Author Archives: Julie

Why Our Winter Months Are So Amazing

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Kia Ora Friends,

Join us on a Tour between June-September and experience a beautiful New Zealand winter.

All winter tours through June-September now include:

  • Special Weta workshop tours

  • Exclusive Weta Cave discounts

  • Archery at Lake-town

  • Interactive workshops with our special movie guests


All direct bookings will receive a Red Carpet Tours beanie and Leaf Broach.

All returning passengers will receive a Tour discount. 


This winter, begin your Middle-earth adventure by meeting our beloved Rosie Cotton, actress Sarah McLeod. Sarah will have special stories and photos to share with us. 

This is wonderful preparation for our visit to Hobbiton the next day. Enjoy winter in the Shire with a guided tour and festive feast lunch in the Green Dragon Marquee. 



Actors Jed Brophy (who plays Nori from The Hobbit and Snaga and Sharku from LOTR) and Mark Hadlow (who plays Dori from The Hobbit) will be presenting for us during our winter Tours. You will love their stories, photos and great humour. Its always a very special day!


Daniel Reeve the Calligrapher and Cartographer will inspire and amaze you with his creative works from both movie trilogies. He will create beautiful custom souvenirs just for you.

This is your chance to have a LOTR adventure in a New Zealand winter wonderland where scenery, locations, activities and fun await.

Book your adventure today!


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