- We had two guides, both locals of the area -- one was a trainee, but they did answer lots of extra questions.
- we were shown a lot of locations that we would not have so easily recognised ourselves, particularly because of the way how Jackson changed landscapes through props, filming angles, and digital aftertouches.
- it was nice to be told lots of intimate details of the filming and of how locals were asked for help, and how landscapes were altered or made to appear different. E.g. How wide shots of the Death Marshes are remote shots of a swampy area that really looked quite 'dead' but the closeups were filmed in a car park in Wellington with an installed bathtub... :-) or how the children of nearby primary schools helped to paint the Lothlorien leaves golden.
- The sandwiches were yummy, but not homemade as another review writes; hot chocolate with only water and a splash of milk is just not right, but on other trips, it was obviously not offered at all, so this was a nice touch, probably owed to the weather (cold and rainy).
- complimentary CD with images of the trip, so we didn't need to take them all ourselves and weren't dependent on the weather (we had very low-hanging clouds and couldn't see the mountain tops).
- a copy of the LOTR location guidebook by Ian Brodie on every seat.
- Yes, they were only locations that were in the LOTR location guidebook which you can get all over New Zealand.
- it was essentially just up the road from Queenstown, a bit past Glenorchy on a gravel road, but nothing we couldn't have done with our own rental car, and back. Not going to the other side of the lake, no really remote location that really needed 4WD access.
- what's worse, if you had the guidebook and entered the GPS coordinates given there into Google maps or a GPS device, then you noticed that we didn't even go up to all the locations that Ian Brodie specifically names, but stopped 8 km short of them. We did not go to Dan's paddock, and....
- what we were told was a view of Nan Curunir was not the one from the guidebook, as I later found out; that one actually was taken from a point we did not go to. We were made to believe that Nan Curunir was taken as a view across lake Wakatipu with the lake later digitally taken out, but the guidebook shows a paddock in the front, which does not require that terribly much editing to edit away, and by the GPS coordinates, would have been the said 8-10kms further north.
- Mark certainly knew a lot about the (making of the) LOTR films (and others like Wolverine), but how much did he know about the books?
I can't give this a Very Good but would place this somewhere between Average and Very Good, but Tripadvisor doesn't allow me to do this.
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