Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Auckland
- 1 night Rotorua
- 2 nights Tongariro
- 2 nights Wellington
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland
After clearing customs at the airport, head straight to pick up your car hire before driving into the city to check in to your hotel for your one night stay.
Spend the remainder of your day wandering through Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city; head to the Viaduct Harbour to peruse the vast array of superyachts and stop at one of the bars or cafés, or venture up the Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere – there are bars, restaurants and observation decks to enjoy.
Day 2: Auckland – Matamata – Rotorua
Today you will depart Auckland and make your way to Hobbiton, located near Matamata. From here you’ll meet your guide at The Shire’s Rest and join your Hobbiton Movie Set tour. This is an essential stop for every Lord of the Rings fan, as it allows you to visit the actual Hobbiton Village from the movie trilogies!
The tour commences by driving through a 1,250-acre working sheep farm and then on to the Hobbit Holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for Lord of the Rings. You can see each setting and appreciate how this patch of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. Your guide will take you through the site and recount fascinating details about how the movie set was created, before a quick drink 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 exhilarating tour, it is time to set off to Rotorua, where the rest of your day is free for you to check out the geothermal activity and bubbling mud pools.
Day 3: Rotorua – Tongariro
Set your own pace today as your only job is to get yourself to the Tongariro National Park, located about 180km’s from Rotorua. Why not spend the morning in Rotorua, or you could take your time with the drive stopping along the way.
Once you arrive at your hotel in Tongariro you will check in for your two-night stay.
Day 4: Tongariro
This morning your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel to embark on your half day Volcanic Explorer tour. This trek allows you to experience the volcanic terrain of the Tongariro National Park and comprises of a selection of tracks on Mt Ruapehu, such as the Taranaki Falls, Silica Rapids, or Top of the Bruce Circuit.
Your guides enhance the walk with their extensive knowledge of geology, volcanology and New Zealand history, ensuring your tour is full of spectacular landscapes and enthralling facts.
Your tour will end at approximately 12.30pm when you get dropped off at your hotel, and the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 5: Tongariro – Wellington
Once you’ve checked out of your hotel, it’s time to make your way south to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
Check into your hotel for your two-night stay and take the rest of your day strolling along the harbour front, stopping into the amazing coffee shops along the way. If you have time, pay a visit to Te Papa Museum to learn more about New Zealand’s culture and history.
Day 6: Wellington
Your guide and vehicle will pick you up from your hotel for your half-day Lord of the Rings tour exploring the film locations around the Wellington region. You’ll be heading past the Embassy Movie Theatre that held the world premiere of LOTR: Return of the King and see where the stars and 100,000 people gathered to watch.
Next, you’ll drive up to Mt Victoria and after a quick stop at the lookout, your guide will drive down to the ‘Green Belt’ where you will walk through the forest to stand where the actors stood while filming. Last but by no means least is 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, where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing or head back out to explore what the city has to offer.
Days 7: Depart Wellington
Your trip comes to an end today and it’s time to drive to Wellington Airport to drop off your car hire and board your onward flight.