4 Fantasy Sites In New Zealand That Aren’t Lord of the Rings
New Zealand. If there is one thing the country is known for among fantasy lovers, it’s that it was the filming location for The Lord of the Rings. As such, the country draws in massive amounts of tourist every year who want to have an up-close look at Hobbiton, Mt. Doom or the plains of Rohan. And it cannot be denied that these places truly are awe-inspiring. But when it comes to fairy-tale landscapes, New Zealand has much more to offer. There is a reason the country is so popular with fantasy film and series directors. In this article we’ll dive into 4 of the most beautiful fantasy locations in New Zealand, and give some helpful tips for travelling to New Zealand, such as getting a visa (NZeTA).
1: The glowworms in the Waitomo Caves
There is something about glowworms that just captures the imagination. Despite the fact that larvae are generally not considered the most appealing of creatures, glowworms are the exception to this rule. As you dive into the yawning Waitomo Caves, you’ll suddenly find the ceiling glittering with a blue-green luminescence. In conjunction with the ancient cave stalagmites, it almost feels like stepping into another world.
2: Cathedral Cove
Everyone knows that The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed in New Zealand. But another highly popular fantasy series took advantage of New Zealand’s awesome landscapes: The Chronicles of Narnia. There are multiple locations in New Zealand that you’ll recognise from the movies, such as Flock Hill, but Cathedral Cove is likely going to be the most familiar. A major setting in the second film, Prince Caspian, it is the home of the kings and queens of Narnia, and really, it’s not hard to see why. As a film editor, you wouldn’t need to do much editing to turn this place into the heart of a fantasy kingdom.
We said we’d stay clear of The Lord of the Rings filming sites, but Paradise is a bit of an exception, simply because the area has proven exceptionally popular with filmmakers. From The Hobbit to Narnia and Wolverine, Paradise has been featured in all of them. The quiet, mountainous area seems detached from the rest of the world. It has great walking routes that take you along the area’s best sights. And, of course, you just have to take a picture of the sign.
4: Mount Taranaki
We’ve all heard of Mount Doom, or rather, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand. These twin mountains served as the key filming sites for the One Ring’s volcanic origin site. Yet there is another mountain of equal beauty which is also immensely popular with tourists, Mount Taranaki. Film buffs will instantly recognize the area from “The Last Samurai”, but even if you’ve never seen the movie, you’ll be awe-struck by the sheer beauty.
Travel tip: New Zealand visa
If, like so many other tourists, this has inspired you to take the first plane to New Zealand, you should take a few things into account. First and foremost, of course, is New Zealand’s current coronavirus travel ban. No foreign visitors are allowed to enter the country, save for those with very urgent reasons to do. A fantasy tour naturally does not fall under this criteria.
But the travel ban will end eventually, and when that time comes, you want to be ready and set to go. And that means applying for the mandatory New Zealand visa. Unless you’re an Australian national, you’re going to need a visa to enter New Zealand. The most-used visa for tourists is the NZeTA visa, the electronic visa type which you can get online. All you need to do is fill out the form, make the payment and wait for it to be approved. From then on, you’re allowed to enter the country and stay for up to 3 months per visit.