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 this afternoon and evening. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World; 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 148 km / 91 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 Hamilton 62 km / 38 miles, 1 hour
Being in the hub of the central North Island, visitors to Hamilton have easy access to iconic attractions such as Waitomo Caves, Raglan’s surf coast and Te Aroha Mineral Pools. For fun – visit the chocolate and candy factory.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Driving time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves 73 km / 45 miles, 1 hour
Venture to the Waitomo Caves where you will enjoy the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Caves Combo! Deep underground in the heart of the Waikato
Driving time Waitomo Caves to Rotorua 148 km / 91 miles, 2 hours
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 2 nights in Rotorua.
Relax and explore Rotorua and its geothermal beauty. You might like to enjoy a wander around Hell’s Gate Geothermal
In the evening enjoy dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – Skyline Restaurant. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold while you journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, a buffet of legendary proportions. Feast on mouth-watering fresh soups and salads and seafood specialties such as mussels, queen scallops, sushi and sashimi. Enjoy carvery roasts of beef, lamb or pork with specialty sauces to match, with live cooking from your friendly chefs. Add to that mouth-watering desserts, and you’ve got yourself a unique dining experience not to be missed. Tiered seating guarantees stunning views from every table! After dinner enjoy the scenic ride back down on the gondola.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Just north of Lake Taupo you’ll find New Zealand’s most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
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’ and 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
Sailing time Wellington to Picton 70 km / 43 miles, 3 hours
Driving time Picton to Kaikoura 156 km / 97 miles, 2 hours
It’s all about the journey today as you board the Interislander Cook Strait Ferry, which will transport you on a scenic cruise to Picton. Enjoy the coastal drive along the South Island’s east coast to Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town’s whaling past.
Option to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity with a Whale Watch Scenic Flight to view the majestic Sperm Whales off the Kaikoura Coast.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Christchurch 180 km / 111 miles, 2 hours
Enjoy the scenic drive along the South Islands East Coast to Christchurch.
In the evening enjoy a Maori Cultural Experience Evening this includes a guided tour through the kiwi house to see kiwi and other New Zealand wildlife icons. Then you will be greeted with a traditional Maori Welcome and challenge (wero), followed by a tour of the replica Maori village, where you will learn about their history, ancestors and traditions. Before dinner you will experience a traditional Maori performance including the haka and a waiata a ringa. Finally to finish off your evening enjoy a four course dinner with traditional hangi mains, where food is cooked underground long and slow from stones that are heated in a pit.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo 230 km / 143 miles, 3 hours
Depart Christchurch and travel south to Lake Tekapo. This far-reaching road adventure takes you from sea level to the mountains. You will begin with the flat green tranquillity of the Canterbury Plains, but it won’t be long before you climb through the tussocky wilds towards the Southern Alps. An amazing smoky turquoise lake announces that you have arrived in Lake Tekapo.
Lake Tekapo presents many world class attractions such as the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, the luxurious spa complex Tekapo Springs and Spa and of course the world famous Mt John Observatory.
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. Continue your journey as you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Continue on to Queenstown, New Zealand’s stunning alpine resort and adventure capital.
Option to add on a famous Lord of the Rings – Helicopter Flight!
Relax and explore Queenstown in the evening. Options include going down town to explore this spectacular resort town, browsing through the boutique shops and going out for a lovely evening meal.
Stay 4 nights in Queenstown.
Today join Nomad Safaris for their Safari of The Scenes – Wakatipu Basin. Explore the magical side of New Zealand and understand why this beautiful country was chosen to portray Middle-earth. The Queenstown area featured prominently in the filming of the incredibly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Safari of the Scenes – Wakatipu combines a true 4WD tour with film locations from the LOTR trilogy. The perfect tour for those that want the thrills of an off road adventure but also want to discover exciting Lord of the Rings film locations. The Wakatipu Basin tour takes you to The Remarkables, which were used as various mountains throughout the trilogy including the Misty Mountains. Travelling part way up this beautiful mountain range you get a birds eye view onto the former Deer Park Heights, which was used for the refugees of Rohan and the Battle of the Wargs scenes. Travelling from The Remarkables you then head to the Kawarau Gorge where the filming took place for the Argonath, or Pillars of the Kings. Leaving the Kawarau Gorge the trip heads to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Near Arrowtown you will experience some true off road adventures. Following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River you will cross the river to get to the Ford of Bruinen. At this point you can indulge in morning tea and try your hand at a spot of gold panning. From Arrowtown you will travel to the entrance of Skippers Canyon where you will be offered spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin and over Skippers Canyon.
Today enjoy the Dart River Jet Wilderness Safari! Your Wilderness Safari is an exhilarating and spectacular journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, with the only jet boat operator allowed on the Dart River. The sheer diversity of what
Doubtful Sound is the next step up from Milford Sound! Enjoy a scenic coach journey to reach Manapouri. In Manapouri board your luxury catamaran and cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri followed by a trip across New Zealand’s most expensive road Wilmot Pass, pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. In Doubtful Sound, you will board another catamaran for a three hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise your knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. After your cruise relax while your coach drives through stunning scenery delivering you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
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