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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday 26 January 2023

And we find Middle Earth

 January 25th  (This post is more for the Lord of the Rings fans)

Groan, not a great night, something had upset my stomach. It was back and forth to the loo from midnight, By 3 pm I despaired in getting any sleep. Next thing I knew the sound of a phone alarm was heard. It was Ian's having set it for 6.15 am!

 Twice having driven through Queenstown, not only was it full of tourists but car parking was at a premium. We had to arrive early otherwise how would we get parked and today we were due to meet the pure Glenorchy for a trip to Middle Earth! So we had planned to get to Queenstown by 7 am, bed not made, not even a cup of tea was had, but I did manage a quick wash.

By 7 am we had arrived in Queenstown, slighter quieter at this time of the morning.

Hardly any cars in the Boundary Street car park and for 1 dollar an hour, really good value. Bed was made and so was that welcome cup of tea. Ian splashed water over his face, that would do him, and then it was make the short journey to the pickup point. 

In total, 6 more LOTR fans joined the tour. Our guide Vicky knew absolutely everything about the films having been an extra as a Rohirrim refugee of Lake Town escaping from the Orcs. She had even met Peter Jackson who now has a holiday home overlooking Lake Wakatipu. I was slightly dismayed to learn we were heading off to Glenorchy and Paradise. Not four days ago we had visited both. The first stop was at 12 Mile Delta. Oh, no..that was where we had camped overnight! But instead of taking us down through the campsite we continued along a track, it was here we had a 10-minute walk to the first of the Middle Earth locations.


The battle between the Rangers of Gondor and the men of Harad took place at this area.  Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee were cooking cooneys (rabbits) and debating how to cook them. Remember the line. “Boil em, mash them stick them in a stew”?… Smeagle was close by when they heard a commotion. Looking over the precipice they witnessed the appearance of the Oliphants. One of the guys re-enacted part of that scene.

Back on the 4 WD mini bus it was off to Glenorchy. Today the weather was perfect for seeing those amazing views and the lake was almost like a mirror. Ian got to see it all now that he sat as a passenger. He says he doesn't mind doing all the driving, but I'm sure he misses not being able to gaze for a long period of time at the scene before him.I still haven't taken the wheel and I doubt I will do so in the future.

At Glenorchy we drove through that small and still sleepy township. One thing Vicky pointed out to us was the Library. Very small and quaint. How did we miss that when we were here last?

Onto that gravel track, and we encountered a casualty of the road. We can only guess how that happened.

Last time we came to Paradise the furthest we got was to the sign before turning around. Had we continued to try to find the location of Isengard, we would have found a locked gate. Only this tour operator was allowed through. It's a lovely setting with the mountains in the background and the River Dart meandering its way through the valley. We could see why Jackson chose this location.


 Isengard was a great fortress and the domain of Saruman. In the centre of the Ring of Isengard stood the stone tower of Orthanc. It was built to guard the Gap of Rohan. There is a scene in the film when Gandalf approaches Saruman’s tower, this was from here.

And also at this location was Beorn’s Hall built on the hill which was in the movie The Hobbit.

The bush in the photo is the same one as that below.

We got to dress up here. and play at being Hobbits, and Elves. Gandalf also played a big part, and Ian, it seems, was perfect for the job! I was an Elf (hardly the tall and willowy type) great fun. Then we role reversed, both of us became Hobbits.  The swords were pretty authentic as was Gandalf staff and I finally got to vent my spleen on Ian, Just a slight jab in the ribs to remind him of those niggly annoyances only those living in a confined space could experience!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ (I'm sure he would have done slightly more than a jab to me!)

 The Misty Mountains.

These are part of the Southern Alps, which is the highest and longest mountain range in New Zealand 

In the scene below the Fellowship had to walk under snowy conditions to attempt to cross the Misty Mountains by the Redhorn Gate.They walked into a fierce blizzard and couldn't go any further because of the deep snow. And so defeated by the ill will of the mountain, they were forced to cross under the Misty Mountains through the Mines of Moria.

Mt Earnslaw (snow capped) and part of the misty mountains to the right.

Our next location was to

Lothlorien Forest

The Elves originally fell in love with this golden forest and made homes in the boughs of the trees.

It was a lovely spot to stop for coffee, tea, lemmings Lamington and choc chip cookies.

It had been an interesting tour, but if you're not into Lord of the Rings then it's not for you. For us, despite having been to Glenorchy and Paradise a few days ago, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, especially the dressing up.

Back in Queenstown we grabbed a couple of pies from the bakery plus a chorizo pizza for tea tonight. Our next destination was to Te Anau. Before reaching the town, a camp site was seen from the road. It's one of those low cost camping grounds. Only 3 powered sites and 8 hard standing non-powered. A grassy area was available for tents. It was lovely and we both got to have a shower, all included in the $30. 

Those small white huts were individual toilet and shower blocks.

And seen on route

Mechanical Shark!

And wildlife

Now I know what gets rid of road kill. Photos not brilliant but nor was the light!


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Looks like a great tour even though I am not an LOTR fan - only saw one of the movies and didn't want to see the rest.

Lamingtons are one of those delicacies that NZers and Aussies debate the origin of - yummy though wherever they were first made. Particularly special filled with cream...


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

The confusion with the lemmings is that was what our guide called them. I had no idea about Lamington but I will amend the post. Good job I have you to keep me on the straight and narrow. Xxx

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