New Zealand is fast becoming a road trip mecca despite its distance from ‘the rest of the world’. However, what the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ lacks in ease of access – flights can be expensive – it more than compensates for in amazing landscapes. For those who’d love to trace the route of Bilbo and friends – Yes, really! – you might like to note that you can visit many of the places where the films were shot and there are several scenic driving routes that enable you to witness the splendor of the landscapes in the films, so consider road tripping around the North and South Islands when holidaying in New Zealand.
1. The Ford of Bruinen – Misty Mountains – Fangorn Forest (5 days drive)
Starting in Mt Cook Village and finishing in Queenstown, this route includes Twizel, Omarama, Queenstown, Wanaka, Glenorchy and Te Anau.Starting with a lengthy drive from Mt Cook Village to Queenstown on the first day (258 km) and followed up with a short 1½ hour drive the second, this is a charming route where you can visit the same rivers in the film, though unlike the hobbies you can bungee jump above (into) them!The third day is a short drive to Glenorchy (45 mins) and the next day drive to Te Anau, home to the beautiful beech trees of Fangorn Forest. The fourth day entails a 172 km drive back to Queenstown.
2. Hobbiton – Mordor –River Anduin (4 days drive)
Starting in Auckland and finishing in Wellington, this scenic route includes Hamilton, Cambridge, Rotorua, Taupo and Turangi National Park. On the first day you’ll drive from Auckland to Rotorua, which should take about three hours, and after spending the night continue on to Taupo (one hour’s drive). From Taupo continue on to Turangi, which is 61 km away, and then on the final day drive to Wellington (331 km) away which should take a little over four hours’ driving time.
On this trip, you’ll see the landscapes of Emyn Muil, Mordor, and Mount Doom, along with Wellington, which is the production base for the movies.
3. Chetwood Forest – Dimrill Dale (3 days drive)
Starting and finishing in Nelson, this route includes Motueka, Marahau, and Collingwood. This is a very short route but with three (remote) national parks and some of the most dramatic scenery found anywhere in the country you won’t be bored for a second. Begin your road trip with a one-hour drive to Marahau, spend the night and continue on to Collingwood (36 km) and then back to Nelson, the longest drive at 123 km.
4. Edoras (2 days drive)
Start and finishing in Christchurch this short route includes Ashburton and Methven.
The shortest ‘Lord of the Rings’ road trip but still a very rewarding one, on this route you’ll experience the Southern Alps which run along almost the entire length of the South Island.Both day’s drives are 175 km in length and should take a little under two hours each by campervan – arranging campervan hire in NZ is the best way to experience the country and its phenomenal landscapes – though as the scenery here is phenomenal – Canterbury boasts the largest peaks and glaciers and therefore some of the most spectacular scenery found anywhere on either island – you’ll want to make sure you’ve charged your camera and allow yourself ample time to enjoy the spectacular views.
With these excellent driving routes in mind, it’s time to follow - WanderGlobe