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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Once a Ranger and a Uruk-Hai, Now a Guide

New Years Eve I stayed up til midnight uploading videos (YouTube Channel starfleetmom1) and enjoyed the multitudes of fireworks all around the neighborhood and Lake Wakatipu. The neighbors were setting them off in the street out front, and there was a big professional display across the lake in Queenstown.

Really crappy fireworks vid

When we woke up it was pouring rain, and it continued the entire day. I did some laundry, The Alien watched darts on Sky Sport (yes, darts, really) and we walked to the pub next door for lunch. Since Treklet is a vegetarian, she didn't order from this kids menu, but I had to snap a pic of it.

After lunch, our Lord of the Rings tour guide, Dean, picked us up. We were joining the full-day group for the afternoon portion of the tour. We climbed in the van with a couple from Germany and two young men from Switzerland.

Dean was in the trilogy, as a Ranger and a Uruk-Hai, and was on transport crew for The Hobbit, so he had first-hand knowledge of the sites, scripts, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

We visited the site in the Kawarau Gorge, above the bungee bridge, where the Argonath scene was filmed. We were actually at a point behind the scene, looking toward where the cameras were set up. We learned that the statues were actually "bigatures" filmed at a quarry in Wellington and superimposed on the scene. We learned that the boat Orlando Bloom was in capsized and the Bungee retrieval boat downriver fished him out of the river.

We saw sites in Arrowtown where scenes from the Prologue and Arwen's rescue of Frodo were filmed. We stopped on the shores of Lake Hayes where our guide brought out replica weapons and costume pieces for us to take pictures with.

I asked Dean how he got to be in the productions. He said there were ads in the newspaper calling for extras, with height requirements. He went for the tall men audition, 40 guys were called back, and 20 were cast.

It was interesting, but I'm not a big enough LOTR nerd to recognize weapon names or keep minor character names straight. Those Swiss kids were, though!


  1. Really fascinating to see the comparisons. I would love to visit New Zealand. I'm enjoying your trip very much, so thanks for taking it! ;-)

  2. Our guide! He worked as an extra on the trilogy & as transport on Hobbit