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What the stars of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug loved about New Zealand

The actors and director talk about their favourite spots. (Benedict Cumberbatch went for high-intensity outdoor fun)

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Evangeline Lilly: “I shot at Lake Pukaki. That was for one day but we were staying on the lake so when I wasn’t working I just got to walk around and see the beautiful sights … and even driving from Queenstown to Lake Pukaki was such a glorious drive.”

Rob Suisted/naturespic.com

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Benedict Cumberbatch: “I went down to Queenstown and had a fantastic time. And I went skydiving, I went paragliding, I went down a luge and the Shotover Jet around the rapids. … I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so I kinda loved the great outdoors.”

Shotover Jet/Tourism New Zealand

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Evangeline Lilly: “I had a lot of off time so I was able to see some of the sights in Queenstown. I was able to travel down to Paradise which … and of course it is more incredible than you can describe. It was more beautiful than I really know how to put into words.”

Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand

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Luke Evans: “Food and wine is incredible. A few of us … we all hired a house one weekend in the Marlborough region. … We left the car at home, all took our bikes and went off wine tasting all afternoon – it was absolutely glorious.

Ian Trafford/Tourism New Zealand

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Martin Freeman: “The beauty of it was not lost on us and the fact that it looked like CGI … kinda looked more perfect than nature was. … It was just funny because we were just looking at mountains thinking no one is going to believe this is real.”

Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand

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Richard Armitage: “I visited the Waitomo Caves and saw the glowworms. I skied down Mount Ruapehu. I skied at Queenstown and all of the ski locations there. I skied at Mount Hutt. I took a helicopter out to White Island. I took a helicopter to the Milford Sound.”

Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand

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Evangeline Lilly: “I shot at … Lake Pukaki. That was for one day but we were staying on the lake so when I wasn’t working I just got to walk around and see the beautiful sights … and even driving from Queenstown to Lake Pukaki was such a glorious drive.”

Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand

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Sir Peter Jackson: “It’s interesting because Tolkien wrote these books. … He said that mythologies should be built on and adapted by other people in other mediums. … And now New Zealand has played its role in the mythology of Middle-earth, and it will always be there.”

Ian Brodie/Tourism New Zealand

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