NEW ZEALAND TOURS 2014/2015, NEW ZEALAND TOURISM, TRAVEL & TRIPS

15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Both Islands Tours, New Zealand

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    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour
  • View Large
    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour
  • View Large
    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour
  • View Large
    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour
  • View Large
    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour
  • View Large
    15 Day Journey Through Middle-Earth Small Group Tour

This Tour is designed for active travellers looking for a holiday with a difference. On this tour, we endeavour to show you New Zealand’s beautiful wilderness, bring you in contact with its unspoilt natural environments, and also following the footsteps of the hobbits and visit some of the over 150 locations throughout New Zealand where Peter Jackson filmed his famous movies in some of the most stunningly beautiful areas.
You will go on bush walks at different locations (e.g. in evergreen rainforests), and examine and explore huge waterfalls, the wild coastal shore of the Tasman Sea, limestone formations, alpine flora, lagoons, geysers, volcanoes and dry tussock grasslands. If you are lucky you will meet unique birds like the kea, a cheeky mountain parrot and NZ fur seals.

Tour guides
Our guides have an extensive knowledge of New Zealand’s natural history and strive to pass this information on to travellers by way of commentary and answering questions. They have vast knowledge of the areas visited and hence can choose the best option in a given situation. Their knowledge of the outdoors and weather ensures that visitors have a safe and enjoyable trip. Our guides are very much people-orientated – they enjoy meeting and getting to know visitors, and are able to make everyone feel part of the group.

  •    TOUR DURATION:
    15 days
  •    TOUR STARTS/ENDS:
    Auckland to Christchurch
  •    TOUR CATEGORY:
    Small Group Tour
  •    TRANSPORTATION:
    Minibus
  •    TOUR DEPARTURES:
    check “DATES & PRICES” on this page
  •    AIRPORT TRANSFERS:
    Included
  •    MEALS:
    14 x Breakfast ,1 x Lunch 
  •    ACCOMMODATIONS:
    Standard Hotels
  •    PASSENGERS:
    check the maximum number of passengers in the itinerary
  •    TOUR CODE:
    ANZT01
  •    PRE & POST ACCOMMODATION:
    “Available“
  •    CITIES/REGIONS VISITED:

ITINERARY

Depart from United States, US

DAY 1 : Auckland - Arrival Day

Welcome to New Zealand! Auckland, with its many suburbs, has about 1 million inhabitants and is the largest city in the country. More than 60 extinct volcanic cones and craters characterise the landscape, whilst an endless procession of sails in the harbour is typical of the relaxed pace of life here.

Today, you will see this city from multiple viewpoints.  With pick-ups from all central hotels, we provide a city tour for everybody who has booked pre-tour accommodation. We drive along the waterfront to see the exclusive residential areas. You get to know the historical district of Parnell with the beautifully restored colonial homes. Mount Eden, one of the 63 extinct volcanoes, offers a magnificent view the city followed by a briefing of the tour from the guide. The evening is at your leisure.

 GRAND CHANCELLOR HOTEL AUCKLAND CITY

www.ghihotels.com/hgc/aucklandcity/hotels.aspx

DAY 2 : Auckland - Hobbiton - Rotorua (253 km, 4¼ hrs)

After breakfast at the hotel, we leave Auckland and make our way through the “King Country” (named after the Maori Queen and King movement), where we will start discovering the locations where the Hobbits came from. We will visit to the movie set of Hobbiton on a farm near Matamata on a guided tour. Our journey then continues to Rotorua, the North Island’s most famous destination for overseas visitors and an important cultural centre. At Te Puia you will be seeing some of the stunning natural features of Rotorua include geysers, steaming lakes and streams, bubbling mud pools, multicoloured silica terraces and hot mineral pools known for their curative properties. The area is also rich in Maori culture and we offer an opportunity to encounter this culture with an evening tour where you can try traditional Maori food with is prepared in a hangi (earth-oven).

