New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Lord of the Rings Highlights
DAY 1 - Arrive Auckland
You will be met at Auckland airport and transferred to your city accommodation. We recommend a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Kelly Tarltons Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter.
Stay: Auckland (1 night)
DAY 2 - Auckland to Matamata, Rotorua
Collect your rental vehicle this morning and drive to Matamata. Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire that featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and forthcoming 'Hobbit' movies. Upon completion of your tour of the set you will return to The Shires Rest to enjoy the Sheep Farm Experience. Continue to Rotorua.
Stay: Rotorua (2 nights)
DAY 3 - At Rotorua
A free day to enjoy Rotorua and its thermal parks and Māori culture. We suggest a visit to the Te Puia Thermal Reserve and maybe a visit to the Polynesian Hot Pools Spa.
DAY 4 - Rotorua to Tongariro National Park - Wellington
Pass through Taupo on your way south where you will enter the Desert Road and the Tongariro National Park. Take time to visit Tawhai Falls, the beech and toatoa-lined river tumbling over an ancient lava flow into a rock pool can easily be imagined as Henneth Annun. Perhaps take a short helicopter flight into the heart of Mordor or visit Whakapapa Ski Field for further Mordor locations (own expense). You will also see The Grand Chateau where the Lord of the Rings team stayed. Continue your journey through farmlands to New Zealand's capital city - Wellington.
Stay: Wellington (2 nights)
DAY 5 - Wellington
This full day Lord of the Rings tour visits all of the filming locations from Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack; the Anduin River where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen; the river where Aragorn was washed ashore after the attack of the Wargs - just to name a few. Visit the site of Lothlorien - the majestic Fernside Lodge. In 2000 Fernside's lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien, and then to the Gladden fields. You will see where Smeagol and Deagol forught for the Ring right at lake-side. Fernside's white bridge is a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. This tour also visits the district of Miramar. Miramar is production central and the home of Peter Jackson and many of the cast and crew. You will also visit the Weta Cave for unique souvenirs and an exclusive video of behind-the-scenes at Weta Workshop.
DAY 6 - Wellington - Queenstown
This morning return your rental vehicle and fly to Queenstown (flight not included). Once in Queenstown, collect your South Island vehicle and make your way to your accommodation.
Stay: Queenstown (4 nights)
DAY 7 - Queenstown
Join the Dart River Wilderness Safari which allows you to discover and explore every aspect of this magnificent area through a combination of exciting wilderness jet boating, informative guided walk and picturesque back-country 4WD. Your will enjoy a guided walk through ancient native Beech forest where you'll be fascinated by our unique flora and fauna as well as discover why New Zealand is in a very real sense the 'Ark' of ancient Gondwanaland. Journey by 4WD safari vehicle along a back-country route, stopping to view some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international movies, including 'The Lord of the Rings'.
In the afternoon, join Nomad Safaris and explore the magical side of New Zealand and understand why this beautiful country was chosen to portray Middle-earth. The Queenstown area featured prominently in the filming of the incredibly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. Today, your Safari of the Scenes tour combines a true 4WD tour with film locations from the LOTR trilogy.
DAY 8 - Queenstown
Enjoy a return scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak across Lake Wakatipu onboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. On arrival at Walter Peak Station board a minibus and travel along the scenic back road to Mavora Lakes and take time to explore the beech forest, swing bridges and Lord of the Rings locations. A picnic lunch is included. On arrival back at Walter Peak you will join a guided farm tour. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Colonel's Homestead before boarding the TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown.
DAY 9 - Queenstown at leisure
Today is free to explore this alpine resort. Known as the 'adventure capital' of New Zealand and possibly the world, Queenstown has so much to offer including jet boat rides, para punting, hot air ballooning, river rafting, and much more.
Or enjoy a scenic helicopter flight (Lord of the Rings and Glacier Explorer) - see optional pricing. Minimum four passengers to operate.
Come fly through the land where many parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed along with the chance to fly with our most experienced pilot, Alfie Speight, who was the principle filming pilot for the series. Fly along the Shotover River to the scene where Arwen turns to face the Nazgul at the Ford of Bruinen. Fly over the mountain range from the opening scene of The Two Towers on the way to landing on a glacier alongside the Misty Mountains and get a sense of what it might be like to cross The Redhorn Pass. Head across to Glenorchy via the Dart Valley and Mt Earnslaw to see the natural features you may better recognise as Isengard, Amon Hen and Lothlorien. Experience a second landing amongst one of these scenes to truly feel immersed in Middle-earth.
DAY 10 - Depart Queenstown
Your tour finishes this morning when you return your car to the rental car depot at Queenstown Airport. Connect with your onwards flights (not included).
Lord of the Rings Highlights Self-Drive Holiday Package Prices
Pricing valid through to 30th April 2016 - Tour prices start from NZ$2,265.00 per person, share twin.
- Prices based on three-star hotel accommodation and two persons travelling together
- Prices based on 1.6 - 2.0 litre automatic compact rental car
- Costs do not include international or domestic airfares, meals or optional sightseeing
Popular (mid range) and superior accommodation options available on request. Different car categories available on request (see self-drive intro details).
Booking Code: LOTR1
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