There and back again – a journey to middle earth

I thought I would share with my experience on the Red Carpet Movie Tour’s LOTR ultimate fantasy 12-day tour ( I’m on a small VIP tour of travel agents. I’ll send in updates as time and connectivity permit. This is the ninth installment.

Feb 26th

Today was a jam-packed day. We started off early and took a detour to some amazing clay cliffs, before heading off to Tarras. We drove through Lindas Pass on our way to Tarras, and the drive is stunningly beautiful. At Tarras, we headed to the tree farm where Arwen and Frodo raced away from the Nazgul The farmer was away today, so we didn’t get to hear any great stories, but once again the land was very recognizable. They shot most of the chase scenes on the farm, both the open plain scenes and the thicker forest scenes. We walked down the road they had laid down for the cameras trucks to drive on – it was pretty cool.

We left the farm, headed for Wanaka, where the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum is. The museum has a fabulous display of old aircraft from all over, and the director, Ian, is a friend of Peter Jackson’s and a huge LOTR fan. He sells the WETA sideshow figurines at the museum, and we had a great chat with him about the movies, the books, the locations and the stars. Back on the road, we headed for Arrowtown via the Kawerau Gorge. It is very beautiful and full of fruit stands and wineries. We stopped at both to sample their wares. We made it to Arrowtown, a scenic little historic village that has the Kawerau River running through it. During filming, the town stood up on the hill and watched Arwen and Frodo fording the river to escape the Nazgul. It is a bit hard to get the actual shot they used, since you kind of need to be in the river, or on the other side, but it certainly was the right place.


We stayed in Arrowtown to have dinner at the internationally known restaurant, Saffron. The food was fantastic, and the waiter assured us that that was were the LOTR bunch ate when they were in town. Finally, we ended the day in Queenstown, a fabulous town in a breathtakingly beautiful area of NZ. We went down to the city center on the lake to watch the sun go down behind the mountains – outstanding! We also saw the Irish pub that we think is the one the hobbits liked to frequent when they were living in Queenstown. All in all, another incredible day.

Tomorrow – locations around Queenstown, Glenorchy and a jet boat safari.