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.
Auckland is a multi-cultural urban oasis of food, music, arts and culture. World-class shopping and phenomenal dining is never too far from harbours, islands, native bush and black-sand beaches.
Explore Auckland with your guide.
The Auckland Museum is well worth a visit. With internationally significant Māori and Pacific collections to explore, the Auckland Museum is a must-see place to experience our rich culture.
If you would like to get straight into nature; skipper an America’s Cup yacht or experience whale watching.
Option to visit top attractions such as the Sky Tower and Mt Eden’s volcanic crater.
In the evening the fairy lights of Federal Street will lure you into some of the finest restaurants in Auckland or head down to The Viaduct, a food and drinks hub in central Auckland.
Stay 1 night in Auckland.
Travel time Auckland to Matamata – 2 hours
Experience the real Middle-earth™ at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, where you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Your guide will escort you around the set, pointing out famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made. You will be fully guided around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Holes™, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn. You will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth™ adventure.
Stay in Matamata for the evening with the option to add the Hobbiton Evening Banquet Tour and or The Second Breakfast Tour the following morning!
Stay 1 night in Matamata.
Travel time Matamata to Waitomo Caves – 1.5 hours
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. Option to add a Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner, which comes highly recommended and rated.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Explore Rotorua with your guide.
Options include visiting Rotorua’s public Kuirau Park to discover the steaming, hissing and bubbling geothermal activity.
Or visit the Redwoods Treewalk, which features 23 suspension bridges through 115-year-old redwood trees.
The National Kiwi Hatchery is the national leader in egg incubation systems, hatching techniques and kiwi chick rearing. Add the National Kiwi Hatchery to your tour and you’ll get to see kiwi eggs being incubated and newly hatched kiwi chicks.
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 Taupō, 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.
Taupō is rich in natural beauty with attractions such as the Huka Falls. The Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most visited attraction, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second. Visit this stunning natural attraction with your guide.
In the afternoon, lift-off high above Lake Taupō 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.
Taupō is a great lake for trout fishing and scenic boat cruises. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Travel time Taupo to Wellington – 4.5 hours
Enjoy the scenic drive from Taupō to Wellington. Along the way, you will come across Tongariro National Park, which boasts an impressive collection of volcanoes. For Lord of the Rings fans your guide will take you to view Gollum’s Pool and show you Mordor!
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has so much to offer. Set on the edge of a stunning harbour, surrounded by rolling hills, it’s a city rich in culture waiting to be explored. From shopping and picturesque walks to concerts, live theatre, exhibitions, festivals, Te Papa Tongarewa: the Museum of New Zealand, and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Tour Wellington’s top attractions with your guide, popular options include Te Papa Tongarewa: The Museum of New Zealand, Weta Workshop, Wellington Cable Car, Mt Victoria Lookout and Zealandia – an ecosanctuary in the heart of Wellington.
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 Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton in the South Island.
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.
Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips can be taken by sea or air and the local seal colony is always entertaining.
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
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Explore Christchurch with your guide. Recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River, Riverside Market and the Botanical Gardens.
Or discover Middle-earth and visit the spectacular Alpine location of Edoras from the Lord of the Rings trilogy on a full-day add-on tour through the scenic landscapes of Mount Potts in the upper reaches of the Rangitata Valley.
In the evening option to add dinner aboard the Christchurch Tram, enjoy a three-course meal whilst touring the inner city, the perfect way to experience Christchurch City.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3.5 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.
Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing and booking a stargazing tour.
Lake Tekapo has many things to do and explore. Visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most photographed places in the country because of its incredible backdrop of Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps. Just around the corner from the Church is the Mackenzie Sheep Dog Statue, another great photo opportunity in an extraordinary setting.
One of the most popular attractions in town is Tekapo Springs. With hot pools, spas, water slides, steam rooms, saunas and more, they have everything covered for everyone.
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. You can also make a short trip to the filming location for Pelennor Fields, at Ben Ohau.
You also have the option to visit top wineries on the drive through the Kawarau Gorge.
Visit Arrowtown prior to reaching Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. Your guide will show you the filming locations for the Argonath, the Misty Mountains, and the Ford of Bruinen.
In the afternoon, you have the option to add on an unforgettable helicopter ride to see a number of remote filming locations tucked in spectacular mountain valleys and ridges throughout the region, or to enjoy a steamship cruise and high-country farm dinner with the TSS Earnslaw.
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 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.
Journey into the heart of Fiordland National Park today.
Doubtful Sound is a beautiful fiord. Three times longer than Milford Sound, with twisting arms, it has a surface area ten times larger. With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound will take your breath away.
There’s no direct road access, so the only way you can to get to Doubtful Sound is a cruise across the picturesque Lake Manapouri, followed by a trip over Wilmot Pass – New Zealand’s most expensive (and majestic) road. You will pause along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening below. This isolation makes this fiord a very special place, only those in the know get to see.
In Doubtful Sound, you’ll board the spacious, purpose-built catamaran Patea Explorer for a 3 hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise the knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region. They’re always ready to answer questions, point out landmarks and provide all the information about the varied wildlife you may see, including dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.
Visit any further Lord of the Rings Film locations around Queenstown with your guide and make the most of Queenstown during your final day in paradise.
Push your adventure limits. From the Kawarau Bridge Bungy – to jet boat thrills through the Shotover River. Zip-Liping and Quad Biking, add anything you desire to your tour.
Explore one of the many walking or biking trails.
Enjoy an iconic Queenstown experience and take the Queenstown Gondola up 450 metres to Bob’s Peak. Try your hand at the Queenstown Luge. Enjoy lunch or dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant.
Come evening relax in the Onsen Hot Pools. Add a private Onsen Experience to your tour. Onsen Hot Pools is located high on a cliffside overlooking the magnificent Shotover River canyon, providing views over breathtaking alpine scenery and the perfect vantage point to watch the Shotover Jet boats on the river below. A unique feature of Onsen Hot Pools are the retractable picture windows: Convert your pool room from indoor to outdoor and back again at the touch of a button!
Your guide will deliver you to Queenstown Airport for your departing flight.