Discover “Middle-Earth” – New Zealand

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.

IT is known as the “home of Middle-Earth”, it is the youngest country on earth, it is New Zealand.

With the highly anticipated release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in December, New Zealand will again burst onto the world’s stage as Middle-Earth – some 11 years since JRR Tolkien’s mythical world was first recreated there in the multi-award winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.

This just-released promotional video from New Zealand Tourism serves to remind the world of the scenery captured in the original three movies prior to the first movie in the new trilogy being released later this year.

Booked.net‘s Jared Morgan looks further at the Middle-Earth phenomenon in his native New Zealand.

It is unknown if when JRR Tolkien created the world at the centre of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ringshe was aware that there was a place that, in reality, seems to spill from the pages of his books.

That was vividly illustrated in 2001 when the first Lord of the Rings movie was released – after its director and native New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson chose his homeland as the location for the filming of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Hobbit holes in Matamata, New Zealand. Photo: Hobbiton Tours.

The result?

New Zealand’s stunning scenery was showcased to the world.

The filmmakers scoured New Zealand eventually settling on more than 150 locations across the country to film the trilogy.

The success of the movies had a huge impact on tourism and film-making in New Zealand.

And companies that specialized in Lord of the Rings tours look set to reap the rewards again as Middle-Earth is again recreated.

For the original films, the North Island was the base for the scenes that both opened and closed the movies. Matamata’s rolling countryside, reminiscent of old England, became Hobbiton, the rugged primeval landscape of the volcanic region of Ruapehu became Mount Doom, where Sauron first forged the ring and where Frodo completed his quest to destroy it.

In the vastly different landscape of the South Island – Queenstown, one of the world’s great adventure capitals, became the set for numerous scenes in the films including the Pillars of Argonath and the Eregion Hills.

Matamata will again double for Hobbiton in the new trilogy and prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

Set 60 years before the events chronicled in the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit tells a very different tale, however one thing is for certain New Zealand’s diverse landscapes will again enchant the world.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will make its’ world premiere in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington on November 28, 2012 before its general release on December 14, 2012, the second and third instalments will be released in December, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

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