Red Carpet is steadily adding new locations into its tours in the light of the new Hobbit movie, says director Vic James.
“We’re pretty excited because since the Unexpected Journey came out, we’ve been able to add new sites and new people,” James says. “We visit landowners and check out new locations on a regular basis, as information and invitations come to hand.
“The Premiere Tour last November was the first to visit some of the new places and when the time is right for further landowners to allow visits, we will add them in.”
The north island leg of the tour includes, as before, Hobbiton and the central volcanic plateau that served as Mt Doom. A new feature are some rapids where the dwarves’ more hair-raising barrel-riding scenes were filmed.
The ‘top’ of the South Island is a beautiful addition to the tour, James says. Nelson, with its sunny bay ringed by mountains, is reached by a ferry cruise through the beautiful fjords of Marlborough Sounds. There’s a stop along the way at Pelorus Bridge, scene of Bilbo and the dwarves’ barrel-riding adventures.
Red Carpet’s LOTR tours always include visits to extras, artisans, actors and crew members for the films. Halfdan Hansen, son of the real-life Ringmaker for LOTR, has his studio in Nelson and has created a new version of the Ring, invisibly weighted with some denser metal so that it lies strangely heavy on the palm of the hand.
In Nelson there is also the option to take a two-and-a-half hour helicopter flight to Dimrill Dale and South of Rivendell. The flights have been a huge success with tour guests.
To accommodate the extra locations, tours are now 14 days duration. People can also choose to join the North Island 6 day or the South Island 10 day options. “It’s a long way to come to not see it all,” James says.