21 Day “A Journey to Middle Earth” Self-Drive Tour North and South Island New Zealand Tours

A trip to Middle Earth – in the footsteps of the hobbits!
The Lord of the Ring Trilogy from Peter Jackson is based on the bestselling books written by J.R.R Tolkein. The films have been celebrated throughout the world and were awarded a total of 17 Oscars. New Zealand was the backdrop for this colossal masterpiece and during your trip you will come to understand why. During your trip round New Zealand you will visit many of the locations where filming took place and experience fantastic and breathtaking scenery. Let yourself be charmed in the land Downunder, home of the Hobbit! Discover the world of Frodo, Bilbo, Aragorn, Arwen.

  •    TOUR DURATION:
    21 days
  •    TOUR STARTS/ENDS:
    Auckland to Christchurch & viceversa
  •    TOUR CATEGORY:
    Self Drive Tour
  •    TRANSPORTATION:
    Rental Car
  •    TOUR DEPARTURES:
    Daily
  •    AIRPORT TRANSFERS:
    Included
  •    MEALS:
    19 x (self-catering at Woodlyn Park) Breakfast ,3 x (during the day trips in Wellington, Queenstown & Christchurch) Lunch 
  •    ACCOMMODATIONS:
    Superior Hotels, Standard Hotels
  •    PASSENGERS:
    no minimum number of passengers
  •    TOUR CODE:
    ANZ07
  •    PRE & POST ACCOMMODATION:
    “Available“
  •    CITIES/REGIONS VISITED:

    AUCKLAND – MATAMATA – OTOROHANGA – OHAKUNE – KAPITI COAST – WELLINGTON – PELORUS BRIDGE – NELSON – PUNAKAIKI – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – WANAKA – TE ANAU – QUEENSTOWN – TWIZEL –  LAKE PUKAKI – CHRISTCHURCH

ITINERARY

Depart from United States, US

DAY 1 : ARRIVAL AUCKLAND

Welcome to New Zealand!Upon arrival at Auckland airport, you will be taken to your rental car. The rest of the day gives you the opportunity to recover from your long flight. In “The Lord of the Rings” and the “Hobbit” trilogy, New Zealand was magnificently displayed and firmly anchored throughout the world in the audience’s imagination. On your upcoming trip, you will understand why Sir Peter Jackson decided to shoot the films in New Zealand. Let yourself be captivated by this land full of contrasts – we wish you an unforgettable trip to the world of Middle Earth!

Accommodation:               Standard: Copthorne Hotel / Superior Room

                                               Superior: Eden park B&B / Platinum Plus Room

Meals:                   –

DAY 2 : AUCKLAND - MATAMATA - OTOROHANGA (249 km, approx. 3½ Hrs.)

In the south, you leave the Auckland, cross the Bombay Hills and enter the valley of the Waikato River. The longest river in New Zealand this is one of the most fertile agricultural areas on earth.On your way, you take a break in Matamata. In a two-hour guided tour, you will discover the true centre of the world and visit the “Lord of the Rings” film set and the “Hobbit” triologies, which might be better known to you as the  “Shire”. During your tour you will see the Hobbit dwellings, the “The Green Dragon Inn”, the “Party Tree” and many other highlights.Continue your journey to your very special accommodation in Otorohanga. You are now living like a hobbit! A unique experience that will take you back to the world of Middle Earth.

Accommodation:               Standard: Woodlyn Park/ Hobbit Unit

                                               Superior: Woodlyn Park/ Hobbit Unit

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Inclusive:                              Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

DAY 3 : OTOROHANGA - OHAKUNE (179 km, approx. 2½ Hrs.)

