Highlights of 2017

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Highlights of 2017

We are nearing the end of 2017 and what a wonderful year it has been!

There have been some amazing Fellowships and friendships made along the way.


Achievements this year on tour:

·       240,000 steps on Edoras

·       5 marriage proposals

·       51 people completed their second or third trip with us

·       12 honeymoons celebrated

·       72 hours of helicopter flights to Rivendell

·       240 pints consumed at the Green dragon

·       223 Kayakers took on the Pelorus river

·       36 rousing King Theoden battle speeches

·       960 arrows fired at Smaug in Laketown



We have also had many wonderful guest presentations from the likes of Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton), Mark Hadlow (Dori), John Callen (Oin) and Jed Brophy (Nori).


2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year with special behind the scenes actives with Weta Workshop and new experiences coming.


All direct bookings through our website will now receive a welcome package worth NZ$100 which includes: a free airport transfer to the tour hotel.


So join us in 2018 for an adventure of a life time!






What is it like to be part of a fellowship?

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What is it like to be part of a fellowship?

Fellowships are special, each one is unique.

As fans of the books and movies ourselves, we strive to create a fun atmosphere for groups to flourish in. We get people from all walks of life and all parts of the world on our Tours. It’s not only a great way to immerse yourself in everything LOTR‘s but also a great way to make life long connections. But don’t just take our word for it, here are some comments from our previous passengers:


Claire, April 2015

"Its so difficult to narrow it down to a few but here are some of my favourite memories: At Hobbiton re-enacting Bilbo's running scene, standing in front of Bag End and having a pint in the Green Dragon – I still can't believe this happened! Climbing 'Edoras' and admiring the view from the top, while we play LOTR tunes in the background - incredible! Endless posing with weapons and recreating various scenes from the films. Creating a fellowship of our own, that will last a lifetime!"


Leah 2005, 2013 and 2016

"Well after 3 Tours with you guys I have about a million fond memories and life changing experiences. The first time I arrived at the remade Hobbiton movie set when that music came on in the bus... oh my gosh it was surreal. I was so glad that I had dressed as a hobbit and it was lovely to be nicknamed 'Rosie' by the rest of the group.

Back after the Return of the King when I first toured North Island with you I have very fond memories of madly running around in the Powderhorn Chateau getting photos in Peter Jackson, Orlando, Sam and Frodo's rooms. I am still in touch with the people from that tour. You really do nurture lifelong friendships with the best people. 

On the Sketching Tour, apart from benefitting from the awesome tuition and company of Daniel Reeve and learning to write like Hobbit artists, I loved getting the chance to recreate the scene where Sam follows Frodo into the water at Mavora Lakes. I can't wait to plan my next trip. Book me in on the museum opening Tour!"


Alysa, May 2017

"I almost travelled through New Zealand with a different tour company. That would have been a huge mistake. What really made this trip incredibly was the amazing group of people that I got to experience it with. I was a little nervous going in as a single and as an introvert that I would have trouble experiencing everything to the full. I didn't know how I would feel being asked to act out scenes from the movies or sing on a table, but I found that from our first experience together in Hobbiton I felt like I was traveling with a bunch of friends. Meeting fellow nerds and going on this journey together was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I wouldn't trade that for anything."


Rachel, September 2016

"The fondest memory for me was meeting such excellent and admirable hobbits from all over the world, who had the same passion and love for the world of Lord of the Rings as I did. Before this trip, I would often hide my passion (and extreme wealth of knowledge) because all of my friends would laugh at me or call me a nerd. But then I came on this trip, and I felt so accepted and at home with these strangers from all around the world, who I can now call lifelong friends. It was in the little moments with these newfound friends that I have the fondest memories and I shall cherish them forever. Thanks to Red Carpet Tours, I finally found my people!"


