My good friend Robert Feakes asks, gently, whether I might implement a Tolkien/non-Tolkien filter on Status-Q in the same way that some sites give you a non-Flash option! Point taken.

If it’s any consolation, I didn’t actually know that the Tongariro area was the site for much of the filming before doing the hike: I had simply heard that it was a fabulous walk, but then recognised some of the scenes en route. And since I’ve now moved out of the main filming areas, gentle reader, you will probably be spared much more in the way of Tolkienesque references.

Robert also commented, “it does trouble me that New Zealand is now seen as ‘LOTR-land’ (sort of ‘Herriot country’ with more battles and orcs) rather than a splendid place in its own right”. And he has a fair point. I was always bemused by the ‘Inspector Morse tours’ of Oxford for a similar reason. For me, NZ has always been an enchanting place and, frankly, if more people get to see and appreciate its amazing beauty because of the LOTR connections, that’s probably not a bad thing.

The good news is that all evidence of the film sets was removed after filming, so there’s little danger of it turning into a theme park.

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