Plan this trip with our experts!
Following in the footsteps of hobbits
From 21 days
Type of travel
October - April
Approx. 25 hours
pp excl. flights
Our Tourlane experts are happy to advise you!
Your journey across Middle-earth starts in Auckland, the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. From here journey around the north island, visiting the hot springs and living Maori villages of Rotorua and the volcano that portrayed Mt. Doom. On to the south island now, as you visit glaciers and fjords as well as Fanghorn Forest, Rivendell, the Misty Mountains and much more!
pp excl. flights
Highlights you can experience
Auckland, known as the city of sails, has embraced its harbour location and its natural surroundings. With a focus on nature and adventure, there are many activities to enjoy in the city. Queen Street is for shoppers and for those looking for more adventure there is the Auckland Sky Tower offering base jumps from over 700 feet high. Auckland Domain is a park spread over 185 acres and situated on an ancient volcanic crater - right in downtown Auckland! Nearby Viaduct Harbour showcases the marine influence on the city and has a vibrant entertainment district. Nearby Waiheke Island is a popular weekend destination for locals and features world-class wineries.
Pauanui is a popular holiday destination for New Zealanders and is located on the Coromandel peninsula on the north island. The town is well-known for its long beach which is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and learning to surf. The town is also a popular departure point for kayakers, divers and fishermen as well as those wanting to access Shoe and Slipper islands, located just off-shore. A nice hike up to Pauanui mountain from the beach gives wonderful views across the region from 1300 feet up. Popular day trips in the area are Hot Water Beach and its exciting thermal springs. Wonderful hikes can be found in the region as well, from the Coromandel Coastal Walkway to the Windows Walk and Crown Tramway Track at Karangahake Gorge and the Hauraki Rail Trail.
As you head for Rotorua be sure to stop at the Hobbiton Movie Set for a day of adventure - it appears exactly as it did in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogy - and the Green Dragon Pub is even open for business! Rotorua is a top destination for relaxation and culture in New Zealand. Renowned for its geothermal activity, Rotorua has numerous thermal hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud pools. The region is also home to the living Maori villages of Mitai and Tamaki which offer traditional song and dance performances. A visit to the Rotorua Museum is a must to learn more about the history of the indigenous Te Awawa people as well as European settlers.
The park is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area (for outstanding natural features and its importance to the Maori people). The park's highlights are its three active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Several scenes from Lord of the Rings were filmed here as well. The park stood in for most Mordor scenes, with Mt. Ngauruhoe being Mt. Doom and Mangawhero Falls was the location for the Forbidden Pool scene. The park is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with a multitude of outdoor activities available, from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to hiking, mountain biking and river rafting in the summer. Hikes can be made to volcanoes as well - the most spectacular may be the world-famous and day-long Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Wellington offers a great array of attractions in the city as well as nearby natural wonders. Highlights in the city include the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa which wonderfully highlights the Maori culture and should be a must-visit. The Wellington Botanic Garden offers wonderful gardens but also the Carter Observatory and Wellington Cable Car at located within the park. One of the city’s most unique attractions is Zealandia: a 500-acre fenced-in ecosanctuary which aims to restore the area to its pre-human state! For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Mount Victoria which stood in for Hobbiton woods and a Weta Cave Workshop Tour is a must. Get a glimpse behind the scenes of Peter Jacksons' renowned movies as well as many more!
Situated in the heart of Tasman Bay, Nelson is an excellent base to visit the nearby wineries as well as trips to Abel Tasman National Park. Bike along the Great Taste Trail that will take you to the regions vineyards, breweries and art galleries. Nelson has the highest concentration of working artists in the country and features excellent galleries and studios - including the goldsmith that designed the “One Ring” for the Lord of the Rings movies. No trip to Nelson would be complete without a visit to Abel Tasman National Park. Here one can hike the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track, kayak the pristine waters of Tasman Bay or simply relax on one of the many beaches. Several filming locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot in the region, including the forest near Bree, Dimrill Dale and Rivendell!
Hokitika is a well-known art and crafts town on the west coast of the south island. Hokitika’s best-known export is the precious jade stone which is incorporated into much of the local artwork and is of great importance to the local Maori. There are some wonderful adventure activities nearby including a hike along Hokitika Gorge, with the milky-green waters of Hokitika River running within it. Exciting whitewater rafting trips are within an hours drive of town as well. At the end of your day be sure to check out the sunsets on the mirror-surfaced Lake Kaniere. Another highlight of the area is to journey up the Mahinapua waterways either on a small cruise boat or on your own kayak.