Lori and Dave, 2012 and 2014

"There were so many highs on the trip! From Mordor and Mt. Doom!! The Powderhorn and staying in Orlando Bloom’s room. Gollum’s Pool, Wellywood, Lothlorien, WETA, Daniel Reeves, and the Middle Earth Market Place!  The costume party of grand magnificence. Helicopter ride to Dimrill Dale, climbing Edoras, Pelennor Fields, Mavora Lakes and Poolburn….  And so much more…

But the highlight from both tours is the lifelong friendships that we have formed with the Red Carpet Tours fellowship. The friendships are truly lifelong friendships.  We keep in touch on Facebook or on Email.  We keep in touch with some of our fellowship on a regular basis. 

Our friendships are lifelong! We will be back again…"

Join us on a Tour and experience the unforgettable journey for yourself...

Spring time in Middle Earth

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We are getting ready for Spring time in Middle Earth!


As we see out the final months of winter, we are looking forward to welcoming in Spring time down here in New Zealand.

It’s the time of year to see baby lambs taking their first steps and melting snow revealing breath-taking views of mountains beneath.

hairy feet waitomo   pet sheep polly lamb

What places are best to see in Spring?

The Hobbiton Movie Set is especially magical this time of year with the flowers in bloom creating colourful 360-degree views of the Shire. The vineyards are in their prime and the waterfalls are flowing. Its also the best time of year to visit the spectacular Milford Sound and take in all of its impressive scenery. 

Its a special time to be in Middle-Earth. Gone are the night frosts and icy dew covering the fields. Instead open skies with an array of stars fill the night air and flowers blossom over the hills.

hairy feet waitomo

new zealand

new zealand

Book a Spring tour with us this September and enjoy amazing LOTR/Hobbit locations and extra special guests!

For more information go to our LOTR Tours tab and for bookings head to
this link:]

new zealand

native wood pigeon kereruhairy feet waitomo

Photo sources: (Hobbit Trollshaw location we visit each month)

Dressing up in Middle-Earth

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Dressing up in Middle-Earth 


Whether it is a Red Carpet Tours Premier Party or just re-enacting your
favourite scene at one of the many locations we visit- it is always fun to embrace
your creative side and dress the part!


At the locations we visit:

Many of our fellowships bring with them hand-made costumes to really feel like a part of the scene. These costumes create great opportunities for photos, memories and amusement of course! Below are some of our dedicated fans in their LOTR attire:


Lori - Lord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumes

Lord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumes


At the parties we hold:

At our Hobbit Premier party in Wellington we had an amazing and impressive selection of costumes and characters present! Sir Richard Taylor himself attended and chose the top three costumes of the night and awarded the lucky three with Weta Workshop merchandise for their creative efforts and dedication. Below are just some of the amazing outfits our fans created and wore to our party:


Lord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumesLord of the rings costumes


Dressing up is not always for everyone, but it sure is a lot of fun just to admire
others costumes and be amongst such like-minded people!




5 Minutes with Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton)

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sarah mcleod or rosie cotton red carpet tours

Sarah, to the fans, your character was a very special person. How did you view Rosie and what she represented to Sam and the story?

I still think Rosie is just lovely. The love that Sam has for her all the way through his struggles is so sweet and sad when he doesn’t know if he’s going to ever get back to her.

What did you most enjoy about your role in Lord of the Rings?

There was a really great sense of family and fun on set. The boys joking around. The happiness of Hobbiton. The beautiful costumes. The wonderful sets with real flowers and carrots growing in the gardens.

What was it like working with the hobbits and your Samwise?

sarah mcleod (rosie cotton) Lord of the rings LOTR tours

They were all so friendly and funny. The great thing about working with Sean was that he had his family with him so on a few occasions we all hung out together. I really do think that that is part of what makes the last scene in the final movie so poignant. He was there with his daughter playing Elanor and I was there with my daughter playing baby Frodo.

How did this film role affect your life post Rings?

I still get fan mail! It will always be a proud memory to have been involved in such an iconic movie trilogy. And not just because the films are so well known but also because it was just such a lovely experience working on them. It surprises me that people still recognise me from the films – having had four children and growing my own apples and feijoas must be keeping me well connected to my Rosie Cotton character. ;)

What's the most-asked question you get from fans?

