14 Days 1995 km


  • Waitomo Caves
  • Wētā Workshop
  • Beorn's House



Includes one domestic flight from Hamilton too Wellington and one ferry across the Cook Strait

Elves value beautiful and enchanting places, and this two week itinerary will unveil the most stunning places in New Zealand. Explore the filming locations of Forest River, Dimrill Dale and Lothlorien as you make your way through the North and South Islands.

Day 1: Auckland

Sunset views from Rangitoto Summit, Auckland


Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes


  • Climb Rangitoto Island
  • Enjoy delicious food and wine
  • Soak up Auckland's vibrant nightlife


Discover a combination of metropolitan delights and natural landscapes.

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A sparkling coastal city of islands and harbours, Auckland is known for its beautiful scenery and laid-back vibe and is your gateway to Middle‑earth™.

The dormant volcanic island of Rangitoto lies within the centre of Auckland’s harbour, a short ferry-ride away. Climb to the top and be rewarded with 360-degree views of the city and its islands.

Then spend your evening exploring the Viaduct, Britomart and Wynyard Quarter. These buzzing downtown precincts are home to gourmet restaurants and busy nightlife. Enjoy quality food and wine and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

Day 2: Auckland to Hamilton via Hobbiton™

Hobbiton Movie Set, Waikato


Caves, surf beaches and hobbit holes.


  • Hobbiton™ Movie Set
  • Waikato Museum
  • Beautiful Hamilton Gardens


After a night in Auckland, take a drive south to Hobbiton Movie Set. Hobbiton appears exactly as it did in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. See the Party Tree and Bag End up close, before quenching your thirst with a pint of ale at the Green Dragon Inn™. 

Travel on to Waitomo, the filming location for Trollshaw Forest & Staddle's Farm in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Take a guided tour through Mangaotaki Valley and explore the filming location for the Troll Camp Fire scenes. The towering limestone cliffs nearby will make you feel as though you've just stepped into the real Middle‑earth™. 

Day 3: Visit Waitomo Caves

Black water rafting in Waitomo Cave, Waikato


  • Blackwater rafting
  • Glowworm caves
  • Abseiling adventures


  • by car:

    1 h | 75 km (one way) via SH39

  • by bus:

    1 h 15 min | by Intercity 


Discover a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers.

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Explore the Waitomo Caves and all they have to offer - this labyrinth of caves lies under the rolling green hills of Waitomo Valley.

Twinkling glowworms light up the darkness, and a number of rivers and walking tracks wind through the caves. Take a walking tour or try Blackwater rafting through the underground waterways. Peter Jackson used sound recorded in Waitomo Caves for scenes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey due to their acoustic quality.  

In the afternoon, catch a flight to Wellington from nearby Hamilton Airport.

Day 4: Explore Wellington

The Wētā Cave, Waikato


A mix of culture, history, nature and cuisine


  • Wētā Workshop & Wētā Cave
  • Lively cafes, bars and restaurants
  • Mittens the cat


  • by plane:

    1 h 10 min | by Air New Zealand

  • by car:

    6 h 30 min | 520 km from Hamilton via SH1

  • by bus:

    8 h 40 min | by Intercity

Wellington is New Zealand’s movie-production hub, home to Wētā Workshop and Wētā Cave. All the post-production for The Hobbit trilogy took place here. The city also has a buzzing cultural and theatre scene with plenty of live music venues to check out.

Discover nearby filming locations in Mount Victoria (which depicted Hobbiton Woods) before taking in expansive city views with a cable-car ride to the Kelburn lookout and keep your eyes peeled and pats ready for Mittens the cat of Wellington(opens in new window)

Day 5: Wellington to Nelson

Interislander Ferry, Marlborough, Marlborough


National parks, local artists & world-class wine


  • Marlborough Sounds & Abel Tasman
  • Art galleries and craft shops
  • Wineries and fresh seafood


  • by ferry:

    3 h 30 min | to Picton by a Cook Strait Ferry

  • by car:

    1 h 50 min | 107 km via Linkwater & SH6

  • by bus:

    2 h 15 min | by Intercity via Blenheim

From Wellington, catch the ferry to Picton before making your way to nearby Nelson. Known as the sunniest region in New Zealand, there's plenty to do here, as well as some fascinating filming locations to explore. 

