New Zealand Lord of the Rings bicycle touring sites

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I’ve read the series at least once a year for the last 15 years. Of course I was thrilled when the movies were releases, and I was very impressed with the cinematography. When my husband first mentioned New Zealand as a possible bicycle tour, my first thought was: I’m going to get to see Middle Earth.

We’re focusing our tour on the south island, which means we will miss out on Hobbiton and Mt. Doom, which are on the north island. However, there are many iconic vistas and scenes from the movies that we will have the pleasure of witnessing. This list is not all inclusive; I’m sure there are more places to see. But here’re the places I’m most excited to see on our tour of New Zealand.

South Island:

  • Canterbury:
    • Twizel-Fields of Pelennor, where the epic battle took place between orcs and Rohan/Gondor
    • Potts Station-Edoras and Meduseld (Mount Sunday)
  • Nelson/Marlborough:
    • Mount Owen – The Fellowship escape Moria, sans Gandalf
  • Otago:
    • Cardrona Valley/ Mount Cardrona- Panorama View of Middle Earth
    • Arrowtown (Arrow River) Skipper’s Canyon- Ford of Bruinen, where Frodo crosses the river with the elf, the wraiths in hot pursuit, and the water rises up to drown the wraiths.
    • Glenorchy-Misty Mountains
    • Kawaru River, Otago- The Argonath on the Anduin River (computer generated statues)
    • Cadrona Hotel – Prancing Pony (Between Queenstown and Wanaka)
    • Poolburn Dam – Rohan (one of Jackson’s favorite filming location)
    • Sutton Salt Lake near Middlemarch- ambush scenes in Rohan
  • Southland:
    • Kepler Mire, Te Anau – the Dead Marshes
    • North Mavora Lake – The lake at the end of the Anduin River
    • South Mavora Lake- The Fellowship leaves Lothlorien
  • West Coast:
    • Mount Gunn, near Franz Josef Glacier- Warning beacons from Gondor to Rohan

For a list of filming location in Department of Conservation areas along with the GPS coordinates, visit:

If you’ve been to the South Island of New Zealand and have stumbled upon a filming location, sound off in the comments below!