Whether or not you’re a fan of the highly successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, or even the new Hobbit trilogy that is currently under way (with LOTR director Peter Jackson at the helm), you can’t deny the beauty of the New Zealand countryside; the majestic backdrop for all of the J.R.R. Tolkien adaptions thus far. The island country off the coast of Australia has been more than hospitable to Jackson and his crew since they’ve taken over various parts of the country starting way back in 1999 as the team prepared to shoot the first of many successful films starting with, The Fellowship of the Ring from 2001.
With 33 Academy Award nominations and 17 wins for the franchise thus far, the team behind these films are not the only ones reaping the benefits of a job well done. New Zealand tourism has also cashed in on the successful series. In 2013, the first few months saw tourism numbers rise by 10 percent compared to numbers reported a year ago. 8.5 percent of all tourists said “The Hobbit” was their reason for venturing to the Kiwi nation and 13 percent visited The Shire or took a movie-related tour.
Ever since the first film, I have wanted to see the sites that brought to life the halls of Rivendell, the mystical forest of Lothlórien and the great city of Minas Tirith. One of these days I’ll be one of those tourists trying to have tea in Bag End with Frodo.