Monday 8 -Today was my full day Lord of the Rings tour. Left Wanaka at 9am and headed towards Queenstown and Deer Park Heights. I must apologise now for the hundreds of photos I've taken and therefore have posted on this site. But I was having fun! Deer Park Heights was mainly used to film the battle scenes in The Two Towers between the Rohan riders (and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli) and the Orcs and Warg. On the way into the park we stopped to feed donkeys, pigs and miniature horses. Then we drove up to the summit where there was a Korean prison. This was a movie set from the Disney film The Rescue. Because it is now in such bad repair it is a condition that all movie sets be dismantled straight after filming - bummer. There were so many locations up there - firstly was where Minas Tirith was (it wasn't actually there but the location shot had it superimposed onto it). Then was the publicity shot for Gandalf, then a bush where Sam, Frodo and Gollum hid under from the flying Nazgul in The Two Towers. Then we went to my favourite location - I had a screen saver of this on my computer for ages before I changed it to Thor (SG1). It was the scene showing the exodus from Edoras of the Rohan refugees. While we were there the tour guide, John, got out some things for us to play with. These included swords - Legolas' two fighting knives, Aragorn's hunting knife and Sting (Frodo's sword). We also got to wear what we were assured was an original elven cloak that was used in the filming and belonged to Sam. So I put on the cloak, grabbed Legolas's knives and posed for a photo. It was fun watching everyone try on the cloak and pretend sword fight (well I thought it was fun and not at all sad or geeky). John had a couple of photos from the film so you could see that you were in the correct location. Saw where Eowyn led the women and children to Helms Deep, and where Legolas ran down a hill. Also where he stood on a rock and spotted the warg. So I stood on the same rock to have my photo taken. It was a bit wierd because in the film the shot is flipped ie the rock in reality faces in the other direction. Also stood in the spot where were Legolas flipped onto his horse. Then went to where Gimli fell of his horse and in pretty much the same spot was where Aragorn sat on a rock and ate his nasty soup made by Eowyn (so yes I went and sat on the same rock and had my photo taken). Another location was where the main battle took place and where Aragorn was dragged over the cliff. He was supposed to fall into a river, but when I stood in the same place there was no river! That location was down the Kawarau river (we went there later in the day). That was pretty much it for Deer Park Heights, but on the way down there were massive bison just standing by the roadside. Then we went to Arrowtown. First we went to the Arrow river which was one of the locations of the Ford of Bruinen. This was where Arwen carrying Frodo challenges the Nazgul. John also had a replica of Arwen's sword so we all held that. Then it was lunchtime at a little cafe in Arrowtown, then on to the second location in Arrowtown - The Gladden Fields. This was where Isildur was ambushed just after failing to destroy the ring, and fell into the river and got shot and died. Then we went to the Kawarau river just outside of Queenstown. The location was right by the bungy place. This was where the giant statues of the kings were (the Argonath) and the fellowship paddled past them in theire elven boats in the first film. We had to view it from the cliff top as there was no access except by boat. It was a lovely location but quite scary as there were sheer cliffs. A little way down the river was Roaring Megs lookout, which was the location where Aragorn fell over the cliff into the river. We then had a bit of a drive to Tarras (which is near Wanaka). There is a wandering pine forrest here which was the location of The Great East Road and the flight to the ford (where Arwen rode carrying Frodo trying to escape the Nazgul who were also on horses). This was the end of the LOTR locations for the tour. We then headed to the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum. John got us out some more swords which included the broken Narsil, the reforged Narsil which Aragorn used and is really big and King Theodred's. We also had a look at a completed script and two daily production notes, one scene was The Gladden Fields, the other where Sam and Frodo saw Oliphants. The reason for going to the museum was to meet Ian Brodie who is the curator of the musuem. He also wrote the LOTR location guide and was an extra in the film. He signed my books and I had my photo taken with him. Then it was off to the final stop which was Puzzling World. I had already been there, but we only stopped for about 10 minutes, just long enough to go into the illusion room and pretend to be hobbits and giants. That was the end of the tour so I was taken back to my hostel. I had a really good day, but it was far too much money for what it was. That evening Clare and Sabrina were going to the cinema to see The Terminal, so I went along too. Had a very yummy piece of banana cake and some vanilla moro icecream. The film was good; very funny in parts. It finished around 11pm so I just went back to the hostel and crashed as I was knackered - it was a long but very good day.