They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
DOC Campground

Flag of New Zealand  , Otago,
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Giving up on Mt Cook, we headed towards Lake Wanaka. Everywhere we went, there were Lord of the Rings filming sites listed on our map.  We went past the lake and up these small roads along bays winding towards Mt. Aspiring. No filming sites were mentioned, but there should have been! As we dropped (literally) into the Lake District and past Queenstown the landscape kept changing. Brian was busy driving his pretend Porche through all the swerves and turns with the beautiful landscape swirling around. I am amazed, and must say that I think NZ is the most beautiful country I've been to. It's just...everywhere! Not only hills, but mountains too. With forests nestled at the base and along the sides and sparkling rivers and blue lakes in between. Big glacial valleys and river plains make it easy to see everything all at once and the views and never long obscured.  So much in such close proximity is hard to take. You don't have to drive far at all. And what's really interesting to me is that it is constantly changing. Unlike the Rockies that look quite similar throughout the entire range, these are series of different ranges, each with it's own colour and contour.

Just beyond Glenorchy is a place called Paradise. Rivers, mountains, plains, forests all combined. You may know it by another name, one not quite associated with paradise at all. This is the area that was filmed for Isengard. Ah! I know, shocking. But I have to say that it's kind of close, as who knew Paradise would have so many biting black flies? Even so, I think we'll stay a few days...

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