As the final instalment of The Hobbit hits cinemas, one Indian man is celebrating the end of his own extraordinary journey.
Naresh Kumar has spent three months walking the length of New Zealand in sandals after being inspired by Middle-earth adventures on the big screen.
It was an emotional end in Bluff for Kumar, after a 3000km walk and run of the country.
"The scenery is stunning. New Zealand is the most beautiful country that I've seen," says Kumar. "But a million times more beautiful are its people."
The 32-year-old grew up in poor conditions in Chennai, India. As a teenager, he was so impressed by the images in the first Lord of the Rings movie, he told his family he wanted to move to Middle-earth and explore it for himself.
"I remember telling my mum, 'Mum, wherever that place is, I'm moving there,'" he says. "Everyone was like, 'it's just graphics'. But no, if the place exists, I'm going to be there."
It's taken him 12 weeks and two pairs of sandals to complete Te Araroa, the continuous track that runs from Cape Reinga in the north all the way south to Bluff.
"It covers everything: the beaches, the mountains, forests," says Te Araroa chief executive Rob Wakelin. "You're walking in rivers at some times, floating on Whanganui River for example, and everything in between - even crossing a working dairy farm."
Around 150 people are expected to traverse the entire track over the summer, and Kumar will be the first to receive a special aluminium plaque.
"We get a lot of people cycling from North Cape to Bluff, we get them skateboarding, we get them pushing a pram North Cape to Bluff. So we thought there's so many, we'll put out a medallion," says Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.
But this is more than just an overseas adventure for the software engineer. He's now a New Zealand resident, and will start looking for work as soon as he's caught the final Hobbit film.
source: newshub archive