New Zealand is known as the land of the Kiwis (the people, the bird, the fruit) and Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud.  I have done more research but have not found a sobriquet for one of it most striking characteristics, so I am taking the liberty of assigning it the title of this post. Why?


I have visited many woodlands and forests across the world but there is definitely an anticipatory feel  to the New Zealand forestation that at any moment there will be sightings of dwarves, fairies, elves and of course hobbits.

I say of course for the most wondrous series of Peter Jackson films that so perfectly brought to life the Middle-Earth land  of J.R.R.Tolkien’s books:

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Peter Jackson is a Kiwi and it was kismet that his homeland was the perfect place to film – from “Hobbiton:”


To the “Misty Mountains of Mordor:”

Southern Alps including Mt. Cook

To “Mount Doom:”

Mt Ngauruhoe

Other than Hobbiton, no film sets remain but they are honestly not needed – all you need to do is hike in some of the most mystical woodlands to immediately feel you are in another, charmed world.

Come walk with  me:

Mosses have grown over everything, giving the land a spongy, cushioned surface that absorbs ones footsteps:



This is not a barrier or marker – it is actually a fallen tree.  This different perspective  illustrates the enormous height of the tree.

Mushrooms sprout everywhere in a myriad of shapes, sizes and colors – I imagined their use by the sprites living in the woodland:


Literal “toad stools” for sitting:


Decorative flowers:

Deep within these forests it is easy to imagine:

Treebeard and the Ents:

The woodlands even have a version of She-lob:
This is a nursery spider.  Just before her babies emerge from their eggs, the female stretches the egg sac over a bush, in this case one filled with thorny spikes and she sits atop this fortress protecting her young.  While the nursery spider doesn’t usually attack humans, its poisonous bite is nevertheless very painful  so I did not get too close for a macro shot – here is one from the internet:
After the few photos I did take I gingerly moved on.
I didn’t want to end up like Frodo:


  1. These pictures are amazing. Your are getting better and better. You missed your calling as a photographer. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much Manya! – I am making up for lost time taking pictures every day and learning as I go – it is so much fun for me – more to come!

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