Those of us who love LOTR or the Narnia Tales or both, know perfectly well what a huge roll water plays in these works.  In terms of plot, water works.  Who can forget the dramatic scene where Frodo paddles off on his own but Samwise will not let him go?  

“I’m going to Mordor on my own,” says Frodo.
“Of course you are, Mr. Frodo,” replies Sam, “and I’m coming with you…I made a promise Mr. Frodo and I means to keep it.”  

So, we need to think about the water in Middle Earth, and I can tell you it is often clean and clear.  Many of the streams in NZ you can drink from as they are. 

First up is the river which Aragon and company paddled down to see the two great statues of earlier kings of Gondor.  The river in question is the Anduin, played by the Shotover River.  To get to the overlook of this river is a journey in itself, as it is in a deep ravine.  Here is the sign at the entrance to the narrow road that leads to the overlook.  Ever seen a road sign like this before?

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Beyond this spot is a bungy jumping bridge, and this leads to a story about Legolas, aka Orlando Bloom.  Orlando was only 17 when he was cast but he came to Middle Earth already adept at running, jumping, fencing, horseback riding, sculling, and the like.  His fellow compatriots, particularly the Hobbits, had met their match.  Now the boats you see Aragorn and company paddling had no decent steering.  Indeed, picture a scuba diver under the prow of several of these boats steering them down this river.

Another Aragorn moment happened here in the gorge where he nearly drowned.  The set crew merely thought he was playing ‘to character’ — and nearly too late discovered he was truly underwater too long weighted down by heavy costumes.

Below you will see a creek running through Arrowtown.  It doesn’t look very deep, but Peter Jackson wished to film the opening historical scenes of the trilogy there.  No problem.  Jackson simply built a dam so his characters could disappear under the water sufficiently. Oh the things they do to make films.  

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And who can forget Gollum’s fishing expedition along the way to Mordor.  These scenes were filmed in the rocky creek below.  Gollum would love today’s sushi.

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Peter Jackson was tricksy when it came to water. He would blend several different locales in the editing. Here for example is the stream in Rivendell, but the movie blended yet another stream from the south island.
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So much can happen in the water.

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Both New Zealand and Middle Earth share one of nature’s prettiest sites — waterfalls.
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But I don’t think there were any glaciers in Middle Earth — score one for New Zealand with its pristine glacial lakes.
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Much of the shooting of LOTR and Narnia was done on the south island around Queenstown, as well as on the north island near Wellington and Matamata.  But there is a different sort of water in NZ as well — hot water, geothermal water, producing geysers.  For instance,

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And perhaps we could have a contest in regard to which of these sources
spouts off the most.

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Middle Earth, New Zealand style, is a green and pleasant land in all four seasons.
And for that we thank their island climate and plentiful precipitation.  Imagine a climate where you can snowboard and parasail all in the same day.


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