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Lord of the Rings (Self Drive)

Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,621

Uncover the true “”Middle Earth and experience the magic of breathtaking scenery and majestic vistas while taking in the sites where the epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed.


New Zealand has become famous as the filming location for many movies in recent years, but none more so than The Lord of the Rings. This magical 14 day, self-drive quest takes you to all the country’s most breathtaking sights, along with many of the trilogy’s key locations.

Arrive early to enjoy cosmopolitan Auckland before visiting the rolling hills of Waikato, which shot to fame as ‘The Shire’. Though the furry-footed hobbits have wandered on, Hobbiton remains, along with a fascinating commentary about the filming. Then, drive on to meet two even bigger stars, spectacular Waitomo Caves (we can’t promise an encounter with the Balrog, but the adrenaline rush created by underground ‘black water’ rafting is pretty close) and bubbling Rotorua, which shows off geothermal New Zealand at its finest.

The volcanic landscapes of the North Island are beautiful, dramatic, and strangely eerie – in other words, the perfect real-world rendering of Tolkien’s world. Visit Lake Taupo and Tongariro, for scenery that’s as accessible as it is foreboding – you may wish to try skiing on the slopes of an active volcano, for instance. Spend a day exploring the charming capital of Wellington. Base camp for the entire Lord of the Rings production, it’s also home to many of New Zealand’s best museums, galleries and wine regions. Intrepid fans can even track down the sites of Minas Tirith, Helms Deep, Rivendell and Isengard.

After a free day in Wellington, cross Cook Strait to Nelson, the South Island’s oldest settled city and home to many of the artists who made props for Lord of the Rings. Shop for your own mementos or visit one of a multitude of national parks, including the vehicle-free Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Continue on to see natural wonders including the Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki and Franz Josef Glacier before arriving in the adventure capital of Queenstown. Try bungee jumping, white water rafting, or ride the famous Shotover jetboat.

Back on the hobbits’ trail, wade into the Ford of Bruinen, and visit Fangorn Forest, right in the heart of the South Island’s breathtaking Fiordland. Then go on to the River Anduin, home to the Pillars of Argonath and Dimrill Dale. Consider an optional, guided 4WD tour off road, which covers all the key filming locations.


 

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Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,621

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland. After collecting your rental car, drive into the city. Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It's a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.

You could go on a harbour cruise or sailing trip this afternoon (optional).

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Scenic Hotel Auckland

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    Scenic Hotel Auckland



    The Scenic Hotel Auckland is conveniently located on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland's Central Business District. The hotel's superb location puts some of the city's best attractions at your doorstep, such as the Edge Entertainment Centre, Town Hall, Aotea Centre and the Civic ...

    The Scenic Hotel Auckland is conveniently located on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland's Central Business District. The hotel's superb location puts some of the city's best attractions at your doorstep, such as the Edge Entertainment Centre, Town Hall, Aotea Centre and the Civic Theatre. In addition, the hotel is a leisurely walk to the dynamic waterfront and the downtown shopping area. The hotel has 100 rooms, which has a modern apartment style, yet carry the art deco theme through in the finer details such as the eye-catching black and white artworks that complement each room.

    Facilities

    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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Day 2

Auckland Via Matamata to Rotorua

As you cruise down the highway, suburban scenery gradually gives way to the farmland of South Auckland. A couple of hours south of Auckland lies the lush farmland of the Waikato. Famous for dairying and fine thoroughbred horses, it's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire. Although much of the set was deconstructed post filming, hobbit fans can still visit Hobbiton, wander among the hobbit holes and listen to the fascinating commentary about how it was all created. Got a taste for bigger caverns? Check out Waikato's massive Waitomo Caves for dramatic stalactites, stalagmites and zillions of sparkling glow-worms. You can glide through on a barge, take a black water rafting trip, or even abseil (rappel) down into the abyss!

Next stop is Rotorua, which sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city's past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand's Maori people.

This evening you could enjoy a traditional Maori concert and hangi at the Maori village of Te Tawa Ngahere Marae Pa (not included).

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Copthorne Hotel Rotorua

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    Copthorne Hotel Rotorua



    Marrying stylish contemporary accommodation with comfortingly agreeable amenities, Copthorne Hotel Rotorua is a superb choice for the holidaymaker who wants to explore this geothermal wonderland. A wealth of sights and activities are within a short walking distance, from Rotorua Golf Club to the Polynesian Spa ...

    Marrying stylish contemporary accommodation with comfortingly agreeable amenities, Copthorne Hotel Rotorua is a superb choice for the holidaymaker who wants to explore this geothermal wonderland. A wealth of sights and activities are within a short walking distance, from Rotorua Golf Club to the Polynesian Spa overlooking Lake Rotorua. This 110 room hotel is conveniently located just a few blocks from the city centre, and is situated within a unique area of immense natural beauty. The Standard rooms do not have air conditioning.

