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Middle Earth in Ohakune

The Tongariro National Park with its unique volcanic landscape has been the filming location for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Hollywood blockbuster movies

In the autumn of 2000, Peter Jackson decided Tongariro National Park with its unique volcanic landscape would be a perfect backdrop for some of The Lord of the Rings most sinister locations.

Mordor which is the stronghold of the Dark Lord Sauron: a great plateau filled with barren rocky landscapes showcasing the moody active volcano Mt Doom topped by a flaming all Seeing Eye and the stark plains of Gogoroth are just two of many. If you didn’t know any better you would have sworn the book was written with this stunning area in mind!

Then in the summer of 2011-2012, Sir Peter came back to film the Hobbit. Ohakune with its beautiful ancient native beech and podocarp forests and the Rocky outcrops of Mount Ruapehu’s Turoa Skifield offered the perfect locations this time round.

Mt Ngauruhoe:
This perfectly cone-shaped volcano was digitally altered to appear as Mt Doom. Those of you who have completed the Tongariro Crossing would know this mountain well and have maybe even scaled its heights.

Whakapapa Ski Area:
Is the location of the Iwikau Village and the maze of razor-sharp rocks, cliffs and ravines behind Aorangi Lodge is the site of Emyn Muil

Mangawhero Falls on the Ohakune Mountain Rd:
The Ithilien Camp was filmed near here and just above the falls is the idyllic spot in the second of the LOTR trilogy where Gollum happily catches a fish.

Tukino Ski Area:
With its unique view of the Mountains was the site of Mordor’s Door of Sammath Naur (the black gates) and the plains of Gogoroth.

The Lord of the Rings film locations in and around Ohakne
The Hobbit film locations in and around Ohakune

Tūroa Ski Area
Top of the Ohakune Scenic Mountain Rd. Great lengths were taken to preserve the delicate alpine flora and fauna here. A huge mass of boardwalks was constructed above the foliage to minimise the impact of the filming. Also, total respect was had for the local Iwi and permission was sought with an official blessing given before filming commenced. Not much is known about this location apart from it plays a very important role in Bilbo’s Journey and there is going to be a digitally enhanced statue created in the middle of it.

“The Ohakune Beech Paddock” A glade of ancient Beech trees on the edge of Ohakune. This wooded area represents the outskirts of the Shire featuring Bibo, Gandalf and The Dwarfs.

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