Lets face it, if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan in New Zealand you want to see Isengard. We are no different, we had to see this legendary area. Sure there wouldn’t be a massive tower there or anything like that but the scenery is the same none the less. Much to our delight there is a campsite not even ten minutes away from the filming location.

Camping in Isengard? WE’RE IN!

We took our van R2D2 towards Glenorchy and onward to Isengard.

First we should mention Glenorchy is quite the sight to see. The scenery around this little town is absolutely magnificent, it’s rolling green hills stretch up into the sky transforming into mountains that surround a blue section of Lake Wakatipu. It’s seriously no wonder that this place was used for filming LOTR, let alone any other filming project. After talking with one of the cafes owners we discovered that the area is so commonly used for filming, whether it be commercials, movies, or tv shows, that there is almost always a filming crew present in the town. Even while we were visiting there was a filming crew just outside of the town filming a commercial.

We continued on past the town to the campground Lake Sylvan, where we would spend the night. While driving there we saw a great looking hike and pulled over to check it out. We snapped a few photos and hopped back in the van to the campground, we would return the following day to complete the trail. We didn’t see the filming location while driving to the campground but we weren’t overly disappointed, we were camping in the area after all right?

Andy lit a a massive fire and we enjoyed hot dogs under the stars. In the morning we returned to the hiking trail down the road ready to hike all day. Until we realized that the track wasn’t exactly the easiest and we would actually need a map to do it because the trail is unmarked. So failed attempt, but that’s okay. Can’t win em all right?

We headed back into Glenorchy to grab some lunch at a nice little cafe. We ended up at a cafe that was owned by a man who had been one of the orcs in the battle of Helms Deep! He told us endless stories about the actors and filming and everything and even told us to look out for him in the film (we never ended up finding him, not exactly that easy). He then proceeded to show us a photo of the Isengard filming location and told us how the tour groups always drive right past it to the wrong part.

The photo he showed us, were the photos we had took the day before while scouting out a hiking track.

We had unknowingly been standing at the filming location.

Every single picture we took showed the exact spot where the tower of Orthanc had been superimposed.

We had gotten so lucky, had it not been for that hiking trail we would have skipped right over it, but we would have been happy none the less. Common, camping in Isengard is pretty cool, better than just seeing a location. And yet we managed to do both, unknowingly mind you.

Maybe the next location we go to we should bring along movie stills!


Since Andy couldn’t jump off the dock he decided to simply jump on it instead!


We hiked quite far up a pretty rough trail to find a hidden waterfall and when we looked behind us we got this epic view. If you look closely enough you can see R2D2 (our van) below.



Isengard-1 (2)

Isengard-2 (2)

The small Hill on the left of the photo in the background is about the spot that was used when the tower of Orthanc was superimposed! Took the photos all by mistake, turned out for the best!