Where was The Hobbit filmed? Unexpected Filming Locations

Posted by Ra Moon

New Zealand is one of my favorite destinations, and the premiere of the first part of the new Hobbit trilogy is the perfect excuse to go back to the land of jaw-dropping backdrops and fantastical landscapes.

To find the perfect locations, five helicopters went out to comb the islands, Apocalypse Now style.

As a result, some of the selected spots are a bit out of reach for the common tourist, but also of difficult access for all the equipment and crew required for such a large production.

Where was The Hobbit filmed

Before the release of the first part of the trilogy, it was not entirely clear where The Hobbit was filmed or exactly how the locations were used.

Our sources were primarily the production video blog and the map that you will find at the end. Now, finally, we have most of the answers and more accurate information about the filming locations of the three movies.

The Hobbit Filming Locations

Hobbit Locations
Earnslaw Burn is perhaps the most spectacular of all the locations in The Hobbit.

You will find this valley of waterfalls and melting glaciers in Glenorchy, north of Queenstown.
Image courtesy of Heliworks Queenstown Helicopters

Anduin Valley
This awesome place is set to represent the Anduin Valley of Middle-earth.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

The Hobbit Film Locations
We were not sure about the location of this valley, snapped from the teaser trailer.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Pass Burn Track
As one of our readers pointed to, it's the Pass Burn Track on the Mavora Walkway (in the area of Queenstown, South Island), a section of New Zealand’s national walkway Te Araroa that goes across the country. Please check the comments for more info.
Image by Glacier Fed

Arcadia Station
Paradise and Arcadia Station were all used as locations for the Outskirts of Bree and Beorns.

It was also here that the Lothlorien forest for the Lord of the Rings was filmed.
Image by Hdr Apprentice

Dwarves in New Zealand
In the story, Gandalf, Bilbo, and a troupe of 13 dwarves undertake a quest into the wild domains of goblins and orcs, among other affable creatures
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

The Remarkables
The Remarkables are not the mortal enemies of the Expendables, but the imposing mountain range overlooking Queenstown, the so-called adventure capital of New Zealand.
Image by WanderingtheWorld

The Hobbit scene location
The Remarkables has already been used as a location in Lord of the Rings, and make another appearance in The Hobbit to recreate the mythical Misty Mountains.
Image by Stuck in Customs

Treble Cone
Some dwarves enjoying their job, this time at the top of the Treble Cone, near Wanaka.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Ski resort
This is the view that can also be appreciated by the skiers of the station situated in Treble Cone.
Image by Jordan Sim

Strath Taieri
Strath Taieri is a field of sharp boulders scattered around, where according to Peter Jackson, "you can shoot 360° in every direction".
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

The Lonelands in The Hobbit
Screen capture of the gang of dwarves in the Lonelands, a rocky valley located not far from Dunedin, the city which hosted the fictional nation of Lavania in Netflix 2022 romantic comedy The Royal Treatment.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Rocky Landscapes
Nearby are The Rock and Pillar Range, acting as the Dale Hills.

Filming at the top of this almost inaccessible mountain required ten helicopters to carry the whole circus up there.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Braemar Station
Braemar Station and the surroundings of Lake Pukaki were used for scenery as the Shores of Laketown.
Image by Peter Nijenhuis

Lagoon scenery
In this image, taken from a helicopter, the team does not seem to pay much attention to the azure waters of the lake.

They are filming an Epic Landscape sequence, which means actors running up and down these virtually virgin lands.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Battle of the Five Armies Filming Locations
Update: The scene belongs to The Battle of the Five Armies.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Canaan Downs
Now we continue north of the South Island to Canaan Downs, the same place where the hippie Luminate Festival takes place.
Image by Four Footprints

Tataka Hill
This zone around Tataka Hill has the feeling of Middle Earth printed in the character of these awesome draconian stones.
Image by Tim Parkinson

The Hobbit Pelorus river
The Pelorus river is a pleasant surprise on the road near Nelson.

The -let's say- elf-green shade of its crystal-clear waters on white rocks is an appealing attraction to stop off for a swim. Now also it is possible to do a Hobbit kayak tour in this gorgeous location with a local company. If you have the chance, you shouldn't miss this!

barrels river scenes
This river was the chosen location to throw the glorious dwarfs downstream, floating in barrels.

The fierce Aratiatia rapids (in the North Island, where we are moving next) completed the sequence, this time with no cast inside them.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Mount Ruapehu
Mount Ruapehu (in the background) is very close to Ngauruhoe volcano (aka the legendary Mount Doom from LoR), both included in Tongariro National Park.
Image by Andy McDowall

New Zealand Moss
This time, Peter Jackson's crew was back to make use of these landscapes’ rare and delicate textures as the Long Valley and the Lonely Mountain.

Apparently, they were filming near the waterfall next to the parking lot of Turoa Ski Area.

Whoops, sorry, no Nazg├╗ls in this new trilogy.

The company on horse
To create the scene pictured here, the company may be riding their horses and ponies near Ohakune.

This time we are still not sure where this frame has been filmed. In any case, it looks like scenery that is better appreciated from the air.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

Mangaotaki valley
The Mangaotaki valley near Piopio is a private land of bizarre rock formations, caves, nooks, and crannies that made it ideal for the Trollshaw Forest.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

The Desolation of Smaug mountain
The Desolation of Smaug features a mountain looking like the mythical Mount Cook, viewed from Lake Pukaki.
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

We end our journey where everything starts, in Hobbiton, near Matamata.

This time the friendly hobbit community has been rebuilt as a small perdurable theme park, on the same farmland where the LoR was filmed.
Image by Duane Storey

Hobbit drehorte
Wellington was the chosen venue for the world premiere of the first part of the movie, the 28th of November 2012.
Image by Daniel Peckham

For further information, this is one of these rare films that has full books devoted to its filming locations: The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy Location Guide will help you to find Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain and beyond, in the real lands of New Zealand.

Also from the same author, there is available an updated edition (from 2016), including all the Middle-earth Landscapes: Locations in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Film Trilogies.

NOTICE: If you’re using this information on your website, please credit and link to this page as a source.

View The Hobbit - Filming Locations in a larger map

  1. I found an itinerary for the locations for The Hobbit and LOTR. Perhaps you could include this in the article.


  2. Im thinking that the 3rd picture could be Key Summit from Routeburn track.

  3. Bingo! Many thanks, it looks like Mt Christina of the Ailsa Range across the tarns of Key Summit. Update coming soon!

  4. Been doing some homework ;-) Hope this helps. Gleaned from several sources.

    "We're not sure about the location of this valley, snapped from the teaser trailer. Anyone recognize these hills?" Pass Burn, Mavora - Greenstone Walkway.

    "Once more, we have no more images and we are not sure where this frame has been filmed." Kaihoka Station, Kaihoka.

  5. Hi Paul, many thanks for your help! We'll update it soon with new images if possible... =]

  6. wow its a nice film.



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