Although still tight-lipped, a DOC (Department of Conservation) spokesperson recently suggested that much of the secrecy surrounding the filming in the Te Anau and Glenorchy regions had been maintained to protect ecologically sensitive areas from the potential hordes of LOR fans wanting to watch the filming.
The area just north of Glenorchy for example, is the entrance to the Routeburn Trail, one of the most spectacular hiking trails in the country. Perhaps best known only after the Milford Track, the Routeburn traverses spectacular country, rich in ancient growth Subtropical Rain Forest, tumbling rivers and high country mountain vistas.
"The rain alone didn’t stop the filming late last year, It was as much that we [and they] didn’t want to cause any lasting damage to the film locations" said DOC. As it was, the film crew was able to make the claim that "we left nothing but footprints.
Peter Jackson also recently raised the possibility of filming at a new location, this time in the Tongariro National Park, in the central North Island. The filming is expected to be centered around Mt. Ruhapehu (roo ah pay hoo), one of two active volcanoes in the Park.
Jackson confirmed that the high country park, with it’s ski areas sometimes closed due to volcanic activity, might be used as the location for Mondor with it’s Mt. Doom. "It’s a strong possibility"’ Jackson said.
The Park has three main peaks, Tongariro, Ruhapehu and Ngauruhoe (nar a ho e). The mountains are surrounded by high winter desert of tussock and hardy native bush, deeply cut by snow-fed streams. The Park was created when local Iwi (Maori tribes) deeded the land to the Crown to protect the sacred land from development. The ski areas on the mountain are operated under license from DOC and there are severe restrictions on anything that damage this remarkable area.