Plan an unforgettable Lord of the Rings tour with New Zealand Guided Tours. Explore the filming highlights with a private guide.
We offer the best flexible Lord of the Rings New Zealand escorted tours with no date or itinerary restrictions. If you came to New Zealand to fulfil a dream of discovering Middle-earth in real life, this is the Lord of the Rings tour you can’t miss. See the best filming locations at a leisurely pace.
From Hobbiton to Weta Workshop, our Lord of the Rings New Zealand tours cover the best of Middle-earth.
Read on to learn more about our 21 Day Lord of the Rings New Zealand Tours.
Auckland is a multi-cultural urban oasis of food, music, arts and culture. Your guide will greet you at Auckland Airport and your Lord of the Rings Locations Tour will commence.
Explore Auckland with your guide.
Auckland Museum offers a great introduction to New Zealand. With internationally significant Māori and Pacific collections to explore, the Auckland Museum is a must-see place to experience our rich culture.
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 Bay of Islands – 4 hours
Discover the stunning northern reaches of New Zealand today with your guide. The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region made up of 144 islands known for its stunning beauty & history.
New Zealand’s newest Marine mammal sanctuary Te Pēwhairangi (Bay of Islands) boasts an abundance of marine life, which includes whales, dolphins, penguins, fur seals and a large variety of sea birds. For those that love nature, beaches and water activities, it’s paradise.
The bustling seaside town of Paihia has an extensive choice of activities, accommodation and delicious dining options. Paihia is the perfect base for discovering the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia.
Board your premium cruise ‘Discover the Bay’ and see for yourself the best of what the Bay of Islands has to offer. Journey to the Hole in the Rock and if weather permits, sail through it. See marine wildlife including Dolphins and stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island to have a swim, go for a walk, have a bite to eat and relax.
In the afternoon, you might like your guide to take you to Russell. Russell is a significant place in New Zealand’s history, being New Zealand’s first European settlement and sea port. Russell is also home to the Duke of Marlborough, New Zealand’s first licensed hotel and pub.
Or experience the rich Maori culture with your guide as you visit the Waitangi treaty house, gardens, and national marae (meeting house). The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is where the signing of New Zealand’s founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi took place on February 6th 1840.
Travel time Bay of Islands to Hamilton – 5.5 hours
Hamilton’s warm and welcoming spirit, rich history and contrasting splendours ensure visitors are spoilt for choice. From magnificent parks and gardens to a thriving cultural precinct, the city offers a vibrant combination of dining, leisure and activity choices for your New Zealand family holiday.
Explore attractions with your guide such as Raglan’s surf coast; relax at a beachside cafe and enjoy the scenery or get amongst it and learn to surf! Soak in the natural, silky mineral water that has made Te Aroha Mineral Pools famous for over 100 years. Meander through the Hamilton Gardens and discover paths delivering mysterious surprises.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton or Matamata.
Travel time Hamilton to Matamata – 1 hour
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.
Option to add the The Second Breakfast Tour or Hobbiton Evening Banquet Tour.
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 – marvel at the bubbling mud pools and geysers, and soak in a relaxing sulphur spa.
Next visit the National Kiwi Hatchery for an exclusive behind the scenes private tour. This comprehensive 1-hour guided experience is a truly unique opportunity to learn about the world-renowned kiwi hatchery conservation program. You are invited to step ‘behind the glass’ for an immersive experience to join the hatchery team in a staff-only area to learn about the incubation and chick rearing techniques from global experts. Afterwards, take more time to learn in the interactive kiwi burrow and see adult kiwi roam and forage.
There is more to see! In the evening experience New Zealand’s cultural side with a evening of Maori Culture and delicacies. See a real life haka and be touched by a traditional Maori welcome. Then feast on the three course meal cooked in the traditional hangi pits. Finish your evening next to a fascinating geyser watching it erupt under the night sky.
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.
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 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 your tour. 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.
