new zealand · oceania

A Day Trip To Mount Sunday: Discovering Edoras

Mount Sunday has been on my New Zealand list for a while, and for one reason: it’s the site of Edoras, the town of the Rohan people in Lord Of The Rings.


So when a couple of German backpackers posted in the New Zealand backpacker Facebook group asking if anyone had any suggestions for going on a little adventure from Christchurch over the bank holiday weekend, and whether anyone would like to join them on it, I immediately jumped in and suggested Mount Sunday.

After a little to-ing and fro-ing (they wanted to go on a camping trip, they weren’t sure if a day trip would be long enough for the two/three hour journey, they had never really heard of it and they had some other places in mind), they were convinced. They admitted later that, this one being my main concern, camping would have been a killer in the New Zealand winter in the middle of some mountains. Though I suppose it’s nothing the hobbits haven’t done.

But we are not hobbits, and so we left early on Sunday morning (ha! We went to Mount Sunday on a SUNDAY) and set off towards the mountains.

Very quickly, the drive became spectacular.


Then we got there, and it was phenomenal.


There lay the city of Rohan, sitting pretty in the middle of its epic surroundings without a care in the damn world.

It’s worth noting that the last part of the journey is off-road, and although we managed to get there and back with no problems in their little estate car, it might be worth plucking for something a bit more robust for this part of the drive.

We stopped at a beautiful little lake on the way, too, because it was New Zealand so of course we did.


And then we climbed Edoras. A few years ago, there was no path at all and you had to cross the wide streams with a lot of caution. Now, despite the fact some of it is on private land, a rough path (much of it not really a path and simply markers to show where you should be going) and bridges have been built to allow Mount Sunday to be a whole lot more accessible.


Despite this, it wasn’t busy at all. This was a bank holiday weekend, in what I’m going to say is one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand (at LEAST in the top 5), and only occasional groups of people interrupted our isolation.

Before we’d even got to the top, we found a huge boulder to climb, and I took great pleasure in clambering up and then standing on the edge shouting “THEY’RE TAKING THE HOBBITS TO ISENGARD!!” And then the boys being boys, decided to claw their way up the grass to the path above. Meanwhile, I started after them and quickly jumped ship to the actual path. Only one of them beat me, and I don’t know how he did it because that hill was STEEP.

Unbelievably, the top was even better. This was helped by the fact a small tour arrived shortly after with the guide giving lots of information about the filming of LOTR on top of the rock; where particular scenes are, how the set was built, and then one of them casually started posing with Aragorn’s sword.


Aragorn’s. Actual. Sword. Had I not known how expensive that tour is and what comes with it, I probably would have asked to hold it. But I didn’t want to ask people who have paid a lot of money for that privilege. (If you’re interested, you can get the tours for around $150 from Christchurch – but that’s only if you get the best deal on bookme. Full price is $255 with Hassle Free Tours!!)

But then there was the actual view. I kid you not – we spent probably at least an hour up there, and I could have easily stayed longer. It was the very real definition of stunning.








I got one of my best scenery shot poses of all time.


The weather could not have been more perfect.

And I got to geek out! (“that’s where Eowyn comes running out and Aragorn rides up!”) Even looking around below, you could just see Gandalf, Legolas and Aragorn (and Gimli!) galloping across the fields.

Even though none of the set from Edoras is actually there any more, it was so instantly recognisable.


But now I laugh at the fact that’s the only reason I wanted to go there. Because it is absolutely breathtaking, and well worth a visit on its own merit. The guys weren’t even particular Lord Of The Rings fans, and having lived and travelled in New Zealand for a few months, said it was probably one of the best places they’d visited.

In case you’re wondering, it was very easy to do in a day from Christchurch, too! It’s a long day; the drive is around 3 hours each way, but bear in mind the last half hour or more was on a gravel track and we weren’t in a suitable car so we had to drive pretty slow.

Plus the drive itself is pretty as hell, so it doesn’t feel that long!

Seriously, just go there. I have nothing else to say, because the pictures say it all for me.