Can I sign their photo. ;) I also get asked lots of questions about the intricacies of the embroidery on my costumes. Oh, and also whether it was hard to dance in Hobbit feet.

What's your favourite must-see place in New Zealand?

We are so lucky to live here! So many beautiful places to see. Given that it’s autumn, Arrowtown would be a must. But personally my connection is with the beaches – especially Whangamata where I grew up and the magical Whatipu which I love.

Sarah Mcleod Lord of the rings

5 Minutes with Mark Hadlow (Dori)

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A huge thank you to Dori for being part of the Red Carpet Tours family! He shared a few moments and memories with us.

Biggest Challenge

How was Dori going to take shape. Prosthetics, makeup, costume and weapons essentially were going to determine his look, but maintaining the character for nearly two years in production was going to be a major part of the challenge. I think what helped was the brothers back-story. Dori, Nori and Ori were a pretty close family! Sure, there were squabbles and dislikes but ultimately they had each other's backs. Blood is thicker than water.

Best Locations

It's so hard to choose one, because New Zealand is so amazing to travel anywhere. I think all of the locations were outstanding. Pelorus river was exciting, going down it in barrels and seeing the grandeur of Paradise valley in Queenstown. There was something special about every location. Just like the movies - we were on an adventure, and the journey within the journey was traveling to the locations.

Favourite Scene?

There were a number of them but probably the best was the barrels in the water race! A big water ride was built to shoot the close-up scenes in Upper Hutt in Wellington. It was like a Disney ride and we felt like kids in an amusement park. Two huge Diesel engines propelled water round this huge oval water channel the size of a football field and we got in barrels and were propelled around it we just had fun. It was brilliant, crazy and amazing. 

What's Next?

I'm trying to get a film a mate has written up and running, called SWANSONG. It's a cop serial-killer movie, and the script is a page-turner. Stef Harris is the writer/director, I'm playing a cop and Jed Brophy is playing the serial killer. It's compelling. We are working pretty hard at getting some finance together but the process is pretty slow. Takes forever to bankroll but we believe firmly in the project and will keep sourcing interest. I have a play later in the year for ATC and I've been cast in a film happening mid-year. My Navy work will pick up again with a new project, I hope, and my one-man-show MAMIL (Middle aged Man in Lycra) hopefully may get another couple of seasons. All in all there's a bit on the horizon!

Working with Red Carpet Tours

I am really enjoying meeting the fans on the Red Carpet Tours. I enjoy reliving the stories and the pictures as much as they do! Re-telling the excitement of days on set and the experience keeps it fresh in my ageing mind. I look forward to meeting more!

Favourite Lines

Probably the ones addressed to The Wizard himself, but there were a few in all the films so all of them I guess. Family squabbles with the brothers were good ones.

Lines Spoken to Ori:

  • "Just try it you might like it"
  • "Would you like a cup of camomile tea Mr Gandalf?"
  • "It's got a fruity bouquet"
  • "Mr Gandalf can't you do something about this deluge?"

Daniel Reeve Reflections - Artists Sketching and Photography Tour 2016

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What was your favourite part of the Artists Tour?

Impossible question! I always love going to Hobbiton, and I’d never had the evening banquet there before, so that was really nice. Trollshaws was also a new experience – loved it! Meeting Ian Hayman – what a character! All the locations are fantastic. I also loved walking on the Routeburn Track on Day 14. But perhaps the favourite part was seeing the artists flourish as they learned new skills and techniques, and so many people trying calligraphy and loving it. And the whole group bonding – it really is a fellowship by the time the tour is done.

Oh, and the earthquake was pretty impressive too!

How many years have you been working with Red Carpet Tours and how did you get involved?

I did my first presentations with Red Carpet Tours in 2004, after a chance meeting at an LOTR-related event. I’ve done the presentations ever since, apart from 2-3 years off while making The Hobbit. It has been a fascinating journey, and every group is unique – but invariably wonderful.

What's next for you in your incredible art world?