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 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 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.
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. One of the most popular attractions in town is Tekapo Springs with hot pools, spas, water slides, steam rooms and saunas.
In the evening prepare for an awe-inspiring evening on a magical star gazing tour. Your expert astronomy guides bring the night sky to life, sharing the science and the stories of our Southern skies. Stargaze using the naked eye guided by lasers. Then proceed to explore deeper through up to 16″ optical telescopes, including in the private observatory dome. Take in the incredible Milky Way, far off planets, star clusters, solar systems, and even distant galaxies. Every night sky beholds something different.
Stay 2 nights at Lake Tekapo.
Mount Cook Village is nestled at the base of the Southern Alps, with stunning views of Mount Cook and the surrounding mountains. At 3,724 metres, New Zealand’s highest mountain (Aoraki / Mount Cook) is dazzling, yet there are 27 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3,050 metres, and hundreds of others not far short of that, all making up the famous Southern Alps.
Mountain walks lead to alpine tarns, herb fields, spectacular glacier views and encounters with cheeky kea (mountain parrots).
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 with experienced guides. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the face of the glacier into the rapidly growing lake.
Travel time Lake Tekapo to Wanaka – 3 hours
The scenery remains just as spectacular as ever while you continue your tour south to Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere. Along the way you can make a short trip to the filming location for Pelennor Fields, at Ben Ohau.
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.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Enjoy a luxury cruise on the crystal clear waters of Lake Wanaka to the remote Mou Waho Island nature reserve, home of the lake on an island in a lake. Mou Waho is a predator free Department of Conservation reserve and home to many native birds not seen on mainland NZ. Here you can see first-hand results of conservation efforts including the rare flightless Buff Weka (extinct on the mainland since 1920), the wood pigeon and the native falcon. A one hour guided bush walk is included which takes you up to a lake right on top of the island, with magnificent mountain and lake scenery in every direction. On returning to your luxury 55 foot catamaran, you can enjoy afternoon tea aboard as the guides share some of the fascinating history of this entrancing island (Duration 3.5 hours).
Enjoy Wanaka today. Get an aerial perspective of the region and take a scenic flight. Stroll the streets and be inspired by galleries and stylish shops, or indulge in a delicious meal from the excellent selection of cafés and restaurants.
In the evening you have the chance to catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre (hint: the homemade cookies and ice cream at half time are delicious).
Travel time Wanaka to Te Anau – 3 hours
Your scenic tour will continue as you enjoy the drive over the Crown Range. Stop at the Cardrona Distillery along the way. Te Anau is the hub of Fiordland National Park and offers visitors a great base for visiting Milford Sound.
In the afternoon, take the magical Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. In this mysterious underground world, discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 1 night in Te Anau.
Travel time Te Anau to Milford Sound – 2 hours
This overnight cruise through the heart of Fiordland provides astonishing views and the ultimate Milford Sound experience!
The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world.
You’ll start by departing from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon before cruising through Milford Sound accompanied by your specialist nature guide. They’ll explain the history and geology of the area and be on hand to answer your questions.
This cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife – you’re bound to encounter seals and, if you’re lucky, maybe dolphins and penguins too.
The Milford Mariner then anchors in a sheltered cove. From here you can join the guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft (small boat) or kayaks.
As evening falls, you’ll enjoy a delicious carvery buffet in the dining saloon – a feast prepared freshly by our on-board chef.
The next day you’ll be able to dig into a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (weather permitting) and exploring more of the fiord.
Travel time Milford Sound to Queenstown – 5 hours
Journey around Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu to reach Queenstown your final destination and Lord of the Rings Location Capital!
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 3 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.
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. 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.
We help create unforgettable Middle-earth memories with private, personalised tours and spectacular filming destinations. Highlights of this 21-day tour include:
And much more.
As we plan your Lord of the Rings tour, we can tailor your itinerary to match your interest. Let us know what you want to see and do, and we will make it happen.