Explore Middle Earth

Duration: 22 Days
Starts: Auckland
Finishes: Christchurch

If you are a fan of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, embark on your own journey through Middle-earth to discover some of the most stunning landscapes that New Zealand has to offer.

Our tour takes you across New Zealand, following in the footsteps of Frodo and Bilbo, to visit many of the locations that the films were shot in.

Hobbiton is still one of the highlights for any visitor. Specialist guides take visitors on a guided tour with views over the stunning rural landscape of the Waikato region where the paddocks were transformed into the Shire.

Be captured by the beauty, isolated mountain tops, lush forests and crystal clear lakes; Middle-earth is more alive than ever!

DAY

01

Arrive Auckland

On arrival in Auckland Meet & Greet by REST NEW ZEALAND TOURS. Transfer to your accommodation in Auckland and handover of travel documents. This is your first day in the land of Middle Earth.

DAY

02

Auckland - Waitomo - Matamata

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4.5 HOURS, 300 KM

Pick up your rental car and drive south. A side tour to the West Coast brings you to the nice surf village of Raglan. In the afternoon you can explore the extensive cave system at Waitomo and see the glow worms or delve right into Middle Earth on a local film location tour. Afterwards carry on towards Matamata where you overnight near Hobbiton.

Suggested activity: Hairy Feet Scenic Film Location Tour (10.00 am & 1.00 pm daily, duration 1.5 hours)

Visit the stunning Denize Bluffs and farm film location in the Mangaotaki Valley Piopio, near Waitomo. It’s here that the troll and campfire scenes in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” were filmed. The towering limestone Denize Bluffs, a primeval forest and massive rock formations on the Denize family farm became the location for Staddle Farm and Trollshaws... and the home of “Sting”!

Travel Tip: Treat yourself to a Hobbiton Evening Banquet Tour (ex Shires Rest Café, duration 4 hours)

Experience Hobbiton Movie Set at dusk. Enjoy a complimentary beverage from the exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing range at The Green Dragon, followed by a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit. The tables will be full of traditional Hobbit fare and as is the tradition in The Shire, second helpings are encouraged. After dinner the guests will re- join their guide to make their way back through the wandering paths of the Shire. The trails illuminated by path lighting, this stunning journey under moonlight will travel through the village breathtakingly lit up with Hobbit hole chimneys smoking and lanterns glowing against the darkness.
Currently available on Wednesdays and Sundays; additional departures may be added over peak period.

DAY

03

Matamata - Rotorua

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 1.5 HOURS, 90 KM

Hobbiton Tour ex Matamata included

This morning you visit the filming location at Hobbiton on the farmland near Matamata. A tour guide takes you through the area and tells fascinating stories and details from the movie set.

Later you arrive in Rotorua: Discover 18 sparkling lakes, magnificent native and exotic forests, geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and the best of New Zealand’s fascinating Maori culture.

DAY

04

Rotorua - Taupo - Tongariro National Park/Ohakune

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4 HOURS, 220 KM

On your way to Tongariro National Park you can visit Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley. On a clear day Lake Taupo fascinates with spectacular views to the volcanoes. Later you enter Mordor, the Land of Shadows, with its three giant volcanoes. Easy to see why the region was chosen as Mordor. Do you recognize Mt. Doom (Mt Ngauruhoe)?

DAY

05

Tongariro National Park/Ohakune

Explore Mordor on one of the various shorter or longer walks starting from Whakapapa Village. If your fitness level and the weather permit, we recommend the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 8 hour walk over the moonlike landscape of the volcanoes is one of the best day tracks of the world. For an easier option, a scenic flight will do, too.

DAY

06

Tongariro National Park/Ohakune - Kapiti Coast

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4 HOURS, 230 KM

You can do a rafting trip through the gorges of Rangitikei River which takes you to the location of River Anduin. The Mangaweka Mokai Gorge is an 80 meter deep canyon, only accessible by kayak or rafting boat. Later visit Waitarere Forest where Trollshaw Forest and Osgiliath Wood were filmed. You spend the night on the Kapiti Coast.

DAY

07

Kapiti Coast - Wellington

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 1 HOUR, 50 KM

Otaki Gorge is well worth a visit - Leaving the Shire and Lothlorien were filmed there. Parts of the Battle of Pelennor Fields happened near Paraparaumu.