I’ve been asked to do a solo exhibition at the Kapiti Gallery this February-March, so I’m busy preparing for that. Oh, and I’ve just made new signage for Hobbiton – that’s a nice on-going relationship. There’s the possibility of working on Mortal Engines, but I won’t know that for a while - and if it happens, I won’t be able to tell you!

What is your top advice for fantasy artists and photographers?

Work on subjects for which you have a passion, as this will bring out your best. Think about composition. Use light for maximum advantage – it’s all about the light.

What is your favourite quote from Lotr or Hobbit trilogies?

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.


The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can.

Pursuing it with weary feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet.

And wither then? I cannot say.  


Not all those who wander are lost.

What's your best piece of advice for budding calligraphers?

Don’t get so good that you steal my job!

No, seriously, try ALL aspects of lettering – there are so many more facets to calligraphy than what I get time to demonstrate for Red Carpet folk. Do all the styles, use all the different tools, go really big and really small, invent alphabets, create a font – become multi-talented. Each part reinforces all the others.

And probably more than anything, SHOW your work, and learn from other people’s work.

Art from the tour


Artists Sketching and Photography Tour 2016

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Our 2017 Artists Sketching and Photography Tour was a great success, thank you to all of our friends who joined the fellowship, and Daniel Reeve for his immense talent and mentorship!

A Very Special Tour

This 2017 November tour was a chance for artists and photographers to be mentored by our good friend and artist Daniel Reeve - known for his trademark work on The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films. 

We were lucky to have daily photography tips, evening sketching and watercolour workshops, calligraphy workshops and watercolour demonstrations from Daniel! People could do as much or as little as they wanted to - the evening seasons were low key and hugely creative.

Most Memorable Moments

I loved watching all the creative and enthusiastic members of the group, thriving on all the new knowledge and skills they were learning. Many of them went home to practice and develop their newfound talents.

Favourite Activity

Everyone was really excited for the calligraphy lessons, getting to write in Elvish and develop their own styles!

Most Improved

Guest most improved under Daniel's mentorship: Lesley Humphries, she impressed even Daniel with her natural calligraphy skills. She thrilled and surprised herself!

Tour Images



Winter in New Zealand

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Beautiful pristine lakes, big blue skies and long white clouds envelope you ~ Aoteroa.New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand is an adventure worthy of the grandest fireside tale! You may see rainfall, with sparkling water falling over the sweeping landscapes, but a true adventure isn’t always sunshine. See frosty snow-capped peaks in our jewel of the South Island, and refreshingly crisp mornings in the endlessly green North Island. Our winter season usually has fewer tourists, so you can enjoy the uncrowded attractions and pathways more exclusively. 

A Red Carpet Winter Tour

You can look forward to cool crisp mornings and beautiful clean air, with hearty food fit for any Hobbit.

The Hobbit holes look warmly inviting and occasionally there may be a slight frost on the Party Field. The crackling open fire in the Green Dragon will warm you up, along with a pint made especially for Hobbiton by the Good George brewery and a lovely buffet lunch with the fellowship.

Pickles, Hobbiton's resident cat LOTR

Pickles, Hobbiton's resident cat.

Mountains Gandalf - LOTR

"Mountains Gandalf, I want to see mountains again."

We climb (short)  mountains, take helicopter tours over mountains and fly our flag from mountains. Have comfortable footwear, dress in layers, including a warm coat, hat and gloves.

Why not treat yourself to  warm merino wool hat and gloves while you're in New Zealand ? We grow quality wool in the Shire!


Mount Cook New Zealand

Beautiful pristine lakes, big blue skies and long white clouds envelop you ~ Aotearoa.

Every season in Middle Earth is special in its own unique way. Come and join us this winter for an adventure you will never forget.

Lord of The Rings Tour

Packing List

LAYERS! New Zealand is famous for “four seasons in one day” and our North and South Islands have different climates. Packing smart layers will help you stay comfortable (and dry) all day during your tours.

