Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your accommodation.
Relax in Auckland today. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland wineries, or doing a spot of shopping.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Matamata 160 km / 99 miles, 2 hours
Make your way to Matamata to discover the real Middle-Earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or meal in The Shire’s Rest Café.
Driving time Matamata to Rotorua 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic journey to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity. This diverse city will put on a display as you encounter geysers, mud pools, steaming craters and 16 beautiful lakes.
Stay 1 night in Rotorua.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls, relaxing boat cruises, and bungy jumping. T
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo to Wellington 375 km / 233 miles, 4.5 hours
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has so much to offer. Set on the edge of a stunning harbour, surrounded by rolling hills, it’s a city rich in culture waiting to be explored. From shopping and picturesque walks to concerts, live theatre, exhibitions, festivals, Te Papa Tongarewa: the Museum of New Zealand, and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Stay 2 nights in Wellington.
Today, join a Full Day Lord of the Rings Tour! Follow in the footsteps of Hobbits, Dwarfs, Elves and Men. You will cover a lot of ground on the tour, but there is enough time to explore, recreate scenes for yourself, and work out how the movies were made. The scenery of Wellington mirrors that of Middle-Earth.
You will be collected from your central city accommodation between 8.30 am and 8.45 am. The morning is spent exploring the city locations; you will spend 40 minutes walking through the Outer Shire. This location includes the famous ‘Get off the road’ scene, the ‘shortcut to mushrooms,’ the Black Rider scenes and many more. Then it’s off to the Weta Studios for an inside look at the Wellington film industry. Your visit to Weta will include the ‘Window into Workshop’ exhibition, which is a guided tour of the inner working of the Weta Studios. After the morning’s excitement, it’s time for an Orc-sized lunch. You will head out to Scorch-O-Rama Café for a LOTR themed menu designed especially for Wellington Rover Tours. This is included in the cost of your tour. The afternoon is spent exploring the Great River Anduin, the Gardens of Isengard, and Rivendell. You will also see the location where Helms Deep and Minas Tirith were filmed.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton 70 km / 43 miles, 3 hours
Driving time Picton to Kaikoura 156 km / 97 miles, 2.5 hours
Enjoy the coastal drive along the East Coast to Kaikoura, a stunning coastal township offering a backdrop of majestic mountains. As an important fishing port, Kaikoura is a mecca for seafood lovers. Local specialities include blue cod, paua (abalone) and of course crayfish (lobster).
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs 134 km / 83 miles, 1.5 hours
Travel on to Hanmer Springs, a year-round holiday destination offering a variety of outdoor activities and of course the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Visitors have been travelling to bathe in the rejuvenating mineral pools for over 120 years! Relax in open-air thermal pools and de-stress with spa therapies.
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Driving time Hanmer Springs to Lake Tekapo 357 km / 222 miles, 4.5 hours
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the Southern Alps to reach Lake Tekapo, an amazing turquoise lake. Lake Tekapo presents many world class vacation attractions, from the famous Church of the Good Shepherd to scenic flights exploring New Zealand’s highest mountains and largest glaciers, including Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, and Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown 254 km / 158 miles, 3 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki, a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Queenstown awaits you, New Zealand’s adventure capital and top vacation destination. Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital and scenic resort town.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Today, explore the Lord of the Rings film locations around Queenstown on a spectacular half-day 4WD adventure! This scenic safari offers breathtaking mountain and forest views along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and the Paradise Valley. Beyond Glenorchy, travel up the Dart Valley to the filming location for Isengard, set amongst snow-capped mountains beside the turquoise waters of the Dart River. This setting offers views of Mt Earnslaw and its hanging glacier, used in the first instalment of the Hobbit trilogy. Explore the Paradise Forest, the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. On your return trip to Queenstown, stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp.
Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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