Today was another marvelous day in New Zealand. Thanks to the generosity and kindness of friends, I had an opportunity to realize a dream: I saw and stood near the actual landscape setting for “Edoras” in the film trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.” Mount Sunday is located near Mt Potts Sheep Station in the Rangitata Valley of New Zealand’s south island. It is surrounded by mountains in a broad river valley which must be between two and three kilometers across. The weather was rainy down on the Canterbury plains, but thankfully there were some breaks once we got up nearer to the mountains. The mountain peaks were still obscured, but we were able to see Mt Sunday as well as the broader Rangitata Valley. It was amazing to see this spectacular valley in person.

Mt Sunday and the Rangitata Valley

Mt Sunday (Edoras) in the Rangitata Valley

Mt Sunday in the Rangitata Valley

We drove up a highway which eventually become an unimproved (gravel) mountain road and took us to Mt Potts Sheep Station near Mt Sunday. Before hiking closer to the site of Edoras, we drove further up the road to Erewhon Sheep station. Erewhon was named by Samuel Butler, who published a book titled “Erewhon” anonymously in 1872. According to our guide today, Butler was the first white man to settle at the sheep station in the Rangitata Valley now known as “Mesopotamia,” and gave the sheep station “Erewhon” further up the valley its name.

Erewhon Sheep Station

Erewhon sheep station is just about a two hour drive from Geraldine, but it is EXCEPTIONALLY remote! The geography here is absolutely stunning. I wish we could have had clearer views of the continental divide and surrounding mountains today, but given that it COULD have been much worse with more rain I’m delighted we were able to see everything we did. Our guide drives further up the actual river bed above Erewhon in his four wheel drive with friends and then hikes from there to the continental divide. THAT is some amazing off road driving!

I posted about 130 photos of this area to a Flickr set I titled “Edoras and Erewhon,” along with about 80 photos in and around Geraldine. Although the cattle industry is booming here now, there are still a LOT of sheep in New Zealand!

Sheep in Geraldine, New Zealand

This is a photo of cattle with Mt Sunday (Edoras) in the background. This wasn’t a scene you saw in “The Lord of the Rings!” 🙂

Cows and a Pivot in the foreground, Mt Sunday (Edoras) in the background

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On this day..

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5 Responses to Erewhon, Mt Sunday (Edoras) and the Rangitata Valley

  1. Dawn says:

    Middle Earth has never looked better. We are all so very green with envy. 🙂

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    🙂

    We need to launch Storychasers as a formal initiative and bring teacher and student groups here to New Zealand from Oklahoma to Storychase!

  3. […] more about this on my main blog post “Erewhon, Mt Sunday (Edoras) and the Rangitata Valley.” More photos are available on my Flickr set “Edoras and Erewhon.” I have ten more videos […]

  4. Chris Prout says:

    Wow those are some amazing places. Lets hope The Hobbit is done just as well.
    Chris

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    Chris: Your comment prompted me to search for and find the WikiPedia article for The Hobbit films, which includes a lot of info I didn’t know about! I had heard someone was working on a new film version of The Hobbit but heard Peter Jackson was not involved. From the WikiPedia article it sounds like Peter is going to be the executive producer, and there will actually be two films instead of one which will lead the plot right up to the start of the LOTR. Excellent! I can’t wait! The films are scheduled for release in December 2011 and December 2012. So long to wait… but I’m sure it will be worth it!!!

    I was actually going to visit the set for “Hobbiton” which is about 40 minutes from where I am today in Rotorua, but the weather is very rainy so I’ll hope to make that visit on a subsequent NZ trip. I did meet a school principal yesterday who has the children of the people who own that farm where Hobbiton is in his school. He’s even been duck hunting there! I recorded a short interview with him that I’ll be posting soon as part of a learning@school09 voices podcast.

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