Lord of the Rings

From Lake Te Anau to the Gates of Argonath

Before leaving Te Anau for Queenstown, I wanted to explore Lake Te Anau. So, we started off with a 11km walk from our motel to the Control Gates. They actually regulate water flows between lakes Te Anau and Manapouri for the West Arm hydroelectric power station. The walk took us a little over two hours, but with the sun shining (almost) all of the time we were able to enjoy the beautiful views.

And this is what the control gates look like (not that exciting to be honest):

Before driving up to Queenstown, we took a little detour to do some Lord of the Rings sightseeing again. This time we were on the lookout for this spot:


The coordinates brought us to a road along a steep mountain range and no clear path from the road to any kind of viewpoint. A little further upwards we found a safe spot where we decided to have lunch before clearing a pathway for ourselves.

Clearing the path was actually not that hard, and once we got through the initial bushes along the road, it became obvious that more people (probably LOTR fans) had been here, because we found a small path leading up the exactly our coordinates. And I must say, it looks pretty much like in the movie!

Now, in the movie the river goes up to the Gates of Argonath (those awesome statutes). In real life, that scene was actually filmed somewhere else. Of course we headed over there as well! But not before we took a little detour (about 1-2 hours drive) to Fangorn Forest where the big talking trees (Ents) live. The road over there was a bit strenuous in the sense that it was for a large part a gravel road and the part where the reappearance of Gandalf was filmed is technically speaking on private property and the fact that this forest looked pretty much like any other forest, I would say it wasn’t really worth it. But of course we made the best out of the situation and I think we got pretty close to creating Stephanie, the White Pirate.

In the meantime most of our day had gone by so we made it up to our new residency. Luckily the Gates of Argonath were on the way there! Driving up from Queenstown to Central Otago you drive along quite a deep gorge – the Kawarau Gorge. In orde to reach the viewpoint for the Gates of Argonath we had to get to the other side of the gorge and a bit higher up – on a gravel road. When we drove up there, I actually noticed a sense of habituation evolving in taking these kind of crazy road, instead of primal fear. But I must say, the movie scene where Aragorn and the Hobbits paddle up to the statues and the real location have very, very little in common. We couldn’t even see whether we had to look to the right or the left side of the gorge! So here are pictures of both:

And in the movie you can’t even see that there is actually a winery up there! I guess if the hobbits would have known that, they would have gone over there instead of following Aragorn through these uninviting gates and take back his occupied country from the biggest villain in town. But this would also have ment just one instead of three movies, so I guess it was for the best to keep the winery a secret after all.

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