Part 5: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest | Day 3: Hobbit & LOTR Filming Locations

This blog is part five of my journal about my unexpected journey to New Zealand, as winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest. Today we flew to Queenstown and did a tour around filming locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in Paradise.

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THIS BLOG IS PART FIVE OF MY JOURNAL ABOUT MY UNEXPECTED JOURNEY TO NEW ZEALAND, AS WINNER OF THE HOBBIT FAN FELLOWSHIP CONTEST!

Day 3: Hobbit & LOTR Filming Locations

We had to get up early upon our hobbit feet to the airport of Rotorua. With Air New Zealand we flew in a private Hobbit Fan Fellowship airplane to our next destination: Queenstown!

Queenstown Air New Zealand
On our way to Queenstown with Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand Queenstown
Arrived in Queenstown!

Queentown is located on the southern island of New Zealand. My jaw dropped when we got off the airplane: what a different landscape! On the northern island we saw green little hills, but the airport of Queenstown lies in a valley formed by huge mountains with beautiful white snowy tops, close to the azure blue lake Wakatipu. This was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

We were greeted by the crew of Nomad Safaris to take us on a tour around filming locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit triologies. The jeep’s license plates were even in style: our jeep’s called Eowyn.

Nomad Safaris Queenstown
With Nomad Safaris touring around Queenstown
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In the jeep with the lovely Emma Bell, our host from Tourism New Zealand
Nomad Safaris Eowyn jeep
Jeep’s licensce plate Eowyn

We were brought on top of Queenstown Hill, the filming location of the most epic safety video ever made by Air New Zealand, starring Dean O’GormanSylvester McCoy, Elijah Wood, Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson. 

Here we had a gorgeous view over Queenstown, lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, or Extendables as Peter Jackson called them, the mountains which he used to represent the Misty Mountains. Moreover, we saw the hill from which Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) falls after the fight with Sharku (Jed Brophy) during the Warg attack in The Two Towers. 

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View from Queenstown Hill: The Remarkables or the Misty Mountains
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Me on Queenstown Hill
Panorama Queenstown Hill
Panorama Queenstown Hill
Lake Wakatipu Queenstown
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Next stop was Arcadia Station in Paradise near Glenorchy. To get here, we drove alongside lake the gorgeous lake Wakatipu surrounded by mountains. As the name predicts, Paradise is absolutely stunning! The colors, the mountains, the forests… No wonder that this area were the filming locations of Isengard and Beorn’s home.

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Paradise, filming location of Isengard
Isengard LOTR
Isengard in The Lord of the Rings
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Gandalf and Bilbo meeting Beorn
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Paradise, the filming location of Beorn’s home
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With beautiful trees

On the road to Arcadia Station we received another video message from Peter Jackson in which he announced a treasure hunt. In the forest around Beorn’s home there was something hidden. The one who would find it, would earn a seat next to Peter Jackson during the private screening of The Battle of the Five Armies on our last day in Wellington. The 150 contestants tried to find this treasure, which was a kind of chaotic. But Ann from Belgium and our Wizard team found the precious: a huge golden ring. Go team Wizard!

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Wizard Ann from Belgium with the precious (Photo by Tourism New Zealand)

After our afternoon tea and picknick with mr. Frodo scones we travelled further from Glenorchy to Twelve Mile Delta. Alongside the road where the filming locations of the Elven Lothlórien Woods and the site of the battle of Amon Hen, where Boromir is fatally wounded in the battle with the uruk-hai Lurz and Merry and Pippin are captured.

Hobbit Picknick
Hobbit Picknick
Battle of Amon Hen
Battle of Amon Hen
Battle of Amon Hen forest filming location
Forests where the Battle of Amon Hen is filmed

Twelve Mile Delta is the filming location of Ithilien. Here is where Frodo, Sam and Gollum cook some ‘paters’, encouter the Oliphaunts and are being captured by Faramir and the rangers of Gondor.

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“That’s where they sat, yeah!”
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Oliphaunts in The Two Towers
filming location Ithilien Twelve Mile Delta LOTR
The filming location of Ithilien, Twelve Mile Delta
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Frodo and Sam at Ithilien in The Two Towers
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Our best acting skills as Frodo and Sam
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Shot by a Gondor ranger’s arrow
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Matagouri thorns were used by early Māori as tattooing needles
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Some beautiful landscapes around Queenstown
landscape queenstown
Some beautiful landscapes around Queenstown

We ended our safari at AJ Hackett Bungy, above de Kawarau River. In The Lord of the Rings this is the river where the Argonath are located. Here we had diner and had the opportunity to zipline and to bungy jump: a 43 meters drop. Like Peter Jackson mentioned, “My brain isn’t wire to jump off a bridge”. I couldn’t agree more, so I didn’t jump, but the brave Arjen did.

AJ Hackett Bungy
AJ Hackett Bungy diner
Bungy platform AJ Hackett Bungy
Bungy platform AJ Hackett Bungy
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Argonath in The Lord of the Rings
AJ Hackett Bungy jump
Arjen at AJ Hackett Bungy

I really understand now why New Zealand is called real Middle-earth. The filming locations we saw today were almost unreal. Everywhere we looked felt like we’re out of this world… in Middle-earth.

