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Where Was The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Actually Filmed?

Peter Jackson's iconic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is known for a lot of different things. The sheer scope of the project was unprecedented at the time. Jackson also fearlessly cast many lesser-known (at the time) actors, like Viggo Mortensen and Andy Serkis, launching them into the limelight in the process. The sets and special effects that the "Lord of the Rings" production crew used are also impressive, including everything from massive physical sets to immaculately detailed weapons to innovative motion-capture CGI for characters like Gollum. And that music? Howard Shore's iconic soundtracks for all three movies have become the definitive audible Tolkienian experience.

The fact that "Return of the King" alone won all 11 Oscars that it was nominated for while the trilogy collectively walked away from the ceremony with 17 pieces of hardware is one of the best testimonials of how much of an impact the entertainment experience made, and the fact that fans have come to love Jackson's adaptation practically as an extension of Tolkien's original works is an even more compelling argument for the scale of its impact.

If there's one thing that really defined Jackson's films, though, it has to be the backdrop. The movie includes countless sets filmed on gorgeous, larger-than-life landscapes. From the sweeping mountain ranges of Gondor to the rolling plains of Rohan to the quiet fields of the Shire, Jackson's choice of filming locations helped audiences immerse themselves in Middle-earth.

Of course, you don't film a project this large in front of a single green screen. The crew lugged their filming equipment all over the place as they captured the massive three-part story. But no matter where they went, they always found themselves within the bounds of a single, gorgeous island nation.

The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand

It's no secret that "The Lord of the Rings" was filmed in Peter Jackson's homeland. However, New Zealand tourism website newzealand.com, reports that there were a whopping 150 different filming sites scattered across the two islands of the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Hobbiton was located in the sleepy little northern island town of Matamata, where the set was built, torn down, and then rebuilt for the future "Hobbit" trilogy. The epic volcano of Mount Ngauruhoe, also nestled in the middle of the northern island, was repurposed into the terrifying Mount Doom. The southern island, which is known for its more extreme, jaw-dropping panoramas, became home to iconic locations such as Edoras, Fangorn Forest, and the Pelennor Fields.

New Zealand is the perfect real-world Middle-earth look-alike. To this day, its sweeping landscapes scream fantasy and instantly transport viewers into a story that can easily defy the need for the suspension of disbelief. The island nation is so perfect for Middle-earth that Jackson returned there to film the "Hobbit" trilogy as well. In fact, newzealand.com claims that the director's second Tolkienian trilogy was also entirely filmed in New Zealand — with the exception, of course, of the time Jackson flew the Bag End set to London to include Ian Holm in the movie.

The New Zealand landscape is so appealing that Amazon's "Rings of Power" series filmed its first season there as well, although it opted to leave the iconic scenery in favor of filming its second season in the United Kingdom (via Deadline). It's a big decision, taking Middle-earth away from New Zealand for the first time. Only time will tell how much the change in location will affect the overall feel of the new show.