With its stunning beaches, lush national parks and quirky towns, Nelson is a place you can easily spend a couple of days exploring. Hire a kayak and paddle from one white sand beach to another. Nearby filming locations include Chetwood Forest, Dimrill Dale, south of Rivendell.

Day 6: Discover Nelson region

Nelson Tasman
Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman


  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Great Taste cycle trail
  • World of Wearable Arts Museum


  • by car:

    1 h 10 min | 65 km to Abel Tasman via SH60

  • by bus:

    1 h 50 min | by Nelson Coachlines


Explore national parks, meet local artists and savour the local wines

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Take this day to explore Nelson region. Browse quirky galleries, visit Jens Hansen Jewellers - makers of The One Ring - or take a drive around Abel Tasman National Park. The region is also dotted with wineries, making it the perfect place for those who love a glass of sauvignon blanc, riesling or pinot gris.

Day 7 - 8: Nelson to West Coast Glaciers

West Coast
Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast


Rugged natural beauty and unique experiences


  • by car:

    6 h 40 min | 460 km via SH6

  • by bus:

    9 h 45 min | via Westport By Intercity


Discover a place where the ice age is still underway.

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Take your time travelling down the West Coast to Franz Josef. Don't miss the famous Punakaiki Rocks on the way. Here, cliffs and ravines with hundreds of horizontal slices - resembling hotcakes - rise out of the rugged coastline. Columns of water shoot skywards forced through tiny blowholes created over millions of years. 

The glaciers here flow almost to sea level - making them some of the easiest to visit in the world. There are plenty of ways to experience the glaciers up close. From easy walks to a more adventurous guided glacier hike. Scenic heli-flights make you fully appreciate their immense scale.   

Nearby filming locations include the lighting of the beacons.

Day 9: West Coast to Wanaka

Lone Tree, Wānaka


The most tranquil of the South Island lakes


  • Explore Lake Wanaka
  • Mount Aspiring National Park
  • World-class wineries


  • by car:

    3 h 40 min | 286 km SH6

  • by bus:

    6 h 40 min | by Intercity

It's a long drive today but the spectacular alpine scenery on the way to Wanaka is worth many photo-stops. Spend a night in this boutique lakeside town and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants. Be sure to try the pinot noir for which the region is famous.

You'll wake to a deep blue lake and soaring mountains - the similarities to Middle‑earth™ here are endless.

Day 10 - 11: Wanaka to Glenorchy

Step back in time on a horse trek through the exceptional landscapes surrounding Glenorchy., Queenstown


Home of the ultimate adventure bucket list


  • Horse riding in Glenorchy
  • Stunning walking and hiking trails
  • Jet boating and kayaking


Today's journey takes you into the heart of the real Middle‑earth™ - Glenorchy is home to many of the filming locations from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Set against a backdrop of towering mountains and native forest, Glenorchy's landscapes are a prime location for film scouts. Peter Jackson used this area for Isengard, Lothlorien, and Fangorn Forest. Nearby Paradise was the setting for Beorn's House in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. 

While you're here, don't miss a short hike or horse trek along the trails that lace the surrounding area.

Day 12 - 14: Explore Queenstown & surrounds

Onsen hot pools, Queenstown


  • Adventure activities of all kinds
  • Delicious food & wine
  • Hot pools and spas


  • by car:

    20 min | 20 km to Arrowtown via Malaghans Rd

  • by bus:

    Visit the i-SITE for local day tour options


Explore wineries, epic film locations and adventure activities.

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Ringed by mountains and a crystal-clear lake, Queenstown is a top visitor destination offering everything from adventure activities to luxury and world-class wine. It's also the site of many Middle‑earth™ filming locations including, The Ford of Brunein, The Gladden Fields, Pillars of the Kings, Isengard and Lothlorien.

Take your time exploring in and around Queenstown. Treat yourself to a scenic flight or take a day hike through the surrounding mountains. If you have time, the gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown is well worth a visit. Mark the end of your Middle‑earth™ New Zealand adventure with an adrenaline-pumping bungy jump that you'll never forget.

View the route below

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