Author Archives: Julie

2019 Highlights

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Kia Ora Friends,

With Christmas and New Year's fast approaching, we wanted to finish off the year with a recap of some of our adventures from 2019! What a fantastic year it has been, we have loved getting to know each months Fellowships and what a talented bunch you all are. 



In April, our passenger Runar, from Iceland was the first person to get to the top of Edoras in a wheelchair! Along with his supportive family, he made it all the way to the top to fly the Rohan flag! This was such an achievement for Runar and an inspiration to us all.



In July this year we worked with Weta Workshop artists to create our very own Hobbit doors to take home.




This September we had our first special International Hobbits celebration Tour, and first tour in reverse! Our Fellowship made costumes for our special Weta Workshop Costume competition and Hobbiton International Hobbits celebration event on Bilbo's birthday in Hobbiton!



In December we had another 12 day reverse tour where we met with Shane Rangi, stuntman and actor for both trilogies! He is most known for his work as the Witch King, several Uruk-hai and a Harad leader.


Shane rangewitch king

Here is some of the feedback we have received from our Fellowships this year:

"Thank you everyone for the greatest trip of my life! You are all as fantastic as New Zealand is beautiful! Novaer and Kia Ora Fellowship! (Or until we meet again)"

"I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Julie for organizing this amazing adventure for us! Seeing the magical filming locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit being brought to life in this wonderful country was breathtaking! Your knowledge, expertise and love of the series made this experience one I’ll never forget! Also to everyone who came on this journey, this isn’t goodbye, as I’m sure we’ll meet again one day! ✨❤️"

"I was really looking forward to this trip, but I was apprehensive about coming all by myself. I worried that my inner hermit would take over and it would be a lonely two weeks. I could not have been more wrong.  All of you awesome people welcomed me into your lives and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for making the trip so memorable."

"This was my ultimate dream trip and I'm sure some of you know how much effort planning and executing this whole thing actually was. This trip and tour lived up to and surpassed my hopes and dreams and doing this with awesome people like you was incredible. So big thanks to everyone and Julie. You made this trip better and I literally couldn't have done this without you (Edoras). Kind Regards from Iceland and my door is marked ;)"

Now it’s time to plan your adventure to Middle earth!

Contact us now and to those Fellowships planning a reunion Tour we have lots of great things in store for 2020 and 2021! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all the Team at Red Carpet Tours!
Raewyn, Vic, Melissa, Sasha and Julie (aka Lady Gandalf)

Winter Tour Specials

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We are looking forward to our Winter Tours here in Middle-earth, New Zealand.

This is the perfect time of year to go on an adventure and add some wonderful snow skiing at the end of your Tour, in stunning Queenstown.

This June we get to enjoy a special Movie Guest Presentation by the beloved Rosie Cotton (actress Sarah Macleod). We will meet with Sarah, to hear her behind the scenes stories, take photographs and get signed autographs. 


We have an added optional activity for our winter Tours to visit the world famous Waitomo Glow-worm Caves. Take the world-renowned boat ride through the glow worm grotto, marvel at thousands of magical glow-worms and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history. 

On our winter Tours we will also have a Movie Guest Presentation and Swordplay Workshop with actor Jed Brophy, who played Nori in the Hobbit and several Orcs and Rohirrim as well as a Black Rider in the LOTR. 

As a fellowship we will enjoy a special festive lunch at the beautifully restored Roxy Theatre, experience a behind the scenes Weta Workshop Tour with special guest presentations and discounts at the Weta Cave for Red Carpet Tours passengers only.


During June we will still be able to climb the magnificent Edoras! This is a stunning movie location with white capped mountains surrounding the most idyllic scenery. We journey to the top with our experienced Guides and fly the Rohan flag!

All Tours include the Day Tour of Hobbiton and festive feast lunch in the Green Dragon Marquee. This experience is a huge highlight of the tours as you will get to experience Hobbiton in a whole new way. 

For the first time ever we are also including an optional Blacksmithing workshop to learn the art of blade making. Learn from a real Blacksmith and create your own Middle-earth souvenir.  

Don’t miss out on your Winter adventure!

Book now!

Special 12 Day Tours of Middle-earth

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Kia Ora Friends,

We have 2 new and exciting 12 Day Lord of the Rings Tours on offer for 2019!


1.     September International Hobbits Day Celebration Tour

Our Tour this September will be an International Hobbit Day Celebration Tour and the first-ever reverse Lord of the Rings Tour! The Tour will begin in the beautiful Queenstown and finish in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. Included in this Tour will be the famous International Hobbit Day Celebration event in Hobbiton! Including a dusk Tour of the Hobbiton movie set, Green Dragon market place food, entertainment and lamp light Tour of the party field at night. There will be prizes for best-dressed costumes so start sewing now! Our Tour also offers new optional activities in Rotorua and a farewell dinner with special movie guest in Auckland. This Tour has limited numbers and will sell out fast so get in quick!

Tour highlights:

  • International Hobbits day celebration in Hobbiton - not to be missed!

