New Zealand Lord of the Rings tour
Description of New Zealand Lord of the Rings tour
Explore the fantasy landscapes of Middle Earth on this Tolkien-inspired Hobbit and Lord of the Rings tour of New Zealand. From quaint Hobbiton to dramatic Mordor and Mount Doom, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Frodo on your journey through film locations on this self-drive adventure.
You’ll start in Cambridge, with a visit to the enchanting glowworm caves of Waitomo, before embarking on a private guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in Rotorua. Next, you’ll move onto Taupo and enjoy a private tour of Wai-O-Tapu’s spurting geysers and jewel-toned hot pools at Thermal Wonderland, take a thrilling jetboat ride at Huka Falls and meet with a Maori master carver for a traditional powhiri (Maori welcome).
Then, it’s onto Tongariro National Park, which is packed with Lord of the Rings filming locations, before you move onto Wellington and a private guided tour of Weta Workshop (for props and costume) and more Middle Earth filming locations. In Nelson, you’ll take a helicopter Lord of the Rings tour from the sky.
You’ll journey onto Lake Heron, staying at an authentic high country working farm, then head to Queenstown for a Lord of the Rings adventure safari, a helicopter tour and a nature cruise around the serene Milford Sound. Your adventure ends in Auckland, with world-class food and drink, as well as relaxing harbour views.
This special interest tour combines New Zealand’s highlights with Lord of the Rings insider exclusives, immersing you in the mysterious world of Middle Earth and New Zealand's unparalleled natural beauty.
|Day 1:||Arrival in Auckland & Transfer to Cambridge – Begin your New Zealand Hobbit holiday by flying into Auckland, where you’ll pick up your hire care and head to your first destination, Cambridge. You’ll stay at Huntington Stables Retreat, a luxury lodge located between native bush and farmlands. Relax in the swimming pool or at the in-house hot spa, then sit out on your own private deck for gorgeous hillside views. Your Hobbit adventure tour of New Zealand is officially underway.|
|Day 2:||Exploring Glowworm Caves & Transfer to Rotorua – For your first full day in New Zealand, you’ll visit Caveworld in Waitomo. You’ll take a private tour of the Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, a magical place known to the Maori as Te Anaroa. Follow the candlelight and the ethereal glow of the fairy tale creatures on your journey through the limestone caverns. After lunch, you’ll drive onto Rotorua, where you’ll be staying at the Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa. This luxury property is located in the town centre and features an outdoor heated swimming pool and a mineral pool for relaxation.|
|Day 3:||Private Tour of Hobbiton – For your first Middle Earth filming location, you’ll visit Shires Rest and enjoy a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Original structures used in the films include Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn and the double arch stone bridge, where the mill sits on the riverbank. You won’t be able to miss the bright circular doors nestled into the hillside. Finish the tour with a Marquee Festive Feast for lunch at the Party Marquee.|
|Day 4:||Exploring Taupo & Transfer to Tongariro – Drive into Wai-O-Tapu to explore the region’s Thermal Wonderland, with erupting geysers and brewing mud pools formed by the ancient volcanic landscape. Next, it’s onto Huka Falls for an exciting jetboat ride through the foaming waters. Grab lunch in Taupo and then head to Te Rangiita Marae to meet master carver Delani Brown for a special powhiri (Maori welcome) and a chance to learn about the traditions of the Tuwharetoa tribe. Move onto Tongariro, where you’ll be staying at Bayview Chateau Tongariro, a luxury chateau tucked away in the park’s mountain peaks.|
|Day 5:||Explore Film Locations in Tongariro National Park – Spend the day exploring Tongariro National Park to see a multitude of different Lord of the Rings filming locations. You’ll recognise the dominating and desolate Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, the Whakapapa Ski Field as Meads Wall (the site where Sam and Frodo catch Gollum, and Isildur cuts off Sauron’s finger) and Tukino Ski Field as Rangipo Desert (where Frodo, Sam and Gollum look out to the Gates of Mordor). Alternatively, you can take a day hike to the peak of Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom) to throw the one ring into it!|
|Day 6:||Exploring Tongariro National Park & Transfer to Turangi – Continue with your exploration of Tongariro National Park for a chance to see more Lord of the Rings filming locations as well as incredible natural beauty. We recommend the Taranaki Falls Walk, which takes a couple of hours to complete and offers spectacular scenery. Later, drive to Turangi and check into River Birches Lodge, right on the banks of the Tongariro River, where you’ll be staying at a self-contained luxury cottage.|
