Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wield Aragorn’s sword as you wandered through the fields of Edoras?
Would you love to be surrounded by the mountains that cradle the horse-fueled land of Rohan?
Or to prop your feet with a glass of champagne and a picnic as you gaze at some of the finest scenery in Middle-earth?
With New Zealand hailed as “The Real Middle-earth,” it’s natural to look for a few Lord of the Rings-related adventures while there.
Perhaps you’ve even purchased a Lord of the Rings location guidebook.
The question then becomes: Where first?
Each island provides its own, unique gateways into Middle-earth.
The North is where you’ll find the rolling hills of Hobbiton and Mount Doom.
It also houses Wellington, where you can find various scene locations and visit the headquarters of it all: Weta Workshop.
All promising and fulfilling tours, but the South Island has the mountains.
Near the tip of the South Island lies Mount Sunday, where they filmed the capital of Rohan: Edoras.
A great start to the Southern Lord of the Rings tours, the rides depart from Christchurch. Despite any
hesitations once you’ve looked at the price, the end result is worth the money.
“All right,” you tell yourself. “This might cut more into the budget than I’d planned, but let’s do it.”
You purchase your ticket and wait outside the Christchurch museum for your ride.
A banged-up jeep with massive wheels that looks like it’s driven through the mud a time or two shows up to transport you.
At first, you raise an eyebrow.
Then, you realize that, no matter what, you’re about to have an epic adventure, where you will…
A drive through the outskirts of Christchurch brings you ever closer to the forthcoming Southern Alps.
Along the way, you watch a few behind-the-scenes videos of The Lord of the Rings. Once you reach Methven, you even get to see a lot of the local haunts the cast and crew used to frequent.
From there, it doesn’t take long to realize why you needed the jeep with the big wheels.
After entering the basin of the mountain, the off-road adventure begins.
Upon crossing a river, enjoy a panoramic view of the mountains as seen in Rohan.
Get Access to Exclusive Lord of the Rings Set Photos
Once the chaos of the adrenaline-packed car ride has passed, have a look at some exclusive set photos taken during filming.
Each photo comes with an accompanying story. Any of the trees you see (that were not there in the movie) were taken out with their GPS location recorded. They were then put into a specially designed greenhouse, preserved, and replanted in their exact original location when filming wrapped.
Ah, the woes of filmmaking.
Climb the Rock That Housed The Golden Hall (With Weapons, No Less)
A further drive into the tundras brings you to the base of the rock that housed The Golden Hall. Even though the set itself doesn’t exist anymore (and, let’s face it, some of the city was CGI), it is undeniably easy to imagine.
When you get out of the jeep, someone grabs Aragorn’s sword, someone Theodon’s, Gimli’s ax, the daggers of Legolas, and the Flag of Rohan.
If you’re one of the carriers (you can pass it around), you can’t help but swing your weapon a few times. The moment your fist closes around the hilt, the rest of the world disappears, and you truly are in the real Middle-earth.
The walk up the rock does nothing to quell any feelings of thinking you’re in an epic movie.
The entire time, you instinctively hold the weapon close to you, poised and ready for a surprise battle. After all, this is Middle-earth, and you never know when orc spies will jump out and try to catch you unaware.
The walk is longer than it looks, but each passing step brings you closer to the iconic views as seen from The Golden Hall.
An entire, circular view of the mountains is seen, just as in the movie, and for a moment, you’ll forget to breathe.
Take Pictures Holding Set Props
Once everyone has caught their breath, it’s time to take photos.
You’ve carried the weapons this far; it’s only fitting to pose with them.
Your driver encourages action photos, battle-ready pictures, new-friends selfies — anything you like.
As long as no one gets hurt, take the most epic picture you can to make your friends jealous.
End With a Champagne Picnic Lunch
Here you were, scared this wouldn’t be worth it.
Even if you’re not a fan or familiar with the movies, the scenery is impossible to beat.
As if all of the views weren’t epic enough, you then get to end the trip with a glass of champagne and a picnic with all of your new friends.
Reality never felt so good.
While you sip on the bubbles and contemplate your decision to come here, you’ll have no choice but to admit it was worth every penny.
For more booking information, visit The Hassle Free Lord of the Rings Tour.