Paradise exists in New Zealand. And in Queenstown, and the surrounding regions, you don't have to look far to find it.
Paradise Valley is found in Glenorchy - which sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu - and is a small town with a thriving tourism industry. Queenstown - the nearest main town and international airport - is a 40-minute drive that’s rated as one of the top eight scenic drives in the world.
• Six weeks of intensive construction, landscaping and set dressing finally brought the gigantic home and fortress of Beorn to life for three days of filming.
• The Hobbit Trilogy Supervising Location manager Jared Connon says one of the secrets that make Paradise such an amazing filming location is that it has a perfect balance between isolation and stunning scenery, backed up by great infrastructure and quality local crews.
• The Glenorchy region was used for numerous scenes in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy including Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen, and in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Mt Earnslaw provided the location for The Misty Mountain Paths.
• Other films including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian have also been filmed in the area.
• Queenstown is a favourite Middle-earth filming location for Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) who said: "This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured." Tourism New Zealand featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD.
Did you know?
• Neighbouring Arcadia Station is the popular Dart Stables where fans can take a horse treks through locations including where Boromir met his doom at Amon Hen in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Several horses from Dart Stables were also used in the Trilogy.
• Glenorchy is the jumping off point for the Routeburn Track one of the top 10 classic hikes in the world.
• Dart River Safaris takes visitors down Dart River past several of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy locations, on thrilling jet boat rides or the more relaxed "funyak" family inflatable canoe rides.
• Queenstown is known as New Zealand’s adventure capital and annually attracts more than a million visitors who come for everything from world-class skiing and snowboarding to bungy jumping, jet boating and gourmet food and wine.
• According to Maori legend Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu was formed by an evil giant who kidnapped a beautiful Maori maiden. Knocked down by the maiden’s rescuer, the giant now slumbers in the depths of the lake and his beating heart makes the lake rise and fall.
• Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley is the world’s most southern wine growing region - famed for award-winning pinot noir wines, as well as chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc varietals.
What the cast and crew said about Paradise, Glenorchy:
Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf): "This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Andy Serkis (Gollum & Director Second Unit): "A highlight from New Zealand…. I mean I was in a very fortunate position directing the second unit on this so I got to fly round in a helicopter over Queenstown and look at all the extraordinary places down there and shoot the most incredible places.
One of which was Earnslaw Burn which is a mountain range just south of Glenorchy just fantastic, all around there. You know anyone coming down should go to Arrowtown and go to the Amisfield Winery, down the Dart River, you know it is endless really…go to Fiordland, we shot some stuff around there, we were really spoilt for choice, so many beautiful places to go." TNZ Red Carpet Interview World Première The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 28 November 2012
Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf): "I feel I know Queenstown quite well…. I’ve been to places that have the same sort of spirit elsewhere in the world but nowhere in quite such a magnificent setting."
Sir Peter Jackson (Director of The Hobbit Trilogy): "Been to Paradise before, that’s where we shot a few scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring mainly back in 1999, Lorien forest, Boromir’s death…Great thing about this job, you get to see beautiful, beautiful places like this." The Hobbit Trilogy Production Blog 6
James Nesbitt (Bofur): "You know when we all went to Queenstown I’d never been there before and it was just astonishing - I mean a beautiful jewel really at the bottom of the world." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf): "Queenstown, the famous holiday here. But we escape the crowds and go up the lake and into the mountains and that’s perhaps my favourite spot." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Liz Tan (2nd unit 1st AD): "Earnslaw Burn was probably one of my favourite locations - a gorgeous alpine valley surrounded by waterfalls." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Andy Serkis (Gollum & Second Unit Director): "The place was alive with these incredible cascades. We were very lucky to go to some extraordinary locations." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Martin Freeman (Bilbo): "A lot of the world’s impression of New Zealand is that landscape with the rolling hills (Te Kuiti) and the (Twizel) mountains (Treble Cone) and the Fiords - it’s got everything in it." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Sylvester McCoy (Radagast): "It’s real. It’s the real countryside - but at first you think wow what a great job they made - (Nokomai Bog) but it’s not, it’s the real thing." TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD
Martin Freeman (Bilbo): "[Passburn Track] - meanwhile the backdrop is so beautiful, people will think it’s CGI, it looks too perfect... [Fiordland, Sutherland falls] - you can use that as an advert for New Zealand if you want … [Fiordland, David’s knoll] - I mean succinct, snappy, all positive… [Southern Alps] - and cut - brilliant - trademark!" TNZ featurette on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD