New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Lord of the Rings Ultimate Middle Earth
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, Waitomo
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 your unique Hobbit Motel in Waitomo, where you will sleep like a hobbit this evening!
Stay: Waitomo (1 night)
DAY 3 - Waitomo - Rotorua
At Waitomo follow your guide past amazing limestone formations before taking your place on the small boat and gliding silently into the glow worm grotto. Cross the Waikato River and continue to Rotorua - New Zealand's thermal wonderland and centre of Māori culture.
Stay: Rotorua (1 night)
DAY 4 - Rotorua to Tongariro National Park
Pass through Taupo on your way south where you will enter the Desert Road and the Tongariro National Park. Stay at the Grand Chateau where the Lord of the Rings team stayed.
Stay: National Park (2 nights)
DAY 5 - 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 or perhaps take a short helicopter flight into the heart of Mordor or visit Whakapapa Ski Field for further Mordor locations (own expense).
DAY 6 - Tongariro National Park - Wellington
Continue your journey through farmlands to New Zealand's capital city - Wellington. We suggest a visit to our national museum - Te Papa.
Stay: Wellington (2 nights)
DAY 7 - 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 8 - Wellington - Nelson
Cross Cook Strait, the channel of water that separates New Zealand's two islands and arrive in the picturesque village of Picton. Collect your South Island car and journey through vineyards and farming countryside to Nelson, considered New Zealand's sunniest destination.
Stay: Nelson (3 nights)
DAY 9 - At Nelson
Enjoy a full day exploring Lord of the Ring Sights from 'The Hobbit' Film. Details to be released following the world premiere.
DAY 10 - Nelson
A free day to enjoy this region. We suggest a visit to the Abel Tasman Park, sea kayaking with one of the many kayaking operators in the region, or a visit to the Wearable Arts Museum, and Arts and Crafts outlets.
Or enjoy an optional scenic helicopter flight: (see optional pricing)
Mt Olympus Lord of the Rings Heli Tour – Two Hours, One landing
Visit this world famous location, adventure into the Kahurangi National Park to view Mt Olympus. The breathtaking rock formations are recognizable as we descend down onto the landing site. It was here, as the nine rested and cooked a meal, that the Crebain crows of Saruman searching for news of the One Ring spied the travelers below. Quickly extinguishing their fire they hid beneath the rocks in an attempt to escape discovery.
Or Double Site Lord of the Rings Heli Tour – Three hours, Two landings
Visit these world famous locations, adventure into the Kahurangi National Park to view Mt Olympus. The breath taking rock formations are recognizable as we descend down the landing site. It was here, as the nine rested and cooked a meal, that the Crebain crows of Saruman searching for news of the One ring spied the travellers below. Quickly extinguishing their fire they hid beneath the rocks in an attempt to escape discovery. From here we climb up and track south east to Mt Owen (Exit from the mines of Moria / Dimrill Dale) along the way taking in stunning mountainous views of the wild Kahurangi National Park.
DAY 11 - Nelson - Christchurch
Today you explore the northern part of the South Island as you pass through many of the towns and regions of the area. Many vineyards dot the landscape as you approach Blenheim which changes to farmland and then the dramatic eastern coastline which leads to Kaikoura. Continue on to the green pastures of North Canterbury and arrive in Christchurch, the garden city.
Stay: Christchurch (2 nights)
DAY 12 - Christchurch
Join your Lord of the Rings Tour and journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday. See how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoilt beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air. Your tour includes 4WD access onto Mt Sunday/Edoras itself, a delicious champagne picnic lunch and full commentary from your kiwi tour guide.
DAY 13 - Christchurch - Mt Cook Region
Your journey today takes you across the Canterbury Plains to the foothills of the Southern Alps. Climb over Burkes Pass to the spectacular expanses of the Mackenzie Country and view Lake Tekapo, or continue through to Twizel. This afternoon, join your guide for a two hour tour of Gondor film location from The Return of the King. Following a short drive, you will arrive at this stunning location. Beyond the locked gates, step in the footsteps of the cast and crew and gain an insight into the magic of movie making. Enjoy a number of photo stops and have access to where scenes such as where King Theoden's dramatic speech took place before the charge into battle was filmed. Have fun and take unique photos with their replica swords, flags, armour and masks surrounded by the 360 degree views used in the movie.
Stay: Twizel (Hotel Option) or Tekapo (Apartment Option)
DAY 14 - Mt Cook Region - Wanaka
Spectacular high country scenery is evident today as you make your way south. Lindis Pass leads you to Central Otago, where many large sheep stations are located. Follow the Lindis River to Tarras where you will travel the short remaining distance to Lake Wanaka. This afternoon we have included admissions to Puzzling world, where the perspective room allows you to experience how point of view scenes were filmed in the trilogy. This evening become a hobbit and experience the "Barlimans" Room at Minaret Lodge with its oversized furniture.
Stay: Wanaka (1 night)
DAY 15 - Wanaka - Queenstown
From Wanaka, travel to Cromwell and through the spectacular Kawarau Gorge to follow the river to Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure playground.
Stay: Queenstown (3 nights)
DAY 16 - 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 17 - 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 18 - 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 Ultimate Middle Earth Holiday Package Prices
Pricing valid through to 30th April 2016 - Tour prices start from NZ$4,065.00 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: LOTR3
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