On the way to Ohakune we recommend you stop at the Waitomo Caves. The glowworm caves are similar to Tolkien’s description of the “Glittering Caves of Aglarond”. These can be explored by boat (optional). The “Lost World Abseil Tour” (optional) is an underground adventure. Secured by a professional guide, you will be lowered 100 meters into a cave surrounded by lush, green plant life. You will feel like you are in Gollum’s cave. Parts of this cave were used for the Hobbit film series, but not as a shooting location. Sound technicians recorded some different sound recordings in the caves, which were later used as echoes of the Dwarf troops in the Kobold caves.Continue your journey to Ohakune at Tongariro National Park, which is probably known to you as “Mordor”. Here you stay at the Powderhorn Chateau, where the stars of the films spent a few weeks. You might even end up spending the night in the same room as Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood or Peter Jackson. The actors enjoyed their time especially at the two restaurants and the very popular Powderhorn Bar. The Powderhorn Chateau is the perfect starting point for trips to the filming locations of Mordor and Ithilien.

Accommodation:               Standard: Powderhorn Chateau/ Hotel Suite

                                               Superior: Powderhorn Chateau/ Hotel Suite

Meals:                                  Breakfast

Optional Activities:            Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Lost World Abseil Tour

DAY 4 : OHAKUNE

Take advantage of today’s location to visit different sites (optional):·         Lord of the Rings: To reach Ithilien you have to follow the Turoa Ski Field road, also known as Ohakune Mountain Road Scenic Drive. Follow the road up to the Magawhere Falls. At the starting point you park your car and climb down from here to the river bed of the Mangawhere River. At this location Smeagol (Gollum) chased and caught a fish (coordinates: 39 ° 19.161’S 175 ° 30.158’E). The scene in the Frodo and Sam go over a clearing was filmed a little further up the river (coordinates: 39° 19.217’S 175° 30.315’E).·         Hobbit: To reach the secret entrance to “Lonely Mountain”, drive along the Turoa Ski Field road to the end, to the ski area. Here they filmed in the summer of 2011, and the filming location can be recognized only in the summer months, as used in the film. From the parking lot 3 you have a perfect view of the location. Interesting additional information: During the shooting, a special path was created to give actors and crew access to the filming location, without damaging the moss and the undergrowth. At 1500 meters, this location is the highest of the film series (coordinates: 39 ° 30’95.19 ”S 176 ° 52’42.63”E).·         Alternatively, guided tours to filming locations are also possible (provider: Adrift Guided Outdoor Adventures – LOTR Highlights).
You spend another night at the Powderhorn Chateau. Tip: Check the guestbook of the hotel for Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee).

Accommodation:         Standard: Powderhorn Chateau / Hotel Suite 

                                        Superior: Powderhorn Chateau / Hotel Suite

Meals:                           Breakfast

Optional Activities: Adrift Guided Outdoor Adventures

DAY 5 : OHAKUNE - KAPITI COAST - WELLINGTON (286 km, approx. 4 Hrs.)

Travel along the Kapiti coast to Wellington. On the way we recommend a stop at “Riverbank Farm” (optional), where many of the horses were sourced for the trilogies. You also have the opportunity to meet their trainer Jane Lenaghan. Jane was Liv Tyler’s stunt double for riding scenes and also played roles like Nazgul, Rohan Krieger and Ranger. Farm tours are possible by arrangement.You then reach Wellington, the production site of all films, home of Sir Peter Jackson, 3 Foot 6, Wingnut Films, Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. Explore the city centre on foot and discover interesting and well-known sights. As an excellent starting point for your city tour, we recommend the National Museum “Te Papa” (free admission). At the corner of Jervois Quay and Cable Street is “The Film Archive”, New Zealand’s Museum of Moving Pictures (free admission). Close by (10 Kent Terrace) is the “Embassy Theater”, Wellington’s most magnificent cinema. This was the venue for the Oceania premieres of “Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship” and “The 2 Towers”. In addition, the world premiere of “Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King” took place here in 2003 as well as the world premiere of “Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey”. Also a visit to “Dymocks Bookseller” (360 Lambton Quay) is recommended. This bookshop offers the largest selection of Tolkien books in New Zealand. Some of the filmcrew’s favorite locations in Wellington during the filming were Scorch O Rama, The Green Parrot (16 Taranaki Street), Bravi Ristorante (40 Wellington St.).