  • Long pants
  • Closed comfortable walking shoes
  • Breathable base layers – the weather can turn hot and sunny in moments
  • Insulating mid-layer (fleece, sweater, etc)
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket – this is essential
  • Sunscreen (yes, we have bright sunny days in winter!)
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses

5 Reasons to Visit Middle-earth

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One does not simply walk into Middle-earth. “Home is behind, the world ahead, and there are many paths to tread."  We take you to the iconic film locations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, New Zealand brings the magic alive. Immerse yourself in moments from the films, surrounded by spectacular scenery and the charming local culture. There are many reasons to visit Middle-earth - these are just a few!


Beware the trolls...unless you have a trusty Fellowship with you! Piopio became home to the location for Staddle Farm and Trollshaw Forest. The farmland is backed by the dramatic sheer cliffs of the Mangaotaki Rocks, looking above the valley, carved into fantastic formations over millions of years of weathering.

A forest walk takes you into the Trollshaw Forest where Radagast first meets up with the fellowship. It's easy to imagine you can hear the Wargs howl in the distance, readying for an attack. Discover the place where Bilbo meets his famed blade Sting! Apart from the fascination with it being the film's location, you'll appreciate the beauty and wildness of the site itself. The forest is primaeval with looming tree ferns and strangely shaped limestone boulders.


Step inside the Shire with a visit to peaceful Hobbiton, the peaceful region of Middle-earth where Bilbo Baggins lived and the quest of the ring began. Set amid rolling emerald-green hills dotted with white sheep, this location transports you completely into the world of the two film trilogies. Wander the paths past the Hobbit dwellings, taking in the culture and reliving heartwarming moments. Stop at the Green Dragon Inn for a refreshing drink and second-breakfast, elevensies or afternoon tea.

This can't-miss location is a truly magical experience for every Fellowship visiting Middle-earth.


Stunning Lake Pukaki was chosen as the location for Laketown in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Glacial lakes feed into Lake Pukaki giving the water its vibrant blue colour. The lake is also a favourite walking and cycling spot, while the snowcapped Mt Cook overlooking the lake is busy with skiers during the winter months.

A nearby farm at Lake Tekapo was used in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to portray epic scenic shots, the 'Warg Chase' and approach to Rivendell. The property was also used for the forest slopes of Misty Mountains.


Twizel lies in the heart of the McKenzie Basin, a vast alpine basin used extensively for scenes involving the Rohan plains. Twizel is also a wonderful place to spend some time studying the stars with some of the darkest skies you can find. You'll be amazed by the thousands of stars that can be seen in this Southern Hemisphere sky thanks to the clear air and lack of light pollution in this region.  The epic Battle of the Pelennor Fields was filmed in this area.

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields was a battle for the city of Minas Tirith, and ultimately for Gondor, during the War of the Ring. It was the greatest battle of the War of the Ring, and indeed the largest of the entire Third Age. Major casualties resulted from this battle - including the deaths of King Théoden and the Witch-king of Angma by the blade of the brave Shieldmaiden of Rohan, Eowyn.

Weta Workshop

Wellington is in many ways the heart of the movie fan's experience, being the home to the Weta Workshop, Weta Cave, Weta Digital, Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post Production. Named after a native New Zealand species of ancient insect and a Sir Peter Jackson anagram. Weta has been responsible for the remarkable digital and special effects, costuming and weaponry that have helped bring The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit to life.

The Weta group is made up of a huge number of incredibly talented artists who are responsible for all the Special effects, Motion Capture, costuming and weaponry, its shop front, the Weta Cave and Weta Digital where the digital visual effects wizards are based, the Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post Production. During the production of The Lord of the Rings, the artists turned out thousands of items including 1200 suits of armour and 10,000 arrows among many others. When traveling with Red Carpet Tours, you'll get a taste of these props and the people who made them and their stories on our action-packed Weta Day.


Gandalf:  "You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back"

Bilbo:  "You can promise that I’ll come back?”

Gandalf:  "No. And if you do, you will not be the same"  

J.R.R Tolkien Quotes





Do you know where was Lord Of The Rings filmed?