- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
15 DAY LORD OF THE RINGS HIGHLIGHTS
One tour to rule them all; one road to find them; one place to see them all and in the fandom bind them.
A tour for movie-buffs and fun-seekers! Follow in the Fellowship’s footsteps, ranging New Zealand from top to tail, seeing all, doing everything, and enjoying the ultimate Lord of the Rings holiday with a few side adventures to inspire satisfied smiles at every twist and turn.
Kia ora, ring-seekers! You’ve landed in awesome Auckland on the first day of your amazing LOTR getaway. Pick up your rental car from the airport's offsite depot and make your way into the city; there’s loads to do and see, depending on your personal getaway speed. Popular laid-back picks include a stroll around the Viaduct followed by an afternoon at the Auckland Museum, shopping in the very centre of the CBD and icecream by the water, a ferry over to Devonport, or sightseeing from the top of the Sky Tower.
AUCKLAND TO ROTORUA VIA MATAMATA, 250KM (3 HRS 30 MINS)
Fear not Frodo fiends, your deep-dive into Tolkien land begins today, with an easy drive across the North Island countryside to Hobbiton, a pristine movie village set on a rolling sheep farm and fringed by the Kaimai Mountain Ranges. Before your official and 100% Shire authentic movie set tour begins, you’ll be invited to kick up your feet and enjoy a beverage at The Shire’s Rest. From there, a passionate LOTR expert will lead you into the heart of Sam’s beloved hometown, from his mustard-yellow door to the top of Bag End, and all the way back to the Green Dragon for a cheeky pint. Magical and not to be missed, even if you’re not a huge fan, the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour is the ideal taster to begin your wider journey. Pack any memorabilia items into the back seat and continue your drive south to Rotorua.
ROTORUA TO WELLINGTON, 450KM (5 HRS 30 MINS)
Spend the morning exploring the thermal city of Rotorua before strapping in for another easy driving leg down to Wellington. You don’t have any tour appointments to meet, so don’t feel compelled to rush. Instead, enjoy your surrounds, capture the scenery, and make a few worthwhile pit-stops to get the complete North Island experience without breaking the bank.
Wear your most comfortable shoes, as today’s adventure will take you deep into the reaches of Middle Earth, visiting some of the most celebrated sites from the LOTR trilogy. The Flat Earth Half-Day Middle Earth Filming Locations Tour combines the wild, off-road beauty of New Zealand with exclusive locations – think tiny tour groups and loads of opportunities to ask every question you can think of. Along the way, you’ll stand in the Elfin stronghold of Rivendell, follow the River Amon Hen, wander the Gardens of Isengard, walk the quarry that became Helms Deep, and capture Minas Tirith, the shining capital of Gondor on camera. There’s more, but what kind of hobbits would we be if we spoiled all the fun?
WELLINGTON TO PICTON ON INTERISLANDER FERRY (3 HRS)
Before you drive off into the early afternoon horizon, another amazing and unmissable tour awaits, delivering all sorts of precious delights you know your inner- Sméagol will love. This Weta Workshop two-and-a-half-hour LOTR essential will take your imagination there and back again, giving you the behind-the-scenes scoop on how LOTR was made, from the props, weapons and vehicles, to the workshop where all of the magic happened to make your favourites come to life – including the terrifying Uruk-hai!
Afterwards, park your hire car on the Interislander Ferry and enjoy the leisurely scenic cruise across the Cook Strait to the South Island port of Picton.
PICTON TO CHRISTCHURCH, 330KM (4 HRS 20 MINS)
Enjoy a leisurely drive through the marvellous Marlborough region and beyond, travelling the rolling hills of Picton before coming face-to-face with award-winning wine country. Stop in at one of the many cellar doors and pick up a bottle for later, cruising as slow as you please towards the reinvigorated city of Christchurch.
Edoras from a distance? Don’t settle for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it view when you can enjoy the up-close-and-exclusive tour of this breathtaking LOTR highlight. The Hassle-Free Edoras Tour is truly one for absolutely everybody, inviting you to feast your eyes on the Misty Mountains from a perspective rarely captured by tourist cameras. Between oohs, ahhs and wows, you’ll be guided to the peak of Edoras, surveying the 360-degree perspective. Between behind-the-scenes insight into how sets were constructed around the terrain you see today, to movie replicas including Andúril (Aragorn’s sword), there will be something to thrill you, fan or not. Hungry? A sumptuous picnic lunch is included!
CHRISTCHURCH TO TWIZEL, 285KM (3 HRS 30 MINS)
After a morning of Christchurch exploration – Bilbo would expect nothing less – make the afternoon a simple one and continue south to Twizel. You should arrive an hour or two before sunset, with enough time to sort out supplies for a sunset dinner by Lake Tekapo, stretching out on a pre-packed picnic rug.
TWIZEL TO WANAKA, 145KM (1 HR 40 MINS)
Picture this. You’ve been summoned to the fields before Gondor, as the Orc hoard approaches and hope hangs in the balance. You know the coming clash will be hard and heavy, but you’re ready, sword in hand and Gondorian helmet secured tightly… this is your moment. Your moment to learn how the battle really happened. The two-hour Lord of the Rings Classic Tour will give you an interactive insight into how your favourite scenes were produced, as you don a Gondorian helmet and charge into battle via the specially constructed filming road. You’ll pick up a few production and filming tricks too, from scoping out a solid film site to the right camera angles, special-effects and stunt work!
Swap the open road for the wide blue sky and get a bird’s-eye adventure you’ll never forget. We won’t spoil too much here, as your tour guide will flit over more LOTR sites than you can reel off in your head. From the glaciers to the Matukituki Valley and the grandeur of the Southern Alps, it’s New Zealand as few people see it. Get your camera ready and make sure your phone is charged.
WANAKA TO QUEENSTOWN, 68KM (1 HR)
Get up early and trek deeper into Mount Aspiring National Park, savouring the abundant natural beauty and veritable mine of possible half- and full-day walking trails for a range of fitness levels.
Perfect for first-timers: The Blue Pools. Enjoy a stroll through native beech forests before coming upon two swing bridges hanging over crystalline blue pools. (Add one hour and 40 minutes to the total drive time.)
Today you’ll be traversing another corner of Middle Earth via the Safari of the Scenes Tour. This 4WD exploration will thrill, excite and delight, taking you into the heart of some of the most iconic locations, including Lothlorien, Isengard and Ithilien - and no, we won’t tell you any more than that. Breathtaking, spectacular, magical, wonderful and paradise have all been used to describe what you’re about to experience – check your camera shutter and sit on the edge of your seat, it’s going to be an amazing ride.
Continue your expedition into the wilderness of Middle Earth via a Dart River Safari, as a speciality jet boat combines exhilarating speeds with the fantastical sights of Mount Aspiring National Park. You’ll come close to the pristine scenery that brought Lord of the Rings to life, including the towering red beech trees of Lothlorien and the peaks of the Misty Mountains in the distance. An otherworldly experience for any and every hobbit and human.
Your second-to-last day is yours to command. Will you continue your LOTR adventure or seek new surprises and happy holiday scenes? Queenstown is a veritable cornucopia of things to do and see, from a day-trip to the always-spectacular Milford Sound, to the platform of the Nevis Bungy or the waters of the Shotover Canyon Jet, your ANZCRO travel planner is ready and waiting to connect you with the right excursion for your travel personality.
The time has come. Return your car and say your farewells to the Land of the Long White Cloud – it’s been a pleasure having you here. Remember, you can always return; Middle Earth is only a flight away.