  • Costume competition and prizes

  • Special Guest Rosie Cotton will join us for our farewell dinner!

  • Fly from Christchurch to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital

  • Special themed lunch in the beautiful Roxy theatre

  • Weta Workshop behind the scenes extended tour and activities

  • Explore Trollshaw Forest and climb Mordor!

  • Visit 7 big Lord of the Rings locations at Mavora Lakes

  • Charge across Pelennor fields like King Theoden 

  • Climb Edoras and fly the Rohan Flag

  • Meet the Caligrapher and Mapmaker from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

  • Visit Gollums Fishing Pool and the Secret Entrance to Erebor 

  • Enjoy unlimited WiFi onboard the coach as we travel 

  • Breath-taking scenery and instantly recognisable movie sites


Hobbiton ToursLord of the rings toursMiddle-Earth Tours

Book your place here as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!


2.     December LOTR Christmas Celebration Tour 

Or join us for a special Hobbit Christmas Tour! Begin your Middle-earth journey with us by enjoying a special Banquet Dinner inside the Green Dragon Pub and evening Tour of Hobbiton! Along the way, you will meet those involved in the making of the movies, such as artists from Weta Workshop and Daniel Reeve who was the LOTR and The Hobbit Calligrapher, Artist and Map Maker. Travel off the beaten track into the breath-taking landscapes and natural attractions New Zealand has to offer.

There will be many opportunities to experience unique New Zealand activities such as: flying over The Remarkables and Skippers Canyon, experience our native Maori culture, pan for gold, visit wineries, adventure through Rohan and climb the magnificent Edoras, skydive or raft down a white water river. All within a fellowship of like-minded travellers and led by our passionate LOTR guide.

Costumes are encouraged and always lots of fun. We will be having special Weta Workshop prizes for the best costumes as well!

In short, this Tour’s highlights are:

  • Explore Trollshaw Forest and climb Mordor!

  • Feast on a Banquet Dinner inside the Green Dragon Pub and explore Hobbiton!

  • Enjoy a special Christmas-themed lunch at the beautiful Roxy theatre 

  • Experience an awesome Weta Workshop behind the scenes extended tour with cocktails and a costume competition 

  • Meet the calligrapher and mapmaker from The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit

  • Meet and mingle with one of the Dwarves from The Hobbit!

  • Climb the magnificent Edoras!

  • Charge across the Pelennor Fields and explore Laketown!

  • Practice Gold-Panning in Arrowtown 

  • Visit 7 big Lord of the Rings locations at Mavora Lakes

  • Relax on a beautiful Lake Cruise in New Zealand’s tourist capital: Queenstown

  • Christmas Farewell Dinner

  • Plenty of time for extra optional activates in scenic Queenstown

  • Opportunities to buy special Lord of the Rings Jewellery and Cloaks along the way

  • Unlimited WiFi onboard the coach as we travel 

  • Breath-taking scenery and instantly recognisable movie sites 

Lord of the ringsTours of Middle-EarthLOTR AdventureHobbiton

Book your place here to avoid disappointment!


Every month will have a special feature to it, whether it’s workshops with Weta, Daniel Reeve (Calligrapher and Cartographer for all 6 films) or special movie guests.

June will have a mid-winter Christmas theme and special workshop with Weta!

Groups that are putting together their past Fellowship’s for a Reunion Tour, please message me on Facebook or email me at [email protected] so we can personalize your group return Tour itinerary and special experiences.

For more information, contact us today. Lots to look forward to, what an awesome year ahead!


Red Carpet Tours




Introducing Kirk Maxwell - Aragorn’s Stunt Double!

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Kirk Maxwell- Aragorn’s Stunt Double!

Kia Ora Friends,

This week I had the opportunity to meet with Aragorn’s Stunt Double Kirk Maxwell!

He graciously gave me an hour and a half of his time. I asked as many questions as I could, regarding his time and work on The Lord of the Rings movie Trilogies.

Here are some snippets of our meeting. For those of you keen to meet Kirk in person and hear his amazing stories, book our August or September 2018 Lord of the Ring Tours where he will be a special guest.

Aragorn's Stunt DoubleAragorn's Stunt Double

Q & A session:

What roles did you play?

“Aragorn, Rohirrim, Gondorian, Orcs and Uruk Hai” 

What was your main role?

“I started out as one of the stunt performers then got chosen to be the Aragorn's stunt double, then I became the Assitant Sword Master to Bob Anderson. Then for the pick ups after principal photography was completed I came back as the NZ  Stunt Coordinator and choreographed the Stunt sequences and all the fight scenes and was Stunt Double for Aragorn.”

“After we had run through each scene a couple of times Viggo would then step in as Aragorn and shoot the scene. Viggo was a very quick study and famous for doing one take. The director would always want another take though for safety.”

How dangerous were they? 

“It was my job to put together the fight scenes, isolate the hazards and find ways of delivering the scene with minimal calculated risks. I was aware and concerned with the safety of the Stunt team and the actors that would follow in our footsteps. The environment of each location was very challenging.”

