As Lord of the Rings fans we were pretty stoked to be able to actually camp RIGHT BESIDE where they filmed a scene. How thrilling! (nerdy shrieks). We were going to be Frodo and Sam (with much smaller and way less hairy feet of course) on the rocky beach of Nen Hithoel getting ready to depart on an epic adventure! Okay, so maybe that’s a bit far but you can understand the excitement.
Mavora Lakes is the real name of the area where they filmed the great fantasy area. There are two; a north and a south, the north being larger and the one used in the films. As every location we have been to for LOTR Mavora is no different, down a dusty gravel road with more pot holes than what seems to be humanly possible. Thank goodness we bought a van with good clearance and Andy is the master of pot hole evasion. And I mean MASTER. Even though sometimes we may be on the verge of flying off the road, we don’t ever hit a pot hole.
The lakes are nestled between giant hills and snow capped mountains, with a great forests and beautiful shrubbery and brown long grass surrounding the base of said sky giants. It has LOTR written all over it.
Best part about finding this filming location is it’s SO SO easy to stand in the exact spot that Elijah Wood did when he played Frodo. In the hillside on the other side of the lake there is an opening of trees that almost looks like a key. This opening is in itself somewhat the key to finding the precise location. With help from a movie still you can position yourself according to where that key appears in the films (take a look at the photo below and you’ll pick up what we’re putting down). It to this day looks pretty much the same, minus of course the elvish ruins.
It’s great and refreshing to be able to find a place in the movies that is relatively unaltered and looks identical. After all most of the places you can visit besides Hobbiton are green screened and only what recognizable. All we would have had to do was thrown some old elvish ruins in the lake shore and we would have been set (get the pun?!??! Why are we so funny).
As night quickly approached we settled on a (seemingly) perfect camp site, it had a view of the lake, was well covered from the wind by trees and even hosted a small area for a fire pit. Quickly we grabbed what fire wood we could and began to settle down and start a fire. Unfortunately it had rained a few days prior so the wood was all wet, which means a fire is a no go. Our attempts at clearing the ashes also unreleased something rather nasty upon on.
SAND FLIES. EVERYWHERE. VICIOUS SAND FLIES.
They’re like mosquitoes in fly form, and they’re viscous little things. Any skin you have exposed they will find and they will bite, suck your blood, and inject you with the itchiest anti-coagulate venom you have ever experiened. (Again maybe we are being dramatic but we were itchy for weeks from these assholes).
They are also relentless. They do not give up.
It was as if Inubus set out his plague of Locusts on us, except they were blood sucking micro flies.
Frodo had orcs chasing him trying to get the ring, we had sand flies chasing us trying to get our blood.
So instead of a grand fire, we were locked up in our van fighting off any flies that had gotten in while the doors were open. Needless to say in the morning, we sped out of there so fast Nascar would have sponsored us.