Friday Review: Edoras/Mt Sunday

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.

Film still of Edoras

Mt Sunday

The Good:

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.

Lovely scenery and just enough of an incline to get the blood pumping

The Bad:

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.

Heh. ah...ahem...Poor things

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.

This was a very easy, and not very cold, stream

The Fabulous:

It’s a great place to take photographs, especially if you happen to have an authentic, trademarked, Fellowship cloak to pose in.

Hobbits have bare feet

The view from the top is pretty spectacular too

Look at those mountains and hills!

The stranded vehicle is the little black dot at the bottom of the big gravel stream

That is the scary stream we had to ford

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.

Walking along the road track

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.

The road up the right flank

Coming down the left flank

You are less likely to get lost coming back along the walking track, then trying to follow it from the start.  And the

The view coming down the left flank

Our fellowship, coming down the left flank

Be nice to the cows as you go through the paddocks.  Don’t get between mothers and calves, etc, etc.


Following the markers

Enjoying the last bit of view

And most of all, stop and smell the roses

Wild mountain roses

And yeah, this was really just an excuse to show off some lovely pictures from our South Island road trip!


      • I have not been to Gaskells in quite a long time. I haven’t come to terms with the Bay Area yet, and it’s quite a drive from where I live now, although I do miss dancing, oh yes.

        But where you are it is sunny and warm and green and there are loungers with blankets! /sigh. I suppose I am looking forward to summer 🙂

  1. Mlle. Sophie says

    I was distractedly reading the title of the post when I realized what it said! I’m a huge LotRs fan and I admit that I’ve watched all the special features possible, I want to go to New Zealand! It’s a beautiful place you’re so lucky!

  2. Oi, who owns the cloak? I’ve seen they at Weta Cave and they are very beautiful!

    • The cloak is Shells – she went to Stansborough and bought it pretty much the first day she was in NZ! Being the party pooper that I am, I told her that I wouldn’t have paid that much for a cloak that was only overlocked on the hem and then turned over once!

      They are amazing things though – so light and warm and with such a fantastic drape.

  3. Sigh. I surely hope I get to see NZ someday. You’re very lucky to live in such a cool place!

  4. I was back there in August, and they have now put robust bridges over all the streams. Which means as a walker, you should now stick to the marked walking track (the day we went the stream was in flood, and it was safer for us to cross at the vehicle ford).

    • That’s both good, and a bit of a pity. There was a nice sense of excitement to the ford crossing – I hate to see everything get civilised and sterilised. Safety is a good thing though.

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