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Explore the North and South Island with a New Zealand private tour personalised to suit your group. Our private guided tours are hosted by one of New Zealand’s leading tour guides. Your guide will meet your group at the airport and chauffeur your group to explore the destinations and activities included in your personalised New Zealand private tour package. They will tend to your needs and share valuable local knowledge with your group to enhance your holiday experience. We can cater for groups between 1-40 people.
Our New Zealand private guided tour packages are flexible and are booked to suit your group’s travel dates and interests.
Read on for more details on the 14 Day New Zealand Middle Earth Private Guided Tour.
Your New Zealand private tour begins when you arrive in Auckland. The “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Your tour guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your Auckland City accommodation.
In the afternoon explore Auckland City with your tour guide. Your options include visiting the Auckland Zoo, or Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland
Auckland is a shopaholic’s paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open-air street markets. Discover the diverse range of cafés and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe. In addition, check out the buzzing nightlife of the central city. Favourite spots include Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct Harbour, the Britomart precinct and City Works Depot.
Stay 2 nights in Auckland City.
Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. This gulf is visited by a staggering one third of all the types of marine mammals found on earth. Depart directly from Viaduct Harbour aboard the 20 metre, purpose-built vessel ‘Dolphin Explorer’ for an unforgettable marine mammal eco-safari. Enjoy a 4.5 hour cruise, including guaranteed whale and dolphin viewing – or you get a free trip! Friendly, knowledgeable guides. Commentary on the culture and history of the Hauraki Gulf. Fully licensed bar with snacks available for purchase.
This evening, if you would like to dine with a spectacular view, you might like to visit the Sky Tower. You are spoilt for choice with three restaurants and cafés up the Sky Tower. These include the Orbit 360 degree dining revolving restaurant; The Sugar Club, which is superbly chic and elegant; or the Sky Café, where you can relax with a coffee, cheese board or ice cream. You will have the opportunity to view the city from 328 metres high above street level and take in the beautiful views, up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Spot the key landmarks, including a number of volcanoes and historical locations within the greater Auckland area.
Travel time Auckland to Matamata – 2 hours
Travel to Matamata today to discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland. Near Matamata, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. 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 a light meal in The Shires Rest Café.
Travel time Matamata to Rotorua – 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 2 nights in Rotorua.
The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park is Rotorua’s most active geothermal area. Hell’s Gate features a walkway lined with unique geothermal wonders and interactive opportunities. Experience the geothermal features with a self-guided map to show you around or join a guided tour of the reserve to learn more about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area.
See bubbling mud pools, steaming craters, mineral pools, learn about New Zealand’s history and culture, and even try Maori weaving and wood carving! After this, the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa will rejuvenate and refresh you. Relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner. Hear stories and learn how Maori traditions live on today. Experience an authentic Maori welcome. Watch a challenge by the Maori warriors, a
Travel time Rotorua to Taupo – 1 hour
Enjoy a short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as relaxing boat cruises and bungy jumping. 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.
In the afternoon, enjoy a Peek at the Lake Scenic Floatplane Flight. Take off from Taupo Bay, past Acacia Bay to Rangatira Point, viewing the crystal clear waters of Whakaipo Bay. Climb up through Mapara Valley, view red scoria quarries, then discover the headwaters of the Waikato River. Fly over the Craters of the Moon and over the Borefields of the Wairakei Power Station, followed by a circuit of the Huka Falls, over Taupo to land on the lakefront (20 minutes approx).
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Travel time Taupo to Wellington – 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.
In the afternoon, your guide will help you become acquainted with this charming city – you can visit top Wellington attractions such as Te Papa, Weta Workshop, Wellington Cable Car, Mt Victoria Lookout and Wellington Zoo. You may also like to visit Zealandia, located a 10-minute drive from downtown Wellington. Hidden in a suburban valley, this project aims to return a
Stay 1 night in Wellington.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton – 3 hours
Travel time Picton to Nelson – 2 hours
Back on dry land, drive through Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine region, to reach your destination, Nelson. Enjoying New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, Nelson is a creative paradise, with artists, galleries, boutique shopping, local markets and gourmet cafés.
