Day 1 : Arrival
Arrival Auckland International Airport. No need to deal with a rental car
and juggle a map after such a long flight. We will arrange for a driver to
meet you then transport you to your downtown accommodation. Depending on
your time of arrival, you may have the day (or a portion of the day) to
begin exploring and enjoying Auckland, 'The City of Sails'.
Day 2 : Auckland
Spend the day enjoying the country's largest city. There are no Lord of the
Rings film sites in the area BUT you can visit 'The Piano' and 'Xena' film
sites should you wish. A sail on the Hauraki Gulf where the Year 2000
America's Cup was held and where the next year's challenge again will be
held would be a special option for your day.
3 : Auckland - Matamata -
Today you leave the city and head south for Rotorua via the Waikato farming
region and the thoroughbred horse breeding region of Matamata. The fertile
green rolling hills of this area are the home to your first film site and
the Lord of the Rings town of Hobbiton. The town of Hobbiton was built
during the middle of 1998 on a farm just outside the Waikato town of
Matamata. Filming didn't start until late 1999, a year after the building
was completed, to allow time for the the small village to age and the
gardens to grow. While much of the set has been dismantled the property
owner is preparing to have guided tours of the site. From Hobbiton it's a
short drive through sprawling farmland to Rotorua and your accommodation for
Day 4 : Rotorua
Spend most of the day exploring the geothermal region of Rotorua before
heading further south for the lakeside town of Taupo. More adventure
activities and our favourite wine cellars await you at this gateway to the
Tongariro National Park.
5 : Taupo - Tongariro - Rangitikei
the day exploring the Tongariro National Park region including the volcano
Tongariro where the scenes of Mt Doom and Mordor were shot. Most of the
filming was done on the volcano Tongariro for these scenes and our famous
volcano Ruapehu which has erupted a few times in recent years, was not used
at all. Tongariro National Park has some great walking tracks that take you
to the very top of the mountain from which spectacular views of Ruapehu,
Ngaruahoe and Lake Taupo can be seen. You can choose either a more demanding
hike up Mount Ruapehu (an active volcano) to the crater lake, or easier
walks on the lower slopes of the mountain. Both are guided. There is a chair
lift that can take you from the car park to 2,000 metre 6,560ft)for the
start of many trails or simply enjoy the great views. It is a short drive
drive from the National Park to the Mokai Valley and your accommodation for
the next two nights.
Day 6 : Rangitikei
A full day to explore the beautiful Rangitikei region where scenes from the
movie for the Anduin River were shot. A full or half day guided trout
fishing trip, bungy jump, river rafting, walking, or just taking in the
breath-taking scenery are your options for the day.
Day 7 : Rangitikei - Otaki - Wellington
It's a straight-forward picturesque drive skirting the Ruahine and Tararua
Ranges down Highway 1 to Wellington.
Day 8 : Wellington
You have a full day to explore the many scenic and civic highlights this
beautiful city has to offer; including the new Te Papa museum, The Beehive
(New Zealand's Parliament Building), the shops and restaurants of Lambton
Quay and Cuba Street as well as all the sites from the filming of the
movies. Bree, The Shire, The Mines of Moria, Cirith Ungol and Weathertop
Hillside were all shot within Wellington city. Here you'll also find Weta
Studios, Peter Jackson's production company.
Day 9 : Wellington
- Ferry - Picton - Nelson
A 9.30am ferry crossing has you docking in Picton at 12.30am and the
opportunity to enjoy Marlborough wine country before driving to the Nelson
region and your accommodation for the next two nights. Your Southern Middle
Earth Adventure is about to begin.
Day 10 : Nelson
with optional Abel Tasman
you may choose to enjoy the city of Nelson with its picturesque and charming
city centre, many craft outlets, art galleries and easily acessible beaches.
The Abel Tasman Park is only one hour from Nelson and offers a lovely
coastline, a fabulous walking track and glorious beaches. Close to Abel
Tasman is Takaka Hill where scenes for the Chetwood Forest were filmed in
Lord of the Rings. A very popular and highly recommended way to enjoy the
region is on a kayak excursion. The Park is usually very calm due to the
mountains blocking the prevailing wind. The day trip gives the opportunity
to see the many bays, coves and wildlife of the region. Travel by water taxi
from Marahau to Anchorage Bay in the heart of the park. From there, kayak
north, exploring the magnificent beaches & peaceful lagoons. After a
picnic beachside lunch, hoist the sail on your kayak and sail back to
Anchorage Bay on the afternoon breeze. Return to Marahau with the water
Day 11 : Nelson
Today is a travel day. Your journey begins with a drive past small towns,
over bridges, through the gorge and skirting the edge of the Buller River
before travelling along the rugged coastline carved out by the Tasman Sea.
Depending on how many stops you enjoy along the way, this 4½ hour drive
may become a full day's event. Not to be missed are the Chetwood Forest and
Dimrill Dale sites. Final destination is Punakaiki, home of the strange rock
formations known as 'pancake rocks'. At high tide, these rocks act as a
water launcher. The giant blowholes offer a firework-like display of water
that is truly amazing. On to your nearby accommodation to watch the sun set
over the Tasman Sea.
12 : Punakaiki - Fox Glacier
You head south today along the coastline of the Tasman Sea on your way to
Glacier Country and New Zealand's World Heritage Rain Forest. Enjoy the
great gold mining history and relics of the region and the tranquil lakes
that add to the landscape on today's drive. There will be plenty of time
today to enjoy a walk to the terminal of the glacier or hop on board a
helicopter for an exciting trip high onto the mighty river of ice.
