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Tour Code : ITTNZ-03, Duration : 21 Days

Highlights Itinerary at a Glance
- Auckland, 'The City of Sails'.
- Hauraki Gulf.
- Lord of the Rings town of Hobbiton.
- Tongariro National Park.
- Explore the beautiful Rangitikei region.
- Wellington
- Marlborough wine country
- City of Nelson
- Chetwood Forest and Dimrill Dale sites.
- Punakaiki - Fox Glacier
- Lake Matheson
- Queenstown
- The Fiordland National Park
- Mavora Lakes
- Te Anau Basin wetland complex
- Dunedin
- Christchurch
- Lake Tekapo
- Methven
Day 1 : Auckland
Day 2 : Auckland
Day 3 : Matamata - Rotorua
Day 4 : Rotorua - Taupo
Day 5 : Tongariro - Rangitikei
Day 6 : Rangitikei
Day 7 : Otaki - Wellington
Day 8 : Wellington
Day 9 : Ferry - Picton - Nelson
Day 10 : Nelson
Day 11 : Punakaiki
Day 12 : Fox Glacier
Day 13 : Queenstown
Day 14 : Queenstown
Day 15 : Glenorchy
Day 16 : Fiordland
Day 17 : Milford Sound
Day 18 : Fiordland
Day 19 : Dunedin - Lake Tekapo
Day 20 : Mount Cook
Day 21 : Christchurch

Detailed Itinerary
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Auckland - New Zealand
Day 1 : Arrival Auckland
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.
Read more about Auckland
Day 3 : Auckland - Matamata - Rotorua
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 the night.

Day 4 : Rotorua - Taupo
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.
Read more about Rotorua
Day 5 : Taupo - Tongariro - Rangitikei
Mount RuapehuSpend 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.
Read more about Wellington
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
Abel Tasman National ParkToday 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 taxi.

Day 11 : Nelson - Punakaiki
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.
Read more about Nelson
Day 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 - Queenstown
Fox Glacier - QueenstownYou 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.
Read more about Queenstown
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 around 3:00pm.

Day 16 : Queenstown - Fiordland
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!
Read more about Milford Sound
Day 18 : Fiordland - Dunedin
Otago PeninsulaA 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.
Read more about Dunedin
Day 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.
Read more about Christchurch
Day 21 : Christchurch - International Departure
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.

Interested ? Contact us

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