Chop­per tours film spots

Central Otago Mirror - - TV TIMES -

Queen­stown-based Heli­works and guid­ing firm Alpine Ad­ven­tures have teamed up to of­fer a tour of Lord of the Rings and The Hob­bit lo­ca­tions. The Mid­dle Earth tour is aimed at the lux­ury travel mar­ket and Heli­works is the only chop­per firm per­mit­ted ac­cess to Earnslaw Burn, which fea­tured in The Hob­bit: An Un­ex­pected Jour­ney. Heli­works sales and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Joey Glass said there was a no­tice­able trend for unique and exclusive ex­cur­sions into New Zealand’s back coun­try. ‘‘We’re notic­ing more and more de­mand from our clients as well as in­bound tour oper­a­tors for some­thing that’s ex­tra spe­cial,’’ she said. Alpine Ad­ven­tures’ head guide Mark Dews­bery has cul­ti­vated an en­cy­clopaedic knowl­edge of na­tive flora and fauna dur­ing 26 years of high-coun­try farm­ing and ex­plor­ing the back coun­try on foot and skis. Alpine Ad­ven­tures was started last year. Tolkien fans can now fly into the imag­i­nary An­duin Val­ley of Mid­dle Earth, which was filmed at Earnslaw Burn. ‘‘My clients are look­ing for an ad­ven­ture they can’t do on their own, that takes them to those un­touched places and are a lit­tle hard to get to. They want to see our in­cred­i­ble coun­try in a way that’s mem­o­rable and also very au­then­tic,’’ said Mr Dews­bery. Al­though the tour takes place on a pub­lic trail, it is rare to see other hik­ers as the track from Glenorchy is long and can be hard to find in places. The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion rec­om­mends only very ex­pe­ri­enced hik­ers with route find­ing and sur­vival skills at­tempt the track with­out a guide due to sev­eral river cross­ings.

Top flight: A Heli­works he­li­copter at Mt Ni­cholas Sta­tion.

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