Filming of The Hobbit to boost Kiwi tourism

by Tiffany Millar on February 10, 2011

As filming of the next instalment of The Hobbit begins next month, New Zealand is getting ready for a fresh round of Tolkien tourism. From March 27th, a chunk of New Zealand countryside will be turned into Middle Earth, as announced by big budget film director Peter Jackson.

Shooting will take place at Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand’s main city, and in the village of Hobbiton, a town set up for the Lord of the Rings films near Matamata on the North Islands of New Zealand.

Offering popular tourist excursions since 2002, the massive private farm will be entirely shut to visitors during filming. Previously, the property’s Shires Rest Cafe has always remained open.

Immortalized areas such as Tongariro National Park in the North Island’s central plateau that turned into Emyn Muil and Mordor, will be able to be seen by curious visitors. These include Mount Sunday and Mount Potts in the Rangitata Valley (Edoras, the capital of Rohan) and Mount Ruapehu (Mount Doom).

New Zealand has kept up everything possible to insure that Jackson returns with further instalments of the film, turning Middle Earth into a powerful ambassador for the country.

Tourism is now New Zealand’s greatest foreign money maker, with around $9.5 billion (€5.4 billion) spent each year.

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