With Mt Aspiring National Park right on its doorstep, it’s no wonder this area was chosen for a number of film locations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies. Mountains, glaciers, forests and lakes straight out of the books all within easy reach of the town. The White
and Misty Mountain
scenes were filmed in the region and the opening sequence of the first Lord of the Rings movie is a shot of Mt Aspiring. The Ost in Edhil Ruins
and flight to the ford
were also filmed in the region.
A number of the cast and crew came from Wanaka and you don’t have to go far to bump into a towns person, elf, dwarf, goblin, troll or wizard. Many of these same people are also hosts at accommodation and activity operations and will be happy to share their stories with you. Rumour has it that a town’s person recently hosted Ori (younger brother to Nori and Dori) and his family here at their lodge
and a well-known wizard stayed in Wanaka recently performing Hamlet at the town hall.
The area is a firm favourite with film fans and there are a number of experiences which incorporate Lord of the Rings elements into their tours:
- Eco Wanaka Adventures offers The Misty Mountain Traverse- Heli Hike which takes you on a journey following in the footsteps of the Hobbits in the first movie.
- Lonely Mountain Tours offers a Lord of the Rings – Ring of Gold Tour which takes you around various sites and also gives you an opportunity to try on the props used in the film. If you’re not a huge fan then you can combine this with a gourmet tasting or wine tour and indulge all your senses.
- Wanaka River Journeys, Eco Wanaka Adventures and Ridgeline Adventures offer tours around the region past film locations for Lord of the Rings and will give you a good commentary on these as well as a entertaining trip taking in the best of the scenery and sharing some great stories about the area.
- If you want to be totally immersed then try a night at Minaret Lodge in Barlimans Room, a unique themed room with oversize furniture and a special “hobbit “ menu.
- For a truly unique overnight adventure try a night at Whare Kea Chalet set high in the mountains looking straight at Mt Aspiring or Minaret Station in a luxury camping experience both only accessible by helicopter.
So whether you’re a hobbit, dwarf, elf, wizard enthusiast or a mere mortal, there’s plenty to see and do around Lake Wanaka.