New Zealand, home of the famous saga dedicated to “The Lord of the Rings”, has changed in the last 20 years: here’s how it has changed.
Falling in love with the incredible atmospheres of The Lord of the Rings is easy, but forgetting them is impossible: Middle-earth is a place where fantasy flies without any restraint, where reality and imagination are wisely mixed. To give life to this magic is a unique location in the world, New Zealand. Which, since the famous trilogy came out, has changed enormously, while remaining the same.
The first film in the saga based on Tolkien’s novel came out in 2001, more than 20 years ago. Its incredible settings have catapulted us into wild and unspoiled places, epic landscapes that made us dream. All thanks to the majestic beauty of New Zealand, a land that has “lent” its most fascinating face to The Lord of the Rings. Even today, despite the passing of time, this region is remembered precisely for being the location of a true cinematic masterpiece.
If The Lord of the Rings owes so much to New Zealand, the reverse is also true. In the years since the release of the film in cinemas around the world, tourism in this remote area surrounded by the waters of the Pacific Ocean has experienced a notable increase. A real surge, actually: in 2019 (pre-pandemic period) 18% of travelers declared that they had chosen this country to relive the emotions of the fantasy trilogy. Data that, revealed by the General Manager of Tourism New Zealand Sarah Handley, make it clear how much people love these incredible places.
Still, New Zealand has changed. Since, for the first time, the crew of The Lord of the Rings made a stop on its territory, something has transformed. The lush hills and rugged rocky peaks are the same, as are the crystal clear waters and the atmosphere of pure magic that can be experienced there. But some locations have sprung up here and there on the territory, giving fans of the Tolkien saga one more reason to fly to this fantastic country. The most striking example is certainly Hobbiton.
The small village of the Hobbits really exists, and is located a short distance from Matamata, in an almost deserted place. Here a small masterpiece was created that became famous thanks to the cinema, and today a destination for many tourists. The windmill, the stone bridge, large sheep farms and hidden crevices: everything has remained as it is as we saw it in the film, even if in 2011 the whole village underwent a major restoration – right in time for the making of The Hobbit, another huge blockbuster.