Want to read more about our New Zealand trip? Here are some of the highlights:

 There And Back Again: A Day Out To Hobbiton
20 Things To Do In Rotorua
Museums, Views & More Hobbiting Around In Windy Wellington
North Island To South Island Journey In Pictures
Christchurch: A City Rebuilding Itself
Is Wanaka One Of The Most Picturesque Places In The World Or What?
Rainbows In Queenstown & The World Milford Sound Cruise Ever

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A Day Trip To Mount Sunday, New Zealand: Discovering Edoras From Lord Of The Rings

56 thoughts on “A Day Trip To Mount Sunday: Discovering Edoras

  1. i guess it the snow capped mountains that make New Zealand so breathtaking.Take the snow away , and it won’t have the same wow factor.Itis like taking the cherry away from the top of the cake.most people love scenic beaches but when it comes to countries with cold beauty ,people are blown away by thier spectacular snow capped mountains


    1. Oh don’t get me wrong, I LOVE mountains however they look. I have just come back from Canada where most of the mountains weren’t snow-capped yet and it was just incredible. But snow definitely adds a magical quality to them! 🙂


  2. Hi! I’m going to NZ in September and was thinking of doing a daytrip from Christchurch to Mount Sunday, if I understood correctly, it completely doable right? If we leave early in the morning we can go to Mt Sunday and be back in Christchurch in the evening? I love your page by the way!


    1. Woah, I am so sorry I just saw this comment! It’s definitely doable in a day, but it’s about a 3 hour drive each way so it’s not a short day trip. 100% worth it though, the views on the way are absolutely incredible too! 🙂 Also be aware that the last few miles are on a gravel track; my road trip mates’ estate car survived it but we had to drive pretty slow for a while! Thank you so much! 🙂


  3. What a stunning hike, it’s so open and expansive, I love anything with mountains. Also, Aaragon’s sword, that’s just too much. I would never leave. Thanks for sharing, have always wanted to visit New Zealand so I’ll add this to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t believe I’ve never even heard of Mount Sunday – it looks incredible! Adding to my (getting ever longer!) list of places to visit when I return to NZ!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wooooah! Clazz this is stunning! I obviously didn’t do enough research before we went to Kiwiland and I didn’t know about it but wooooow! I will HAVE to go next time. I love LOTR (the book more than the films, but I do love them too…) this whole post makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ok this place looks amazing. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen all the Lord of the Rings but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan. I would still definitely go here though, the views are incredible, and I’m sure my boyfriend would love it too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wooooow, this place look wild! I’ve seen LOTR but I didn’t know this was a thing, I guess I need to pay more attention to the movie locations and try to look them up. I forget that they must actually be real places lol. Sounds like it would have been difficult to do prior to the bridges and paths being built, a real route-finder. Might have skipped it then but it’s on the bucket list now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha there are quite a few filming locations you can visit in NZ! Obviously the most famous one being Hobbiton, but there are tons of others that I didn’t get to see. If you’re a fan, I highly recommend Weta Workshop in Wellington too, they did all the prosthetics and props etc etc (not just for LOTR either). And yeah, I’m not sure I would have made the trek when you had to cross rivers and things lol.


  8. Those photos are just INCREDIBLE. I can’t get over all those amazing views! When I finally make it to NZ, I’m definitely checking out Mount Sunday. Also, I 100% approve of climbing it on a Sunday haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Recently, I’ve really grown to like mountain climbing and hiking, and these photos don’t disappoint! The snow-capped peaks look so beautiful and crisp 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh. My. Word. It looks just as epic as the movies!! I HAVE to go there!!! I can’t believe there weren’t any crowds, and on a holiday weekend too!! Either you just really lucked out, or this is off the beaten path for some unfathomable reason. Gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too!! ❤ (Well… the films. I did try and read the book a long time ago and couldn't get into it – I feel like I should give it another go?) And neither did I until I stumbled across it! Hobbiton was incredible, but this was definitely a highlight!


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