Day 13 : Fox Glacier -
have more time this morning to explore the glacier up close and go for a
walk around the amazing Lake Matheson. For other options see Franz Josef
Activities (this list offers Fox Glacier options also). After enjoying
Glacier Country you travel further south over the Haast Pass. Enjoy a wide
variety of walks to waterfalls, over swing bridges to crystal blue pools and
through Beech forests laden with moss curtains (walk options included in
your vacation packet). Continue past Lake Hawea before arriving into
Queenstown late in the afternoon. This five-hour drive often takes all day
with so much to see and do along the way.
Day 14 : Queenstown
Today we have chosen a fifty minute helicopter flight that visits five Lord
of the Rings film sites. The first site is at Deer Park Heights. Here a
variety of battle scenes took place which are recognised in the movie by
both The Remakables Mountains and Cecil Peak. Fly along the Kawarau River
where the Fellowship arrives at the Pillars of the Kingtown, then to
Arrowtown and the Arrow river, better known as The Ford of Bruinen where the
Black Riders are swept away. This was digitally merged with scenes shot near
Skippers Bridge (which you will also view). Then it's onto Closeburn to see
the Structure at the top of the hill where Frodo climbs up during the Battle
of Amon Hen (Structure since removed). Then view from above Paradise. The
climax of the Battle of Amon Hen , Gandolfs ride to Isengrad , lair of evil
Saruman , and the setting for the elfin haven Lothlorien were filmed around
Paradise and Glenorchy.
Day 15 : Queenstown
- Glenorchy - Queenstown
After breakfast, you will join your special day trip - into Middle Earth
where Lothlorien, Fangorn and Amon Hen were filmed. This is a true
wilderness experience. A journey of discovery, ancient forests, cascading
waterfalls; New Zealand wilderness at its best. Jet boat up the upper
reaches of the Dart River. 4WD coach one-way between Glenorchy &
Paradise, and enjoy a short, guided forest walk. Back at your accommodation
Day 16 : Queenstown
Today you depart the bustle of Queenstown and head south to the wonders of
the Fiordland National Park and two Lord of the Rings film sites. Just
before entering the National Park you will take a short detour to the Mavora
Lakes. The beautiful Mavora Lakes were the setting for 6 sites including Nen
Hithoel. In the movie, hairy-footed hobbits and stench-ridden Orcs can be
seen against the backdrop of the lakes and with the impressive mountains.
Then it's onto Lake Te Anau and the small township of Te Anau. Once settled
into your accommodation you may then want to drive to the start of the
Kepler Track where the Kepler Mire is located. The Kepler Mire was used to
shoot scenes of the Dead Marshes. Kepler Mire is the largest of the wetlands
in the Te Anau Basin wetland complex and is the largest known string bog in
New Zealand. It is a very rare type of wetland in the Southern Hemisphere as
it is found mostly in arctic conifer forests in high northern latitudes. You
may also want to visit the nearby bird park to see the Takahe birds. They
were once thought to be extinct until a tramper in the 1950's found one of
these large, friendly and colourful birds.
Day 17 : Milford
Sound Day Trip
A day to sit back, let someone else do the driving and enjoy the scenery
while listening to entertaining and insightful commentary. Your day begins
at 8:30am when you join this small group tour (only 12 maximum). Walks,
morning tea by a river, photographic stops and more are enjoyed on the road
from Te Anau out to Milford Sound. You then hop on a two hour morning cruise
on Milford Sound. This day trip is truly a special excursion that requires
lots of film!
Day 18 : Fiordland -
day of contrast; from the green of Fiordland to the rugged coast of Dunedin.
To make the transition from Fiordland to the coast you will cross seemingly
endless rivers and streams. You'll head across South Otago towards Ida
Valley where scenes from the Plains of Rohan were filmed. When you reach the
coast, we recommend a detour to The Catlins. This wild and rugged unspoiled
region offers low populations with a high level of beauty. After a walk to
the Nugget Point lighthouse, it is a one-hour drive north from the Catlins
to the Scottish settlement of Dunedin. You may choose to enjoy a self-drive
tour to see the attractive architecture of Otago University and the train
station or head straight out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula to see the
Yellow Eyed Penguin waddle up the beach after their day at sea. You can also
visit the world's only mainland albatross colony, which coincidentally is
located on a historic site. See these huge birds and the historic Fort
Taiaroa established in 1886 featuring an 18-ton Armstrong Disappearing Gun.
Day 19 : Dunedin
- Lake Tekapo
It's a beautiful drive today up the east coast of the South Island and then
inland through the Waitaki Valley towards Twizel, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo.
Twizel is a small service town in the Mackenzie Country between Queenstown
and Lake Tekapo that was used for filming scenes of the Pelennor Fields.
20 : Mount Cook - Christchurch
You'll drive to Christchurch today through the sprawling plains of Southern
Canterbury with the Southern Alps spread out across the Western horizon. The
drive will take you to Methven, location for the town of Edoras, set on the
summit of Mt Sunday.
21 : Christchurch -
Depending on your International departure flight, you may (or may not) have
time today to explore the garden city of Christchurch. For those who can, we
suggest adding another day so you can enjoy this charming city.
Other New Zealand Tour Packages