Accommodation:                Standard: West Plaza/ Queen Room

Superior: Copthorne Oriental Bay / Superior

Meals:                                   breakfast

Optional Activitities:         Riverbank Farm Equine, Te Papa, The Film Archive, Embassy

DAY 6 : WELLINGTON

Today you take part in a guided day trip to the many filming locations in and around Wellington. Together with the “Wellington Rover” you will be in a small group in the footsteps of the hobbit, dwarves, elves and humans.In the morning, you will be picked up at your accommodation and start the day exploring the city’s filming locations around Mount Victoria. During a 40-minute hike through the outer Shire, you will see, among other places, the location where the 4 hobbits had to flee from their path to escape the Nazgul. You then drive to Weta Studios, where a guided tour gives you an insight into the world of the film industry. Afterwards you have enough time to visit the Weta Cave Museum and the souvenir shop.At lunch, a Lord of the Rings inspired lunch is served at the Scorch-O-Rama Café. You will spend the afternoon in the Hutt Valley. Stops include the Hutt River (Anduin River) and Harcourt Park (Gardens of Isengard and the place where the orcs felled the trees). Also visit the Kaitoke Regional Park, the backdrop for the Rivendell Valley. You will also see Helms Klamm & Minas Tirith, these locations are now in a stone quarry and are not accessible to visitors.After an eventful day you will be taken back to your accommodation.

Accommodation:                Standard: West Plaza/ Queen Room

Superior: Copthorne Oriental Bay / Superior

Meals:                                   Breakfast, Lunch

Inclusive:                              Wellington Rover

DAY 7 : WELLINGTON - PELORUS BRIDGE - NELSON (108 km, approx. 1½ Hrs. + 3 Hrs. Ferry)

In the morning you will go on board the Interislander ferry to the South Island. Over the Cook Strait and the famous Marlborough Sounds you will reach the small harbor town of Picton. From here you will first drive to Havelock, a primary producer for green lip mussels. A short drive from Havelock to Pelorus Bridge will take you along the Pelorus River over the picturesque town of Canvastown. In front of the bridge is a large car park.  At this place the filming took place for the scene where the 13 Dwarfs and Bilbo landed after their capture by King of the elves Thranduil and their subsequent escape in barrels by river through the forest.You can visit two of the filming locations: go to the Pelorus Bridge and look downstream, with a beautiful view of the surrounding trees and clear water. Then walk along the path next to the bridge to your left. Here the Orcs desperately tried to stop the Dwarfs on their wild barrel ride. (Coordinates: 41 ° 17’56.39 ”S 173 ° 34’29.81’E).

Interesting info: The shooting was rapidly finished with the arrival of the police who issued a strong weather warning.. Peter Jackson said he had never seen a filmcrew pack up so quickly!

Continue your journey to Nelson, the sunniest city in New Zealand. In Nelson you have the opportunity to visit “Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith” (Trafalgar Square). Among the designs of the jeweler is also the “one ring”. For the shooting, Jens created 40 rings, one of which is on display in the shop. Sadly, Jens died 1999 before he could see his masterpiece on the screen, but his son Thorkild continues the family tradition. On request Thorkild creates copies of the “one ring” in 9 and 18 ct gold.

Accommodation:               Standard: Sussex House B&B/ Double

Superior: Warwick House / Superior Doubles

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Inclusive:                              Interislander Ferryt (for Passangers & Car)

Optional Activities:            Jens Hansen

DAY 8 : NELSON

Recommended is the visit of Richmond. Here is “Harrington Brewers”. The Harrington’s Stout beer brewed here was served in the Prancing Pony. For the film the beer was brewed with only 1.1% alcohol content, as the director did not want the actors to drink too much while filming. Harrington’s Stout can be bought here with an additional alcohol content of 5%. Also worthwhile is one of the exciting trips with “Reid Helicopters Nelson”. You have the option to fly between helicopter flights to the following locations: 1. South of Rivendell, 2. Shadow Valley, 3. Combine both tours.

