15 Day Hobbiton to the Misty Mountains
15 Day Hobbiton to the Misty Mountains
An amazing self-drive tour of the length of New Zealand for lovers of all things LOTR. This tour showcases the best and most well known location shoots for LOTR fans as well guided tours from the experts and the opportunity to experience New Zealand scenery in all her glory.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Auckland to Queenstown|
|Departures:||Jan 2019 - March 2020|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3372 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|14 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges|
|Half day Bush & Beach Wilderness Experience Tour|
|Admission to Te Puia's Geothermal Valley|
|Maori Mitai Cultural Evening with traditional Feast|
|Half day Lord of the Rings Tour, Wellington|
|Whalewatch Cruise in Kaikoura|
|Full day Lord of the Rings Tour, Christchurch|
|Dart River Wilderness Safari|
|Interislander Ferry Crossing|
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 2019 – March 2020. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
Haere Mai – Welcome to Auckland. On completion of formalities, pick up your rental car and travel onto your accommodation. The afternoon is yours to relax or to explore the ‘City of Sails’.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant city, offering an exciting array of cosmopolitan experiences. Family attractions abound and the city has plenty of adrenaline for adventure lovers. Indulge in Auckland’s shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine. (2 nights)
This morning is free to relax or explore Auckland city. This afternoon join your half day Wilderness Experience tour. In just 30 minutes you leave behind the bustle of the city and step into the tranquility of the rainforest.
Travel to the Arataki Centre perched high on the ridge of the Waitakere Ranges and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Learn about and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings.
Continue on to the lush rainforest where you can walk the easy bush tracks amongst giant tree ferns and view New Zealand’s famous kauri trees. Unwind by a spectacular cascading waterfall or swim beneath it. Move on to experience the power of the wild and rugged west coast.
Feel the black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along some of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer (the same beach on which ‘The Piano’ was filmed).
An easy drive south of Auckland will take you to the verdant Waikato, home to Hobbiton. Matamata 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 the hobbit holes, and discover middle-earth movie magic. From Matamata, head for the town of Tirau, a village known for its antique shops and animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings before making your way to Rotorua.
Rotorua 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. Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year. (2 nights)
Free time to explore Rotorua today. You may like to visit the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua. Visit Te Puia geothermal area to view the boiling mudpools and cascading Pohutu geyser that make Rotorua famous as New Zealand’s thermal city.
This evening you will be picked up and taken to the Mitai Village for a unique and unforgettable cultural experience. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream and see glow worms in their natural habitat.
See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During the cultural performance, you’ll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). (D)
The road to Taupo will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography. You’ll also drive through large tracts of plantation pine forest. Take a side road to a geothermal park, where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud.
Towards the end of your journey you’ll encounter the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. Other diversions include Huka Falls and a world-acclaimed golf course. You’ll follow the eastern edge of Lake Taupo to reach Turangi. The drive is very scenic and there are many picnic opportunities along the way. Where streams run into the lake, you’ll often see trout fisherman trying their luck.
Overnight stay tonight is at Ohakune. Ohakune was used as a base for a number of weeks of filming. The hotel is the perfect base to visit Ithilien and Mordor with the added advantage that you might even stay in the same room as one of the stars! If you arrive early afternoon, take the opportunity to travel through the Tongariro National Park to The Chateau Tongariro hotel.
Fifteen minutes up the slope from here, you can visit Iwikau Village, a key part of Mordor’. Alternatively, you might like to see the mountain at ‘First light’ and visit the scenes of Ithilien and Mordor before driving on to Wellington tomorrow.
Travel south today through Waiouru, where the National Army Museum is worth a visit. A detour off the main road at Ohotu will take you to the location of rivers used to film The River Anduin.
Further south on the Kapiti Coast, you can visit Waitarere Forest, which was the location for Trollshaw Forest and Osgiliath Wood. Onto Wellington – to any enthusiast of The Lord of the Rings films, it’s Production Central – home to Peter Jackson, and the Weta Workshop. (2 nights)
Your half day tour today will show you the best of Middle Earth. There are two main parts to this tour. The first is exploring the film locations used around Wellington City.
Visit the Embassy Movie theatre where they had the world premier of LOTR: Return of the King and more recently The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Then it’s up to Mt Victoria and after a quick stop at the lookout for fabulous views of the City and Harbor we drive down to the ‘Green Belt’.
Here we leave the vehicle and walk through the forest to stand where the actors stood while filming. We visit many different scenes here including “Shortcut to Mushrooms,” ” Get off the Road,” “Race to the Ferry,” “Dunharrow Plateau” and more.
For the second part of the tour, it’s off to ‘Wellywood’ the heart of the Wellington Film industry. We drive out to the suburb of Miramar where Peter Jackson and Weta New Zealand have put their film studios and post production facilities. We stop at the Weta Cave and visit the brand new ‘Windows into Workshop’ exhibition.
