Travelling to New Zealand? Here’s a map and key…

New Zealand travel map

Don’t step onto the road without knowing where you might be swept off to…

I feel I’m playing the part of Gandalf here: advising all Thorin-like followers, who are embarking on an adventure to New Zealand, to utilise a most essential map on your travels.

Why you would be going to the Southern Hemisphere is anyone’s guess; but if you’re reading this particular post on this particular blog, chances are you’re doing your own Middle-earth pilgrimage.

Luck you.

The folks over at have crafted this rather handy digital map to help you on your adventures.

Travelling to the various filming locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit might be a challenge – especially since they’re spread out over two islands and thousands of miles in between.

The Ultimate Hobbit Map of New Zealand will aid you along your set visits – keeping you on the right track by trusty Google coordinates 😉

Avoid confusing your Mount Cook from your Mount Sunday; remember the difference between the Rangitikei River (stand-in for the Anduin river) and the Mavora Lakes (Among Hen).

Like the Company of Thorin Oakenshield, make sure you trust in the map to guide you along your way to the real Middle-earth.

I know I will – whenever that day comes. Any willing benefactors? Anyone?

Till next time 😉


10 thoughts on “Travelling to New Zealand? Here’s a map and key…

  1. Hardly thousands of miles apart. New Zealand is 990 miles long and 250 wide (at its widest points, considerably less elsewhere). When I took day tours based in Queenstown out to LOTR locations, we saw quite a few within a short drive of the town, and now the the HOBBIT films are out, presumably there are even more. Ian Brody’s guidebooks give GPS locations, as well as more conventional directions, for all the accessible locations.

    1. Hi Kirstin!

      Perhaps I got carried away by some artistic license 🙂

      I should have specified “Middle-earth” distances. Filming locations for Rivendell and Isengard may be in close proximity in the real world, but in Tolkien’s world they’re a bit farther away than that …

      Do I get away with it? 😉

  2. Hello, I’m a new reader to your blog. After recently watching the extended Desolation of Smaug and wanting to find out what was different from the theatrical version and of course the original book, I stumbled across your blog. I’m really enjoying reading your analysis of The Hobbit films, and I’m now digging into your older blog posts. Good stuff!

    Sorry to be off-topic, but I wonder what your thoughts are on some of the Middle-Earth related video games out there. I’m having a blast with the 2014 game “Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor”, and I read somewhere that a lot of research was done by the writers to keep the game rooted in Tolkien’s mythology. Really, it’s just an action game, but so far I think they’ve done a good job. Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Mark, thanks a lot for your comments 🙂

      I actually own to somewhat “old” LOTR games which I absolutely love: the EA Games The Return of the King game and the Battle for Middle-earth II.

      The latter I still play eagerly to this that. Unfortunately I have not yet caught up with the recent releases, but I’m aware of the Shadow of Mordor.

      I think you’ve just given me some ideas for game-related posts … cheers!

  3. The little markers on the map are so cute – but what about Mordor and Mt Doom? I see a huge, markerless hole where Tongariro National Park is…

    Now, I love that national park anyway for a variety of reasons, but the Tongariro Crossing (which will take you through Mordor and give you the opportunity to summit Mt Doom) is a not-to-be-missed opportunity if you’re a Tolkien tourist in NZ! Pardon the link, but this site outlines the key LOTR bits 😀

    The Department of Conservation doesn’t pay me for all the promotion I give Tongariro National Park, but they probably should. I am *evangelical* about that place, hah!

    ~A dweller in Middle Earth

    1. This is from a local Kiwi… If you have any chance at all of getting to walk the Tongariro Crossing, grab it and go. Volcanic vents, mineral lakes, active steam, lunar landscapes, massive lava and boulder fields, sheer cliffs, tussock covered hillsides and thick forest canopies, all within a 20 kilometer hike. We did this in mid-spring (late October). When we arrived as planned at National Park for the planned hike we had to delay by 24 hours due to high wind. The next morning low cloud and rain reduce visibility to about 10 -20 metres, no matter the track is extremely well marked and boardwalks elevate you above the swamp wetlands heading in from the western side. We climbed the Devil’s staircase and headed across a Martian-like flat pan when the cloud completely burnt off within a quarter hour. All in our group stripped off two to three layers and the rest of the climb was in clear bright sunshine (cold wind, hot sun).
      The summit was a prime location for lunch and clear view for several hundred kms around 360 degrees – we could see clear across to Mount Taranaki (another volcanic peak) in the west. A couple side trips from possible from here, one up Mt Doom itself [ ]. Another trail has since been closed due to a recent eruption… so pays to check access closer to the time you’re planning to go.
      Our group was well equipped with suitable alpine grade clothing and strong boots, but many others on the trail were poorly kitted out. Some even in trainers and jeans. This is a mountain environment and Conservation Dept signage and staff point take great pains to make you aware that weather conditions can be changeable over the day (we saw that ourselves). All visitors are advised to be prepared and carry basic survival equipment. Although severe weather is unusual and generally forecast, numerous people have died over the years, including on nearby Mt Ruapehu six NZ Defence Force personel caught in a week-long blizzard in 1990.
      That said, preparation and a decent time allowance for a whole day on the trail and you cannot beat this experience. I would do it again at any time of year – even a short walk a couple hours in from the car park areas and back would be worthwhile for less adventureous or time-restricted folk. Do it if you can!

  4. Genuinely not wanting to Troll (:)), but as a long-term Tolkien fan (300 UK hardbacks and very slowly counting) and resident of Queenstown, I enjoy the New Zealand countryside as being uniquely New Zealand (especially South Island), not as being Peter Jackson’s personal vision of Middle-Earth (The non-European vegetation is all wrong, so it actually seems *nothing* like my idea of ME, with the exception of the north of North Island which is definitely a bit “shireish” in places).

    It seems to me that if you enjoy the movies (I thought LOTR were pretty decent, but the Hobbit movies are absolutely abysmal), then seeing them deconstructed into individual locations, devalues the movie(s), and if you love the outdoors, seeing it deconstructed into a movie set, devalues that. I periodically do see places that I recognise from LOTR (or at least think I do), but I’ve never gone out looking.

    I see movie location hopping a bit like director’s commentaries. You have a story, you like the story and the way it was produced, and then you go and destroy it by pulling it apart.

    1. Hey Stu, absolutely no trolling from your part! I’m glad you’ve given us your contribution to the subject.

      I can see what you’re referring to. It’s probably difficult for us “foreigners” to relate to New Zealand other than through these films.

      I’ve personally never been to New Zealand, and I’ve been wanting to visit long before any of the Middle-earth films were released. Though what Peter Jackson did, certainly strengthened by desire to travel.

      But I agree that New Zealand (as many other places) needs to be respected, appreciated and enjoyed as a country of its own being, rather than a collage of landscape shots and CGI. 🙂

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