Franz Josef is a small town located just a few miles from the glacier of the same name as well as the Fox glacier. Most of the activities in Franz Josef though are focused on the nearby glaciers of course. Guided glacier walks (arriving by helicopter), ice climbing and a glacier valley walk through the adjacent rainforest are all must-dos and allow you to get up close to this amazing natural phenomenon. Non-ice activities in the area include the West Coast Wildlife Centre which focuses on the endangered Kiwi bird as well hiking around Lake Matheson, local horse-treks and visits to local hot pools. Also nearby are boat and kayak tours in the Okarito wetlands, featuring a cruise through a lagoon and an ancient rainforest, and the area also features the filming location for the lighting of the beacons from Lord of the Rings.
A wonderful outdoor destination, Lake Wanaka and its namesake town offer an excellent location to visit Mt Aspiring National Park. Hiking is one of the most common and popular activities to do in the Lake Wanaka region. A half day walk to Mt. Roy will give visitors spectacular views over the lake and Southern Alps. For the more adventurous, mountain climbing on a via ferrata at Twin Falls is breath-taking as are canyoning tours at Deep Canyon. 4x4 tours, horse trekking, and mountain bike are also exciting adventures that await visitors here. Jet boat adventures with guided walks bring you to several Lord of the Rings filming locations and a heli-hike tour is also on offer where you can follow the same hiking trail from the Hobbit movie that took our characters over the Misty Mountains!
Best-known as New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown offers a vast amount of activities for those who like to get their adrenaline pumping. A cable car trip to the top of Bob’s Peak gives wonderful panoramic views over the Queenstown region. Visit Kawarau Bridge to experience the world’s first commercial Bungy jump centre, take a jet boat ride on Shotover River and in the winter, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables mountain chain calls all skiers and snowboarders. Numerous vineyards dot the region around Queenstown and are all easily reached by bicycle for those looking for a more relaxing day. Not to be forgotten, the Glenorchy area is home to several Lord of the Rings filming locations: Isengard, Lothlorien and Fanghorn Forest!
One of the jewels of the south island, Lake Te Anau and the town of Te Anau offers visitors access to the Fiordland National Park. Activity options on the lake range from fishing, to boat cruises to kayaking. Also nearby are glowworm caves, offering a superbly unique opportunity to see this natural formation and the creatures that inhabit it. The Te Anau Bird Sanctuary is a wonderful opportunity to see unique birds native to the area - great for families and entrance by donation. No visit to Lake Te Anau would be complete without visiting Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Milford Sound is perhaps New Zealand’s most spectacular natural wonder. Te Anau is one of the closest towns to the entrance to Milford Sound - allowing for easy day trips. A boat cruise of Milford Sound is a must for anyone visiting the region!
One of New Zealand’s first cities, Dunedin has excellent examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. The historic buildings, combined with the Botanic Gardens are sure to bring you back in time. If not, the superb Toitu Otago Early Settlers Museum and Otago Museum certainly will! For a intriguing glimpse into Maori culture be sure to head to nearby Karitane for a tour of Huriawa Pa, a historic, fortified Maori village. Nearby you’ll also find the Otago Peninsula where you’ll be able to enjoy white sand beaches and wonderful seaside cliffs for walking excursions. Along the peninsula, you’ll also find large amounts of wildlife, including penguins, albatrosses and seals! New Zealand’s only castle also calls the peninsula home. Larnach Castle is a highlight of the region and features a restaurant, accommodation options and an award-winning garden on-site.
A town originally built for workers of the nearby hydro plant, Twizel is now conveniently located for numerous outdoor activities, including trips to the county’s highest peak, Mt. Cook. Experienced mountaineers can attempt to climb Mt. Cook but most will prefer the wonderful mountain walks near Mount Cook village that offers less of an extreme challenge. Helicopter tours are also available hiking or skiing on Tasman Glacier. Numerous lakes and rivers near Twizel offer excellent fishing and kayak trips and the area is also an International Dark Sky Reserve, offering extremely good stargazing opportunities. For Lord of the Rings fans will be excited to visit the filming locations for the warg chase scene and the Battle of Pelennor Fields!
Christchurch is New Zealand’s oldest city and filled with British charm. Hagley Park is a highlight destination, offering 400 acres of pristine wilderness, with the Canterbury Museum and the Botanic Gardens being the main attractions onsite. Must visits in the city include the unique Cardboard Cathedral as well as the Arts Centre which offers restaurants and shops as well as galleries and interactive science displays. The Christchurch Gondola takes you to the top of Port Hills for wonderful panoramic views of the city and the Banks Peninsula. The city is also the departure point to the Antarctic! Closer to town though, the International Antarctic Centre offers exciting sub-zero experiences for those who want just a taste of Antartica. The distinct Banks Peninsula, compromised of two ancient volcanic craters, is close by and offers wonderful exciting kayaking and swimming excursions and exciting marine life such as dolphins and penguins.
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