This is a guided tour of the physical prop-making and make-up side of the Weta Studios. Then we see a short film about the Digital side of the productions. The afternoon is free to further explore the city – a visit to Te Papa The Museum of New Zealand is also highly recommended.
Today you will travel across Cook Strait, the stretch of water that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The journey across Cook Strait has a dramatic beauty all of its own.
Today is another day of spectacular scenery as you drive through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Take some time to stop along the coast where you can see seals and other wildlife before heading on to Kaikoura, the whale watching capital of New Zealand.
This morning we have included a whalewatch cruise to see the giant sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals and depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback whales, Pilot whales, Blue whales and Southern Right whales.
From Kaikoura it’s two hours direct to Christchurch or you may like to take a more scenic inland route via Hanmer Springs to bathe in the mineral pools in their alpine setting. Make your way south to Christchurch – the Garden City, and the largest in the South Island. (2 nights)
Join your Lord of the Rings tour today and journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt 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 Mt Sunday/Edora itself and a delicious champagne picnic lunch. (L)
Head south across the Canterbury Plains, through the picturesque town of Geraldine. Be sure you make a photo stop at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful turquoise coloured lake. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the lake.
This is one of the most photographed churches in the world made of stone and sand from around the lake. You are now in Mackenzie Country and the scenery is fantastic as you drive past Lake Pukaki which has its source in the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers close to Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Drive by the southern end of the lake, and through Twizel and the grassy plains of Pelennor Fields to Mt Cook village for overnight stay.
The easy drive to Omarama takes you through picturesque sheep farming country fringed with mountain ranges. You’ll have the chance to detour to the fascinating Paritea cliffs, which are constantly being exposed by the active Osler fault line. You could also pause to cast a line into the Ahuriri River – famous for sizeable rainbow and brown trout.
You’ll know you’re in Omarama when you see the giant merino sheep statue. This area’s unique geography has made it a magnet for gliding enthusiasts. The north-westerly wind blows steadily to form the famous Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take the glider pilots to 10,000 metres. Scenic soaring can be arranged.
Your trip to Wanaka then takes you through the beautiful Lindis Pass – just magic when there’s snow around. Then at Tarras, a small sheep farming settlement on State Highway 8, not far from the southern end of the Lindis Pass. You might like to stop at one of the vineyards that have been established here in recent years (mainly pinot noir and Riesling) before you head inland to reach your destination of the peaceful and picturesque lakeside town Wanaka.
From the waterfront, look towards the Alps at the end of the lake and you’ll see the backdrop used for Gandalf’s flight to Rohan with Gwaihir, after his rescue from Orthanc.
From the beautiful scenic centre of Lake Wanaka we recommend you take the shorter route to Queenstown, 70 km (44 miles) by way of the Crown Range. The highest main road in New Zealand, with great views and gold mining history – it’s a unique trip not to be missed.
The road zigzags up to the Crown Terrace and from there you can look down to Arrowtown in the Arrow Valley, and across at the end of the Remarkables and the road to the Remarkables skifield. More conservative drivers can take the State highway 6 route that runs beside the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan and the Shotover River and takes you through Cromwell and the scenic Kawarau Gorge and onto Queenstown.
This afternoon, join your Dart River Wilderness Safari. The ‘Wilderness Safari’ is a diverse adventure exploring spectacular ‘World Heritage’ wilderness within Mt Aspiring National Park through a combination of exhilarating wilderness jet boating, informative guided ancient forest walk and back-country 4WD safari vehicle.
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 the captivating stories of the original Maori and early pioneers. (2 nights)
Today is free for you to choose any activities you’d like (own expense), or you can extend this self drive to give yourself plenty of free time. We’d recommend either a day tour to Milford Sound or a Safari of the Scenes half day Lord of the Rings tour.
The Lord of the Rings 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 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 we 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 Mt Earnslaw.
Heading 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. The Safari of the Scenes – Glenorchy also includes locations from Xmen Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
Or if you’d like to visit one of New Zealands most popular iconic destinations then perhaps join an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound as you journey along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau by coach. The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives.
The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. At Milford Sound, board your boat for a spectacular cruise in New Zealand’s most famous waterway, a dramatic 22 kilometre fiord carved by glaciers during the last ice age.
After your cruise you join your coach back to Queenstown.
Your visit to Middle Earth regrettably comes to an end today and so with fond memories of mountains and fiords, glaciers and sparkling braided rivers drifting in your memory.
Return your car to nearby Queenstown airport where you will depart on your scheduled flight over our great Misty Mountains for a safe and pleasant journey home. Haere ra, Ka hoki mai ano (Farewell, but return again).
There are 11 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.9 out of 5.
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An amazing self-drive tour of the length of New Zealand for lovers of all things LOTR. This tour showcases the best and most well known location shoot... Read More
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