Explore Pelennor Fields
Feast your eyes upon the wide-open plains of the Pelennor Fields. Behold in the majesty of one of Gondor’s most recognisable and extensively featured locations.
The next location pinned on your Middle‑earth™ map, little over three hour’s drive from Ōtautahi Christchurch is the Pelennor Fields, a battleground that lies outside of Minas Tirith, capital city of Gondor. Down the seriously-scenic State Highway 8, drive through the quaint Twizel township and continue along the azure blues of the Pūkaki canals. Rickety old farm gates are a signal of anticipation, as likely hidden beneath a blanket of resident fog, sun breaks through and the most incredible transformation will occur as gradually more of the untouched landscape is revealed.
The fields. The peaks. The plains - your eyes will rush to take it all in. Take a moment to picture Eowyn staring down the Witch-King of Angmar aloft his fellbeast mount. The golden pastures. The misty mountains. A hawk circling above. Finding a lone, wooden bench in one of the nearby paddocks – you can imagine Peter Jackson’s cast and crew taking a break from attacking Orcs, Oliphaunts and Nazgûls. The battle was shot over 32 days, but these iconic wide open fields stood in for many scenes between Osgiliath and the White city of Minas Tirith.
With all this unbridled space, you’ll want to run, shout, or playfight! In this vast landscape, foothills rolling behind you, towering mountains in front, snow melts before your eyes. The Pellenor Fields set is simply surreal. The beauty of this ‘Road Less Travelled’ is having an entire location, landscape, even world - just for yourself. While the Misty Mountains drew inspiration from other Southern Alps mountain ranges, when the thick blanket of fog suddenly lifts and the wispy, cotton-wool wrapped hills and fields suddenly appear… it’s as if they were only just being created for the very first time, and you learn a whole new meaning to ‘otherworldly’.
- Pelennor Fields are on private land; part of Ben Ohau Station, which is 290km (3 hours) from Christchurch and 7km from Twizel town centre.
- Follow Glen Lyon Road out of Twizel, cross the one-lane bridge over Pukaki Canal, then turn left and about 500m on your right is a small parking area - a raised pull off in the corner of a paddock.
- This small parking area is where a series of DOC hikes through the Ben Ohau range start.
Hobbit’s Handy Hints
- Access to the middle of Pelennor Fields requires permission from the land owners.
- However, fortunately, you can also walk along the DOC marked track to get perfect views of Pelennor Fields. The foothills and mountains ranges which feature in the backdrop of the movie scenes are easily recognisable along this walk.
- On several visits to Pelennor Fields, it was completely covered in a thick blanket of fog. We learnt (the hard way) that this type of fog hangs around for days and doesn’t lift. Plan your visit accordingly
- For a heads up on current weather conditions, you can use one of Waka Kotahi’s traffic cameras (webcams).
- There is a plethora of activities in the Twizel area– Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Ōhau and Lake Benmore are all on your doorstep! We personally love driving along the hydro canals and marvelling at the bright blue waters. And if you’re a keen fisherman, you only need to chat to a local for a minute to know that these canals offer some of the best fishing in the entire Mackenzie basin!
- If you are looking for somewhere special to stay, SkyScape is a unique and totally immersive experience. With a full glass ceiling, you can star gaze from your bed, or have a soak in your very own hot-tub (perfectly sized to fit two!). What’s more, your SkyBed overlooks the hills of Pelennor Fields!
- Pre-pandemic, One Ring Tours operated a Lord of the Rings Tour, taking you out into the middle of Pelennor Fields. Tour options are currently being reviewed by the landowner, Priscilla Cameron.
- The biggest day of filming across the entire trilogy occurred at the Pelennor Fields, with over 1000 cast and crew and 280 horses on site.
- Filming the scenes at Pelennor Fields took just over a month, and most of the Twizel township was employed on the film.
- Ben Ōhau station had the perfect ingredients to be cast as Tolkien’s Pelennor fields – snow-capped mountains in the background (Ered Nimrais), rolling foothills, grassy fields, no sign of habitation and a town close by for the film crew!
- Pelennor Fields were used extensively in the Return of the King, for the following scenes: The Battle of Pelennor Fields, The Fall of Osgiliath, The Sacrifice of Faramir, The Ride of The Rohirrim, The Nazgûl and his Prey, The Sheildmaiden of Rohan and The Victory of Minas Tirith.
- The Ride of The Rohirrim is a personal favourite scene of ours. As King Théoden delivers his inspirational speech: “Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! spear shall be shaken, shield shall be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now, ride!” You can easily see these foothills and the mountain in the background when visiting Pelennor Fields.
- If you watch the background, you can see the Pelennor Fields location as Éowyn beheads the Nazgul to protect Théoden. And with the help of Merry when she defeats the Witch-king of Angmar.
- We must also make mention of Gandalf (and Pippin) riding out to help fend off the Nazgûls as Faramir and company retreat from Osgiliath. The one hill set behind Gandalf as he runs is very easy to identify from the roads along the Pukaki canals, as seen in the image below.