Media Fact File: Forest River – Pelorus River, Marlborough

The pure beauty of Pelorus River in Marlborough made this location the perfect choice for Forest River in 'The Hobbit' Trilogy.

Pelorus River flows from the Richmond Range into Pelorus Sound at the northern end of the South Island, and is a favoured swimming, camping and fishing spot. It is a 40-minute drive from Blenheim - the main centre in the famed Marlborough wine region. Blenheim is a 20-minute flight from Wellington International Airport and direct services also operate from Auckland and Christchurch.

Filming facts

  • The Hobbit Trilogy crew filmed at Pelorus River for four days.
  • A scaffolding access ramp of epic proportions was a logistical highlight for the barrels scene filmed in this location. A steep rocky gorge made access too difficult by foot so a 100-metre scaffolding ramp was created to overcome the problem of getting the dwarves into the river.
  • Pelorus was the last Main Unit filming location confirmed during the location scout. Supervising location manager Jared Connon said this was the most difficult location to find, as director Sir Peter Jackson had very particular visions of a solid rock shoreline surrounded by a fantastic forest where the barrels would come ashore.
  • Filming was cut short in the region by two days as heavy rains were forecast. Luckily crew made the call to leave because the next day the scaffolding platform was submerged under raging floodwaters, at least 4m higher than the previous day!

Cast favourites

  • Pelorus River was Stephen Hunter’s (Bombur) favourite day on set - "I think my favourite day on set - unquestionably was floating down the Pelorus River in barrels" … "That was way cool, and if they ever make it a ride… life time pass please." The Hobbit Trilogy Production Blog 6, 1 March 2012.

Did you know?

  • Pelorus Eco Adventures run canoe trips through the location of the ‘dwarves in barrels’ scene, where you can paddle right up to the waterfall where The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was filmed.
  • The Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve - or Te Hoiere - is the location for several walking tracks and a popular stopping off point for walkers on New Zealand’s Te Araroa (the long pathway) - a 3000 km trail stretching from Cape Reinga in the north of New Zealand to Bluff in the south.
  • Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region, internationally recognised for sauvignon blanc. The region is responsible for 80 % of New Zealand’s wine exports, and home to approximately 140 wineries and 30 cellar doors.
  • The Marlborough region is also home to the 70-kilometre Queen Charlotte Track, a four day walk, cycle or kayak. The track is world-renowned for its stunning views which, on a clear day, extend as far as Wellington at the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island.
  • Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley is the region’s highest peak and where Sir Edmund Hillary embarked on his first mountain climb, in a famous journey that ultimately saw him conquer Mt Everest.

What the cast and crew said about Pelorus River:

Stephen Hunter (Bombur): "I think my favourite day on set - unquestionably was floating down the Pelorus River in barrels" … "That was way cool, and if they ever make it a ride… life time pass please." The Hobbit Trilogy Production Blog 6, 1 March 2012.

Sir Peter Jackson (Director of The Hobbit Trilogy): "We are finally going to put our dwarves in barrels, it looks like fun, I would do it myself if I wasn’t busy doing other things." The Hobbit Trilogy Production Blog 6, 1 March 2012



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