12 places that every Lord of the Rings fan needs to visit

One holiday to rule them all

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Yeah yeah yeah, so you might think that paddling in the shallow end and topping up your tan sounds like the dream holiday, but we've found something way cooler if you happen to be into Hobbits and Smeagol, that is.

Did you know that it's possible to visit loads of the locations that were used as the magical settings in all of the Lord of The Rings ? Hobbiton, The Shire, Edoras and even Mt Doom are all REAL places, so you could plan an entire LOTR themed trip if you wanted.

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It was all filmed over in New Zealand so it's a bit of a long flight, but here's 12 spots that were all made famous by Middle Earth that you can head to this summer.

1. Hobbiton

Matamata, New Zealand

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Yep, Hobbiton has been transformed into a REAL PLACE, designed for fans with the real movie set kinda like the Harry Potter Studio Tour is here. Potter around the village in The Shire, have a drink in the Green Dragon, dance under the Party Tree, and visit Bag End. 

2. Mordor and Mount Doom

Tongariro National Park

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For anyone wanting to follow in the Hobbits' footsteps, your inevitable final destination is Tongariro National Park. Although it's not quite as dark and terrifying as in the movies, the real life scenery is striking and totally epic.

3. Pillars of the Kings

Kawarau Gorge

Unfortunately the Pillars of the Kings aren't actually real and were added in to the shots post-production, but the Kawarau Gorge is still completely spectacular. 

4. Paths of the Dead

Putangirua Pinnacles, North Island

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Remember the enormous looming pillars that Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli have to navigate through when they first encounter the Army of the Undead? Yep, they're real and equally as awe-inspiring as they look on screen.

5. Edoras, capital of Rohan

Mt Sunday, Canterbuy

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Mount Sunday provided the stunning backdrop for Edoras, the capital of Rohan. Pretty heartbreakingly for LOTR, the actual set was removed after filming was complete, but it's still worth heading to take in the amazing scenery.

6. Rivendell

Kaitoke Regional Park

Where better to chill out for a bit after being relentlessly pursued by malevolent beings bent on your demise than Elvish capital, Rivendell, eh? Kaitoke Regional Park isn't quite as magical as when the Elves where there, but the section used for filming includes a special exhibit explaining how it all went down.

7. Gollum's pool

Tawhai Falls, Ruapehu

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This area was used in the Lord of the Rings Films when Gollum is catching a fish while Faramir and his rangers aim their arrows at him. We're pretty sure if you're wearing any particularly fancy jewellery, he'll probably pop up and tell you how precious it is.

8. Lothlorien

Fernside Lodge, Wairarapa

Fernside Lodge aka Lothlorien is home of Elven Queen Galadriel and her giant elven ears, and was also used for Smeagol's battle with Deagol over ownership of the One Ring, so it's a bit of a double whammy location to check out.

9. Ford of Bruinen

Shotover River, near Arrowtown

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"You want him? Come and claim him." YAAAAS ARWEN. This is the exact spot of river where Tyler's Arwen summons a handy magical wave made of horses to sweep away the Ringwraiths chasing Frodo and friends.

10. The Shire

Wellington's Town Belt park

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When the Nazgul begin chasing the Hobbits almost as soon as they leave Hobbiton, they trail them into the woods of The Shire. Luckily, you're more likely to spot dog walkers and joggers than Ringwraiths, but things can get pretty eerie here when the Wellington Town Belt park mist descends.

11. Dead Marshes

Kepler Mire, Te Anau

Another spot for Golum fans. Remember the line: "There are dead faces in the water!"? Kepler Mire near Te Anau is the location for the Dead Marshes that Gollum leads Frodo and Sam through, although it's more pretty and less creepy than the films would have you believe.

12. Ilithien 

Twelve Mile Delta, Lake Wakatipu

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Here's where Frodo, Sam and Gollum watch the battle between Faramir's Rangers of Gondor and the men of Harad, AND even more excitingly, it's where Sam mutters the immortal words "BOIL EM, MASH EM, STICK EM IN A STEW." Omg we must go there.

Dreaming of a LOTRA holiday now? Which of these spots would you love to go to? Let us know with a tweet to @Sugarscape, and then check out the bonus vid below.

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