12 Day Middle Earth Discovery

12 Day Middle Earth Discovery

If you know Saruman from Sauron, and Galadriel from Glorfindel, your holiday destiny is clear. Discover New Zealand on this independent tour from Auckland to Queenstown where you will visit some Lord of the Rings filming locations, Weta Studios, and Hobbiton. Are you ready for your own unexpected journey?

Tour Info

Tour Type: Coach & Fly Tour
From: Auckland to Queenstown
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $4404 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 12 Days
Tour Code: RJ300i


11 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Maori hāngī feast and concert
Te Puia geothermal experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome farm show
Hobbiton tour
Internal flight from Wellington to Christchurch
3 x full-day Lord of the Rings tours in Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown
Lord of the Rings tour, Twizel
Dart River Wilderness Safari


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and be met by one of our friendly representatives, ready to whisk you away to your city accommodation. After checking in and getting yourself settled, turn your roving eye outside and enjoy a free afternoon in the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with plenty of sights, shopping and street appeal for even the pickiest of travellers.

Day 2
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

With an early morning departure from Auckland you will be travelling south along the Southern Motorway to reach the market garden area of Pukekohe. Continue through Hamilton, New Zealand’s fourth-largest city, and the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo.

For over 100 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world. The moment you enter this subterranean wonderland, you’ll discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos. You will experience a boat trip like no other, journeying through the starry expanse of the cave while your way is lit by a multitude of tiny glowworm lights. On completion of this tour, continue over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the geothermal city of Rotorua.

Tonight you’ll be treated to a Māori feast, as Te Pō’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and kai (indigenous food). After a formal Māori welcome, relax and enjoy a captivating performance by the local people, including traditional songs as well as the renowned haka. Following a truly delectable dinner, you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the geothermal Te Whakarewarewa Valley and an essential hot chocolate. (D) (2 nights)

Day 3
Rotorua and Hobbtion

This morning you will be met at your accommodation for your morning sightseeing tour of the city. Rotorua sits calmly atop some remarkable cracks in the earth’s crust, sometimes giving the impression that the town is on fire. This impression is reinforced by the hot mists of Te Puia – roaring geysers and boiling mud pools heated to unbearable temperatures. These contrast with the calm of the marae grounds and the work of the artisans at the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Also see the Kiwi House, displaying these rare native birds. Other highlights on your tour of Rotorua are the native and exotic vegetation at Rainbow Springs, which are world renowned for their pools of tame trout. The Agrodome farm display features a vital section of New Zealand’s agriculture – sheep shearing and a sheep dog display.

This afternoon you will be taken to Matamata, which has attracted Lord of the Rings enthusiasts from all over the world since a local farm became the setting for The Shire in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here you will take a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, including hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the mill, and other structures that were created for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.

Upon completion of your tour of the set you will return to The Shire’s Rest and then to Rotorua.

Day 4
Rotorua - Wellington

Drive south to Wairakei, wreathed in steam, then to Taupō. Skirt Lake Taupō and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road, past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu. Continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatu and along the rugged Kāpiti coastline to Wellington. Arrive late afternoon for a two-night stay. (2 nights)

Day 5

Your full-day tour today will show you the best of Middle-earth. Accompanied by your storytelling Lord of the Rings expert, stops include the Hutt River (Great River Anduin) and Harcourt Park (Gardens of Isengard and where the Orcs felled the trees), as well as Kaitoke Regional Park which was the setting for Rivendell. Situated in a thousand-year-old New Zealand Native rainforest, you will see why the Elves chose to live here!

From there you will visit the Weta Cave. In the mini-museum you will come face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies. Read the stories of how they were brought to life and learn about the artists who created them. An Orc-sized lunch with LOTR themed menu is included. (L)

Day 6
Wellington - Christchurch

This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport to board your domestic flight (included in your tour cost), which will take you across the Cook Strait and down the east coast of the South Island to Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch you will be transferred to your accommodation. (2 nights)

What should you do with the rest of the day? Take it slow, sit back and relax, punting down the River Avon through the stunning Botanic Gardens.