 IBIS ROTORUA

www.ibishotel.com/ibis/fichehotel/gb/ibi/5689/fiche_hotel.shtml

DAY 3 : Rotorua - Tongariro National Park - Ohakune (230 km, 4 hrs)

An early departure today sees us travelling through an important forestry area to reach the picturesque, fast-flowing Huka Falls. Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, is of volcanic origin, caused by an enormous eruption almost 2000 years ago. State Highway 1 runs along the lake’s edge and then takes us into the heart of the Tongariro National Park where parts of both Hobbit films were filmed; here we will go for some short walks. This oldest of the New Zealand National Parks consists of a grand volcanic mountain landscape that is marked by the three partially active volcanoes, rising to an altitude up to 2800 meters. Scenes of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings trilogy were also shot here, and part of the Mangawhero River was a location for Ithilien.

HOBBIT MOTORLODGE

www.the-hobbit.co.nz

DAY 4 : Ohakune - Wellington (351 km, 6 hrs)

Leaving behind the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro National Park we head towards Wellington through green pastures and farm districts, discovering the variations of the New Zealand “hinterland” before we arrive in the Greater Wellington Region.

On the way we will visit another film location, one that takes us for a walk into Kaitoke Regional Park, which was used for scenes at the Elven outpost of Rivendell.

New Zealand’s capital lies partially on reclaimed land at the harbour and the steep hillsides adjacent to the Cook Strait. Wellington has been the capital city since 1865 and such is also the country’s political centre. We will visit the Embassy Theatre where the World Premiere of “Return of the King” was celebrated and have a drink at the bar.

 

WEST PLAZA HOTEL

www.westplaza.co.nz

DAY 5 : Wellington - Weta Cave Studio and Mt Victoria (30 km, 1 hrs)

After breakfast we visit the Weta Cave in Miramar. The Weta Cave screens a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at Weta and interviews with the Weta co-founders. It gives an exclusive insight into the ingenuity that goes into crafting the art of Weta, and the creative talent that shows through in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit movies, as well as Weta’s other projects.

Afterwards, we undertake a city sightseeing tour and drive to Mount Victoria where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the city. Parts of Mount Victoria served as the outskirts of the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring. The rest of the day is at your own leisure. We recommend visiting Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum and enjoying the panoramic views over the city from the top of the cable car, which runs from Lambton Quay. Wellington also offers a large cultural choice of museums and art galleries, and is renowned for its flourishing café scene.

 WEST PLAZA HOTEL

DAY 6 : Wellington - Picton - Nelson (193 km, 3¼ hrs)

Early in the morning we board the ferry, which takes us across the Cook Strait, leaving the North Island behind. Entering the South Island through the beautiful carved fiords of the Marlborough Sounds, we arrive in the small harbour town of Picton.

Here we have a choice: we can drive along the water’s edge on a scenic route and take a walk at the Pelorus River, which is a featured location in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, OR we can drive to Blenheim and through the Wairau valley to do some wine tasting. In the late afternoon we reach Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city.

 TRAILWAYS HOTEL NELSON

www.trailwayshotel.co.nz

DAY 7 : Nelson

Today is a day of leisure and we recommend one of two options to discover the area. The first option is to take a trip to Abel Tasman National Park and board a cruise boat or a sailing trip, which will take you along golden bays and beaches. This park is a protected stretch of coastline with its islands, beaches, bush and high country filled with diverse plant and animal species. The Abel Tasman Walk is the most popular walking trek in New Zealand. You can choose a suitable walk through dense rainforest and can swim in the clear, calm water. The second option is a spectacular helicopter flight to see some of the film locations from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit movies in the Golden Bay area: South of Rivendell and the Dimrill Dale. These tours are at additional cost. If neither of these options appeals, you could instead visit the Kiwi jeweller Jens Hansen where you have the opportunity to buy a replica of “the One Ring” as a souvenir for this journey (optional).

