New Zealand: The Lord of the RingsMount Olympus: Home of Filmic Gods
This is surely one of the most recognisable Lord of the Rings locations. The catch? You can only get here by helicopter.
Remember all those sweeping aerial shots of the Fellowship trekking through high alpine territory before stopping for sausages and sword fights on the almost alien plataeu that is Mount Olympus? This is when Sarauman's spies come flying like a dark cloud toward them and the Fellowship are forced to leap under the rocks for cover....
After their narrow escape Gandalf is forced to make the decision that they'll have to divert their course to go over the pass of Caradhras in the Misty Mountains.
Travelling to a location by helicopter is something truly special and the fantastic crew at Reid Helicopters give fans the time and space to experience this location in all its glory. Co-owners Rachael and Toby Reid were involved in transporting the cast and crew of The Hobbit, and Toby's father Bill was the helicopter pilot to the stars in The Lord of the Rings.
Rachael and Toby Reid are the owners and operators of Reid Helicopters in Nelson, New Zealand. They are friendly, professional and very experienced pilots with a wealth of knowledge of the Nelson Bays area.
Pennie went on the Mount Olympus heli-tour with Reid Helicopters Nelson in June 2017...
... and raved about it to anyone who would listen for weeks afterwards.
For my first ever trip in a helicopter I certainly chose a pretty unforgetable ride. I was off to New Zealand's very own Mount Olympus, home to the filmic gods from The Lord of the Rings. The experience of lifting off and flying towards some of the upper South Island's prettiest mountains and valleys seriously made me wonder if I should re-consider my career options. Imagine doing this as your day job...
It was a 45 minute ride to Mount Olympus in a tiny four-person R44. The only thing I could liken it to was being inside a flying golf cart - totally thrilling and just so much fun - in fact I was so taken in by the flight itself, it came as a surprise when we started zeroing in for our landing. But one look out the window and I knew this location would not disappoint...
It was incredible to literally land on the top of a totally inaccessible mountain in the middle of nowhere - and yet this mountain was at the same time so familiar.
I had all my scene-framing shots with me and it couldn't have been easier to find each one. The rock formations are so easily identifiable.
We had time for a coffee and a biscuit on the mountain afterwards. Normally the crew would allow slightly longer (so feel free to bring your swords, costumes and cameras) but the weather started to close in and we had to leave.
Regardless of whether or not you are a LOTR fan, the opportunity to set foot in a place that so few have ever had the opportunity to see for themselves was a rare and magical treat. The bittersweet knowledge that because of Mount Olympus' very remoteness and inaccessibility meant I might never go back, made me savour the experience all the more.
If you're interested in The Lord of the Rings tours then be sure to check out Reid Helicopters website.
You can fly to Mount Olympus, Mount Owen (as seen above), or do a combined tour that takes in both locations with the optional extra of flying to Salisbury Falls where Tauriel & Legolas met before heading into Lake Town, as seen in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.