Nelson is the home of the 'Rings'. The region is renowned for its boutique foods, wine and the unique and creative arts and crafts produced by its skilled artisans. Many important articles were found here for the films, including the 50 copies of the One Ring, crafted by jeweller Jens Hansen. Nelson is also one of New Zealand's sunniest regions with picturesque countryside and three National Parks that extend from the mountains to the sea, forming some magnificent Middle-earth locations.
Between Blenheim and Nelson is the river that provides the enchanting setting for the dwarves' barrel ride in the Desolation of Smaug. The crystal waters of the river cut through a solid rock gorge surrounded by layers of green forest. To the west of Nelson the scenes from Chetwood Forest were filmed at the top of Takaka Hill. It was through this woodland that Aragorn led the hobbits as they fled Bree to escape the Black Riders. Part of a range of hills separating Golden Bay from Nelson, Takaka Hill is made of marble, riddled with limestone caves and sinkholes, dotted with weirdly weathered rock outcrops and pockets of beech forest.
Deep in Kahurangi National Park is the location of upper Dimrill Dale on the glacier-scoured Mt Owen. At 1875m it's the highest mountain in Kahurangi National Park and with a giant marble cap, pitted and fractured, it's a striking sight. Also in Kahurangi are the strange rock formations of Mt Olympus that portrayed an area of rugged country south of Rivendell. The group are forced to hide among these spectacular, ancient granite spires away from Saruman's spying black crows. These summits are among New Zealand's most remote and dramatic landscapes and can be challenging to access on foot but are well worth seeing.
Experience Middle-earth for yourself. View our Lord of the Rings Tours.