The Ruapehu region of New Zealand, where Hidden Bay - Turoa, Ohakune are located - provided the perfect rugged backdrop for Peter Jackson''s ''The Lord of the Rings'' and ''The Hobbit'' Trilogies.
Turoa is on the south side of Mt Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park - part of the Central Plateau in New Zealand’s North Island. The nearest main town is Taupo, the nearest major city and international airport is Auckland.
• The Hobbit Trilogy cast and crew spent one day filming at Turoa for Hidden Bay, entrance to the Lonely Mountain, after 18 months of planning and discussion with the local iwi (Maori tribe) and Department of Conservation.
• Filming in Tongariro National Park was significant as it was the first major feature to be shot in the park since The Lord of the Rings Trilogy more than 10 years ago.
• The Hobbit crew installed a 200m long scaffolding walkway to the film site to ensure they did not damage any of the ancient moss growing in the area.
• At 1500m above sea level this was the Main Unit’s highest base camp and filming location during The Hobbit shoot.
• Local iwi (tribes) who protect Turoa are Ngati Rangi and Ngati Uenuku. Cast and crew were formally welcomed to the area by iwi who performed a powhiri (welcome and blessing) at the local marae (tribal meeting place) and said it was an incredibly moving experience.
• Tongariro National Park was also used to portray Mordor and Emyn Muil in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
• The Ohutu Grazing Company in nearby Ohakune featured in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as the outskirts of Hobbiton.
• Turoa is Martin Freeman’s favourite location "So this is my favourite location. It is beautiful. There is a mountain, there is a waterfall, there’s a beautiful view across the valley there. It’s one of the sort of archetypal Kiwi places that you think ‘god New Zealand has such amazing landscapes’." Production Blog 6, 2 March 2012.
Did you know?
• The region is a popular tourist destination especially for skiing, hiking and cycling and it is home to the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing - considered one of the best one day walks in the world.
• The Tongariro National Park was the first in the world to be gifted by a country’s indigenous people - the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe in 1887.
• The 79,000ha park is New Zealand’s first national park and the fourth to be established in the world. It is also a World Heritage Site because of the Maori cultural and spiritual associations and outstanding volcanic features.
Volcanic activity started in the area two million years ago and continues today.
Unique wildlife in the park includes the North Island brown kiwi and long and short-tailed bats.
What the cast said about Turoa:
Martin Freeman: "So this is my favourite location. It is beautiful.There is a mountain, there is a waterfall, there’s a beautiful view across the valley there. It’s one of the sort of archetypal Kiwi places that you think ‘god New Zealand has such amazing landscapes’." The Hobbit Trilogy Production Blog 6, 2 March 2012
Richard Armitage (Thorin): "Mt Ruapehu is my favourite place - filmed , skied and hiked there." TNZ Red Carpet Interview World Première The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 28 November 2012
Hugo Weaving (Elrond):"The first time I came here I travelled around the North Island a lot and in my days I would do a bit of travelling, but I haven’t had much chance this time round to do that. But I love coming here I think the people here are just wonderful very spirited and creative and very welcoming." TNZ Red Carpet Interview World Première The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 28 November 2012.
Hidden Bay - Turoa, Ohakune
Background: Turoa and Ohakune
New Zealand’s sacred mountains
Tapu - sacred Maori code
Te Araroa - the long New Zealand trail
Nga Haerenga - cycling New Zealand’s Great Rides
New Zealand 101 - a quick tour
The Book of New Zealand
The Hobbit Trilogy