Thursday 11 - Had to get up really early today for an 8am pickup from my hostel. I was going on another LOTR tour to Glenorchy and Paradise in the morning and then a horse ride in Glenorchy in the afternoon. The weather wasn't too great in the morning - quite overcast with clouds covering the mountains. The first location I saw was at Twelve Mile Delta, just outside of Queenstown. This was the location of the Ithilien camp and where Sam and Frodo first saw the Oliphants. The guide had a photo so we could see the general area, but we didn't go to exact locations. Not sure if she saw the films because she got some really basic things wrong - ie saying that it was the hobbits who stood on the cliff Aragorn etc. Her technical info was good though and she told us that she met all the major cast as she was working in the hotel they stayed in when they came back to Queenstown to do reshoots. We passed so lovely scenery on the way to Glenorchy including two islands in Lake Wakatipu called Pig island and Pigeon island. The next location was just outside Glenorchy - between it and Paradise. It was Isengard, or rather the location that had Isengard digitally entered onto it. Again she showed us a photo and it was obvious we were looking at the right place, mainly by looking at the little hill in the background. Unfortunately the weather wasn't good here and the mountains were covered by clouds. We then went to the Routeburn valley which is in Mt Aspiring National Park and did a 20 minute walk on the Double Barrel Walk. The walk was through a lovely beech forest that was very similar to that used for the filming of Lothlorien. It was so peaceful and tranquil walking through the forest. We then went to the start of the Routeburn track to take some pictures. Over the river is a bridge that bounces when you walk on it that was fun. We then had to backtrack to get to the next location so we passed the Isengard location again. By now the weather had really cleared up so I took some more photos. Next stop was Paradise and it lived up to its name. It was absolutely beautiful and the view was helped by the lovely blue skies that were now here. We hadn't gone very far, in fact I could see the little hill that was in the Isengard location. At Paradise they were shooting for a Hercules film, so we had a little look. There were loads of horses (some from the stables I was going riding with later) and they had set one of the wood buildings on fire. Looking down the valley there were forests to the left and right of us. The guide told us the forest to the left was the location of Amon Hen and the one to the right was Lothlorien. Was a bit gutted that we didn't go there, especially as the brochure said we would. But the scenery at Paradise was stunning enough to almost make up for it! We then drove back to Glenorchy and stopped at the Glenorchy hotel for our free drink - I had OJ. Glenorchy is beautiful, at the head of the lake and surrounded by mountains, many including Mt Earnslaw capped with snow. Its a really small town, with a population of only 250. That was the end of the tour, and the others went back to Queenstown, whilst I stayed and waited for my ride. The tour finished at 12 and my ride wasn't until 1.45pm. So I got a bit of lunch and went for a walk around Glenorchy Walkway which took me first to Lake Wakatipu and then into the wetlands or lagoon as the sign said. The walk was beautiful and a one point I came upon a small lake which reflected the mountains opposite in it. It was so peaceful and quiet and the scenery was stunning - I love Glenorchy it is such an amazing place. Couldn't linger too long with the walk as I had to go on my horse trek. Got to the stables on time but by the time everyone arrived, got kitted up and on the horses we didn't leave the stables until 3pm. The horse were lovely - well taken care of and some of them were thoroughbreds. Some of them had also been in Lord of the Rings as the Rohan horses. But only the dark brown ones that didn't have any distinctive markings on them! This was apparently so that the 250 horses they used could be duplicated to make them seem like 1000. The owner of the stables was one of the Rohan riders. The owner was a woman, and apparently three quarters of the riders were actually women - they had to have padding and were given false beards so that they looked like men. The horse I was riding was called Court and he was a lovely dark brown colour. We left the stables and headed down the road, and then went across a little stream near to where I had been walking earlier. We then headed towards the Rees river which was quite wide, but we crossed anyway. I had to lift my boots up as the water was at least 1 metre deep. It was really wierd riding through the water. At times it felt like we weren't moving or that we were going sideways. When we left the river we walked along a gravel track and at this point my horse decided he wanted to roll so sat down! I quickly jumped off but it was a bit freaky. I had to keep in on the grass or in the water the rest of the way because he was getting skittish. We crossed and recrossed the river a couple of times which was fun and I went for a canter, but Court was really bouncy and I almost came off. The ride was for 2 hours and it was so nice going along and in the river which amazing scenery. Just when we reached the road to head back Court really began to play up, jumping around, going backwards etc and scared me a bit especially as we were on a road. So I changed horse with one of the guides and rode Sterling, a lovely white horse back. It was a really nice ride. Just by the stables in a pen outside were 2 lambs and the cutest brown baby goat that was only about 5 days old. It was so cute. Got back to the hostel about 6.30pm and had a really long shower which was bliss. Actually cooked tonight - I did a spag bol, but with mash instead of spag. Then did boring things like clothes washing and watched telly.