Do you have a favourite location or stunt?

“I enjoyed all of the fight scenes. I have a martial arts background and enjoyed the physicality of the challenge. Doing fight scenes is like performing a very aggressive dance and when the timing clicks it’s very energizing and rewarding. Bob Anderson taught me that every fight scene is like a conversation between two swords”

What was it like working with Viggo? 

“It was great, I learned so much. Viggo was a very physical person, had no fear and totally absorbed his character. He threw himself into everything 110%. He got on well with the Stunt team and was one of us. He also did many acts of random kindness that his fellow crew appreciated.”

What was sword mastery like and working with Bob Anderson? 

“Yes Bob was a very good drill Sargent. He was a legend… he was a PT instructor for in the British Army, an ex Olympic Fencing coach and he started his career as a stunt double for Errol Flynn back in the day. His credit list was amazing…Bond, ZORRO, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean etc..

 After he left the project I took over Bobs duties of fight choreography and training our actors”

Fan questions:


My LEGIT question would be more like "what was the best part of working on LOTR" or "What advice would you give someone who wants to get into stunt work?”

“The best part is the people, we were a family. I recommend you build a base: skills, body work, fighting, know your rigging and be responsible for your own safety plan and calculate risks.”

I would love to know which stunt from the LOTR he is most proud of. ‘Stunties’ don't often get the spotlight, much respect to him!

“Everything! Especially the creative expression of choreographing the sword fighting sequences. I was very fortunate to be in the position of Doubling for Viggo, it’s a part of my history I will always cherish.”

Did he feel left out when Liv demanded on kissing Viggo, and not the stunt double? I read that long ago ....

“No, not at all. I would have been too shy, that’s the actors job.”

Viggo as a prankster: Okay, then what was Viggo's best prank on him? ;)

“Viggo had a very dry sense of humour, sometimes you didn’t know if he was serious or just having a laugh. He was very laid back, he would walk around Cuba Street (Wellington) in bare feet. He would go fishing and ride his horse as much as possible. He was a very accomplished rider. He did however develop a thing of head butting the fellow Stunt team members at social gatherings….there were plenty of  sore heads. Enough said…”

I remember Bob Anderson mentioning on one of the DVD’s that Viggo was a natural with sword work. Did Viggo do all his sword stunts, or did the stunt double do some of them (which ones, if so?)  

“Viggo was a very quick study. The scene on Amon Hen where Aragorn takes on 30 Uruk hai, we had practiced that for 6 weeks. Viggo had two weeks and got it right in one take. It was a vicious and aggressive battle,  Viggo hit every member and bent 2 swords.”

What was the most difficult stunt that you did?

“Each had its own difficulty either by way of location, rigging, falling, fighting etc. Helms Deep would have been the most challenging though due to everything being shot at night in the was an exhausting time for everyone involved.”

Did he have any accidents and near misses like Viggo Mortensen did?

“Yes at Helms Deep I was on the ladder with another stunt performer who was the Arwen stunt double, and on one of the rehearsals the ladder went the wrong way and hit the ground hard. This is why the rehearsal process is vital to getting the shot right.”

Did he adopt any of Viggo's method acting ideas to stay in character at all times? To ensure continuity? 

“Yes, I would practice his movements and mannerisms, using them in his roles.”

What other movies has he been involved in since LOTR? 

“Pirates of the Caribbean, I was one of Jonny Depp’s Stunt Doubles and also Will Turner for Orlando plus being a Pirate and a stunt double for one of the digital characters.”


Screen actors guild awards:

  • Outstanding performance by Stunt Ensemble: Pirates of the Caribbean, At Worlds End, 2007
  • Best fight: Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest, 2006
  • King Kong, 2005


Don’t miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity, Book now and meet Aragorn's Stunt Double for yourself!


Calling all Cosplayers!

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Make your Lord of the Rings dream a reality with us, the only authorized LOTR multi-day tour company in New Zealand!

Join us on a Middle-earth adventure and even dress as your favourite characters. Enjoy role playing at your favourite movie locations with other like-minded people. 



Join us this winter (August – September) to experience fun, friendship, special guests and snow!

For our Australian friends come and experience a Middle-earth winter and even add some skiing to the end of your journey.  


For our fellow Hobbits out there, you will get to meet Rossie Cotton and for our Dwarves out there you will get to meet Dori!

  • Take some middle earth treasure home with you using your Red Carpet Tours Weta Cave discount!
  • Test your archery skills out at Laketown and see and touch some props that were used in the films! 
  • Meet with our cloak maker and buy a special cloak of your own if you wish.
  • Engage in diverse and unique extra optional activities especially picked out for our LOTR fans.

Make new friendships that will last a lifetime!


Our passionate guides are LOTR fans themselves! 

Direct bookings get a welcome pack with a Red Carpet Tours beanie and fellowship leaf broach.

Book your very own Middle-earth Tour!


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!