My dream holiday – New Zealand – Part Four

Wow, when I began this I didn’t realise it was going to turn into an epic, but as the holiday was – epic, that is – I guess I should not be surprised.

Where were we? Oh yes, coming to the last few days of the Red Carpet Tour, next up was an incredible landscape in Alexandra, Central Otago,  where quite a few scenes were filmed, but was simply amazing just for its stark beauty.

Following a quick stop to admire this dam and power station (water levels were at a 20 year high)

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For this portion of the trip we had to change to a smaller bus, as a standard sized coach couldn’t make it across this 1880’s constructed bridge

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Beyond is gold mining country. Just like other areas that were once mined and panned for gold, this is one of the roughest and poorest areas of the country, so arid they get barely enough rain to grow grass – and you need to avoid the razor grass, believe me it lives up to its name – and we made a brief stop at what passes for a ‘hotel’ out there.

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But the lady who owns the thousands of acres around that area (where backpackers still come to try their hand at panning for gold, hence the ‘hotel’) now has a new business – LOTR tourists!

This area crops up in several parts of the films, The Hobbit included.

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The leaf brooch canyon where ‘dwarves are dangerous over short distances’.

Where Aragorn listened to the rock to determine how far ahead was the orc pack holding the hobbits

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LOTR aside, do you see the turtle in this rock formation?

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The site of the Rohan village that burned (where the small child escaped on the huge horse)

Picture this with the existing buildings covered in thatch, and some extras added, all burning, and you have the Rohan village from The Two Towers

Picture this with the existing buildings covered in thatch, and some extras added, all burning, and you have the Rohan village from The Two Towers

And where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were surrounded by the Rohirrim

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Then it was on to the last hotel destination of the tour in Queenstown, and time to book our own personal choices of extra activities for the last day. That leaves one day of film sites, including:

Fangorn forest

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The site of the orc funeral pyre, after Merry and Pippin had escaped into the forest

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Some really cool plants!

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And where Gandalf first summoned Shadowfax

Moving on, we ventured onto this very bouncy suspension bridge over a flood swollen river, which feed the Lower Mavora Lake

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for a great photo opportunity

Picture the river Anduin, with the fellowship paddling towards you...

Picture the river Anduin, with the fellowship paddling towards you…

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And the site for the finale of the Fellowship of the Ring, where Sam almost drowned, following Frodo into the lake

The beach where Frodo launched his boat, somewhat less visible at this time due to flooding

The beach where Frodo launched his boat, somewhat less visible at this time due to flooding

View from the beach

View from the beach

The tree behind which Frodo hid before leaving the others

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Merry and Pippin hid behind this log

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And the Uruk-hai ran full tilt down this slope brandishing their weapons – how they managed to say on their feet,  have no idea!

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Finally it was time for packed lunches at the trusty bus

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before getting stuck in the local version of a traffic jam

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One last day of the tour left to cover, then onward, to ‘normal’ touristy sightseeing…

I’ll be back!

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3 comments

  1. Now I can hear New Zealand calling even louder… You definitely had a great time.
    And I need a LOTR weekend – really soon! 🙂

    1. Can’t recommend Red Carpet Tours highly enough – they do trips of differing length, but I reckoned after getting all the way out there it was worth doing the longest – so glad we did! 😀

  2. […] to New Zealand (if you’ve missed the posts you can find them here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), which is, of course, where Xena was filmed, I was thrilled to come across, […]

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