The End of My Adventures in Middle-earth

The first set of photos are of the area where the hobbits were hiding during the Urukhai ambush. Frodo was on one side and Merry and Pippin were on the other. Several ladies from our fellowship were eager to play the parts.

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Remember when we see the Urukhai running through the forest? We see a foot on a log? Here is the log and a few other shots of the forest they were running in.

log

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Hikurangi (Upper Mavora Lakes)

The following images are of the shore where the boats were stashed, Frodo holding the ring and the water by the shore view.

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And here is an artistic shot we all did with the ring.

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Here is a shot of the swing bridge over the Silverlode River. The Fellowship leaves Lothlórien and floats down the river in the first movie and then it’s used again in shots from The Two Towers. Shots were taken from the view of the swing bridge.

bridge

Here are some shots of the bus we were on. Our driver was amazing. Even though we had 19 in our group, add our guide and bus driver, we still had plenty of room on the bus. During our adventures we watched all three movies. It was so neat to watch something and then see it in real life. I loved knowing that Middle-earth was not CGI. It’s a real place.

bus busdriver

insidebus

Second stop: Jet Boat Ride, Glow Worm Caves or Southern Lakes Helicopter Ride

We had the option to take a jet boat ride down the River Anduin ( 3 LOTR sites) and / or take a helicopter ride over the dead marshes  to P.J.’s favorite location.  There is also a Glow Worm Caves tour that was available. I decided to do the helicopter ride over the dead marshes. The neat thing about our pilot was that he did  a lot of the flying filming for the movies. They would strap a camera to the front of his plane. He also worked for several years for Jacques Cousteau. It thought that was pretty awesome. The weather that day was a little windy but fun. About 5 of us went on the helicopter. Here are some shots from that.

helicopter

Shot of the dead marshes in an area called the Kepler Mire.

deadmarshes

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Follow the mighty Upper Waiau River (River Anduin) flowing from Lake Te Anau to Lake Manapouri.

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Shots from the Entwives gardens.

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DAY ELEVEN

First stop: Garston, NZ

Garston is New Zealand’s most inland village with a population of 106. Located  on the main tourist route between Queenstown and Milford and Doubtful Sounds, Garston is situated in the picturesque Upper Mataura Valley of the Southern Lakes district. The Upper Mataura valley, which was originally carved out by a glacier, is the source of the world-famous Mataura River and has the Eyre Mountains to the west and the Slate Range and Hector Mountains to the east. The areas has sheep, cattle and deer farming. Garston is central to Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. (Information taken from Garston’s website.)

Garston

Some of those in our fellowship decided to take a cruise to Milford Sound and see the glaciers. We would meet up with them later in Queenstown where we would be staying the next two nights. My friend and I decided to stay in the city and walk around and see the sights. We had decided to stay on a few more days when the tour ended to do a few more excursions.

That day my friend Jo went bungy jumping off of a bridge. I’ve been sky diving before but I just couldn’t bring myself to jump off of a bridge. 🙂

We had lunch in Arrowtown which was significant during the 1860’s gold rush. Just outside of this town they filmed the part where Isildur is overcome by Orcs and is killed and loses the ring to the waters. The next few shops are from Garston on our way into Queenstown.

river

mountains

waters

Second stop: Dart Stables, Glenorchy

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, at the head of Lake Wakatipu lies Glenorchy, gateway to New Zealand’s Mount Aspiring National Park. We had the option to go to the stables and do an LOTR tour on horseback. Several of us decided to go.

horses horses1

Dart Stables have exclusive horse riding rights to Paradise station which was chosen by Peter Jackson as the location for several scenes from the Lords of The Rings trilogy, including Isengard, Amon Hen and “The Death of Boromir” scene from The Fellowship of The Ring film. (This information was taken from their website.)

This is the tour we took: The Ride of the Rings – Be transported to Middle-Earth astride your own steed! Following the beautiful drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, passing Ithilien and stopping en-route to admire The Misty Mountains, you eventually arrive in Paradise where your 1½ hour ride starts. Winding through the golden woods of Lothlórien, passing Amon Hen, the track opens up and the ‘Golden Mile’ begins. From here the views of the Wizard’s Vale and the mighty peak of Methedras are breathtaking.

horses2

Unfortunately I didn’t get as many photos as I wanted. My horse was a huge Clydesdale and was in the movies. He and I did not get along. I fell off the back of him and walked most of the way back home. I think the trail we were on was not as suitable for beginners as it led you to believe. We went up narrow passes and came back down, etc. Needless to say I have not been on a horse since. The scenery was beautiful though and if you like to go on horseback I would recommend this excursion.