|Day 7:||Transfer to Wellington – Next, it’s onto Wellington with an expert local guide, who will show you some special LOTR stops en route, such as Kaitoke Regional Park, which you may know better as the film location for Rivendell, home of the elves. Arriving in Wellington, you'll check into the four-star Novotel Wellington, located in the city centre, providing the perfect base from which to explore the city. If you have time, we recommend a visit to Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, which is filled with treasures and history.|
|Day 8:||Weta Workshop Experience – Today, you’ll drive to Weta Workshop and take part in a private guided tour of the original props and costumes made for numerous different famous films, learning about the history of New Zealand’s filming industry and the crafting processes. You’ll participate in a chainmaille workshop, where you’ll learn to assemble chainmaille that was used to make the chainmaille suits in the Lord of the Rings films. After lunch, you can spend the afternoon sightseeing around Wellington. We recommend a wander along the waterfront to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, or a trip to Pataka, which has a vibrant mix of Maori, Asian, Pacific Island and other international influences.|
|Day 9:||Explore Middle Earth – Next, you’ll experience a half-day Middle Earth film locations tour in a small group with an expert guide. You’ll explore sites such as the Great River Anduin (the Gardens of Isengard), Kaitoke Regional Park (Rivendell) and the quarry used for Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Climb Mount Victoria to the see the Outer Shire and more filming locations, ending at the lookout with stunning views of Wellington.|
|Day 10:||Ferry to Picton & Transfer to Nelson – From the Wellington Interislander Ferry Terminal, you’ll take a cruise across the Cook Strait (between North Island and South Island), before arriving in Picton. You’ll head to Nelson and your accommodation at Rutherford Hotel, a stone’s throw away from the city’s cathedral. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Jens Hansen Goldsmiths, the designers and makers of the actual ring from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, which includes a workshop tour, depending on availability.|
|Day 11:||Ultimate Lord of the Rings Helicopter Tour & Transfer to Kaikoura – Today you’ll explore Middle Earth from the sky, with a three-hour Ultimate Lord of the Rings Tour by helicopter. You’ll fly into Golden Bay and Mount Olympus for some exploration of the South of Rivendell, then fly onto Mount Owen for incredible views of Kahurangi National Park and the site of the exit from the Mines of Moria. Then, it’s onto Salisbury Falls, located at the start of the Heaphy’s Track, where Tauriel and Legolas meet before heading to Lake-town. The return flight to Nelson offers views across Tasman Bay. Later, you’ll journey on to Kaikoura, where you’ll be staying at The White Morph, an oceanside hotel right on the Esplanade of Kaikoura.|
|Day 12:||Scenic Drive to Lake Heron – Drive from Kaikoura to Lake Heron Station to visit an authentic high country working sheep farm, tucked away in the Southern Alps. You’ll stay in a charming cottage on the 43,000-acre station, with views of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys and the tranquil lapping waters of Lake Heron. Open a complimentary bottle of local wine and enjoy a glass, soaking in your luxurious outdoor bath under the stars.|
|Day 13:||Exploring Lake Heron & Transfer to Lake Tekapo – Today, you’ll enjoy a private tour of the surrounding area with a local guide, who will take you to Mount Sunday, a commanding mountain peak formed by glaciers in Haketere Conservation Park (you may know the area better as the film location for Edoras from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). Then, you’ll drive on to Lake Tekapo, where you’ll be staying at Peppers Bluewater Resort in Mackenzie Country. This rural retreat offers activities such as kayaking, star gazing, horse riding, trout fishing and hot spring soaking.|
|Day 14:||Transfer to Queenstown – From Lake Tekapo, you’ll drive to Queenstown, where you’ll be staying at The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments, which boasts five luxurious private residents right on Lake Wakatipu, with gorgeous views of The Remarkables mountain range. The property also includes a private wharf, library, gym, private shuttle into the city centre (only 10 minutes away) and a fine dining restaurant with an award-winning chef, plus premium wines from the Central Otago region.|
