NZ has a great tradition of movie making and The American Film Institute has called the New Zealand film industry “one of the wonders of the world … an unparalleled success story”
With Middle-earth right on my doorstep, recently I visited the land of the hobbits on a Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour with Hassle-Free Tours
I have to confess I have not read the books nor seen the movies but it seems these tours are becoming more and more popular even for people just like me.
Starting in Cathedral Square, (or ‘the square’ as we locals have always called it) soon after we leave, my guide for the day, points out the school attended by the teenage murderers depicted in Heavenly Creatures and another site used in that movie. One of Peter Jacksons great pictures, HeavenlyCreatures is also the one that Kate Winslet started her career in.
As we drove out of town we watched a DVD about ‘the quest for the ring’ which gave me background to the film and the day ahead. I also learnt Tolkien was born in South Africa (to English parents) and that, as well as having to create a road to get to ‘Edoras’ and the ‘rocky outcrop beside silver streams’ that Tolkien described in his books, Rex also tells us “the village took months to build, they were there filming for 3 weeks, then it was dismantled.”
We pass trout-filled lakes, through little country villages, over our Canterbury plains and over, or alongside glacial-formed braided rivers, past tussock covered hills the into the ‘secret valley’ – home of Mt. Sunday which was transformed into Edoras, capital city of the Rohan people for the Lord of the Rings .
Through private land and even though the ‘silver streams’ we zigzag through an unmarked track, and in four-wheel-drive, we head up the side of Mt. Sunday. From about half way, we continue on foot – an easy walk, with some of us carrying replica weapons of those used in the movies. The 360 degree view from the summit was extraordinary!
After mock battles and posing for photos we escape the wind that rushes down the valley by retreating to an old, sheltered, woolshed for a yummy lunch washed down with either bubbles or fruit juice, before heading back to Christchurch – a great tour.
NOTE: we also passed Flock Hill station where The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was filmed.