“In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” (JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings).
It was not only pure patriotism that brought Peter Jackson to film his much acclaimed, many Oscars-winning Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers & The Return of the King – in New Zealand. Hardly in another country would he have found the diversity of spectacular landscapes to realize this film!
True, New Zealand provided an immense support throughout the whole project, with several hundreds army personnel acting in some of the immense battles displayed throughout the movie, with a Minister of the Ring (!!!) appointed to the New Zealand government at the time of release, etc…
Moreover, the consequences of the Trilogy on New Zealand have been immense. The first direct impact was to boost the local film industry. But it has also had a real positive impact on tourism, prompting many people, who watched the movie, to visit the very country where those spectacular landscapes can be found.
Of course, you can now find a copy of the book: “The Lord of the Rings: Location Guidebook” by Ian Brodie in any Tourist Information. It precisely describes which scene was shot where, even with GPS coordinates! And for sure, many agencies now run “Rings tours” to the main locations of the movie, especially near Wanaka, Queenstown and Tongariro National Park. New Zealand’s businesses are very creative to create needs and to ensure that tourists will spend a little or a lot more!
Nevertheless, tours are definitely not necessary! Quite a few times, Gilles could identify landscapes he had seen in the movie, which he enjoyed watching more than once! The region near Wanaka was of course one. We even wondered what had happened to the zillions sheep grazing all around. Were they also dressed up as Orcs?
But the climax was definitely reached when we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, where Peter Jackson shot all the scenes in the Land of Mordor. There, he surely did not have to bother much about special effects: the landscape is at times almost exactly as it can be seen in the movie. And the atmosphere is also not that far off. This is simply amazing!
There are many reasons to enjoy New Zealand. Someone who enjoyed the Trilogy Lord of the Rings will surely recognize many of the scenes in the movie while discovering this country.