Here’s the video blog of day three by Tourism New Zealand:

In my next blog I will tell you about day four of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship journey, when we did a tour with Southern Discoveries around the beautiful area of Queenstown and we shot some zombies in 4D…

Part 1: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest or the Beginning

This blog is part one of my journal about my unexpected journey to New Zealand, as winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest!

In July 2014 Sir Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, announced a competition for the world’s greatest fans to win a trip to New Zealand. As a huge The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fan, I was thrilled to hear about this contest! 

Hi everyone! As a ‘thank you’ for sharing in our Middle-earth journey through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, I would like to give you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand to tour iconic filming locations. Winning fans will visit my hometown of Wellington and watch the first official screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with me.

In August,

The Global Fan Fellowship Contest, the worldwide quest to find the ultimate Hobbit fans, is open at www.thehobbitfancontest.com Thanks to our friends at Warner Bros., Air New Zealand and New Zealand Tourism. I hope to see you here soon. Cheers! – Peter J.

It was so kind to do this for your fans! But I couldn’t imagine how many people from over the whole world would participate. I mean, everyone wants to win a trip to New Zealand and meet Peter Jackson, right? What are the chances that you will win this trip? But I couldn’t get the competition out of my head and completed the challenges via the app of our national cinema Pathé, one of the sponsors, and on social media like Twitter.

The competition involved four challenges:

  1. Send a postcard to Peter Jackson with what you would do on your trip to Middle-earth.
  2. Take a quiz about New Zealand and filming locations of The Hobbit movies.
  3. Make a video with your favorite memory of Middle-earth and explain why you are the greatest Hobbit fan (mandatory to win the competition).
  4. Share the latest artwork of The Hobbit on social media.
Tweet Peter Jackson
My postcard to Peter Jackson

The most important challenge was the video entry: this video will be judged. So I wrote a little script and with the help of my friend Eva Heinsbroek (student at The Netherlands Filmacademy) we filmed in the Amsterdam forest. With the help of my boyfriend Arjen Kleiss (sound engineer) we recorded my voice-over (hearing your own voice is so weird) and inserted some music. The next couple of days, I edited. This became my video entry:

I tried to explain why I thought I’m the biggest Hobbit fan (in Holland). I saw all the behind-the-scenes footage on the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings and the video production blogs of The Hobbit, which were my first encounter with making films. I love to see how the different departments work together in the production of film. This inspired me to study Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam and to write my Master’s thesis about the adaptation of The Hobbit: from book, to script, to film. Now I’ve started at the ScriptAcademy in Amsterdam to become a screenwriter myself. The movies made me think about friendship, loyalty and the meaning of a home.

I entered with my video and then I waited… On YouTube I was looking at other beautiful and touching video entries by really talented people. People who made beautiful drawings, music pieces and costumes inspired by the movies. Others were more inspired on an internal level, whereby the stories gave them hope in difficult times. So beautiful to see that books and movies can mean so much more.
At the end of the competition on september 23, I ended on place #21 in the scoreboard. Was that even enough?

Rang Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Holland
Ranking Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Holland

Well… On the 3rd of October I got the most excited e-mail of my life. Read further in my next blog!

THE INSPIRATION OF A LIFETIME

weta

Weta Workshop does creative development, publishing, weapons, props, creatures, make-up, miniatures, public art, merchandise for many of my favorite films, such as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Last Samurai, Dracula Untold and Avatar. Weta Workshop invites people to share their story: http://wetaworkshop.pgtb.me/8xb4Vl
This is my Weta story.

Dear Weta,

 

It all began thirteen years ago, when my mother took me to the cinema to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. That moment changed my life. This was the beginning of the journey… my life’s journey.

I immediately fell in love with the on-screen Middle-earth that could not have existed without Weta. Soon after, I found something that I loved maybe even more: the appendices on the extended dvd’s of The Lord of the Rings. This was the first time I saw how movies were made, how all the departments work together to create this on-screen world: the sets, the costumes, the props, the weapons, all the designs and the effecs. This transparency about filmmaking inspired me to study Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam. I graduated at the university with a Master’s thesis about the adaptation of The Hobbit. You also inspired me to make my own costumes (how to make my own chainmaille), how to decorate my house, how I wanted to look (yes, the children in my class found the Legolas braids a bit weird but that didn’t matter to me). You inspired me how to live my life.

 

My journey went even further from home than I have ever been. I entered The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest and a dream came true when I actually was one the winners! I got the chance to visit New Zealand, the real Middle-earth! My number two memories of this journey of a lifetime are visiting Hobbiton and visiting you, Weta Workshop in Wellington. Meeting some of the artists like David Falconer, Gino Acevedo, Peter Lyon and of course sir Richard Taylor (and he liked my chainmail necklace!) was an absolute highlight I will never forget. To meet the persons that inspired me for who I want to become since the moment I first saw Middle-earth, thirteen years ago, is something I will treasure all my life.

 

Thank you for giving my life’s journey a purpose: to become a screenwriter and write stories to be brought alive on-screen. To be creative and make cool stuff. And hopefully to meet you again in New Zealand! Thank you Weta for your creativity, beautiful movies, inspiration and for bringing stories to life!

 

At your service,

 

Elaine Fleur
The Netherlands