The Quest for Rohan

The Quest for Rohan

Okay lovely readers, if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan like me, then it’s quite possible that you won’t fully appreciate the magnitude of this post.

But for me, this place… this is why I went to New Zealand.

My favourite film in the LOTR trilogy is The Two Towers which heavily features a fort city called Edoras in the kingdom of Rohan, which is known for being a culture of horsemen. I was spellbound every time the story came back to this magical location and knew that someday I had to see it for myself.

When I started planning my trip, I knew that I was going to try and visit my cousin Dale who happens to live in a small town in Canterbury on the South Island. When I started researching the area I soon realized that Edoras (or Mount Sunday in real life) was located only an hour’s drive away. I didn’t want to put all my hope in actually getting to make it there in person, but to be so close and miss it would have broken my heart.

Fast forward to the day I arrived at the Christchurch Airport… and queue the dreariest, rainiest day you can imagine. I only had a short window (two days) to make the trip to Edoras and I knew that the weather could be a major factor in its success. We waited all day for the rain to subside and it didn’t. I woke up the next morning hoping to see a glimmer of sun, and… nope, still raining. We decided to go for it anyway and wish for the best.

The rain continued for the first half of the drive until we veered off the main highway onto a long, gravel road. To my absolute glee, the clouds started to lift. The drive became a stunning journey into the middle of nowhere (or Middle Earth!). Seriously, we passed some campgrounds and sheep stations and that was about it. I couldn’t even see any power lines.

IMG_3500

And then out of the clouds… I spotted it. EDORAS!!!!

IMG_3497

Is this real life?

IMG_3503

We drove up to the convenient car park and crossed over a series of streams and rivers to reach the base of the mountain. It was an easy 30 minute hike to the top and as soon as we saw the views we wished we had packed a picnic lunch so that we could’ve stayed up there all afternoon. Simply stunning!

IMG_7931IMG_3507IMG_3515IMG_3522At this point in my trip, a mere four days in, I was content. This is what I came to see and everything else would just be icing on the cake. And trust me, there was a lot of icing!

Have you ever travelled to visit a film location?

Are you an LOTR nerd like me?

A Real Life Fairytale in Hobbiton

A Real Life Fairytale in Hobbiton

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

Dreams really do come true!

For 15 years I’ve been telling everyone who would listen to me about my desire to visit the real life Middle EarthNew Zealand. As a lifelong Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan, there was only one top spot on my bucket list and it was firmly reserved for the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

IMG_3409

Bag End – The door where it began

Almost immediately after landing in Auckland International Airport, I was on my way to the rolling green pastures of Matamata where the Alexander family sheep farm has been transformed into Hobbiton. Cue major fangirling!

IMG_3378IMG_3395IMG_3402

From re-watching the films and countless hours of behind the scenes footage, I knew that the director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, Peter Jackson, paid very close attention to Tolkien’s source material in re-creating the world of Middle Earth and specifically the beloved Shire. But, it still blew me away to see real vegetables growing in the gardens and hobbit holes staged as if their tiny owner’s could arrive at any moment. You don’t even need to use your imagination to picture what life in Hobbiton would be like.

IMG_3396IMG_3397IMG_3422

It was evident from the very start of my set tour that love and passion was poured into each intricate detail of the 12 acre movie set. Our guide pointed out the locations of famous scenes, described the filming process, and allowed us heaps of time to take photographs.

The last stop on the tour was the world-famous Green Dragon Inn where we were all invited to sample a specially brewed beverage. Of course I chose beer and eagerly found a spot by the fire to soak in the culmination of such a long awaited dream.

IMG_3436IMG_3444IMG_3448

Before I knew it, we were being ushered out to make room for the next wave of eager tourists but this was really just the start of my Lord of the Rings adventures. I had more locations on my wish list but for that I had to head South… to Edoras.

Departure Lounge: New Zealand

Departure Lounge: New Zealand

I’m over-the-top excited about my next big travel adventure.

In just 6 weeks I finally get to visit my #1 Dream Destination – N E W  Z E A L A N D !

I am a huge Lord of the Rings nerd and have been obsessed with New Zealand ever since I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring back in 2002. Since then, I’ve learned more about the country through friends, family, and strangers on the Internet and my fascination has only grown. I’ve been told that it is very similar to my beloved BC, which is fantastic because I think I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

With all the traveling that I’ve done over the past 15 years, it’s hard to believe that I haven’t been to New Zealand before. It seems that the two-month window that I’ve been waiting to find in my calendar has yet to appear. So, I’m making the most of the 2.5 weeks available to see as much as possible. I just can’t wait any longer!

I have a jam packed itinerary, which includes visiting friends and family and taking in a tour of the South Island with travel blogger extraordinaire and NZ resident, Liz Carlson, of Young Adventuress. I’m so excited to experience this country with locals and to maybe even pick up some photography tricks from Liz.

I know I won’t be able to check everything off my bucket list this time, so hopefully this is just the beginning.

Itinerary

March 19: Auckland

March 20: Matamata & Rotorua

March 21-22: Orari

March 23: Christchurch & Lake Tekapo

March 24-25: Queenstown

March 26-27: Wanaka

March 28-29: Franz Josef

March 30-31: Punakaiki

April 1-2: Abel Tasman National Park

April 3-4: Wellington

nzmap

These are the activities I am most looking forward to:

  • Channeling my inner Baggins in Hobbiton.
  • Zorbing in Rotorua
  • Glacier Hiking at Franz Josef
  • Cruising the awe-inspiring Milford Sound
  • Visiting the WETA studios in Wellington where LOTR came to life!

 

Have you ever been to New Zealand? Any recommendations or travel tips?