Mt. Somers is a very small town. We picked up a few groceries and asked for directions to the Lord of the Rings set at Edoras. They looked at us a bit funny and laughed. 'Typical tourists' I imagined they thought. We headed up the road toward the Southern Alps. It was a 30km drive so it was a bit far. Eventually the road ended and an unsealed gravel road began. We continued on it for approx
. 7 miles passing two lakes and then, there it was, the most beautiful mountain valley with snow capped mountain peaks and a giant river and marshland running through it, and there it was, right in the middle of the valley it sat- Edoras! Or what was left of it. Actually, the production crew disassembled the set and all that remained was the large rock/hill outcropping it once held. I was a bit disappointed that the set wasn't there anymore, but it was still a site to behold. I imagined what it would have been like to be part of the production crew. They must have had a whole lot of trailers out here to house the crew because this place is OUT THERE miles away from civilization apart from 1 or 2 large cattle ranches. We drove to the end of the road where a private farm stood. We reversed and backtracked about ½ mile until we passed a beautiful fast running stream where we decided to park and free camp for the night. We took a quick hike climbing over bobbed wire fences, passing a herd of cows toward our destination - Edoras. We got as far as the river which was running way to fast and a little deep and very, very cold. We got as close as we could and then returned back to our camper. It's better than paying the NZ$230 private Edoras tour, so we were happy.
We finished our evening by sitting outside, bundled head to toe in 3 layers of clothes (there was a cold wind) and drank our NZ wine. We saw one car go by, other than that we were the only ones out here. We sat in awe at the sure beauty of this majestic land. There was so much for the eye to behold. Deep river valleys plunge next to high alpine mountains that drastically sprouted out of the earth violently millions of years ago. It was very emotional (maybe it was the wine). We spoke about driving around Europe and the rest of the world in a RV. Our wanderlust is just beginning and we can see living a large portion of our life this way- taking our home with us.
It rained last night. It began to clear as we got ready for the drive west to Mt. Somers, also known as Edoras from the Lord of the Rings. It sits at the foothills on the east side of the Southern Alps. It was a beautiful drive getting here. We passed a ton of sheep (Note: There are 11 sheep for every person living in NZ) and beautiful hills and forests. The mountains are free from snow as it is summer, yet you can see where the snow falls due to lack of shrubs or trees on their peaks.