Accommodation:               Standard: Sussex House B&B/ Double

                                               Superior: Warwick House / Superior Doubles

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Optional Activitities:         Reid Helicopters

DAY 9 : NELSON - PUNAKAIKI (265 km, approx. 3¾ hrs.)

You continue to Punakaiki on the west coast of the South Island. Here you can visit a location in the “Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Army”. This is close to the famous Pancake Rocks, which you can visit during a 15-minute walk (best at high tide). The Paparoa cliffs were used in the scene where the Dwarfs escaped from the Elven King Thranduil in barrels. The scenes in the water were filmed at the Pelorus Bridge and the Salisbury Falls, but the Paparoa cliffs were used as a contrast in the background. The cliffs can be viewed from several viewpoints.

Accommodation:               Standard: Bluewaves Homestay/ Double Room

                                               Superior: Punakaiki Resort/ Eco Suite

Meals:                                   Breakfast

DAY 10 : PUNAKAIKI - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER (217 km, approx. 3¼ hrs.)

The journey will take you further along the west coast to the Southern Alps, which might be better known to you as the Misty Mountains. As a natural weather barrier, the mountain range is responsible for one of the country’s most extreme rainfall regimes. Above the snow line large ice masses accumulate, forming fast-flowing valley glaciers. The approximately 12 km long Fox and Franz Josef glaciers slide – uniquely in these moderate latitudes – down to an altitude of 300 m above sea level.

Accommodation:               Standard: Rainforest Retreat/ Tree Hut

                                              Superior: Holly Homestead B&B/ Double Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

DAY 11 : FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - WANAKA (287 km, approx. 4¼ hrs.)

Continue on to Wanaka. Here, you might like to visit The “Puzzling World”, which gives you an insight into how different perspectives were filmed in the trilogy. Adventure fans can also take a parachute jump in Wanaka with the same vendor as Orlando Bloom used.

Alternatively, a round trip to famous Lord of the Rings film locations is possible or you can try out at”Have A Shot” whether your arrow and bow expertise matches those of Legolas. If you look from the city’s lake shore to the Alps at the end of the lake, you will see the scenery from the scene in which Gandalf with the eagle (Gwaihir) flew to Rohan, after his rescue from Orthanc.

Accommodation:               Standard: Collinsons Cottage/ Double Room

Superior: Te wanaka Lodge / Superior

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Optional Activities:            Puzzling World, Wanaka Flightseeing, Have A Shot

DAY 12 : WANAKA

You have the opportunity to visit other locations (optional):

  • One location is on the road to Glendhu Bay & Treble Cone Ski Field. After about 15km you will pass Glendhu Bay on your right. Continue in the direction of Treble Cone and before you turn to the ski resort you will reach the location. On the big brown mountain to your right, a ruin was digitally inserted for the film in which the companions head south (coordinates: 44 ° 39.2.13’S 168 ° 58.342’E).
  • The top of the Treble Cone ski area is featured in the film “Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey”.
  • Not far after the junction to the ski area, continue along a gravel road. Here the landscape becomes even more impressive and beautiful. With the glacier-fed Matukituki on your right and the snow-covered peaks to your left, you are in another shooting location of “Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies”. In the valleys the dwarfs were filmed as they left the misty mountains on the way to the dark forest (coordinates: 44 ° 30’41.23 ”S 168 ° 44’47.81”E).

Accommodation:               Standard: Collinsons Cottage/ Double Room

                                              Superior: Te wanaka Lodge / Superior

Meals:                                   Breakfast

DAY 13 : WANAKA - TE ANAU (226 km, approx. 3¼ Hrs.)

