7 Days 1153 km


  • Hobbiton™ Movie Set
  • Waitomo Caves
  • Ruapehu and Tongariro National Park



includes a domestic flight, Taupō to Wellington

Most Hobbits don’t like to stray too far from home. This week-long Middle‑earth™ itinerary is the perfect length in which to experience some of the North Island's best attractions.

Day 1: Auckland to Whitianga

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand


  • Cathedral Cove
  • Thames gold mining history
  • Coromandel art galleries and craft shops



White sand coastline and abundant marine life.

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Journey from the exciting urban hub of Auckland to the coastal paradise of the Coromandel. Cloaked in native rainforest, with dazzling white sand beaches and picturesque coves, The Coromandel is a favourite holiday destination for Kiwis. 

Cathedral Cove is a picturesque photo spot, and at Hot Water Beach you can dig your own natural spa. You can see both these attractions in one day - but time it carefully, as you need to be at Hot Water Beach within two hours of low tide to access the natural thermal water. 

Spend the night in the beach town of Whitianga. It's got a good range of accommodation, shops and restaurants - expect to eat some excellent seafood while you’re here.

Day 2: The Coromandel to Rotorua via Hobbiton

Hobbiton Movie Set, Waikato


  • Discover the real Middle‑earth™
  • Watch geysers erupt and mud boil
  • Learn the how to perform a perfect haka


  • by car:

    3 h 10 min | 232 km via SH25 & SH26

  • by bus:

    No direct bus service - see car free option.


Go behind the scenes of New Zealand's real Middle‑earth™ film set.

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Today make your way from The Coromandel to Matamata where you will find the original Hobbiton Movie Set, with its enchanting community of life-sized Hobbit holes. Enjoy a guided tour around the Shire, your knowledgeable guide will enlighten you about the history and the on-location filming processes. Stop for a handle of ale at the Green Dragon Inn™ or grab a light lunch at the Shire’s Rest Café. 

Then continue to Rotorua, one of the world's most lively fields of geothermal activity. Spend the evening enjoying a Māori(opens in new window) Cultural Performance and traditional hangi.

Car-free option

Add a night in Tauranga: 5 h | Coromandel to Tauranga & 1 h 25 min | Tauranga to Rotorua.

Day 3: Spend a day exploring Rotorua

Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua


Mud pools, adventure and unique Maori culture.


  • Explore the forest canopy on a Treewalk
  • Take a downhill ride via OGO or Luge
  • Discover hidden mirror pools and geysers


Nowhere in New Zealand does the earth feel more alive than it does in Rotorua.

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A fascinating mix of geothermal activity, Māori culture, and adventure, Rotorua is a region that offers a multitude of experiences.

Explore the bubbling mud pools and geysers of Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, or get your adrenaline pumping with some of the great adventure activities on offer. Visit Te Puia or Te Pā Tū (Previously known as Tamaki Maori Village)(opens in new window) to experience Māori culture and learn about the historic events of New Zealand's history.

For those that love getting outdoors, try a walk or mountain bike along the network of trails that wind through the giant Redwood forests.

Day 4: Rotorua to Waitomo

Hairy Feet Film Tour, Waikato


  • Guided film set tour
  • Waitomo caving experience
  • Free-flight aviary at Hamilton Zoo



Discover some of the locations used to film blockbusters

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Today you'll make your way to Waitomo, where you can discover multiple film locations. On your journey, pause to explore Cambridge with its range of shops and cafes, or stop at Otorohanga Kiwi House(opens in new window) and meet our national icon.

Roam around the native forest and limestone cliffs used as filming locations for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit on a guided tour with Hairy Feet Waitomo(opens in new window). Or explore the Waitomo Caves fascinating labyrinth of underground sinkholes, tunnels and rivers beneath rolling green farmland. Peter Jackson loved the acoustic quality of these caves and recorded some of the soundscape for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Day 5: Waitomo to National Park

Whakapapa, Ruapehu


  • Walk to Taranaki Falls
  • Hiking, rafting, climbing
  • Gateway to Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu



Three huge volcanoes rise from a desert landscape dotted with lakes.

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Turn south towards Mt Ruapehu. Ruapehu, in the Central Plateau, is known for it's mountainous, desolate beauty. This location was used as a filming location for some of the Mordor scenes in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

The Ruapehu region offers a profusion of different activities, from hiking trails to rafting and skiing in winter. The Ohakune Old Coach Road is a popular half-day cycle trail that follows a cobblestone road once used to join the two ends of main trunk railway line before it was finally connected in 1909.

Day 6: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand


  • Emerald lakes
  • Panoramic views
  • Volcanic craters and lava flows


  • by bus:

    Hikers are advised take a shuttle to the start


A challenging journey across a remarkable volcanic landscape.

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To truly appreciate the bright emerald lakes, volcanic landscapes and spectacular mountain views of the Ruapehu region, you can't go past Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

This challenging one-day hike is often billed as one of the best in the world. With stunning views of the plateau's three imposing volcanoes, old lava flows and active steam vents. Lord of the Rings fans will recognise the shape of Mount Ngauruhoe, as the mountain that stood in for Mount Doom in the trilogy. 

During peak season, the Department of Conservation(opens in new window) recommends that visitors access the track via a shuttle from Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupō or Ohakune.

Day 7: National Park to Wellington via Taupō

Weta Studio Tour, Wellington


  • Wētā Workshop & Wētā Cave
  • Art and culture in Wellington
  • Zealandia



A place brimming with art, culture, delicious food and natural environments.

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Catch a morning flight from nearby Taupo to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

Located at the southernmost tip of the North Island, Wellington is home to Wētā Workshop(opens in new window) and the Wētā Cave. Here, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at movie making magic in action. 

Spend the rest of your journey indulging in the city’s buzzing food and wine scene, checking out the museums and galleries or enjoy a cable-car ride to the Kelburn lookout for expansive harbour views.

View the route below

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The ultimate Middle‑earth™ itinerary