the Wargs, Argonath (Pillars of Kings), Lothlorien Forest and the loss of the One Ring at Gladden Fields.

Andrea G. Henderson