Great wizards are also brave adventurers who travel far and wide. Embark on an epic journey throughout New Zealand to experience otherworldly landscapes and fascinating fiords in the real Middle‑earth™.
You will know you've arrived in Rotorua when you notice the smell of sulphur in the air and steam appearing from the ground, these are the first hints of the region's dramatic geothermal character. Walk alongside Inferno Crater and see the water level rise and fall as the temperatures change at Waimangu Volcanic Valley(opens in new window), see Frying Pan Lake and discover how the search for the former 8th wonder of the world(opens in new window) is unfolding.
Marvel at the huge valleys of ice that form Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Along with your experienced ice guides at Franz Josef Glacier Guides(opens in new window) and Fox Glacier Guiding(opens in new window) strap on a pair of crampons and set foot on some of the oldest frozen water on earth. Carefully avoiding large crevasses and slippery slopes you will soon find yourself inside a naturally formed ice cave. Take some time to marvel at the colors of the glass-like cave formation before taking the short helicopter flight back to base. Warm down with a walk to Lake Matheson(opens in new window) afterward.
Imagine riding through the backcountry New Zealand, through tussocked plains, between soaring peaks, alongside sparkling alpine lakes and rivers. Channel the spirit of Shadowfax, the "Lord of all horses", and ride south with the wind in your hair. From Queenstown cruise across Lake Wakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship which is over 100 years and is still hand-fired, then arrive at Walter Peak to saddle up and ride through rolling farmland with Walter Peak Horse Treks(opens in new window).
As the sun sets in Takapō (Tekapo) look above and into Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve - the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world and the first to obtain gold status. See glittering constellations, stars and search for planets through telescopes on one of Dark Sky Project's(opens in new window) night tours at Mount John Observatory or Cowans Private Observatory. During the day step inside the indoor Dark Sky Experience to learn more about what lurks in the skies above.
Learn more about stargazing in New Zealand(opens in new window)
With more than 23 peaks over 3000 metres, New Zealand’s Southern Alps is home to amazing scenery. Marvel at the snow-capped peaks that fill the horizon and take time to explore the rugged landscape. The Southern Alps starred in both Middle‑earth™ trilogies and locations include Mt Potts Station (Erewhon), Mount Sunday (Edoras), Treble Cone's Towers Ridge (Misty Mountains), and Twizel (Pelennor Fields). Spend a day with Southern Lakes Sightseeing(opens in new window) and venture into the alps in full costume or join Hassle Free Tours(opens in new window) from Christchurch.
Discover things to do in Queenstown(opens in new window)
Ancient rainforest clings to impossibly steep mountains, waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres into massive fiords, and the shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did thousands of years ago. Fiordland National Park and the Mavora Lakes were the locations for Fangorn Forest. Explore the sounds by boat with Cruise Milford(opens in new window) or take a scenic flight. Be sure to stay awhile in the quaint but picturesque town of Te Anau(opens in new window) on the way.
Discover more of Fiordland(opens in new window)
Follow the journey of The Fellowship and plan your own adventure on the Kawarau River (Anduin River). Imagine where The Argonath, The Pillars of the Kings would have stood and absorb the natural beauty of the area. You can get an eagle's eye view of the river with AJ Hackett Bungy Centre,(opens in new window) then follow the river through the Gibbston Valley to the Kawarau Gorge and experience the thrill of Goldfields Jet Boat(opens in new window).