Monday, April 12, 2010

Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings was shot all thoughout New Zealand and we'd been excited to see some of the places in the films. Then about three days into our tour of NZ I saw a LOTR book that detailed all the set locations and showed photos of the places while they were filming and then of the places themselves without all the crew. What disappointed me was that most of the places they filmed simply looked like an ordinary hillside or cliff face once you took the actors and digital CGI castles out of the picture.

We finally were close enough to one location that I couldn't pass it up. Its Mt. Doom from the Return of the King movie. Plus there are three volcanos located right next to each other that offers some good hiking with excellent views.

We drove two hours outside Taupo to the ski village on Mount Ruapehu which is right next to Mount Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom). We took the chair lift half way up and hiked another hour and a half up to a good lookout point.

I've never been to a ski resort in the summer time and it was hard to imagine people skiing here.

It looked more like Afghanistan than a ski resort.

Here we are near the top. We continued down the path behind us in the pic below up to a sweet lookout spot.

In this pic below you can barely see the tiny tip of another volcano hundreds of miles away peaking through the clouds. Maori legend says that it used to be next to the other three volcanos but it tried to come onto one of the nearby female volcanos and so these three male volcanos pushed him away. According to the Maori people male volcanos are ones that can get snow on them.

The cone shaped volcano is Mt. Doom.

It was nowhere near the same emotions as being at the top of the mountain we climbed in Bolivia but the views were similar. Feeling like you're above the clouds and on top of the world feels pretty cool.

Here I am pointing the wrong way to the volcano. You'd think Gemma would have told me so....

I love this pic. Thats me looking like the Christ the Redeemer statue.

In the bathrooms at the ski resort they had signs telling you what to do if the volcano errupts! Can't say I'd ever seen that before at a ski resort.

One last view of Mt. Doom in the side view mirrors.
We're headed to wine country next and can't wait to get there!


  1. Those were some nice cone-shaped volcanoes lol.

  2. Found this image while searching on "Mount Doom". All I can say is in addition to being very good looking, your wife/gf has balls of steel (IMG_4313.JPG). Congrats.

  3. how would unknown know? I searched for Mt Doom too & saw Gemma's photo about 24 lines down. Great photo's great reading about your time in NZ. I look vicariously forward to looking thru the rest of your journey ... haha!