Lord of the Rings fans will be bowled over by this journey through New Zealand. The itinerary features all the main filming location as well as some of New Zealand's highlights. It’s an amazing escape to Middle Earth.
Explore Middle Earth and visit The Shire New Zealand on this Hobbit-themed self-drive holiday. You’ll begin your journey on the North Island with a visit to the lush hills of Hobbiton. Sip a pint in the Green Dragon, tour the vegetable gardens, gaze up through the branches of the Party Tree and feel enchanted by The Shire. Next, you’ll head through the island’s interior, stopping to hike in Tongariro under the shadow of Mount Doom and touring WETA studios in Wellington.
After hopping on the ferry to Picton and the stunning Coastal Pacific train along the west coast, you’ll find yourself in Christchurch, the capital of the South Island. From here, you’ll tour the plains of Edoras, hike through the Misty Mountains near Queenstown and take a trip to the Gates of Argonath. You’ll finish your holiday with a tour to Milford and Doubtful Sounds, where you soak up the silence of the lush peaks and shimmering waterfalls. It’s a wonderful way to finish your trip through Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
After clearing customs at the airport, you’ll pick up your car hire and drive into the city to check in to your hotel for one night.
Spend the rest of your day wandering through Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. Head to the Viaduct Harbour to see the vast array of superyachts, stop at a waterfront café or venture up the Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. At the top, there’s a handful of bars, restaurants and observation decks with breath-taking panoramic views.
Today, you’ll leave Auckland and drive to Hobbiton, located near Matamata. The journey will take just over 2 hours. Here, you’ll meet your guide at The Shire’s Rest and join your Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. It’s an essential stop for every Lord of the Rings fan. Prepare to be enchanted!
During the tour, you’ll see the Hobbit Holes, visit Green Dragon Inn, and stand at the base of the Party Tree, created for Lord of the Rings. Along the way, you’ll learn about how this patch of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. Your guide will share all kinds of fascinating details about how the movie set was created before stopping for a cider at the Green Dragon Inn while relaxing in front of a crackling open fire, with views across the lake to the Mill and Bag End.
After this magical tour, you’ll drive on to Rotorua, a journey that takes around an hour. The rest of your day is free for you to check out the geothermal activity and bubbling mud pools.
You can set your own pace today, as your only job is to get yourself to the Tongariro National Park, a couple of hours from Rotorua by road. When you arrive at your hotel in Tongariro, you’ll check in for your two-night stay. Tongariro is home to Mount Ngauruhoe, made famous by Peter Jackson as Mount Doom.
This morning, your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel for a half-day Volcanic Explorer tour. It’s a great way to experience the volcanic terrain of the Tongariro National Park. During the trip, you’ll hike sections of tracks on Mt Ruapehu, such as the Taranaki Falls, Silica Rapids, or Top of the Bruce Circuit.
Along the way, your guide will share his/her extensive knowledge of geology, volcanology and New Zealand history, ensuring the tour is full of spectacular landscapes and enthralling facts.
Your tour will end at approximately 12.30 pm when you get dropped off at your hotel, and the remainder of the day is at leisure. Relax at your hotel or head off in search of Mount Doom, following the trails that criss-cross Middle Earth.
This morning, you’ll make your way south to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. On arrival, you’ll drop off your car, as you don’t need to drive in the city. After you’ve checked into your hotel for a two-night stay, you can spend the rest of your day strolling along the harbour front, stopping into the boutique coffee shops along the way. If you have time, pay a visit to the Te Papa Museum to learn more about New Zealand’s Maori culture and history.
This morning, your guide will pick you up from your hotel for your half-day Lord of the Rings tour, exploring the film locations around the Wellington region. First, you’ll head past the Embassy Movie Theatre that screened the world premiere of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, where the stars and 100,000 fans gathered to watch the movie.
Next, you’ll drive up to Mount Victoria and make a quick stop at the lookout before exploring the ‘Green Belt’, where you’ll walk through the forest to stand exactly where the actors stood while filming. Last but not least, you’ll visit the Weta Cave and Workshop Exhibition for a guided tour of the prop-making and make-up side of Weta Studios.
Following the end of your tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or take a trip out to Kaitoke Regional Park, the setting for Rivendell in the films.
Today, you’ll make your way to the harbour where you’ll catch the Interislander ferry to Picton on the South Island. The Interislander ferries travel back and forth between Wellington and Picton and the 3-hour voyage has been described as “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”.On arrival, you’ll head for the train station and begin the beautiful journey down the east coast of the South Island aboard the Coastal Pacific train. As you pass Kaikoura, look out for whales from the open-air observation car - if you’re lucky you might even see a blue whale breaching! You’ll arrive in Christchurch at around 8.30 pm and check into your hotel for two nights.
