The Hobbit Filming Locations You Can Actually Visit
You can’t travel all the way to New Zealand and not get your geek on by visiting The Hobbit filming locations. The locations are generally amongst New Zealand’s epic and diverse landscapes so are a joy to visit whether you like little fur-footed men or not. Even if you are not on the lookout for Hobbit filming locations, you’ll probably find that everywhere you turn looks like Middle-earth, from the mountains of the Southern Alps to the green rolling hills of Waikato.
In this article, we’ll answer the question: “Where was The Hobbit filmed?” and tell you the best Hobbit filming locations to visit while in New Zealand.
And if this list wasn’t enough, check out The Hobbit Location Guide. Once you have those locations ticked off your list, how about visiting the 23 Best Lord of the Rings Locations in New Zealand?
1. Hobbiton Movie Set – The Shire
The first iconic location where The Hobbit was filmed is at the Hobbiton Movie Set, of course! This is the ultimate outdoors movie set. It feels like Hobbiton is real with intricate details from Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole down to the Hobbits’ washing lines with tiny clothes – so cute! The set was re-built after filming for The Lord of the Rings not only for The Hobbit movies but to be a sustainable set for tourists’ viewing pleasure. Find out more about Hobbiton in How to Get the Best Hobbiton Discount or head straight to Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday to book your tour.
Location: Matamata, Waikato, North Island.
2. Pelorus River – The Barrel Run
Next on our list of the best Hobbit locations to visit is a kayaking trip! In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the epic scene where the dwarves plummet down the river in barrels was filmed down Pelorus River in Marlborough. You can take an epic kayaking tour to the exact filming location (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or get the idea from the river banks of the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.
Location: The Pelorous River can be seen from Havelock, Canvastown and along State Highway 6 in the area, Marlborough, South Island.
3. Piopio – Trollshaw Forest
A huge section of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was filmed in Piopio. You’ll recognise where Bilbo and The Company set up camp on the way to Trollshaw Forest. They were then put on a spitroast by trolls and then attacked by orcs. A nightmare for them, but it makes a memorable location tour provided by Hairy Feet Scenic Location Film Tour. Combine this Hobbit movie location with the 10 Best Things to Do in Piopio.
Location: Piopio, Waitomo, North Island.
4. Twizel – Orc and Warg Chase
Twizel provided the scenic backdrop for when the orcs and wargs chase The Company in An Unexpected Journey. It is also the location of Gondor’s battle scene in The Lord of the Rings. Tour providers, like One Ring Tours, take keen fans to the actual Hobbit filming locations along with props and costumes to pose with. See more activities to do in the area using the 6 Best Things to Do in Twizel.
[Update: One Ring Tours has closed. We will update this listing if another tour becomes available].
Location: Twizel, State Highway 8, Canterbury, South Island.
5. Earnslaw Burn – Rivendell
Remember that time Bilbo and the crew left Rivendell and there were all those pretty waterfalls? Well, that was in the Glenorchy valley of Earnslaw Burn. You can either see the valley by chopper (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or hike the 8-12 hour return Earnslaw Burn Track. Find out more in our Lord of the Rings Locations in Queenstown, as well as the 10 Best Things to Do in Glenorchy.
Location: The Earnslaw Burn Track starts on the left bank of the Earnslaw Burn on the Glenorchy-Paradise Road, 20 minutes from Glenorchy, Otago, South Island.
6. Pass Burn – Misty Mountains
You too can approach the Misty Mountains just like Bilbo by doing the Mavora-Greenstone Walkway, specifically on the section between the Greenstone Hut and Pass Burn. This is a 50km (31 miles), 4-day hike from the Mavora Lakes campsite to Greenstone Road End, near Glenorchy.
Location: The Mavora-Track is between the Te Anau area and Queenstown area, South Island. Access from the Te Anau side is from Mavora Lakes Park, which you can learn more about in The Guide to The Lord of the Rings in Te Anau.
7. Fiordland National Park – The Eagles’ Flight
The Eagles save Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves then fly over Fiordland National Park, we mean, somewhere in Middle-earth… The best way to enjoy this view would be with a scenic flight taking off from Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau, Invercargill or Milford Sound. Check out the 5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown for inspiration.
Location: Fiordland National Park, Southland, South Island.
8. Treble Cone – Misty Mountains
Not often mentioned when listing The Hobbit filming locations, Treble Cone is super scenic and accessible. The ski area near Wanaka was used to depict the Misty Mountain pathways. You can access the ski field during winter or just the access road during summer. Combine your Hobbit experience with the 18 Best Things to Do in Wanaka.
Location: Treble Cone is along the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road 23km (14 miles) away from Wanaka, South Island.
9. Turoa – The Lonely Mountain
The next The Hobbit film location is Turoa. Speaking of ski fields, Turoa on Mt Ruapehu was partly used as the entrance to the Lonely Mountain in The Desolation of Smaug. Check out the Famous Lord of the Rings Filming Locations in Ruapehu for more information.
Location: Turoa, Ohakune, Mt Ruapehu, North Island.
10. Lake Pukaki – Lake Town
The lake and Southern Alps backdrop provided the backing for Lake Town in the last two movies. Specifically, Braemar Farm was used during the warg chase scene in An Unexpected Journey. The lake is worth stopping by on your way to Aoraki Mt Cook, along with doing the 12 Best Things to Do in Aoraki Mt Cook.
Location: The shores of Lake Pukaki can be accessed via State Highway 80 and State Highway 8 in Canterbury, South Island.
More About The Hobbit in New Zealand
That’s it for our list of the top Hobbit filming locations in New Zealand, but we have much more for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fans:
- The Guide to The Lord of the Rings in Wellington
- The Guide to The Lord of the Rings in Nelson Tasman
- Where Was The Lord of the Rings Filmed?
Plus, check out alternative experiences around the country in the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.