This Lord of the Rings Filming Location Has Reopened After 11 Years!

This Lord of the Rings Filming Location Has Reopened After 11 Years!

Time to visit New Zealand's home of the horse lords!

Muster the Rohirrim! As if there couldn’t be any more good news coming from Middle-Earth, A.K.A. New Zealand (or is it the other way around?), it was recently announced that an old Lord of the Rings filming location has officially reopened. 

Deer Park Heights is a deer farm located at Queenstown and was a filming location in the Two Towers and Return of the King, the second and third movies of the LoTR trilogy. But upon first glance, what will spark the memory of Lord of the Rings fans will surely be the warg riders scene where the refugees of Rohan had to escape while Rohan’s soldiers kept the orcs and wargs at bay. Iconic moments during this whole segment include Legolas getting on his horse in what seems to be a slow-motion flip and Aragorn dramatically falling off a cliff. 

Deer Park Heights used to be open to tourists back in 1966. However, the Mee family closed it off to the public in the last 11 years. Since then, they’ve made the area a breeding and working deer farm. It will continue to be so, but now, the Mee family has decided to welcome tourists and locals back so as not to waste the nature escape potential of the 800-hectare farm. 

“We were one of the Queenstown tourism pioneers when we opened at the same time as jet-boat company KJet and Skyline. Now we want to welcome visitors to great fun, and good value family day out for those who want to spend time outdoors and with our animals. It’s such an amazing location and it seems a shame to not share it,” Mr. Mee said in an interview.

What to expect

As much as Deer Park Heights has been publicised for being a LoTR filming location, the farm wants to highlight itself as a place where people can be one with nature and have cute animal encounters. Here are the things to look forward to:

  • The attraction will welcome guests via an online booking system. Only cars that can seat up to seven people are allowed. Buses, minivans, and commercial vehicles are prohibited. 
  • Hikers and cyclists are also prohibited.
  • Visitors may self-drive five kilometres up the road to several lookout points; they can even stop to feed the animals they see on their journey.
  • Aside from deer, visitors will see miniature horses (different from ponies), kunekune pigs, goats, donkeys, and even llamas and alpacas! 
  • Entrance fee: US$55 (S$74.66) per car
  • Operating time: Daylight hours

Lord of the Rings filming locations

Deer Park Heights has seven Lord of the Rings filming locations. Below is the farm’s list of places that might be familiar to LoTR fans. Note that the location numbers don’t necessarily correspond to the order of which you will encounter each place when driving through the farm. 

LoTR 1: Riding to Minas Tirith (Return of the King) – Witness the beautiful mountain range which was seen when Gandalf and Pippin were riding to Minas Tirith on the back of magnificent Shadowfax. 

LoTR 2: Refugee camp (Two Towers) – This is the terrain which the Rohan refugees travelled coming from Edoras to Helms Deep. It’s also where Gimli falls off his horse. 

LoTR 3: Rider of Rohan (Two Towers) – This is the cliff where the warg rider ambushes Hama. 

LoTR 4: Legolas kills the warg (Two Towers) – On this hill, Legolas comes to the rescue and warns the rest of Theoden’s people of the incoming danger. 

LoTR 5: Legolas spots more wargs (Two Towers) – With his sharp elvish eyes, Legolas stands on this elevated slope, spots the army of warg riders, and does an amazing flip while getting on his horse. 

LoTR 6: Warg attack and Aragorn’s cliff (Two Towers) – This field with a cliff edge was where Aragorn was dragged as his wrist was caught on a warg saddle, and he eventually falls off the cliff with the warg. 

LoTR 7: Paths of the Dead (Return of the King) – This rocky downward slope is where they filmed the exit of the Paths of the Deads and where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli spot the corsair ships (this scene is in the extended cut/DVD, in case it sounds unfamiliar). 

Also read: How Switzerland Inspired the Magical Landscapes of The Lord of the Rings

And that about sums it up for this reopened Lord of the Rings filming location. It may sound like a simple animal farm at first, but once you enter the 800-hectare property, you’ll surely be transported to Middle-Earth, more specifically, Rohan, and meet new animal friends along the way!

All images of Deer Park Heights are credited to the Deer Park Heights Facebook Page.

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.