A Middle Earth Map to the North Island

A good part of many a person’s reasons for visiting New Zealand is to check out where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. As a massive fan of the films I was very keen to see as many of the filming locations on the North Island as possible!


image of a tall archway in a forest. The archway looks elven in style. There is a person in fantasy costume stood in front of it.

Where: Kaitoke Regional Park, outside of Wellington

The beautiful elven city of Rivendell was filmed in a valley in Kaitoke Regional Park. As you drive into the valley you’ll recognise the sloping landscape from the films- it’s quite breathtaking!

Now pretty much all of Rivendell was built and then removed after filming so don’t expect any elven towers. You’ll more recognise the look of the forests and there are multiple information boards to help explain.

Additionally, there’s an elven archway built to show where the council of Elrond met in the first movie which is cute! You may need to use your imagination, but Rivendell is well worth a visit.

Black Rider’s Woods

Where:Wellington Woods, off Mount Victoria

I cannot express how lost my partner and I got looking for the very bit where Frodo and the hobbits hide from the Black Rider! These forests just off Mount Victoria are beautiful, spooky and you can fully picture the Black Riders racing down the paths looking for the One Ring. The actual dip where the hobbits hide is harder to spot because the tree you see in the film was placed there for filming (bit weird tbh) but we found it! The woods are so beautiful they’re worth a wander through anyway.

Gollum’s Pool

image of a small waterfall and connecting poolsWhere: Tongariro National Park


Gollum’s Pool from The Two Towers film is the stunning Tawhai Falls in Tongariro National Park. The upper pool is used in the film when Gollum is catching fish and singing whilst Frodo looks on.

Although a small part of the films, the falls are absolutely stunning and well worth a walk down. When we visited, there had been heavy rainfall before so it was more Gollum’s Rapids than Gollum’s Pool though!

image of a mountainous landscape with fog covering the tallest mountainsMordor & Mount Doom

Where: Tongariro National Park

No trip could be complete without venturing through the depths of Mordor. The Tongariro National Park offers the mountainous background for Mordor with Mount Ngauruhoe being Mount Doom itself. It’s a pretty stunning area with wide grassy areas and huge mountains everywhere. Mount Doom itself is a bit harder to see up close as it’s normally covered in fog. To see it up close you need to travel to the Tongariro Alpine crossing and do a one day hike up the mountain.

Weta Workshop

image of a statue of a tall wizard- Gandalf the Grey wearing robes and holding a staffWhere: Wellington

Whilst not strictly a location, no middle earth fan could miss out Weta Workshop! Weta produce the armour and weapons for the LotR and Hobbit series. The Weta Cave is filled with an amazing exhibition and souvenir shop which’ll pull at your purse strings. The exhibition is filled with incredible armour and props from LotR, Narnia and Avatar to name a few.

If you fancy, there are various workshops to sign up for too, such as chainmail making. I did the crafting with the crew session and got to learn so much behind the scenes stuff- fully recommend it!


image of a small circular door, a hobbit hole from the lord of the rings book. There are lots of plants surrounding the house.Where: Matamata

The star of the North Island where Tolkien fans are concerned, Hobbition is full scale replica of Bilbo and Frodo’s hometown. Built for the Hobbit trilogy, this is one of the most immersive experiences i’ve ever come across for any fandom.

You can literally walk past hobbit holes, stand where Gandalf drove in on his cart and run ‘I’m going on an adventure’ where Bilbo did. I actually did that (in costume) and probably caused my poor long suffering partner to face palm. For a more in depth account of Hobbiton, check out my write up here.


Ruthy xo

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