Lord of the Rings is one of the most prolific and impressive feats in the history of filmmaking. Tolkien's books truly came to life at the hands of Peter Jackson and his impossibly talented cast and crew. But did you know you could visit the very sets where LOTR movie magic happened? You can! What a world! Below you'll find a comprehensive guide of the real life locations where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed! Everything from the Shire to the Pillars of the Kings! From Mordor to Fanghorn Forest! From Bree to Rivendell! What a time to be alive!What are you waiting for? Set off on a journey to Middle Earth right away! These are the coolest Lord of the Rings filming locations, and you can visit them all in real life! Vote up the Lord of the Rings film sets you'd most like to travel to and someday soon maybe you'll be living it up in the Shire.
The Fellowship of the Ring - The Ford of Bruinen
Even if they hadn't filmed an iconic scene there ("You want him! Come and claim him!" *cue the huge wave horses*), the river used for the Ford of Bruinen is shockingly gorgeous. Located in Arrowtown, the area is great for a day trip, and a good hike as it's easily accessible, with the Queenstown airport so close by.
The Fellowship of the Ring - The Shire
A beautiful, vibrant, farming village, the Waikato town of Matamata was practically the shire before Peter Jackson and company even arrived. They rebuilt the Shire there again after The Hobbit and it's now a permanent attraction, with buses running to it all day.
The Fellowship of the Ring - River Anduin
The Waiau River (between Te Anau, where they filmed the Fanghorn Forest, and Manapouri) was used as the River Anduin. So if you'd like to do some rafting and re-create the scene in which the Fellowship paddles south from Lothlorien, this is the place to do it. The surrounding mountains were also used as backdrops for Rivendell. There's even a place to bungee jump there!
The Fellowship of the Ring - Rivendell
If you want to experience the elvish wonder and magic of Rivendell head over to Wellington's Kaitoke Regional Park. It's only a 50 minute drive from downtown Wellington and the park itself contains 250 hectares of elvish forest. The exact location where Frodo recovered from his knife attack is a clearly marked for your convenience.