Where: South Island, New Zealand
Best time to hike it: July and August
You don’t need big hairy Frodo feet to handle uneven Middle Earth terrain, but sturdy hiking boots do help. Journey over the magical green hills that inspired Peter Jackson to shoot the Lord of the Rings trilogy in his New Zealand homeland. From Elvishly enchanting regenerating rainforests, misty mountains, and babbling brooks to foreboding foothills where hordes of orcs engaged the armies of Gondor and Rohan, the Kiwi nation is shock full of myth-making natural beauty. While the swords and sorcery action transpired all across the country, for a truly fantastical experience, a heli hike tour of the Franz Josef Glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park is a must. The glacier’s peak is 2,700-metres above sea level and plummets to 240 metres in just 11 kilometres, making it one of the world’s steepest you can scale.
Duration: Three hours, including a scenic chopper ride.
Apres Hike: Rest your weary muscles by taking a plunge in the Glacier Hot Pools nestled in the middle of the rainforest.