Sam and Stu's Kiwi Travels
Stu and Sam's Lord of the Rings Tour - yey!! We had to quickly pop into town to start with to get a couple of bits from the Supermarket and to check out the second hand furniture store where we found a tv stand (for the bargain price of 20 dollars!!!!), but we were on the road by 11:30. Our first stop was Kawarau River. We headed to the Kawarau bridge bungy where Stu did his bungy jump all those years ago ( :0) ) and watched a few more crazy people jump off the bridge with only a piece of elastic attached to their feet (no...Stu still hasn't convinced me to do one and as ths is one of the smallest jumps in New Zealand I don't fancy his chances!!). Then we headed a bit further down the river to where they filmed the scene with the Pillars of the Kings, where the Fellowship paddle downstream from Lothlorien to Amon Hen. We found a little side road that wound up through the mountains and gave us a perfect view of the river. Although the pillars were computer generated, with the help of our guide book we managed to find the area where the scenes were filmed...as the book says, the area is instantly recognisable. We stopped to take some pictures and then headed to our next stop - Arrowtown. Arrowtown is an old gold mineing town about 20 minutes outside Queenstown. This is where they filmed The Ford of Bruinen (or part of it at least!). Our guide book told us to park behind the main street and walk down the adjacent river bank of the Arrow River for about 200m. This would apparently place us in the direction the Nazgul charged as Arwen ferried Frodo across the river on her beautiful white horse. This spot was slightly harder to find (especially as the river is reduced to a trickle in the winter!) but we found it in the end and we reckon we also found the path the Nazgul took down to the river!! Unfortunately, as the scene showing the flooding of the river with Arwen on one side and the Nazgul on the other was filmed in the Shotover River in Skippers Canyon about an hour away, and the road to Skippers canyon is closed to hire cars as it is deemed too tretcherous, I don't think we'll get to see that location! Anyway, we stopped in Arrowtown's little bakery for a really scrummy pie and then headed off again, this time to Deer Park Heights. Deer Park Heights is a Wildlife Park that sits on a hill overlooking Queenstown. We had to pay $20 to enter but the views alone were well worth the entrance fee. Once we drove through the main gates we were greeted by Deers, Shetland ponies, Sheep, Alpacas, Bison and Llamas!! They were definately used to seeing cars and weren't going to budge from the road until they were ready (unless we were offering food of course...which on this occasion we weren't!!)! Several Lord of the Rings Scenes were filmed here. First we headed up to the East Summit Lookout to take in the views, then we continued our tour with Location Number 1 - the spot where Gimli fell from his runaway horse. We took a picture (although there wasn't really too much to see!!) and some video to show you all, and then headed off to find our next location. Location number 2 was pretty cool as it was part of a scene that both Stu and I remembered very clearly - the scene where Aragon gets dragged over a cliff and plunges into the river below in the battle against the Wargs. At location number 2 you can stand on the cliff that Aragon gets dragged over....although the truth is it isn't really much of a cliff...if you stand on the rock that Aragon falls from, three or four feet below the cliff is more grass, not the expected precipice or river that Aragon fell into! The Kawarau river (where we began the day, down by the Kawarau river bungee) was superimposed under the cliff and they filmed the scene where Aragon is rescued by Arwen and his horse on the banks of the Kawarau river. Location number 2 is also where the Wargs and the Riders of Rohan clashed, as a nice little tour guide pointed out to us! Stu did a quick re-enactment of Aragon falling over the cliff and we were off again! Our next location (location number 3) was where Legolas did his amazing jump onto his horse before the battle with the Wargs. Again, there wasn't really too much to see as ultimately it is just a empty field now, but we did a bit of filming and our own little re-enactment before moving on. Next we headed up to the West Summit lookout to take some pictures of the amazing view of Queenstown. Deer Park Heights is situated on a hill that sits between Queenstown and the Remarkables. From the West Summit Lookout you can look down upon the whole of Queenstown and the surrounding area (Fernhill, Frankton, etc) and there is an amazing view of Lake Wakatipu. One of the best views we've seen to date! Off to location number 4 - one of the most recognisable locations so far, the little lake that the Rohirrim Refugees are pictured walking round on a perfectly clear and pristine winter morning as they flee Edoras. We got a picture that looks exactly the same as the still from the film thats in the guide book! There was even the same amount of snow on Remarkables in the background so it must have been filmed at this time of year!! Our last location was the large rock wall that a Warg scout jumped off, killing Hama. Legolas comes to the resue and kills the Warg before returning to the Rohans to warn them of the impending danger. We had to walk past a group of 5 or 6 Llamas to get to the rock face, they didn't seem too happy to be sharing their field with us and watched our every move! We did a quick reconstruction and took a few more pictures before heading back to the car. On the way out we decided we'd best get a picture of some deer, since we were in deer park heights! We happened across a stubborn group of deer near the exit who refused to get out of the road, so we took a few pictures while we were waiting for them to move!! It was getting quite late now, nearly 5pm and it gets dark around 5:30 here so we were trying to decide whether it was worth trying to get to our next location before it got dark, or whether we should just call it a day. We decided we might as well give it a go since we had the car til tomorrow anyway and headed off towards Glenorchy to a place called Closeburn, which was Amon Hen in Lord of the Rings. We were told by the guide book that the actual location of Amon Hen was not accessible but if we stopped on the lakeshore of Closeburn Bay we would be able to see the area used for filming, which is set amongst the pine trees on the peninsula to the left of Closeburn Bay. We managed to find the location but it was getting dark and there wasn't too much to see so we decided not to film this one. We're hoping to go to Glenorchy at some point (it's about 45 minutes outside Queenstown on the same road) so we might try and get some photos then. We decided to carry on up the road to Twelve Mile Delta, which was Ithilien in the film, as it was only 2km further on. Again, we managed to find the location but you have to park your car in the camping ground and take one of a number of walks and mountain bike tracks to get you into Ithilien. It was dark by now so again, we'll have to try and come back when we go to Glenorchy. Time to head home, set up our TV on our nice new stand, and cook some dinner.