Middle Earth is a vast landscape created in the mind of British author J.R.R.Tolkein, and for many years fans of the stories had to make their own destinations using the descriptions in the books. All that changed when a film producer called Peter Jackson decided to bring the stories to the big screen. Jackson began storyboarding the series with Christian Rivers in August 1997 and assigned his crew to begin designing Middle Earth at the same time. Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $281 million, the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in New Zealand, Jackson’s native country. Now that filming is finished on his second trilogy, The Hobbit, we have produced this infographic as a guide to the real-life locations used to bring Middle Earth to the big screen.
In the Hinuera Valley, Matamata, Waikato you will find the diminutively proportioned rustic village of Hobbiton, home to Bilbo Baggins and his friends. The village set was built a year before filming began to give the plants time to grow wild and to give the village a lived in look as the hobbits are supposed to have been living in Hobbiton for hundreds of years. Kaitoke Regional Park was the filming location for Rivendell and the Fords of Isen. On the southern island, Mount Sunday was chosen as the set for Edoras. The production crew took nine months to build the set at the top of sheer cliffs, constructing the Golden Hall and surrounding buildings at the top, with the gatehouse and more buildings at its foot. Although none of the actual set remains, hundreds of fans visit each year to view the wonderful plains of Rohan.