    Facilities

    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Sauna
    • Tennis
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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Day 3

Rotorua via Lake Taupo to Tongariro to Mt Ruapehu

Today travel down past Lake Taupo and onto the volcanic central plateau where your destination is the foot of Mt Ruapehu, the largest mountain in the North Island in the heart of the Tongariro National Park.

The road to Taupo will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography. You'll also drive through large tracts of plantation pine forest. Lake Taupo is famous for its trout, year-round water sports and stunning views across the water towards those mystical Middle-earth volcanoes.

Take a side road to a geothermal park, where you'll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud.

From Lake Taupo, drive to National Park Village, which follows the edge of the Tongariro National Park. National Park Village is well positioned to explore the Tongariro National Park. The volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro can be seen from here. The park was gifted to the New Zealand people in 1887 by the Ngati Tuwaretoa tribe and is now a World Heritage area.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Skotel Alpine Resort Mount Ruapehu

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    Skotel Alpine Resort Mount Ruapehu



    Skotel, New Zealand's highest hotel, is nestled in the tussock at the upper end of the village. It is the centre of activity, both summer and winter, when visiting the World Heritage Tongariro National Park. There are 25 comfortable hotel rooms all with magnificent full ...

    Skotel, New Zealand's highest hotel, is nestled in the tussock at the upper end of the village. It is the centre of activity, both summer and winter, when visiting the World Heritage Tongariro National Park. There are 25 comfortable hotel rooms all with magnificent full views overlooking the plains, or with the backdrop of Mount Ngauruhoe or Mount Ruapehu.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Games Room
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Lounge(s)
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Sauna

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Day 4

Tongariro at Leisure

The Tongariro World Heritage National Park in the central North Island's Volcanic Plateau isn't just legendary for its dramatic and eerie scenery. What makes the area especially unique is its accessibility - you can ski on an active volcano or take a one-day hike from alpine meadow to mountain summit, with stunning volcanic landscapes along the way. Thanks to a geologically turbulent past, the area provided The Lord of the Rings crew with the perfect raw materials to create vivid scenes of Mordor, Emyn Muil, Mount Doom and the Plains of Gorgoroth.

The Tongariro Crossing is regarded as one of the best one-day walks in the world.

Day 5

Mt Ruapehu via Ohakune to Wellington

Just a short drive from Mt Ruapehu is Ohakune, home to Ithilien camp, which was filmed in the nearby bush; continue on towards Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and film base for Lord of the Rings.

Travel along the Kapiti coast where you can visit Waitarere Forest, the location for Trollshaw Forest and Osgiliath Wood. Home to Peter Jackson, Wellington provided lots of scope for locations. Bree was built on an old army base, and only minutes away are Minas Tirith, the fortifications of Helms Deep and Isengard. On your way over to the wine district of Martinborough you'll pass the Hutt River (where the hobbits launched their boats numerous times) and Kaitoke Regional Park, home to scenes from Rivendale and the Fords of Isen.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

West Plaza Hotel

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    West Plaza Hotel



    West Plaza Hotel occupies a prime position for business or pleasure in Wellington. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the major government departments, commercial offices, and conference and event centres of the central business district. Plus it is only a short walk from ...

    West Plaza Hotel occupies a prime position for business or pleasure in Wellington. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the major government departments, commercial offices, and conference and event centres of the central business district. Plus it is only a short walk from the premium shopping of Lambton Quay and the entertainment zones of Courtenay Place and the Cuba Quarter. The West Plaza has over 100 spacious rooms which are fully self-contained with 24-hour room service.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Conference Facilities
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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Day 6

Wellington

A day to relax in Wellington, although there is plenty to do. You could visit the Parliament Buildings, Te Papa - New Zealand's new national museum or a ride up the cable car for great views over Wellington.

Day 7

Wellington to Nelson

Drop off your vehicle at the Wellington Ferry Terminal this morning. Board your ferry bound for the South Island and Picton. The passage across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. The fast ferry makes the trip in just over 2 hours; the cruise-style ferry takes 3 hours. Both types of vessel can transport vehicles. Highlights along the way include the Red Rocks seal colony, Tory Channel, Cook's Lookout and the beautiful coves of the sounds.

The picturesque seaside town of Picton is the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds. Museums and interesting walks will keep you entertained while you're here.

Collect your new vehicle in Picton and drive to Nelson which takes you through the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields, thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you'd like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum.

The city of Nelson is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. From here you can organise yourself an eco-adventure or become immersed in the local creative culture. Every year the city hosts the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards, where art comes off the wall and onto the body.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Bella Vista Motel Nelson

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    Bella Vista Motel Nelson



    Bella Vista Motel Nelson is ideally located in Nelson's Tahunanui Drive, a 15 minute stroll to Tahuna beach. Its central location is a few minutes' drive to the beach and its shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and other great Nelson attractions and activities. The airport is ...