 TRAILWAYS HOTEL NELSON

DAY 8 : Nelson - Punakaiki - Greymonth - Hokitika (350 km, 6 hrs)

Today we take the road via Murchison towards the West Coast where we drive through the scenic route. After we visit the dramatic Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki, we will do a tasting of original West Coast beer at the Monteith’s brewery in Greymouth and continue on to the jade capital of Hokitika.

 BEACHFRONT HOTEL HOKITIKA

www.beachfronthotel.co.nz

DAY 9 : Hokitika - Ross - Franz Josef - Fox Glacier (175 km, 2½ hrs)

After a stroll through Hokitika to explore the Jade Factory and/or other Jade shops, we travel south along the narrow strip of land bordered by the Tasman Sea on one side and the snow-clad Southern Alps on the other. We continue southwards along the breath-taking West Coast, passing through luxuriant forest before we arrive in Franz Josef.

Depending on the weather conditions we will go for a walk to the viewing platform of one of the famous southern Glaciers. Here we are also following the Lord of the Rings Trail again. At the start of the Franz Josef Glacier Walkway we will get to see Ered Nimrais (The White Mountains) near Mount Gunn, the location used in The Return of the King for the lighting of the beacons from Gondor to Rohan (43° 25.720′S 170° 10.105′E).

We continue our journey to Fox Glacier where we stay the night and time permitting, take a leisurely stroll around Lake Matheson, a photographer’s dream with its magnificent forest and mountain reflections. An optional scenic flight will give you unforgettable views of the glacier tongue and the highest peaks of the Southern Alps.

 HIGH PEAKS HOTEL

www.highpeakshotel.co.nz

DAY 10 : Fox Glacier - Wanaka - Crown Range - Arrowtown - Queenstown (340 km, 5¾ hrs)

Today we continue down the spectacular West Coast. The route climbs over the Southern Alps via the Haast Pass before we reach Mount Aspiring National Park. This area offers us breath-taking views of the surrounding snowy peaks and the glacial lakes Hawea and Wanaka. On a clear day we can stop to take photographs of the “Misty Mountains” of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. We continue our journey over the Crown Range, where we stop for a drink at the famous old Cardrona Hotel and Restaurant, before we arrive in historic Arrowtown.

Scenes from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy were shot on the peaceful Arrow River. A stroll through the town centre puts you into another area of time. We end our journey today in the world’s adventure capital, Queenstown.

 GARDEN COURT SUITES & APARTMENT

www.gardencourt.co.nz

DAY 11 : Queenstown - Glenochry / Dart River Jet Boating - Queenstown (95 km, 1½ hrs)

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting and enormously attractive. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food & wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf. Take your time to explore the town: try the Skyline gondola ride, the steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere with its spectacular 220-degree panorama, relive a bit of history on a cruise on Queenstown’s iconic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw or you can experience Bungee jumping, white water rafting, tandem paragliding, jet boating, skydiving and a host of other similar activities. (all tours are optional). This afternoon we will experience a Hobbit-themed excursion to Paradise, with a thrilling Jet boat ride in one of the world’s finest landscapes along the Dart River. You visit Isengard, the road to Mordor, the Fangorn forest and see the cliff that Aragorn fell off of in The Two Towers. You will be back in time to explore the variety of Queenstown’s restaurants and nightlife at your leisure.

 GARDEN COURT SUITES & APARTMENT

DAY 12 : Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown (573 km, 9½ hrs)

Today we are commencing a trip to the famous Milford Sound in Fjordland, New Zealand’s largest National Park and a Unesco World Heritage area and one of the highlights of the journey. You travel on one of the finest drives in the world from Te Anau down the Eglinton and Hollyford valleys, then through the Homer Tunnel where you are met by the sight of Mitre Peak towering from the glassy waters of Milford Sound. Here, the power of nature stuns the enthralled visitor – from its waterfalls tumbling hundreds of metres into unsullied, forested valleys and lonely fiords, to endless stretches of shimmering lakes and granite peaks.