|Day 15:||The Lord of the Rings Adventure Safari – Enjoy thrilling 4WD river crossings, learn about the region’s gold mining heritage and take trips to Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Ford of Bruinen, the Pillars of the Kings and the site of Isildur’s Fall – all part of an exciting Lord of the Rings Adventure Safari. After lunch, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive to the charming town of Glenorchy, the site of Isengard, before you take a stunning helicopter flight over Cecil Peak Ledge, with stops for viewpoints and photo opportunities. From above, you’ll be able to see 12 Mile Delta (Ithilien camp), the Rees Valley (Lothorien Woods), Skippers Range (Arwen) and Earnslaw Burn (Rivendell).|
|Day 16:||Milford Sound Cruise & Road Tour – Enjoy a private guided tour through Milford Sound, including a nature cruise, where you’ll visit the Anduin River and Dead Marshes; spot dolphins, seals and Fiordland crested penguins; and enjoy a picnic in the fiords.|
|Day 17:||Exploring Queenstown – Today, you’re free to explore Queenstown at your leisure. We recommend the Queenstown Hill Time Walk up to panoramic viewpoints, a ride on the city’s Skyline Gondola, a visit to picturesque Glenorchy for hiking around Lake Sylvan, or a winery tour of the region’s famous local produce (with a stop at Amisfield Winery for lunch created by an award-winning chef). If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try bungy jumping, zip-lining, paragliding, sky diving, canyoning, heli-mountain biking and much more. Then, relax at the Onsen Hot Pools, sipping champagne and reclining in the mineral-rich thermal pools, overlooking the Shotover River Canyon.|
|Day 18:||Transfer to Auckland – From Queenstown Airport, you’ll take an internal flight to Auckland, where you’ll be met by a private chauffeur and transferred to the Hilton Hotel. This famous luxury property juts out of the harbour like a cruise ship, with nautical-themed décor and incredible ocean views. Only five minutes from Viaduct Harbour, you’re spoilt for choice for restaurants and bars in the city.|
|Day 19:||Departure from Auckland – Sadly, your luxury Hobbit tour of New Zealand comes to an end, but you’ll leave with lifelong memories of spectacular landscapes, natural wonders and an even deeper appreciation for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and the experience of seeing Tolkien’s Middle Earth brought to life.|
PlanetAs with all of our luxury holidays, this itinerary has been crafted to ensure that it positively effects the local communities and environments visited.
This itinerary includes trips to some of New Zealand's precious natural wonders, including Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Waitomo's glowworm caves and a number of the country's national parks. By visiting these sites (all entrance fees are included in your luxury tour), you are supporting the preservation and conservation of these areas, and indicating to authorities that tourists are interested in protecting New Zealand's incredible natural environments, which in turn provides more funding for these regions.
In New Zealand's rural environments, please ensure that you don’t leave any litter – everything you carry in, you must carry out. Aside from the environmental damage, litter can be harmful to the wildlife.
We also make a special effort to recommend accommodation providers which have responsible and sustainable initiatives. For example, The White Morph is a member of the Green Hotels & Responsible Tourism Initiative, with a commitment to minimising environmental impact through policies on energy, water and waste management, as well as sourcing products from local suppliers.
PeopleAll the local guides referred to in this itinerary are paid a fair wage. We believe that using local guides is important, as it helps generate local incomes and creates jobs, plus it offers a more authentic travel experience.
We recommend independent local hotels, lodges, guesthouses and campsites, rather than international chain hotels, where possible, which helps support local communities and allows you to experience true Kiwi hospitality. For example, the locally-owned Huntington Stables Retreat is run by hosts Robyn, Andy and Eden, who offer tailor-made and personalised packages for their guests. The hotel also runs a gift shop that stocks locally-made art, crafts, pottery, souvenirs and toiletries, which further support the community.
We encourage guests to learn about a destination's indigenous cultures, therefore this luxury New Zealand holiday includes a cultural experience learning about Maori traditions with a Maori master carver, including a traditional powhiri (Maori welcome) and the opportunity to learn about local tribe traditions from an authentic guide.
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