Your journey will take you to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. The perfect way to get to know the untouched landscape and surroundings is a boat trip on the Doubtful Sound (optional). Here you drive to Lake Manapouri in the Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest and by far the most developed national park. The rainfall in this region is extremely high which means a very special vegetation has developed. As declared by UNESCO, this rainforest region with its many fjords is an attraction for many naturalists and individual nature lovers. The Doubtful Sound is a real insider tip as it is not directly accessible by car like the Milford sound. First, you will be transported across Lake Manapouri. Then you will be taken via the Wilmot Pass to the Deep Cove and the Doubtful Sound. In this seclusion you take a boat expedition into the marinel kingdom of New Zealand. There are often bottlenose dolphins. Numerous seals can be seen on isolated rock formations. On the way along Lake Manapouri you should take a look up to the high mountain peaks to your right, near Freeman Burn. Up there in the alpine peaks are the Norwest Lakes, filming sites used as the companions left Rivendell in a southerly direction.

Accommodation:               Standard: Te Anau Lakefront B&B/ Double Room

                                               Superior: Te Anau Lodge/ Double Room

Meals:                                  Breakfast

Optional Activities:            Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

DAY 14 : TE ANAU

You can explore the area further on your own, or alternatively take a round trip to further locations (optional). In the tour of “Lord of the Rings Helijet Adventure” you will see 3 filming locations. First of all, a boat trip will take you across the Waiau River. Afterwards, go aboard a helicopter and experience a 40-minute round-trip over the Kepler Mire, where Frodo and Sam wandered through the swamplands. You will also fly over Lake Manapouri to the Norwest Lakes. Enjoy the view of the lakes before you return to Te Anau.

Accommodation:               Standard: Te Anau Lakefront B&B/ Double Room

                                              Superior: Te Anau Lodge/ Double Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Optional Activitities:         Luxmore Jet

DAY 15 : TE ANAU - QUEENSTOWN (171 km, approx. 2½ hrs.)

On the trip from Te Anau to Queenstown we recommend an intermediate stop on the Takaro road. Leave Te Anau on the main road to Queenstown, after a few kilometers turn left onto Kakapo Street. After a further 6 km, the unpaved road will lead you through a wooded forest with a driveway on the left. Park your car in the small turning area. You are now in Fangornwald. Filming locations are on both sides of the road. Around Queenstown there are filming locations that you can explore in the coming days.

Accommodation:               Standard: Garden Court Suites & Apartments/ Studio Suite

                                              Superior: Scenic Suites/ Superior Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

DAY 16 : QUEENSTOWN

Today, there is a real treat for all Lord of the Rings fans! You participate in the Pure Glenorchy Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour. On this tour, you will go deep into the heart of Middleearth. The filming locations of Isengard, the Battle of Amon Hen, the Lothlorien Forest, the Nebelgebirge and the Ithiliencamp. The professional guides know all the filming details down to the smallest detail and let you share stories and secrets of the filming. On the tour you will get a delicious picnic and a free photo CD with breathtaking pictures.

Accommodation:               Standard: Garden Court Suites & Apartments/ Studio Suite

                                               Superior: Scenic Suites/ Superior Room

Meals:                                  Breakfast, picnic lunch

Inclusive:                              Pure Glenorchy/ Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour

DAY 17 : QUEENSTOWN

The actors and crew immediately fell in love with Queenstown and the surrounding area. Much time was spent in the Rattlesnake Bar and The Cow Restaurant. If you want to experience some filming locations in another way, we recommend a ride with Dart Stables (optional).

Accommodation:               Standard: Garden Court Suites & Apartments/ Studio Suite

                                               Superior: Scenic Suites/ Superior Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Optional Activitities:         Dart Stables

DAY 18 : QUEENSTOWN - TWIZEL (199 km, approx. 2¾ hrs.)

Continue your journey to Twizel. Here are the fields of Pelennor, where the greatest war scene took place in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Since the filming location is on private land, it is accessible only by booked tour (optional). Your guide may be a Rohirrim or Gondorian Warrior, perhaps even an Orc. The tour is offered by “Onering Tours”.

Accommodation:               Standard: Aoraki Lodge / Double Room

                                               Superior: Aoraki Lodge/ Platinum Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

Optional Activities:            Onering Tours

DAY 19 : TWIZEL - LAKE PUKAKI - CHRISTCHURCH (285 km, approx. 4 hrs.)