Day 7
Tour to Edoras

Join your Lord of the Rings tour today and journey to the remote and beautiful Mount Potts high country station, home of Mount Sunday, and see how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoilt beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air. This amazing day includes 4WD access onto Mount Sunday/Edoras itself and a delicious champagne picnic lunch. (L)

Day 8
Christchurch - Tekapo - Twizel

Head south across the Canterbury Plains this morning, through the picturesque town of Geraldine. Lunch stop is at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful turquoise-coloured lake. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the lakeshore, one of the most photographed churches in the world, made of stone and sand from around the lake.

You are now in Mackenzie Basin and the scenery is fantastic as you drive past Lake Pukaki, which has its source in the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers close to Aoraki Mount Cook. As you drive by the southern end of the lake on your way to Twizel and the grassy plains of Pelennor Fields, you will get good views of the mountain, 70km to the north.

Your next stop is Twizel, the film location of Gondor, where you will stay overnight.

Day 9
Twizel - Queenstown

The LOTR film crew were in Twizel for several weeks filming many scenes from The Return of the King. Twizel had the largest cast and crew on location with 1,500 people involved. Your tour this morning takes in all of the major scenes filmed in and around Twizel. Learn how the battle scene was created, experience the speed of the charge into battle as you drive down the LOTR constructed film road, understand the basics of some of the film-making techniques used, and discover what it took to turn hundreds of extras into Orcs!

Join your coach this afternoon and travel over the Lindis Pass, through Cromwell to the Southern Lakes District and the alpine playground of Queenstown. (3 nights)

Day 10
Queenstown - Wilderness Safari

Today you will join your Dart River Wilderness Safari. Journey from Queenstown along one of the world’s Top 10 scenic drives to Glenorchy at the head of the lake. From here journey deep into the World Heritage area of Mount Aspiring National Park. Surrounded by awe-inspiring peaks and mysterious hidden valleys shrouded in native beech forest, your specialist guides will bring to life the variety of landscapes, vegetation and wildlife within this unique area, as well as the captivating stories of the original Māori and early pioneers.

Experience a unique combination of breathtaking scenery and exciting jet boating on braided glacier-fed rivers. Pass by scenes used in the Lord of the Rings movies to illustrate Middle-earth.

Day 11
Queenstown Middle-Earth Experience

A full-day Middle-earth guided 4WD experience awaits you today. Head off in the morning 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 bird’s-eye view onto Deer Park Heights, which was used for the refugees of Rohan and the Battle of the Wargs scenes. Travelling from The Remarkables you will head to the Kawarau Gorge where the filming took place for the Argonath, or Pillars of the Kings, before heading to Arrowtown where the loss of the One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed.

After time for lunch (at own expense) join the Glenorchy tour and follow the Dart River to the spectacular filming location for Isengard. This location offers stunning views of Mount Earnslaw. Heade to Paradise to discover the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. Leaving Glenorchy and returning towards Queenstown you will stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp.

Day 12
Depart Queenstown

Your visit to Middle-earth regrettably comes to an end today, and so with fond memories of mountains, glaciers and sparkling braided rivers drifting in your memory, we will transfer you to nearby Queenstown Airport. Depart on your scheduled flight over our great Misty Mountains for a safe and pleasant journey home. Haere rā!


There are 1 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4 out of 5.

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Great tours and guides, good punctuality and services, fine hotels.
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Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience

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12 Day Middle Earth Discovery
Coach & Fly Tour
Tour Code: RJ300i
From (NZD) $4404 per person
Save (NZD) $440 per person
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1 reviews (4/5)

If you know Saruman from Sauron, and Galadriel from Glorfindel, your holiday destiny is clear. Discover New Zealand on this independent tour from Auck... Read More

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