It's hard to believe, but it has already been 15 years since Peter Jackson released The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Those films were block busters at the box office, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars, while simultaneously introducing audiences to the amazing landscapes of New Zealand, where the three movies were filmed. In the years that followed, the country saw a substantial uptick in visitors, many of whom came to visit Hobbiton and some of the other locations from the trilogy.
Now, New Zeland Tourism is inviting us all to return to Middle Earth, and experience the joy and wonder of that place all over again.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the LOTR films, the tourism board has launched a special portal that provides information about visiting "the real Middle Earth." It has also established four unique tours that allow travelers to experience the country through the eyes of four different characters from the films: a Dwarf, Hobbit, Elf, or Wizard.
Each of the itineraries are different, and offer activities that most connect with the specific character. For instance, those how choose the Hobbit's Journey will be treated to fine meals and a sampling of New Zealand wine, while the Elven Journey is all about being pampered while sailing the shores off the coast. Not sure which journey is right for you? There is even a quiz to help you decide. In my case, I came up as a Wizard, with my itinerary offering the opportunity to explore remote areas of New Zealand, while taking in the brilliant night sky overhead.
If there is one country that can almost guarantee you an adventure as large as Middle Earth, it is probably New Zealand. The place is nearly unmatched with the amount of trekking, paddling, climbing, camping, and backpacking that are available. And anyone who has seen the films can tell you that the landscapes are utterly breathtaking as well. Want to visit Mount Doom? Plan on stopping by Mount Ngauruhoe, which served as that location for the films. Rather visit Fangorn Forest instead? That's Snowdon Forest in real life.
Of course, just like Mddle Earth, New Zealand has its own kind of magical places. For instance, The luminescent glow worms found in Waitomo Caves give it an otherworldly feel, while the geothermal activity found at Rotorua will remind you that our planet is still a very powerful and volatile place. And if you want to feel really, really small take a look at the heavens from the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, one of the best spots for stargazing in the entire country.
For travelers who like to go solo and plan their own journeys, New Zealand is very accommodating to that approach. You'll find plenty of resources online to help you organize your trip and plan for where you want to go while there. But, if you prefer to have someone else do all of the heavy lifting for you, you'll also find a wide array of tour operators who can help you see large portions of the country as well.
There are even plenty of Lord of the Rings tours to choose from if you want to stick with the central theme. For instance, luxury travel company Zicasso has put together its own trip to commemorate the release of the films. That 15-day itinerary takes travelers to many of the central locations of the three movies, including Mordor, Rivendell, and Hobbiton of course. You can find out more about this trip – which is sure to be a delight for LOTR fans – by clicking here.
Whether you're a fan of Middle Earth, or simply want to visit New Zealand independent of the Lord of the Rings films, you won't be disappointed. In terms of pure adventure, there are few places on Earth that can match this country. There is a reason why it is on most traveler's bucket lists, and it most definitely lives up to its billing.
Find out more and start planning your visit at NewZealand.com.