If you want to come to New Zealand to fulfil a dream of discovering Middle-earth, this New Zealand Lord of the Rings tour 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.
You’re fantastic New Zealand guided tour begins in Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” With a thriving restaurant scene, a string of beautiful parks, and a historic town centre, Christchurch is an excellent destination.
Explore Christchurch with your guide, options include; experiencing Christchurch Tramway, Christchurch Gondola, Christchurch Botanic Gardens or going Punting on the Avon River. A visit to the International Antarctic Centre or Canterbury Museum. Venturing to Sumner Beach or dining and shopping at the Riverside Market.
In the evening option to add dinner aboard the Christchurch Tram. The Tramway Restaurant offers curated seasonal dining combined with evening sightseeing in central Christchurch for a truly unique experience!
Stay 2 nights in Christchurch.
Depart Christchurch and travel to the remote backcountry region of Mount Potts by 6WD vehicle. Discover first-hand how the peaceful mountain location was transformed into Edoras, the capital of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Get back to nature and soak up the unspoiled beauty as you encounter lakes of sparkling water and rivers that glisten blue. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, and take a short guided walk to stand on the mountain summit for exceptional views.
Get the chance to take souvenir photos of movie prop swords and flags, and listen to an informative commentary from your guide along the way.
Travel time Christchurch to Mt Cook Village – 4 hours
Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.
You will pass an amazing smoky turquoise lake, which is called Lake Tekapo. Take a break in Tekapo and visit the most photographed church in New Zealand – the Church of the Good Shepherd. Other attractions in Lake Tekapo include the spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world-famous Mt John Observatory.
Continue past Lake Pukaki on your way to Mt Cook Village, nestled at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt Cook.
In the afternoon join the Glaciers Explorers Tour. The only tour of its kind in New Zealand and one of the only accessible glacial lakes containing icebergs in the world. Explore and learn about the ever-changing glacial landscape as you journey across the terminal lake in custom-built MAC Boats with experienced guides. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the face of the glacier into the rapidly growing lake. Lateral moraines rear up almost 200m to remind us of the scale and greatness that the glacier has reached in previous times.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park forms the majority of New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve and there are only eight in the world. The stargazing here is magnificent and stargazing tours can be added to your tour. The perfect way to enhance your escorted tours of South Island New Zealand.
Stay 1 night in Mt Cook Village.
Travel time Mt Cook Village to Queenstown – 3 hours
Continue south to Queenstown, you can make a short trip to the filming location for Pelennor Fields, at Ben Ohau.
Option to visit Arrowtown prior to reaching Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. Time permitting, your guide will show you the filming locations for the Argonath, the Misty Mountains, and the Ford of Bruinen. Continue on to Queenstown, New Zealand’s stunning alpine resort and adventure capital.
In the afternoon, you have the option to add on an unforgettable helicopter flight to see a number of remote filming locations tucked in spectacular mountain valleys. Or enjoy a steamship cruise and high-country farm dinner with the TSS Earnslaw.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Your guide will drive you to the stunning township of Glenorchy, nestled at the head of Lake Wakatipu. 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, or sample award-winning wines at the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley.
Travel time Queenstown to Te Anau – 2.5 hours
Your scenic tour will continue as you make your way past Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Nestled on the edge of a lake, the picturesque township of Te Anau is the main visitor base for the glacier-carved wilderness that is Fiordland National Park. Restaurants are plentiful and give visitors the opportunity to sample delicious local fare like venison, lobster and seafood.
In the afternoon, experience a spectacular Lord of the Rings helicopter flight over Fiordland! Departing from the lakeside helicopter pad on the Te Anau lakefront, journey deep into the Fiordland wilderness. Soaring high over the Main Divide with its ever-changing scenery of beech forest, maunga (mountains) and bright blue alpine lakes, you’ll love this little-seen part of South-West New Zealand. Breathe the crisp alpine air when you land on Mount Kidd, a remote, picturesque area complete with an inky blue lake. From here, soak up the epic views out over Fiordland’s landscapes. Make sure your phone or camera is charged – this is a scene you’ll want to revisit time and time again!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Embark on a fantastic journey along the Milford Highway today to New Zealand’s most iconic fiord – Milford Sound. Travel with a small tour group on this extended day trip to Milford Sound. Along the way, stop for countless scenic photo opportunities and short walks. At Milford Sound, enjoy a scenic nature cruise that takes you up close to the majesty of the fiord – you might even spot keas, seals, dolphins, or the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin! With specialist nature guides on board, offering a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys and wildlife… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself!
Travel time Te Anau to Wanaka – 3.5 hours
Enjoy the scenic drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka – your guide will stop for photos at panoramic viewing points. Option to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel and the Cardrona Distillery.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars, cafés and restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine.
Explore Wanaka with your guide – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction; the National Toy and Transport Museum or the Wanaka Lavender Farm located just a few minutes from Wanaka, where you can experience 20 acres of beautiful lavender fields, farm animals & display gardens.
Test out your fishing skills at “Hook”, Wanaka’s very unique interactive Lake to Plate dining experience. Catch a Chinook salmon from the scenic spring-fed fishing lakes and then relax as the team prepares it for you. No experience is necessary and fishing equipment can be hired on the day.
Stroll the streets and be inspired by galleries and stylish shops, visit ‘That Wanaka Tree’ for the perfect photo, or enjoy one of the many famous walking tracks such as Mt Iron.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
Travel time Wanaka to Franz Josef – 4 hours
After the Milford Highway, the Haast Pass Highway is one of the most scenic alpine routes in New Zealand. Explore the pass with your guide, stopping to view waterfalls, alpine meadows and the turquoise depths of the Blue Pools.
Continuing along the West Coast, your guide will take you to Lake Matheson, where you can take a 20 minute walk (one-way) to the jetty, to admire the reflected views of the Southern Alps on the surface of the lake.
In the afternoon, you have the option to add on a helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier with a snow landing. Highly recommended!
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2.5 hours
Train travel time Greymouth to Christchurch – 4.5 hours
Enjoy more West Coast beauty today. You may wish to visit Hokitika Gorge, where an impressive turquoise river flows through a narrow canyon. Also closeby you will find a great attraction in the West Coast Treetop Walk. The walkway is 450 metres in total and reaches heights of 20 metres giving you fantastic panoramic views. Hokitika is a great location worth exploring, famous for its rugged beach and arts and crafts scene. Carry on to Greymouth, which is located 30 minutes north of Hokitika.
Leave the rugged West Coast behind today as you board the TranzAlpine Train for a fantastic journey through Arthurs Pass. Travel past the soaring peaks and braided rivers of the Southern Alps, through the gorges of the Waimakariri River, and past the rolling Canterbury Plains.
Your guide will meet you at the train station and bring you to your accommodation. Celebrate your fantastic Lord of the Rings Tour at one of Christchurch’s top restaurants.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.