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Adventure through alpine meadows, ancient glaciers and snow-capped mountains as you experience stunning filming locations, Middle-earth activities and more. Experience friendly kiwi hospitality at its best and fully immerse yourself in the very best of New Zealand with this comprehensive adventure.
Minimum duration: 3 weeks
Start: Auckland; Finish: Christchurch or vice versa
Possible modes of transport: Self-drive, bus, fly
Auckland, 2-3 days
A vibrant city of harbours, beaches and islands, Auckland is known as the “City of Sails”. Catch a ferry to one of the many beautiful islands, enjoy fine food and wine in the viaduct or explore the local walking tracks.
Hobbiton, ½ day
Home to the Shire, Hobbiton is an enchanting village of Hobbit-holes. Take a guided tour and experience this mythical piece of Middle-earth for yourself - all 44 Hobbit-holes have been rebuilt exactly as they appeared on film. Stop for a handle of sobering thought ale at the brand-new Green Dragon Inn, and grab a light lunch at the Shire’s Rest Café.
Nearby filming location: The Shire, Hobbiton
Waitomo Caves, 1 -2 days
Self-drive or bus
The looming cliffs, unusual limestone rock formations and prehistoric forest at Mangaotaki Rocks formed the perfect backdrop for Middle-earth. The locations of Staddles Farm and Trollshaw Forest were filmed here, with shots including The Company arriving at a destroyed farmhouse, the exit from Troll Hoarde Cave, the Gundabad Wargs and Orcs attack and Gandalf bestowing Sting on Bilbo.
Forty-five minutes away from this filming location lies the Waitomo Caves, a fascinating labyrinth of underground sinkholes, caves and rivers all beneath rolling green farmland. Take a walking or boat tour, try black water rafting or zip line through the darkness.
Nearby filming location: Trollshaw Forest, Staddles Farm
Ruapehu, 2-4 days
Self-drive or bus
Experience the desolate beauty of these diverse, beautiful lands. Hike the Tongariro Crossing, known as one of the best day walks in the world. Take a horse trek through lush forests and plains, or, if you’re here in winter, you can ski on Mount Ruapehu.
Rotorua, 2-3 days
Self-drive or bus
Rotorua has one of the worlds’ most lively fields of geothermal activity. Explore bubbling mud pools and lands of steam and geysers, or get your adrenaline pumping with some of the great adventure activities on offer. Experience a fascinating Maori cultural show or marae stay, or soak aching limbs in one of the many naturally-heated mineral pools.
Wellington, 2-3 days
Fly, Self-drive or bus
Located at the southernmost tip of the North Island, Wellington is home to Weta Workshop and the Weta Cave. Here, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at movie making magic in action. Indulge in the city’s buzzing food and wine scene, and enjoy a cable-car ride to the Kelburn lookout for expansive harbour views.
Filming locations: Nazgul, Rivendell, Isengard Gardens
Nelson, 2-3 days
Fly, self-drive, bus or ferry
At the northern tip of the South Island, Nelson is the sunniest place in New Zealand. Ferries run between Wellington and nearby Picton, or you can take a short flight. Known for its stunning beaches and lush national parks, it’s a place you can easily spend a couple of days’ exploring.
Filming locations: Chetwood Forest, Dimrill Dale, south of Rivendell
Kaikoura, 1-2 days
Self-drive or bus
Kaikoura is on the east coast of the South Island, lying between the rugged seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. Whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters and the area is famous for its marine mammal encounters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining.
West Coast Glaciers, 1-3 days
The South Island’s West Coast is a region of lush native bush, deep blue lakes and snow-capped peaks. It’s home to two of New Zealand’s most spectacular glaciers, the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier, which both run down to the river valley below.
Nearby filming locations: lighting of the beacons
Queenstown, 2-3 days
Surrounded by stunning mountains and a crystal-clear lake, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s top visitor destinations. Get your adrenalin pumping with a skydive or bungy jump, have a go on the slopes or enjoy picturesque dining locations.
Nearby filming locations: The Ford of Brunein, The Gladden Fields, Sindarin Pillars of the Kings, Isengard, Lothlorien
Fiordland, 2-3 days
One of the most enchanting places in New Zealand, Fiordland is home to waterfalls that cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords and ancient rainforest that clings to towering mountains. Unique creatures swim deep under dark lakes and granite peaks shimmer in the sun – try the Milford Track, a 4 day hike through enormous valleys and pristine lakes. Or, explore the sounds with a boat cruise or kayak.
Central Otago, 2-4 days
Relax in sunny Central Otago amidst alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. Renowned for its delicious food and wine culture, sip on a glass of pinot and feast on fresh gourmet delights. If you’ve got energy to burn, ride the Central Otago Rail Trail – this four-day adventure follows the route of the old railway, and you’ll stop in at charming small towns full of gold rush history on the way.
Christchurch, 1-3 days
You final stop is Christchurch, an eclectic city of elegance and contemporary culture. Cycle along the picturesque Avon River, mountain bike down well-worn tracks in the Port Hills and enjoy delicious dining options in the central city. You can say goodbye to Middle-earth and head home from Christchurch International Airport.
Want to know more?
Please click here to contact your local travel agent and embark on your own Middle-earth inspired adventure.