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.
Your fantastic guided holiday 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
Experience the magic of Middle-earth as you tour the Hobbiton Movie Set, where the charming village from The Lord of the Rings has been brought to life.
Following your tour, enjoy a Southfarthing ale or cider at the iconic Green Dragon Inn. You also have the option to purchase a light lunch.
Travel time Matamata to Hamilton – 1 hour
After your Middle-earth adventure, continue to Hamilton, New Zealand’s largest inland city.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Travel time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves – 1 hour
Venture off the beaten track as your guide takes you on a scenic drive to the Waitomo Caves. The land is wilder around here, with limestone outcroppings emerging from farmland and densely forested hills rising all around, but the wildest landscape of all lies underground.
Witness the marvels of these vast caverns as you explore two fantastic caves – the Ruakuri Cave, home to a dizzying array of cave formations, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you will be dazzled by a galaxy of glowworms overhead.
Travel time Waitomo Caves to Rotorua – 2 hours
Enjoy the scenic drive through rolling farmland to Rotorua, the geothermal capital of New Zealand.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Tour the exciting geothermal attractions with your guide today, visiting sulphur springs, mud pools, geysers, and sinter terraces.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – Skyline Restaurant. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold on your journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, a buffet of legendary proportions. At the top of the gondola you also have the option to add on a thrilling Luge Ride, enjoy nature walks, and visit the Jelly Belly Shop and Volcanic Hills winery and tasting room.
Travel time Rotorua to Taupo – 1 hour
Your geothermal experience will continue as you enjoy the short drive to Taupo, a small town set beside New Zealand’s largest lake. With the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park looming in the distance, and the lake itself formed from an ancient volcanic crater, you will get a close-up look at the immense forces that shaped New Zealand. Visit Huka Falls with your guide and relax on the lakefront.
In the afternoon, lift high above Lake Taupo to soar around the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park, flying over Mt Doom as you explore the craters and colourful volcanic lakes on a scenic floatplane flight.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Travel time Taupo 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 the Te Papa Museum, ride the Wellington Cable Car, or take in the 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 Studios 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 Studios. 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. Along the way, you have the option to stop at a winery (or two!) 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 Christchurch – 2.5 hours
Your fantastic guided holiday will continue to 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 holiday destination.
Explore Christchurch with your guide, visiting the botanic gardens, the Riverside Farmers Market, the Cardboard Cathedral and the Canterbury Museum.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3.5 hours
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 4 nights in Queenstown.
Start your time in Queenstown on a high with a fantastic 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 and 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 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.
Journey into the heart of New Zealand today on a scenic coach tour to Manapouri. Cruise across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound, where you will enjoy an unforgettable wilderness cruise on this awe-inspiring, remote fiord. During the cruise, your knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter, including dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. After your cruise, relax while your coach delivers you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Visit the historic mining settlement of Arrowtown and explore the Lord of the Rings locations around Queenstown with your guide today on a relaxing scenic drive. Several locations you’ll see are the Argonath (the Pillars of the Kings), the Misty Mountains, the Ford of Bruinen, and Deer Park Heights (where the Battle of the Wargs and the Refugees of Rohan were filmed).
In the evening, raise a glass to a fantastic holiday!
Your guide will deliver you to Queenstown Airport for your departing flight.
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