You might like to visit the art studios, explore the craft markets, taste the delicious locally made artisan products and find something extraordinary to take home with you. Or just relax and sit in the sun, sip a wine from one of the local vineyards, and dine on the famous Nelson Bay scallops.
Stay 2 nights in Nelson.
Travel time Nelson to Abel Tasman – 1 hour (each way)
Only a short drive away is Abel Tasman, renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, rich unmodified estuaries, long sunshine hours and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Enjoy a boat cruise into the Abel Tasman National Park, where you can relax on the hot golden sand, enjoy a day walk or simply enjoy a return boat cruise without having to leave the boat.
Explore Nelson independently in the evening, visiting local shops and enjoying a delicious dinner with fresh local seafood and produce.
Travel time Nelson to Hokitika – 5 hours
Discover the rugged West Coast as you travel to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, silver, molten glass, bone, silk or greywacke or carve your own creation from wood or jade “pounamu.” Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach, or venture down one of the many walking and mountain biking tracks.
While in Hokitika, you may wish to make the scenic drive to Hokitika Gorge, where an impressive turquoise river flows through a narrow canyon, or Lake Kaniere, a beautiful lake nestled beneath the mountains.
You could also visit the National Kiwi Centre, where you will be able to see a rare kiwi; view New Zealand’s living dinosaur, the Tuatara; and participate in feeding the giant eels. Or make a drive north to Shantytown, where you can explore the heritage village, ride the steam train, try your hand at panning for gold, and take old-time styled photos.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Travel time Hokitika to Franz Josef – 2 hours
Continue south through dense rainforest towards New Zealand’s most famous glaciers.
While in Franz Josef, you can walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier to take a look at the ice, or enjoy one of the local walks. In Franz Josef township you have the chance to see New Zealand’s rarest kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, a unique and interactive experience that brings together nature, conservation, and wildlife all under one roof.
Activity Option: Add on a 20
After your heli flight you may want to visit the Glacier Hot Pools to enjoy a relaxing hot spa under the southern sky.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Travel time Franz Josef to Wanaka – 4 hours
The change in landscape will amaze you as you travel down the West Coast, with glimpses of the Tasman Sea showing beneath rugged cliffs. Take the Haast Pass Highway and admire the waterfalls and mountains. There are many viewing points and short walks to break up the drive to Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
In the afternoon you have many options – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the famous National Toy and Transport Museum. You may also want to take a look around Wanaka’s boutique shops, stroll around the lake’s edge, or indulge in one of the many activities on offer.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
Travel time Wanaka to Queenstown – 1 hour
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the fantastic views along the way. Be sure to stop at historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world.
Activity Option: Add on the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound. The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. The schedule includes plenty of time for short nature walks and photo opportunities along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys and wildlife… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions. After your cruise relax while your coach drives through stunning scenery delivering you back to Queenstown.
In the morning, 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. Leaving Glenorchy and returning towards Queenstown, we stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp.
In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal-fired passenger vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fuelling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a stunning gourmet BBQ dinner. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. Then on your return cruise to Queenstown, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist and make a toast to a fantastic holiday!
Depart Queenstown. Your guide will personally deliver you to the airport ready for your departing flight.
For couples, families, and groups, our New Zealand private tour packages are the perfect way to experience New Zealand. Take advantage of the expertise of your private guide and relax as he or she handles all details.
From the time you enquire, an expert travel consultant will work with you to ensure your itinerary matches exactly what you are looking for. After discussing your interests and preferences, your consultant will tailor your itinerary to suit.
Each privately guided tour we book is different. In other words, we recommend using the above itinerary as a starting point and source of inspiration.
For further inspiration, you may wish to browse the full range of New Zealand private tour itineraries we offer through our New Zealand Guided Tours brand.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your unforgettable tour.