Mt Sunday, Mt. Potts Station, near Lake Clearwater, South Island, NZ
What it is:
In case you were living under a rock for all of the first 5 years of this millennium, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in NZ. Consequently, the NZ landscape is littered with picturesque filming locations, and the picturesque filming locations are littered with tourists clutching film stills and comparing them to the scenery.
One of the more popular of these locations is Mt Sunday, where the Rohanian city of Edoras was filmed.
Mt Sunday actually looks like the film set, unlike most other locations. It’s relatively accessible, and the scenery is stunning enough to be worth seeing, even if you aren’t a LotR fan. Oh, and it’s a lovely little hike.
The roads aren’t the best. We watched a tour group in a 4 wheel drive get stuck in a mudhole. We had (wisely) parked much further back and decided to hike the rest of the way. I’m afraid we were rather smug and gleeful in watching the 4 wheel drive struggle to free itself – we could see it almost the entire time as we climbed up the hill, and 3 hours later, when we had finished our very leisurely hike, it was still in the same mudhole. I do feel rather bad for the tourists who paid for their tour, but we had offered to let them hike with us (some of the rivers that needed to be forded were pretty dangerous, so fording as a group was a good idea), and they were too lazy to walk a bit.
Like I said, there are streams to be forded, and they are cold. Most are pretty easy, one is a bit scary. Not recommended in bad weather or the winter.
It’s a great place to take photographs, especially if you happen to have an authentic, trademarked, Fellowship cloak to pose in.
The view from the top is pretty spectacular too
Tips and tricks:
Park at the little parking lot, and walk. It’s not a hard hike, the scenery is beautiful, and you are less likely to get stuck.
Walk along the road to get there, coming up the right flank of the hill. Then you can make a circle back through the cow pastures and swamps along the marked walking track, and get to see the hill from every angle.
You are less likely to get lost coming back along the walking track, then trying to follow it from the start. And the
Be nice to the cows as you go through the paddocks. Don’t get between mothers and calves, etc, etc.
And most of all, stop and smell the roses
And yeah, this was really just an excuse to show off some lovely pictures from our South Island road trip!