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The Y2000 Mordor Walk NZ Exclusives

NZ Exclusive Listing
 NZ Exclusive home
 The Jafas Have Landed
 Tehanu's Second Trip to Hobbiton
 Tehanu Goes to the Auditions!
 Non-Industrial Light and Magic
 Hobbiton in Spring
 WETA Closeup for Technophiles
 Waltzing Around Wellington
 Tehanu’s set visit: Hobbiton
 The Y2000 Mordor Walk
 Last Alliance Set Report
 Looking for Weathertop
 Shadowfax and Other Famous Horses
 One Year of Filming
 Kiwis in Middle-earth
  more coming soon

Hobbit Heads Well, this isn’t like one of my usual travel articles. For months I’d been saying ‘Let’s organise a Tolkien Tour of Mordor.’ Organise wasn’t a good word, because I didn’t organise a thing besides advertising the date on the site, without much prior warning. Some wonderful people turned up, who I will call Eowyn and Eowyn’s Intrepid Mother. They came with me and so did the Grey Warbler.

This isn’t much of a ‘Locations’ because we shamelessly didn’t go to Mordor, which was going to be on Mt. Ruapehu. We went to the mountain one over, called Tongariro. Same landscape, and a GREAT walk. So, we’ll give you lots of shots of the kind of horrid lava and ash landscape that both places are famous for, and that’s about it.

Ered Lithui

We didn’t gather any LOTR news on our way round Mt. Tongariro except when we talked to the Dept. of Conservation staff member who was on warden duty at one of the huts where we stayed. She said that the film company had done a bit of filming near the Tukino skifield on Mt. Ruapehu, but DOC had refused them permission to bring in horses, helicopters and large props.

One of the props I’d seen drawings of was pretty large, building-sized, in fact, so I’m not surprised that DOC dug their heels in. This nasty-looking ashy landscape is in fact very delicate. It crunches and crumbles away beneath every footstep, and the tiny silver plants hunkering down and surviving on it are brittle and easily hurt.

Morodor 3

Last word from the Sunday Star Times newspaper seems to imply that the film company and DOC are negotiating further on that, so we’ll wait and see. Here’s a pic of Ruapehu on the side they filmed on so far.

Ruapehu The Real Mt. Doom 2

Anyway, we had great Mordor weather for our walk, rather misty and gloomy. Not stiflingly hot, the way I’ve always imagined Mordor, but from the point of view of filming it, nobody will be able to tell what the temperature is.

Mordor 1 Mordor 2

The first day’s walk took us over a very shallow saddle between Ruapehu and Tongariro. The perfect cone of Ngaruhoe was nearest to us. All the peaks were lost in cloud, so all we could see was an endless curving expanse of alpine plants. We finished up in the difficult-to-say Waihohunu Hut which is hidden in beechforest. Just so you know the whole walk isn’t all ghastly lava. In fact there were some lovely bits.

Blue Ducks

The next day we were on the ridge leading up to Ngaruhoe, which we never saw much of through the cloud.

Ash Tussock

After that, it was all twisted lava, ash, craters, that kind of stuff for the next two days! Great!

Tiny Shrub

We didn’t end up talking about Tolkien all that much because Eowyn and her Intrepid Mum had way too interesting lives and it was more fascinating to talk about their adventures travelling round NZ.

On the last day we could see a bit of Mt. Ngaruhoe’s cone….and a bit of Ruapehu.

"The confused and tumbled shoulders of its great base rose for maybe three thousand feet above the plain, and above them reared half as high again its tall central cone, like a vast oast or chimney capped with a jagged crater. ..the plain of Gorgoroth was below him, wrapped in fume and shadow."

That’s Mt. Doom. It seems that if you combined the images of both our central peaks, that’s pretty much what you’d come up with.

Mt Ngaruhoe

Anyway, next year at about the same time, schedule willing, we’ll repeat the experience, so anyone that’s interested, start planning now….For the Y2001 Mordor Walk, next February.

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