Later you arrive at New Zealand’s capital Wellington. We recommend a sightseeing tour and a walk along the waterfront to Te Papa the National Museum of New Zealand.

DAY

08

Wellington

Lord of the Rings Tour included.

Today you spend the whole day in the footsteps of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Starting on Mt Victoria lookout, you will visit the Gardens of Isengard with the famous Orc trees, Minas Tirith, Rivendell, Helms Deep and Weta Cave, where you look behindthe-scenes into the inner workings of the multi-award winning design studio and can admire props and costumes of Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Disney’s Narnia movies. Lower Hutt near Wellington was home of the biggest film set of the trilogy.

DAY

09

Wellington - Picton - Nelson

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 1.5 HOURS, 110 KM, FERRY CROSSING 3.5 HOURS

Take the ferry through picturesque Marlborough Sound. From Picton you drive via the Queen Charlotte to sunny Nelson, known for its beautiful beaches and bush-clad mountains. Jens Hansen The Ringmaker on Trafalgar Square created the Ring of all rings. See one of the originals on display and you can buy it, too.

DAY

10

Nelson / Abel Tasman National Park / Collingwood

Home to three National Parks, Nelson has plenty on offer for the avid Tolkien Fan. Takaka Hill - one hour drive from Nelson – featured as Chetwood Forest in the Lord of the Rings as well as location for the Trollshaws in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Many locations in Kahurangi National Park like Rivendell, Eregion Hills and Dimrill Dale are only accessible by helicopter from Motueka or Nelson. If you have time to spare, consider Collingwood for additional overnights to explore all the varied landscapes and remote locations.

DAY

11

Nelson - Paparoa National Park/ Punakaiki

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4.5 HOURS, 275 KM

The drive along the winding Buller Gorge takes you to the wild West Coast. A side trip in Westport to a seal colony at Cape Foulwind is worthwile. The Paparoa Ranges, backdrop to Punakaiki, were used in the barrel sequence as the party escaped King Thranduil. The Pororari River Track near Punakaiki follows a spectacular limestone gorge, with huge rocks in deep river pools, beautiful forest and spectacular views over the dramatic cliffs.

DAY

12

Punakaiki - Westland National Park/ Franz Josef

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4 HOURS, 225 KM

Greymouth and Hokitika are the jade centers of the country. Visit a workshop and watch the jade carvers doing their art work. Glaciers, rainforest and coast are close together in Westland National Park and the many different shades of green of the dense rainforest will amaze you. Visit Okarito at the coast and make a kayak trip through the quiet lagoon. Helicopter flights with glacier landing are possible from Fox Glacier and Franz Josef.

DAY

13

Franz Josef - Wanaka

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4.5 HOURS, 285 KM

After a stop at Ship Creek Walk and a side trip to Monro Beach you are moving inland from the West Coast. The Haast Pass is a scenic drive with many opportunities to stop and explore. You arrive at the next film location, Wanaka, where the Misty Mountains were shot.

DAY

14

Wanaka - Queenstown

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 1.5 HOURS, 70 KM

Queenstown is the Mecca for every Lord of the Rings fan. The whole area served as a filming location, including nearby Glenorchy and the mountains. Half and full day tours with 4WD or by mini bus to various locations are offered, helicopter tours for the more remote locations. Don’t miss a visit to the gold mining town of Arrowtown which served as the location The Ford Of Bruinen.

Suggested activity: Eco Wanaka Adventures Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike (5.5hrs ex Wanaka)

This Helicopter experience follows the Eagles flight with a landing on glaciated Fog Peak, to admire Mt Aspiring (3033m) and its surrounding glacier country panorama of the breathtaking Southern Alps. You can see 3 Trilogy film sites from here. Skimming the razor back ridges, we fly and land on Treble Cone’s “The Towers Ridge.” Walk the very footsteps that the legendary Dwarves, Wizard, and our little heroic Ring carrier traversed in their quest over the top of the Misty Mountains, as seen in the movie. An unexpected journey through this very set!

DAY

15

Queenstown

Today is at your leisure to explore everything that Queenstown has to offer. Seek out relaxation and rejuvenation in one of the spa and wellness centres, or just breathe pure mountain air. For adrenalin junkies, the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world offers plenty to get your blood pumping: Test your limits with white water rafting, ziplining, paragliding and skydiving.

