If you want to come to New Zealand to fulfil a dream of discovering Middle-Earth, this New Zealand Lord of the Rings vacation is for you. See the most iconic Lord of the Rings filming locations on this must do New Zealand guided holiday. Your private guide will meet you at the airport and take you on an insider’s tour of Middle-earth! Offering the best flexible New Zealand escorted tours with no date or itinerary restrictions.
Your fantastic guided Lord of the Rings vacation begins in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Home to one third of New Zealand’s population and bordered by two stunning harbours, Auckland is thriving, diverse city surrounded by natural wonders.
Explore Auckland with your guide, visiting top attractions such as the Sky Tower, Mt Eden’s volcanic crater, Waiheke Island, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, or Piha Beach.
Stay 1 night in Auckland.
Travel time Auckland to Matamata – 2 hours
Make your way to Matamata to discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland. Near Matamata, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in the Shire’s Rest Cafe.
Travel time Matamata to Rotorua – 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic drive through rolling farmland to Rotorua, the geothermal capital of New Zealand.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Stroll through Hell’s Gate Geothermal Reserve in the morning, where you will have the opportunity to experience the rich Maori culture and soak in a relaxing sulphur spa.
Tour the exciting geothermal attractions with your guide in the afternoon, visiting sulphur springs, mud pools, geysers, and sinter terraces.
Travel time Rotorua to Wellington – 4.5 hours
Continue south to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Your guide will help you become acquainted with this charming city. You could visit Te Papa Museum, ride the Wellington Cable Car, or take in views from the top of Mt Victoria.
Stay 2 nights in Wellington.
Today, join a full-day Lord of the Rings tour! Follow in the footsteps of Hobbits, Dwarfs, Elves and Men. You will cover a lot of ground on the tour, but there is enough time to explore, recreate scenes for yourself, and work out how the movies were made. The scenery of Wellington mirrors that of Middle-Earth.
The morning is spent exploring the city locations; you will spend 40 minutes walking through the Outer Shire. This location includes the famous ‘Get off the road’ scene, the ‘shortcut to mushrooms,’ the Black Rider scenes and many more. Then it’s off to the Weta Workshop for an inside look at the Wellington film industry. Your visit to Weta will include the ‘Window into Workshop’ exhibition, which is a guided tour of the inner working of the Weta Workshop. After the morning’s excitement, it’s time for an Orc-sized lunch. You will head out to Scorch-O-Rama cafe for an LOTR themed menu designed especially for Wellington Rover Tours. This is included in the cost of your tour. The afternoon is spent exploring the Great River Anduin, the Gardens of Isengard, and Rivendell. You will also see the location where Helms Deep & Minas Tirith were filmed.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton – 3 hours
Travel time Picton to Kaikoura – 2 hours
Begin your day with a cruise across the windswept Cook Strait.
Upon reaching the South Island, your guide will take you on a scenic drive through the Marlborough wine region. You have the option to stop at a winery (or two!) along the way for samples of the award-winning wines.
Spend the evening in Kaikoura, a stunning coastal town with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Be sure to sample the superb local seafood at dinner!
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Travel time Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs – 1.5 hours
Relax and unwind in the quiet mountain town of Hanmer Springs – you may wish to soak in the hot springs or go for a short guided forest walk with your escort.
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Travel time Hanmer Springs to Lake Tekapo – 4.5 hours
Along the way to Lake Tekapo, you have the option to take a detour (one hour each way) to Mount Sunday, the filming location for Edoras, set among rugged mountains. Your guide will provide more details.
Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins as you cross over Burkes Pass. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.
While you rest and explore the quaint lakeside town of Lake Tekapo, paying a visit to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, you have the option to add on a flight-seeing tour of the Southern Alps or a nighttime observatory tour at Mt John.
Stay 1 night at Lake Tekapo.
Travel time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown – 3 hours
As you continue the spectacular drive south, you have the option to make a side trip to Mt Cook Village – ask your guide for more details. You could also make a short trip to the filming location for Pelennor Fields, at Ben Ohau.
Once you pass over the dramatic Lindis Pass and through the Kawarau Gorge, you will reach Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Explore the town independently in the evening, or add on a lake cruise and high country farm dinner with the TSS Earnslaw to make the most of your holiday.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Bring your fantastic holiday to a close today with an unforgettable wilderness jet boat safari.
Your guide will drive you to the stunning township of Glenorchy, nestled at the head of Lake Wakatipu, stopping for views along the way. The jet boat safari continues past Glenorchy up the Dart River, which passes into the Paradise Valley (easily recognisable as Isengard). Stop for a nature walk through the forest used as Lothlorien, and marvel at the snow-capped mountain peaks and stunning turquoise river.
Afterwards, relax and explore Glenorchy with your guide. You have the option to enjoy a forest walk, visit further filming locations (including the Ithilien Camp, the location of the Battle of Amon Hen, and the setting for Beorn’s house from The Hobbit), or take a scenic drive to Kinloch Lodge for a coffee or lunch overlooking the wild reaches of Lake Wakatipu.
In the afternoon, return to Queenstown and explore the area with your guide, with the option to visit more filming locations around town, make a trip to the historic mining community of Arrowtown, or sample award-winning wines at the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley.
In the evening, raise a glass to a fantastic New Zealand Lord of the Rings vacation!
Your guide will deliver you to Queenstown Airport for your departing flight.
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