Learn how to get to the Hakatere Potts Road and see a 24 km Lord of the Rings scenic drive consisting of lakes, mountains, and rivers.

The journey to Edoras begins at Mt. Somers down the Ashburton Gorge Road and takes about 40 minutes one-way driving at about 50 km/h (31 mph) from Hakatere: 20 minutes to Lake Camp, then another 20 minutes to see the mountains.

This scenic drive takes you through Hakatere Conservation Park.

The road is mostly gravel with some parts paved. The road at Lake Clearwater is paved and also when driving down toward the Potts River.

Locals use 2WD cars on the Hakatere Potts Road and farmers use 4WD vehicles. It is recommended to use a 4WD vehicle, especially if you want to go to the end of the road, where the road becomes slightly rougher.

Pick a nice day when the weather is fine (not raining or cloudy) to go down Hakatere Potts Road, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to enjoy the majestic mountain scenery of this area.

You can do more than just drive in Hakatere Conservation Park. If you want to stretch your legs, there are trails you can hike. And there is a trail you can follow to reach Mt. Sunday / Edoras.

How To Get To Hakatere In Canterbury New Zealand

From Christchurch, drive west on State Highway 73, and then in Darfield, take State Highway 77 to Methven.

When State Highway 77 joins up with Inland Scenic Route 72 before you reach Methven, follow Inland Scenic Route 72 until you reach Mt. Somers.

There is an alternative route you can take that goes via State Highway 1 from Christchurch and a backroad from Rakaia to reach Mt. Somers.

From Mt. Somers, drive northwest on the Ashburton Gorge Road until you reach Hakatere and the junction of the Hakatere Heron Road and the Hakatere Potts Road.

Then from Hakatere, travel west on the Hakatere Potts Road toward Lake Clearwater and then toward Mt. Potts Station and Mt. Sunday.

Mt. Potts Station is the location for Edoras, the fortress city of the Rohan people in the The Lord of The Rings.

On the Hakatere Potts Road, you’ll pass along a series of lakes. Lake Emma and Lake Roundabout are popular fishing locations, while Lake Camp is popular with boaties, water skiers, and fishermen.

The largest of the lakes is Lake Clearwater, the location of a small village of holiday homes. There are more lakes you can visit in Hakatere Conservation Park (see the Department of Conservation website [doc.govt.nz]).

When you reach the junction in Hakatere, you can go straight onto the Hakatere Potts Road to see Lord of the Rings scenery as described by this scenic drive, or you can hook off and follow the Hakatere Heron Road on your right at the junction to visit lakes like Maori Lakes and Lake Heron.

Basic Info For The LOTR Scenic Drive On Hakatere Potts Road

Driving distance:24 km (15 mi)
Driving time:40 minutes to 1 hour
Road type:Unsealed (gravel) backcountry road with two short, paved sections
Road condition:Average gravel road that becomes rough and narrow toward the end of the scenic drive
Best time to drive:Morning
What you’ll see:Lakes, rivers, mountains

Click here to see a map for this scenic drive from Hakatere to the start of the Mount Sunday walk.

Approximate driving distances from Mt. Somers:

From Mt. Somers to …Distance (km)
Hakatere22
Lake Emma turnoff27.2
Lake Camp (waterski club end)31.9
Top of cutting (viewpoint)39.4
Mt. Potts Station43
Mt. Sunday46.3

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