Suggested activity: Nomad Safaris Safari of the Scenes Tour - Half Day or Full Day Tour options available

Nomad Safaris is one of New Zealand’s original Lord of The Rings tour companies with over 10 years of experience sharing their passion for Tolkien with visitors to the Queenstown region. Immerse yourself in scenery made famous by the films. On these scenic tours you can experience the unprecedented natural beauty of this part of New Zealand in comfort and safety, with a knowledgeable local guide on hand to provide comprehensive insight into the many film projects undertaken in the area.

Suggested activity: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters Middle Earth Queenstown (45 mins)

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters pilot Alfie Speight provided most of the aerial filming for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. This is a fantastic scenic flight combining the best of Queenstown and Middle-earth. From Queenstown airport climb up and over The Remarkables to Lake Alta and Dimrill Dale. Continue across the Wakatipu basin and Skippers Canyon bevor landing above the Shotover River, or Ford of Bruinen. Return over Ben Lomond Saddle for magnificent views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu before passing over Deer Park Heights.

DAY

16

Queenstown - Te Anau/Fiordland National Park

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 2.5 HOURS, 175 KM

Through rural countryside you come to Te Anau. The little town is also known as ‘the walking capital of the world’. It is the perfect base for numerous walks. The Te Anau glow worm caves are another attraction. A boat can take you over the lake to the caves. If you continue further, the road to Milford Sound takes you through Eglington and Hollyford Valley. The dense green mountains and the quiet deep lakes in this area make it pretty clear why it was chosen for filming Middle Earth.

DAY

17

Te Anau/Fiordland National Park

Take your time to take in the bush-covered foothills and towering peaks from Te Anau’s lakefront. While you’re spoilt with choice, a cruise on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound is highly recommended. Waiau River, between Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri served amongst others as River Anduin. A special Helijet tour from Te Anau can take you to remote filming locations. The isolated Mavora Lakes (65 km one way from Te Anau) served as background for Amon Hen, Nen Hithoel and the Silverlode River.

DAY

18

Te Anau - Twizel

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 5.5 HOURS, 360 KM

You drive along Kawarau River where the Pillars of the Kings were filmed. The vastness of Central Otago and the drive over Lindis Pass will captivate you. A visit to the Clay Cliffs near Omarama is worth the side trip. Your destination for today is Twizel, in the Mackenzie Basin, snuggled under the foothills of the Southern Alps.

DAY

19

Twizel/Mount Cook National Park

Lord of the Rings Tour ex Twizel included.

The area around Twizel was the perfect location for Edoras and The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Learn all about the filming in the area on a guided tour from Twizel. The afternoon is for you to roam freely. Drive along the eastern side of Lake Pukaki up to Braemar Station. Base camp here provided the cast and crew with magnificent views to New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook, while filming the escape from warg-ridden orcs to the secret entrance to Rivendell. Or try one of the many short and longer walks and tracks starting at Mount Cook Village.

DAY

20

Twizel/Mount Cook National Park - Lake Tekapo - Mt. Hutt - Christchurch

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4.5 HOURS, 315 KM

Drive along the turquoise Lake Tekapo into Tolkien’s Rohan, the land of the horse lords. The attractive Rakaia River invites you to a jet boat tour into the mountains before you drive over the wide Canterbury Plains to Garden City Christchurch.

DAY

21

Christchurch

You have the opportunity of a guided tour to Mt Potts Station - one of the most elaborate sets, Edoras and Meduseld, King Theoden’s Hall, took eleven months to complete on top of Mt Sunday. If you like to do Whale Watching you can drive up north to Kaikoura. Or make a trip to Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, a lovely town with a special French flair. Take a boat trip through Akaroa Harbour and swim with dolphins.

Suggested activity: Hassle Free Tours – Ring Edoras Tour (9am, 8.5 hrs)

Join the Lord of the Rings Tour and journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday; and see how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoilt beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air. This amazing day includes 4WD access onto Mt Sunday/Edoras itself, a delicious champagne picnic lunch, full running commentary from our friendly and knowledgeable kiwi tour guides and spectacular scenery you will never forget.

DAY

22

Depart Christchurch

Drop off your rental car at the airport, say goodbye to Middle Earth and take home memories of a lifetime.

REST NZ Tours