 A boat cruise on the fjord are a must and provide close up views of the awesome scenery, where you can spot seals and, with a bit of luck, dolphins and penguins. An internationally Lunch Buffet is included.

 GARDEN COURT SUITES & APARTMENT

DAY 13 : Queenstown - Twizel/McKenzie Country - Lake Tekapo (275 km, 4½ hrs)

Today we start early and travel through the Kawarau Gorge, where record quantities of gold were extracted around the turn of the 20th century. We reach Cromwell in Central Otago, the location of the computer-generated Argonath, or Pillars of the Kings. We then continue over the Lindis Pass to the tussock-covered plains of the MacKenzie Basin passing the bizarre clay cliffs at Omarama. Here Peter Jackson filmed the epic Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where thousands of orcs bred by Sauron clashed with the men of Gondor and Rohan. The grassy fields that stretch to the foothills of the mountains look exactly as described in The Lord of the Rings. If the weather is good, we will see the majestic range of the Southern Alps, its peaks including Aoraki Mt Cook, which at 3754m is New Zealand’s highest mountain. Canterbury’s landscape is dominated by New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook, and the Southern Alps – or better known by Tolkien fans as the Misty Mountains. Blessed with a marvellous view of the surrounding peaks, we continue our tour to Lake Tekapo, the largest of the three lakes in the Mackenzie Country. We stay in Tekapo for the night, where you can do an optional tour at Mt John Observatory to discover the clearest skies in the world and learn about the constellations of the Southern hemisphere (optional tour).

 PEPPERS BLUEWATER RESORT

www.peppers.com.au/bluewater

DAY 14 : Lake Tekapo - Edoras/Erewhon Station - Christchurch (370 km, 6 ¼ hrs)

This morning you can visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, a memorial to the pioneers of the MacKenzie Country and one of the most photographed churches in New Zealand, along with the Sheep Dog Statue nearby.

 

Leaving the mountains of the Southern Alps, you can see again a spectacular change in the vegetation: first the Highland Farms, which differ from the cattle farms of the Lowlands. Depending on the weather, we may visit the magnificent Lord of the Rings site of Edoras, near Erewhon station. The road to Erewhon is a scenic drive into the mountains past high country rivers and lakes. The landscape is easily recognised as Edoras from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and once again Sir Peter Jackson chose this epic scenic backdrop for filming “The Hobbit” movies. After this visit, our journey continues through the Canterbury plains where the widespread farmlands extend like a patchwork quilt, before reaching Christchurch.

 HEARTLAND HOTEL COTSWOLD

www.scenic-circle.co.nz/hotel.asp?id=5

DAY 15 : Christchurch - Departure Day

After breakfast you will be taken into the centre of Christchurch for a short city tour and a stroll through the award-winning Botanical Gardens. Your tour guide will then take you to the airport and assist the group with check-in procedures, before wishing you a safe journey home.

Arrive to United States, US

Inclusions & Highlights

    Roundtrip in comfortable minibus from Auckland to Christchurch as per itinerary
    English-speaking tour driver/guide
    14 nights in 3-4 star accommodation (NZ standard)
    14 x Breakfast (B)
    1 x Lunch (L) during cruise on Milford Sound
    Guided short walks with qualified guide
    Visit of Hobbiton movie set
    Visits to geysers and other thermal areas in Rotorua
    Entrance fee for Te Puia, Rotorua
    Maori concert and hangi feast in Rotorua
    1 x drink at Embassy Theatre Wellington
    Ferry crossing from North to South Island
    Beer tasting at Monteith’s brewery
    1 x drink at Cardrona Pub
    „Dart River Experience“ half day excursion including Jet Boating
    Milford Sound Nature Cruise

ACCOMMODATION

Superior Accommodation Option
Superior describes hotels in the 3 1/2 to 4-star category. More often than not, these will be centrally located and offering a wide range of services and facilities.

For further accommodation details pleae check the itinerary.