    Bella Vista Motel Nelson is ideally located in Nelson's Tahunanui Drive, a 15 minute stroll to Tahuna beach. Its central location is a few minutes' drive to the beach and its shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and other great Nelson attractions and activities. The airport is a 5 minute drive away. The Bella Vista Motel Nelson offers a range of studio and one bedroom units. All room types feature; ensuite, microwave or kitchenette, tea & coffee making facilities, free WiFi, SKY cable TV. The property has a guest laundry, BBQ area and children's play area.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Barbeques (BBQ)
    • Children's Activities
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Non-Smoking Rooms
    • Parking
    • Playground
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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Day 8

Nelson

With three National Parks, a fascinating arts and crafts community and renowned high sunshine hours, you'll be sure to have loads of fun exploring around Nelson and Motueka.

Start with the art and craft trail where the characters are as colourful as their vibrant works. 'The One Ring' was made by a Nelson jeweller and many local artisans worked on props for The Lord of the Rings movies. Drive over Takaka Hill (Chetwood Forest) for stunning views of Golden Bay and access to the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Take a helicopter tour for a spectacular bird's eye view of the remote site where the Fellowship hid from Saruman's black crows, and Dimrill Dale (Mount Olympus and Mount Owen in Kahurangi National Park). At the end of the day, pop into Harrington's brewery in Richmond, makers of the stout served over the bar in The Prancing Pony!

Day 9

Nelson via Nelson Lakes to Punakaiki

From Nelson journey through scenic reserves to Westport. Westport is a historic coal-mining settlement; the coal town museum has historical exhibitions and photographic displays. Visit the seal colony before continuing on to Punakaiki.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Punakaiki Resort

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    Punakaiki Resort



    The Punakaiki Resort is an eco-tourism hotel located in the Buller district between Greymouth, 30 minutes to the south and Westport which is 45 minutes to the north. Carefully designed to complement the stunning natural setting, it is situated close to Pancake Rocks and Blowhole ...

    The Punakaiki Resort is an eco-tourism hotel located in the Buller district between Greymouth, 30 minutes to the south and Westport which is 45 minutes to the north. Carefully designed to complement the stunning natural setting, it is situated close to Pancake Rocks and Blowhole at Punakaiki and adjacent to Paparoa National Park. This hotel is a perfect choice for a leisure stay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 10

Punakaki to Franz Josef

Make your way to the South Island's West Coast. Why not stop at the Punakaiki pancake rocks before heading down to Franz Josef and the mighty Franz Josef Glacier which descends from the Southern Alps into temperate rainforest. There is the option of a scenic flight or for the more adventurous a Heli-Hike.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Glenfern Villas Franz Josef

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    Glenfern Villas Franz Josef



    Glenfern Villas offers one and two bedroom villas for the discerning traveller. Set just outside the main Franz Josef Glacier village, Glenfern Villas is an ideal base for you to enjoy everything the Glacier region and the glorious West Coast has to offer.

    Glenfern Villas offers one and two bedroom villas for the discerning traveller. Set just outside the main Franz Josef Glacier village, Glenfern Villas is an ideal base for you to enjoy everything the Glacier region and the glorious West Coast has to offer.

    Facilities

    • Barbeques (BBQ)
    • Children's Activities
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking

    More Details

Day 11

Franz Josef to Queenstown

Travel through the scenic wilderness of Haast pass, stopping along the way to take advantage of many short nature walks and picnic spots before continuing to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Take your pick from a selection, jet-boating, white water rafting, bungee jumping or scenic helicopter flights.

Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

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    Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront



    On the shores of Lake Wakatipu is the 241 suite Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront. It offers the very best of the New Zealand outdoor lifestyle. Located close to several of New Zealand's finest ski fields, it is also the starting point for exploring ...

    On the shores of Lake Wakatipu is the 241 suite Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront. It offers the very best of the New Zealand outdoor lifestyle. Located close to several of New Zealand's finest ski fields, it is also the starting point for exploring the spectacular scenery of New Zealand's southern region.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Secretarial Service
    • Spa
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 12

Queenstown at leisure

Today you can get really close to the Hobbits' journey. We suggest pre-booking a special 4WD half or full day tour which will take you off road and into the filming locations for Lord of the Rings, your expert guide will share his stories with you.

Duration2 Days
Day 13

Day at Leisure

Today is totally free and at leisure. You can take advantage of any optional activities available or simply relax.

Day 14

Depart Queenstown

Today is at leisure until you make your way to the airport for your departure. Please drop off your rental car.

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily from Auckland or in a reverse direction from Queenstown

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 13 nights accommodation
  • 14 day mid-size car rental
  • Inter-Island ferry crossing for passengers

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel Insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Optional excursions
  • Park fees unless stated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

TB TESTSUPAUC1913SD: LoTRSD M
17 Sep 2017
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