Middle Earth. Since springing from the rich reservoir of JJR Tolkein’s mind, it’s captivated readers, film fanatics and (since Amazon released Rings of Power last month) sofa-dwelling binge-watchers alike. But what is it about Lord of the Rings that casts such a spell on audiences of all ages? The hobbits? The elves? The wizened old men harbouring a 400 year old addiction to ‘pipe-weed’? Well, for our money, natural beauty has a big deal to do with it. The natural beauty of New Zealand, to be precise.
Tolkien was passionate about – and wanted to protect – the natural world. That’s why the forces of evil in his novels – Sauron and Saruman – were an industrial metal machine, pitted against the quaint rolling hills of the shire and the humble hobbits that lived there. And that’s why mother nature played such an important part of Peter Jackson’s groundbreaking trilogy, as well as Amazon’s new series, Rings of Power. The best bit? These are all very real, very beautiful New Zealand travel destinations you can visit in real life. So, for lovers of LOTR, or just lovers of stupidly beautiful vistas, here are the best Lord of the Rings filming locations you can (and should) travel to as soon as possible.