Part 6: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest | Day 4: Discovering Queenstown & Mt Nicholas

THIS BLOG IS PART 6 OF MY JOURNAL ABOUT MY UNEXPECTED JOURNEY TO NEW ZEALAND, AS WINNER OF THE HOBBIT FAN FELLOWSHIP CONTEST!

DAY 4: Discovering Queenstown & Mt Nicholas

This afternoon we got to choose between four activities: the adventure experience (jet boat & canyon swing), the wine tasting experience, the cycle trail experience and a boat cruise & sheep farm experience. We choose for the boat cruise with Southern Discoveries. The ship took us around the scenic lake Wakatipu and Bob’s Grove, or Te Punatapu, the sacred waters. The view was breathtaking: we were surrounded by The Remarkables mountain range, the blue lake and fifty shades of green trees…

Queenstown The Remarkables
Queenstown and The Remarkables
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Arjen at the Southern Discoveries cruise
Cruising Lake Wakatipu
Cruising on Lake Wakatipu
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The Remarkables and the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw
Southern Discoveries queenstown
Bob’s Grove

The ship sailed us to Mt Nicholas farm, where we experienced the life on a Merino sheep farm. Mt Nicholas is of the largest stations in New Zealand (with 400 000 000 m2 of land) and is home to 30.000 Merino sheep and 2.200 Hereford cattle. We were served a rustic lunch, from which most of the food is grown on the farm itself.

After the lunch, we did a 4WD Farm Tour around the station. Here we saw some day to day farm activities and the sheep and cattle enjoying their enormous habitat (I’m quite jealous to be honest). The views were amazing. It was such a relaxing trip!

Mt Nicolas farm
Mt Nicholas farm
Mt Nicholas panoramic view
Panoramic view from Mt Nicholas
Lake Wakatipu from Mt Nicholas
Lake Wakatipu from Mt Nicholas
4WD Mt Nicolas
4WD Mt Nicholas
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Merino sheep
merino sheep mt nicolas farm
Merino sheep
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Docks

The rest of the day we had spare time to discover Queenstown! So this morning we roamed around the pretty Queenstown with our Finnish friends to get some breakfast and coffee. We visited the Lord of the Rings shop, bought some kiwi souvenirs and I fell in love with a beautiful replica of Nenya at the jeweler. Nenya, the ring of Adamant, is one of the three elven rings of power in The Lord of the Rings and is wielded by Galadriel. The replica is made out of silver with a blue zirconia. I feel really lucky, because my  precious boyfriend gave it to me as a gift! Since I have tiny fingers, it was too large, but luckily the friendly jeweler was happy to costumize the ring to my size.

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Nenya, the ring of Adamant
Lord of the Rings shop Queenstown
Troll at The Lord of the Rings shop
Lord of the Rings shop Queenstown
Pippin at the Lord of the Rings shop

Back in Queenstown after the cruise we were kidnapped by Manesha and Hazel who took us to the most scary experience of my life: a 4D shooting zombies game at X.D. Dark Ride. This interactive motion ride was so immersive because of the 360 surround sound environment, 3D stereoscopic graphics and special effects for a multi sensory experience, like a moving chair and wind effects. You are placed in a The Walking Dead scenario where zombies crawl over the border of the screen towards you. You only have a laser gun to shoot them down, while your car falls of a cliff… It only takes about 10 minutes, but it’s so worth it! It was really, really scary! What we didn’t know is that there taken pictures while we were screaming and shooting. You should have seen the look on my face on the picture… pure horror! I really recommend to do this if you ever have the chance!

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We concluded our day in Queenstown with a lovely diner at Captains Restaurant, a last stroll around the city, the docks and the lake that we were so going to miss.

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Kiwi!
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The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu
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Mine?

Take a look what our fellow hobbit fans experienced in Queenstown this day in the video blog by Tourism New Zealand:

In my next blog I will talk about our last, but not least, day in New Zealand! It was the day we  were all looking forward to: meeting sir Peter Jackson and the private screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in Wellington!

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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.

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
emma bell new zealand tourism
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
Queenstown Hill hobbit fan
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!

ann mannens new zealand paradise
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
landscape queenstown
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…