Southern Lakes Sightseeing operates out of Queenstown, New Zealand, and specializes in “Lord of the Rings” location tours. Their flagship tour is the full-day Trails of Middle-earth, featuring multiple locations, sights and scenes from the movies. “In the early days, the visitors were clearly hard-core fans of either the book or the movies and the experiences were almost a pilgrimage,” said Melissa Heath, who has operated the tour company since 2001. “Some dressed in LOTR costumes and many bought small character dolls to prop up in locations for their photography. Now the clientele seem to have a good grasp of both the books and the movie, and the overwhelming passion and emotion have been replaced with an interest in the scenery and how the movie was made.” On the north island, Hobbit fans can take a two-hour guided tour of the Hobbiton movie set, built on picturesque private farmland just outside Matamata.