Where is The Rings of Power filmed? The New Zealand locations of the Prime Video series

You might have seen these stunning backdrops on TV before

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Lloyd Owen as Elendil in The Rings of Power
(Image credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video/Future)

From spectacular mountains to ethereal beaches - every stunning location bringing The Rings of Power to life.

For anyone who's seen The Lord of The Rings and is expecting similarly stunning set locations from The Rings of Power - there won’t be disappointment from the show that isn't quite a prequel (opens in new tab). Early glimpses of what could be coming in the show sparked excitement about the beautiful backdrops that would offset the action in the show. The location scouts have certainly done their job, as we outline every New Zealand location featured in the series - some of which might be familiar to some eagle-eyed fans.

As well as dreaming of the locations featured, fans were also asking if Gandalf and Saueron would appear in The Rings of Power (opens in new tab). It's not the only characters TV audiences have been asking questions about with House of the Dragon exploring the familiar House Targaryen (opens in new tab) - albeit Daenarys's ancestors.

Where is The Rings of Power filmed? 

The Rings of Power was filmed entirely in New Zealand. External filming took place across various New Zealand locations, while internal shots were filmed at two Auckland film studios. 

The Denize Bluffs are situated at the edge of a family farm in the Mangaotaki Valley near Piopio, in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Featured in the show, the Denize Bluffs are enormous limestone cliffs featuring unusual rock formations, surrounded by native forest. Fans might recognise the area from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where they made up part of Trollshaws Forest.

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The Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana in Hauraki, Auckland, translates as “the mournful sea”. In legend, the Hauraki Gulf is protected by a taniwha - a supernatural protective guardian - named Ureia, who takes the form of a whale. The area has been home to the Māori people for thousands of years. With black sandy beaches set against a backdrop of dramatic mountains, it's no wonder the area was chosen for filming. 

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The Coromandel Peninsula in Waikato with its beautiful beaches, is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations. It’s home to Cathedral Cove, featuring a much-photographed naturally formed archway. 

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The seaside village of Piha in New Lynn, Auckland, also features in the show. Sitting 45 minutes west of Auckland city, this black sand beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs and is a popular surfing spot. As well as being known for learning to surf, abseiling the Piha canyon is a popular activity to try here. 

The cast of The Rings of Power can be seen climbing Mount Kidd, located in Fiordland National Park. The National Park has looked the same for thousands of years, and features stunning fiords and waterfalls, as well as snow-capped peaks. The area is also known for its mountainside rainforests, waterfalls, lakes, and granite peaks.  

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Kahurangi National Park is the second largest national park in New Zealand after Fiordland, and also hosted film crews. Kahurangi National Park was occupied by Maori from the 14th century and the coast was much travelled by those looking for greenstone. In Lord of The Rings, the area served as location for Dimrill Dale and the outcrop south of Rivendell.  

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 Also a part of Fiordland National Park, Manapouri is home to the second deepest lake in New Zealand. The area is popular for kayaking and cruise boating. It also featured in Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, when Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are attempting to enter Mordor.  

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When was The Rings of Power filmed?

The Rings of Power was filmed between February 2020 and August 2021. The filming experienced unprecedented delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Despite closing their borders to much of the world during the pandemic, New Zealand granted the cast and crew of the show special permission to enter. Not much filming had been completed before filming was shut down for two weeks when New Zealand had 8 confirmed cases of the virus. 

A memo was sent to the cast and crew reading “We are doing this to minimise stress on the resources and infrastructures around us by doing our part to reduce population density in our communities and daily activities, in efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus”. 

Robert Aramayo as Elrond in The Rings of Power

(Image credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video)

Where does The Rings of Power take place?

The Rings of Power takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Middle-earth is equivalent to the Miðgarðr of Norse mythology, or Middangeard in Old English.

The events of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings also take place in Middle Earth, although during the Third Age. Middle-earth is the main continent of Arda - or Earth - in Tolkien’s imagination, ending with the Third Age as the Fourth Age finally entered a period of peace. Middle-earth is populated with Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Dragons, Trolls, and Orcs, alongside men. All mythological creatures eventually fade away, until only humans are left. 

Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn and Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir in The rings of Power

(Image credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video)

Why is The Rings of Power moving to the UK? 

Relocating to the UK will allow the cast to remain close to home - a lot of whom are British. The move will also see Prime Video expand its footprint in the country.

When the series was filmed in New Zealand and the pandemic hit, the cast and crew found it very difficult to leave the country and visit friends and family. The original books were also imagined around English landscapes, and filming in the Uk could maintain an authenticity of the country's climate and aesthetic. 

In a statement, VP and Co-Head of TV Vernon Sanders, said "we want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing The Lord of the Rings series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey". He continued "we are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of Season One".

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