J.R.R. Tolkien fans loved Middle-earth, Frodo and, yes, even Gollum long before the trilogy was made into a four-part movie series, beginning in 2001 with The Fellowship of the Ring. What the movie did, though, was bring to life the world Tolkien created and give form to what his readers had only been able to imagine until that point.
For true fans, there is now a way to experience the world of Frodo and Gandalf first-hand with New Zealand’s Red Carpet Tour company. Founded in 2002, Red Carpet specializes in both extended- and day-tours of the locations seen in the trilogy, as well as the recent films in The Hobbit series. Erica Challis, a local Lord of the Rings scholar and author of The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien was brought on board to ensure the tours would meet the discerning Tolkien fan’s expectations. Challis was instrumental to the tour company’s launch in the early 2000s.
Ten- and 14-day tours are offered, which include lodging and full breakfasts, that will take travelers to well-known movie and book sites, like Frodo’s Shire and Rohan country, as well as optional add-ons, including a two-hour helicopter ride to the Rivendell and Mt. Olympus. Site visits are interspersed with presentations by Lord of the Ring and Hobbit experts, such as Daniel Reeve, a calligrapher.
Day tours are also offered for those who may not wish to commit an entire vacation in New Zealand solely to the world of Middle-earth. The Hobbiton Day Tour, for example, will take visitors on a scenic drive of The Shire, where they can dine at The Green Dragon and enjoy 90 minutes on the Hobbiton movie set.
2015 tour dates are available on the company’s website, as well as pricing and contact information. This is a must-see for any true Tolkien fan!
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