DAY TWELVE

First stop: Deer Park Heights, Queenstown

As I was looking up information to add to my post on this part of our trip I found out that Deer Park Heights was closed indefinitely back in 2009. This is so sad. A lot of scenes from the LOTR movies was filmed on this land. It’s a nature park where there are lots of animals that you can get out and pet and feed. We also saw lots of deer. The following images are of the animals we saw on our trip.

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And here are a few shots from Deer Park Heights to the surrounding town of Queenstown and the mountain range of The Remarkables.

deerpark deerpark1 deerpark2

Several sites for The Lord of the Rings movie were filmed here, especially The Two Towers. Here Gandalf rode towards Gondor, the refugees escaped from Rohan, the attack of the Wargs occurred, and Eowyn provided Aragorn with his ‘tasty’ stew. Here are some more reenactment photos.

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The Warg attack and Aragorn going over the cliff.

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Eowyn offering Aragorn some of her “yummy” soup.

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Second stop: Skyline Gondola and Restaurant

Our final dinner that night was at the Skyline Restaurant. We rode the gondola up to get to it. What a beautiful view of the city. It was so sad to have to say goodbye to everyone. We met back up again with Vic and Raewyn for our final feast. So bittersweet.

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This is Vic and Raewyn our fearless leaders and founders of this wonderful tour. Both of them were educators for years in NZ. skyline3 skyline4 skyline5 skyline6

DAY THIRTEEN

Everyone left to fly back home except for my friend Jo and I. We stayed for a few more days to do some more excursions.  We hung out with our friends Sean and Diane until they had to go to the airport.

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That afternoon Jo and I went on Nomad Safari’s tour on ATV’s. It was awesome. The guy who was our guide was an Urukhai in the movies as an extra. I think just about everyone living in NZ was an extra in the movies. 🙂

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I realized I may have forgotten some of our stops. One was the fact we got to hang with Daniel Reeve who was the cartographer and caligrapher for the movies. It was so awesome meeting him. I bought some originals by him like a party invitation to Bilbo’s birthday, etc. We met with him when we were in Wellington I believe.

danielreeves

This was by far the best trip I have ever been on. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go with my great friend and that I met a whole new group of friends that became my family. That goes to Anwen too, who was our guide in the South Island. If you ever get the chance to go to NZ, I would highly recommend this tour. Now there are new stops with The Hobbit trilogy coming out. I hope to go back in a few years to go again with my husband this time.

Thanks to everyone who read my journey and stayed with me. Sorry it seemed to be drawn out some but you can see there are a lot of places to recount and photos to be shared.

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7 Responses

  1. Dan Hall says:

    Becky: I am so happy that you got to go on this adventure. Your photos are great. I hope I can do it someday! Happy New Year.

  2. R.K. Grow says:

    Thanks Dan! It truly was the most amazing trip to date. We should go over together in a few years. Join up with a group and go!

  3. Jason Patz says:

    Loved your write up. My wife and I just got back from a two-week trip to NZ that I’m in the process of writing up right now. Sooo fun! I wish I’d seen your blog before I visited. I got the tree stump hiding place at Mavora Lakes wrong. I had no idea there would be so many of those stumps so close together. Your pictures would have really helped. Oh well. It is a beautiful place that I am so happy I got to experience first hand.

    • R.K. Grow says:

      Jason, I also wish you had seen my post before you went. I know the tour has grown to encompass The Hobbit trilogy now and I so long to get back and take my husband. It was seriously the best trip I’ve ever been on. Middle-earth has to be experienced in New Zealand hands down. I look forward to reading about your adventure there with your wife. Did you ever try zorbing or any other activities?

      • Jason Patz says:

        We did a bunch of hiking but the most New Zealand-y thing I got to do was paragliding. My wife talked me out of bungy jumping but I’ve been off of Olympic diving platforms before and it seemed similar (but longer) so I don’t really regret skipping it.

  1. April 29, 2013

    […] will add the last few parts later on today. It truly does take forever when there are so many locations and photos to go […]

  2. June 10, 2015

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