Today, you’ll be collected from your hotel to start your full-day Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour. You’ll set off in a 4WD vehicle to the remote Mt Sunday on Mt Potts High Country Station, the film location of Edoras in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When you arrive, you’ll take a short-guided walk to the summit, the filming location of the capital city of Rohan.
From the summit, you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the rivers, lakes and Misty Mountains, as well as the area that formed the backdrop to Helms Deep. At the end of the tour, you’ll be able to handle movie replicas of Aragorn’s sword, Gimli’s axe, Gandalf’s staff, the flag of Rohan and a map of Middle Earth.
Today, you’ll set off for Lake Tekapo, a scenic drive that will take around three and a half hours. There’s no rush, so you can take your time on the journey, stopping for a picnic lunch and slowing at scenic spots to soak up the views. When you arrive at Lake Tekapo, be sure to pay a visit to its famous landmark, the stone Church of the Good Shepherd. You’ll then check in to your hotel for a one-night stay.
This morning, you’ll drive south to Queenstown, around 3 hours from Lake Tekapo by road. If you have time, take a slight detour to Wanaka and to admire the gorgeous lake. When you arrive in Queenstown, you’ll check into your hotel for a three-night stay before exploring this amazing alpine lake resort.
Today, you’ll set off on Safari of the Scenes tour. You can choose whether to take the trip in the morning or afternoon. This scenic Lord of the Rings tour will take you on an off-road adventure across the Wakatipu Basin which visits several filming locations, including The Remarkables (The Misty Mountains), Deer Park Heights (The Battle of the Wargs) and the Kawarau Gorge (Argonath/Pillars of the Kings).
Next, you’ll head to Arrowtown, where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. You’ll experience some real off-roading by following an old gold-mining road up the Arrow River and crossing to the Ford of Bruinen. Here, you’ll take a rest and a cup of tea. You can also try your hand at a spot of gold panning.
Afterwards, your tour continues to the entrance of Skippers Canyon, which offers spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin. It’s then time to head back to Queenstown, where you’ll be dropped at your hotel.
Today is entirely free for you to enjoy at leisure. Queenstown is packed with possibilities, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for incredible views over Lake Wakatipu, brave the famous AJ Hackett Bungy Jump, go jet-boating on the Shotover River or hike around the lake. At the end of the day, you’ll drop off your rental car, as you won’t need it for your trip to Fiordland.
You’ll be collected early from Queenstown this morning and join a small group for your trip into Fiordland. The journey takes you along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through rolling countryside to Te Anau. You’ll continue along the spectacular Milford Road until you arrive at the Sound, where you’ll board the ‘Milford Mariner’ for your overnight Milford Sound cruise.
Onboard, you’ll get spectacular views of the alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and snow-capped peaks. With any luck, you’ll also see plenty of local wildlife, including seals, dolphins and penguins. When you reach the open sea, the sails may be hoisted, but this is subject to weather and conditions. After the cruise, the Milford Mariner will return to the fiord and anchor overnight in sheltered Harrison Cove.
After breakfast, you’ll spend the morning cruising before heading back to dock at lunchtime. You’ll then be taken by coach back to picturesque Te Anau. When you arrive at your hotel, you’ll check in to your accommodation for a 2-night stay. The rest of the day is free for you to explore and relax.
Your day will begin with a coach trip through rolling hills to Manapouri, where you’ll board a cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm. From here, a coach will take you over the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland’s most dense rainforest.
When you reach Deep Cove, you’ll board the Patea Explorer for a three-hour cruise to explore serene and isolated Doubtful Sound. During the cruise, the engines will be turned off, allowing you to experience the ‘sound of silence’ before making the journey back to Te Anau.
After three days of serenity in the magical Fiordland, you’ll board the coach for your journey back to Queenstown. When you arrive, you’ll be taken straight to the airport in time to catch your international flight back to the UK.
New Zealand is a year-round destination, so there is always something to see and enjoy. High season runs from December to February (summer), so prices hit a peak and availability is limited. If you’re travelling over this period, it’s advisable to book in advance.
March to April and September to November can be great times to travel, as the weather is fine and there are fewer crowds. Low season is May to August (winter) in most of New Zealand, but this is the best time for skiing, so ski resorts such as Queenstown will be at their busiest.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements. Please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.