South Island

About Christchurch

Christchurch is a vibrant city, emerging from the earthquakes in new, inspiring and exciting ways. There is plenty to see and do and locals are keen to welcome visitors and show them around. This southern city is also the gateway to the vast open Canterbury landscapes and a great base from which to approach Edoras and Lake-town. On a fine day there are sweeping views across the flat Canterbury Plains to a chain of hauntingly beautiful mountains, the Southern Alps.

The mighty Alps regularly featured as Tolkein's Misty Mountains and the backdrop for mountain fortresses and mighty Middle-earth battle scenes. Edoras, the capital of the Rohan people was built on a steeply sided rocky hillock overlooking the braided river and tussocks of the Rangitata River Valley. Located on a typical South Island high country station ringed by snowcapped mountains, Edoras is a powerful location.

Further south in the McKenzie Country is the stunning Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, this area was chosen for Lake-town in The Desolation of Smaug. Tolkien's Lake-town was a small settlement of men built on wooden pillars sunk into the lake bed. Bilbo and the Dwarves travelled through there as they headed for Lonely Mountain. While the town of Lake-town was filmed in the studio, the movie location is instantly recognisable, crossing the windswept basin against the sharp alpine backdrop and stunning hues of the lake itself. The glacial waters are a rare turquoise blue and the area is extremely popular with hikers, cyclists, skiers, fishermen and photographers.

Check out the other The Lord of the Rings film locations:

Matamata | Rotorua | Piopio | Tongariro | Wellington | Nelson | Twizel | Cromwell | Queenstown

Experience Middle-earth for yourself. View our The Lord of the Rings Tours.

Christchurch map