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The Best Ways to See Hobbit Locations

posted by Chris Valentine

The trilogy of Hobbit films were filmed entirely in New Zealand at more than 250 locations on the North and South Islands. To follow in the footsteps of Frodo and Sam, here are the best spots to visit and how to explore them.

BY LAND (driving / hiking / cycling / skiing / horseback)

North Island

Matamata – ‘Hobbiton’

This tourist attraction includes 44 hobbit holes created for the films and beautifully maintained gardens. You can even enjoy an amber ale (brewed especially for Hobbiton) under a willow tree beside the Green Dragon Inn.

Mount Cook – ‘Laketown’

Mt Cook and surrounding alpine peaks provided spectacular aerial scenery used in aerial filming in the first Hobbit film, while Lake Pukaki was chosen as the location for Laketown in the second hobbit film. The area provides great opportunities for hiking, cycling fishing and skiing in the winter months.

Piopio – ‘Trollshaws Forest & Straddles Farm’

You can visit exact filming locations with Hairy Feet Waitomo Scenic Film Location Tours.


The Earnslaw Burn Glacier creates a number of beautiful waterfalls that tumble over sheer and massive rock faces. This epic landscape was used to film the continuation of Bilbo and The Company’s quest from Rivendell in the first movie of the trilogy. This area provides challenging hikes, but spectacular and rewarding views of the glacier and surrounds.

Turoa, Ruapehu – ‘Hidden Bay’

Used in the filming of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Turoa is a popular ski field on Mt Ruapehu. The area offers stunning cycling and hiking trails, including The Tongariro Crossing; considered to be one of the best one day walks in the world.

South Island


While exact filming locations used for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, were on private property, get a sense of these by taking a horse ride though the area. You’ll also see dramatic cliffs and spectacular coastal views over Golden Bay.


A road trip around Twizel’s alpine magic will give you the opportunity to see the area where the largest battle scene ever – the Battle of the Pelennor Fields – was set. The charming mountain town and its surrounding alpine peaks, will give you a feel for the spectacular scenes that were filmed here for both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies.


North Island

Waitomo Caves – film sound effects

Director of the Hobbit Trilogy, Peter Jackson, loved the acoustic quality of the Waitomo Caves and recorded some of the sound effects here for the first film.

South Island

Pelorus River, Marlborough – ‘Forest River’

In the latest film, the Pelorus River provides the backdrop for an exciting scene in which the dwarfs escape the Elvenking’s Halls by hiding in barrels and floating down the Forest River.


South Island

Fiordland National Park – epic scenic shots

This area was used for epic scenic shots used in both trilogies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The best way to experience the grandeur and scale of this area, including giant fiords and magnificent waterfalls, is by helicopter (or boat cruise).

Let’s face it, to see most of the locations used for filming The Hobbit trilogy; you really need to see most of New Zealand. Why not, it’s one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. What better way to do this than by circumnavigating the North and South Island aboard a cruise ship. For more information, check out this URL.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons 

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