On the way to Christchurch we recommend an intermediate stop at Lake Pukaki. On the east side of the lake is a shooting location for the Hobbit trilogy. Here the epic persecution of the Dwarfs of Orcs took place, while they desperately searched for the secret entrance to Rivendell. Then continue to Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island.

Accommodation:               Standard: Breakfree on Cashel/ City Urban King

                                               Superior: Chateau on the Park / Guest Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast

DAY 20 : CHRISTCHURCH

Today they take part in the all-day “Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour”. Enter a world of natural beauty with clear lakes, shining blue rivers and fresh air. You will be picked up at your accommodation and start your 4WD adventure through several small streams to Edoras. A short guided tour will take you to the summit and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree panorama. You can see photos of Edora’s origins, which are only accessible for this tour. You will also see the “Misty mountains” and the area that was the backdrop for “Helmskamm”. You can also hold Aragorn’s and King Theoden’s swords, as well as Gimli’s axe and the flag of Rohan. On your tour you will get a delicious picnic.

Accommodation:               Standard: Breakfree on Cashel/ City Urban King

                                               Superior: Chateau on the Park / Guest Room

Meals:                                   Breakfast, Lunch

Inclusive:                              Hassle Free Tours

DAY 21 : CHRISTCHURCH - DEPARTURE DAY

 

Today your New Zealand journey ends. Drive to Christchurch airport and drop off your rental car. From here you start your journey home. We wish you a good flight!

Goodbye – or in the language of the Elves Namárie!

 

Meals:                                  Breakfast

Arrive to United States, US

Inclusions & Highlights

Included in Price:
Vehicle according to the booked category, day 1 – 21
– 20 x nights in accommodation as described
– 19 x breakfast (self-catering at Woodlyn Park)
– 3 x lunch (during the day trips in Wellington, Queenstown & Christchurch)
– Hobbiton – Movie Set Tour
– Wellington Rover – Lord of the Rings Tour Full Day Tour
– Interislander – Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton for foot passengers & car hire
– Pure Glenorchy – Scenic Lord of the Rings Day Tour
– Hassle Freetour – Edoras Day Tour
– Digital travel documents (see page 16 for details)
– 15% GST (New Zealand VAT)

Not included in Price:
– flights
– travel insurance
– Petrol and parking fee
– Meals unless otherwise stated
– Optional activities

Rental Car inclusions:
• Including “GO ALL INCLUSIVE” Insurance: Services included: • Airport access fee • Additional driver’s fee • One-way charge • Unlimited kilometers • Maps and guides • Airport transfer at collection and delivery • City transfer by pick-up • 15% GST (goods and services tax) • Credit card charges • Diesel and heavy vehicle tax • Collection and delivery charges outside the opening hours • Tire and windshield protection • GPS (if desired)

ACCOMMODATION

Standard Accommodation Option:

Accommodation Place Nights
Copthorne Hotel Auckland 1
Woodlyn Park Waikato 1
Powderhorn Chateau Tongariro Nationalpark 2
West Plaza Wellington 2
Sussex House B&B Nelson 2
Bluewaves Homestay Punakaiki 1
Rainforest Retreat Franz Josef 1
Collinson’s Cottage Lake Wanaka 2
Te Anau Lakefront B&B Lake Te Anau 2
Garden Court Suites & Apartments Queenstown 3
Aoraki Lodge Canterbury 1
BreakFree on Cashel Christchurch 2

Superior Accommodation option:

Accommodation Place Nights
Eden Park Auckland 1
Woodlyn Park Waikato 1
Powderhorn Chateau Tongariro Nationalpark 2
Copthorne Oriental Bay Wellington 2
Warwick House Nelson 2
Punakaiki Resort Punakaiki 1
Holly Homestead Bed & Breakfast Franz Josef 1
Te Wanaka Lodge Lake Wanaka 2
Te Anau Lodge Lake Te Anau 2
Scenic Suites Queenstown Queenstown 3
Aoraki Lodge Canterbury 1
Chateau on the Park Christchurch 2