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14 Day Journey to Middle Earth

13 nights, Christchurch to Christchurch

14 Day Journey to Middle Earth

'Not all those who wander are lost...' Explore the South Island and experience its role in creating Tolkein's Middle Earth. See why it was perfectly cast as Middle Earth and  integral to bringing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to life in film.  

During your 2 week adventure you’ll explore a variety of landscapes from the films, including Beorn’s House, the Anduin River and the Misty Mountains to name a few.  With many guided tours, scenic flights and jet boat rides, this is a thrilling way to discover Middle Earth for yourself.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

Arthur's Pass National Park New Zealand
Eco Wanaka Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike
Meal at the Panorama Room, Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook
Nomad Safaris tour Glenorchy New Zealand
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Arrive Christchurch City, transfer to accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's self proclaimed garden city is a bright and vibrant destination. Known for its large green belt, the wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens make for a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights, or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - Explore the Canterbury High Country on a full day Lord of the Rings Edoras tour

Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday. See how this spectacular mountain was transformed into Edoras - the capital city of the Rohan people from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Marvel at its rugged unspoiled beauty and breathe in the clear mountain air, while you indulge in a gourmet sparkling wine picnic.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

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Day 3 - Take the stunning TranzAlpine scenic train across the Southern Alps, then drive to Franz Josef

Driving distance and time: 167 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station

A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef

Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, a turquoise coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs.

Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Continue south and across the Haast Pass to Wanaka

Driving distance and time: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Franz Josef to Wanaka

Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka

Heading south you pass through the small town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is recommended before heading along the coast and through more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

Accommodation: Edgewater

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 20-30 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 5 - Today you'll follow in the footsteps of Hobbits in the Misty Mountains near Wanaka

Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike

Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike
Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike
Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike
Misty Mountains Traverse Heli-Hike

Experience an exclusive 5 hour guided tour over Lord of the Rings country. Get an Eagle's eye view of Middle Earth! Your Helicopter follows the Eagles flight with a landing on glaciated Fog Peak, to admire Mt Aspiring (3033m) and its surrounding glacial panorama of the breath-taking Southern Alps. From this vantage point you'll see 3 Trilogy film sites. Skimming the razor back ridges, you'll fly and land on Treble Cone's "The Towers Ridge." Soak in the view between the Towers and then walk the very footsteps that the legendary Dwarves, Wizard, and little heroic Ring carrier traversed in their quest over the top of the Misty Mountains, as seen in the Hobbiton movie. On your quest, you will descend 2 hours of guided hike from 2000m, traversing the ridge line, revealing huge rock pillars, canyons, cliffs and glaciers thundering into rivers which join the beautiful jewel blue Lake far below. This downhill walk has amazing diversity, revealing unexpected wonders and is home to the fearless Falcon, and the curious Kea, a unique and inquisitive mountain parrot. Turn your fantasy into reality and traverse the Misty Mountains! This is a truly alpine experience made easily accessible, a real adventure!

Includes: 2 4WD trips, 2 scenic helicopter flights, 2 alpine landings, lunch and refreshments

A moderate fitness level is required for this activity.

Accommodation: Edgewater

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater
Accommodation: Edgewater

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Day 6 - Today you cross New Zealand's highest sealed road to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Wanaka to Queenstown

Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown

Leaving Wanaka you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 30 mins +
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 7 - Today journey to Paradise Valley where Beorn's house and many LOTR locations were filmed

Safari of the Scenes Glenorchy Tour

Safari of the Scenes Glenorchy Tour
Safari of the Scenes Glenorchy Tour
Safari of the Scenes Glenorchy Tour
Safari of the Scenes Glenorchy Tour

For those keen on Lord Of The Rings - this is the tour for you. Go on a scenic adventure through some of the iconic locations used in the filming. Although none of the sets are left behind, the landscapes will be instantly recognisable. Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the small town of Glenorchy and enjoy the spectacular views of the Remarkables Range as you drive. From Glenorchy you'll head into the beech forests of Paradise - located on the outskirts of Mount Aspiring National Park - before heading up the dart valley and back. Film locations you'll see include Isengard, Lothlorien, Ithilien Camp and the Seat of Seeing.

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

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Day 8 - Today you'll fly with the helicopter crew used for filming the trilogies, to breath-taking Earnslaw Burn as seen in the Hobbit

Earnslaw Burn Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

Earnslaw Burn Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Earnslaw Burn Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Earnslaw Burn Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Earnslaw Burn Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

This is the top pick from the Heliworks team. Lift off from Heliworks for a flight across the Richardson Mountains; fly over schist covered slopes and views of historical gold mining sites on your way to this exclusive landing site. Just after the Dart and Rees rivers meet near Lake Wakatipu you will see Mt Earnslaw (also known by its Maori name of Pikirakatahi) with the Earnslaw Glacier its crowning glory! Fly along the valley before the breath-taking vista of cascading waterfalls and the hanging glacier opens up before you. Enjoy a landing at this magnificent spot; explore the valley with the Earnslaw Glacier towering above you and an astounding number of waterfalls spilling down the valley walls. Return to Heliworks with views of Coronet Peak and Queenstown itself. Trip Duration is 1 hour.

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel
Accommodation: The Rees Hotel

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Day 9 - Journey to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland and many spectacular film locations

Driving distance and time: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Queenstown to Te Anau

Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau

As you traverse the shores of Lake Wakatipu you'll see The Remarkables mountain range towering over your approach to the small township of Kingston. Continue towards Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 10 - Journey up the River Anduin as seen in the Fellowship of the Ring opening aerial shot

Pure Wilderness Jet Boat

Pure Wilderness Jet Boat
Pure Wilderness Jet Boat
Pure Wilderness Jet Boat
Pure Wilderness Jet Boat

Jet boat down the Waiau river, across Lake Manapouri, to the ancient forest of the Fiordland National Park. Enjoy the thrill of jet boating down the majestic trout-filled Waiau River, to the serene Lake Manapouri. Step foot into the Fiordland National Park and go for a short walk while learning about the ancient beech forest and ferns. Your jet boat ride includes a number of stops at the exact locations of the filming the "Fellowship of the Ring" on the Waiau or Anduin River, where the driver will tell you the inside story of the filming the Lord of the Rings on this river. The trip will also include some thrilling 360 degree turns and spins as well as some interesting interpretation about the flora and fauna and the local European and Maori history.

Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

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Day 11 - Head north to Dunedin through rolling Southland countryside

Driving distance and time: 285 kms / 177 miles : 3.3 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Te Anau to Dunedin

Te Anau to Dunedin
Te Anau to Dunedin
Te Anau to Dunedin
Te Anau to Dunedin

The drive from Te Anau to Dunedin  takes you through classic Southland farmland scenery but if you want to spend the whole day exploring a little off the beaten path than taking the Southern Scenic Route through The Catlins is highly recommended. Following the incredible Otago coastline to Invercargill the route passes through Manapouri and onto Tuatapere before Colac Bay and the fishing town of Riverton. From Invercargill the route hugs the coastline and there are many side-trips to secluded and deserted beaches and bays to explore before you arrive into the remarkable Edwardian City of Dunedin.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 12 - As you enter the MacKenzie country you'll pass Twizel, a film location for both Hobbit and LOTR movies

Driving distance and time: 317 kms / 196 miles : 3.7 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park

Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique boulders strewn on the beach. Another worthwhile stop is Fleurs in the township, one of the finest cafes in New Zealand. Before heading inland along the Waitaki Valley you pass through the historic township of Oamaru and its Stone buildings. Take time to head into the old quarter and if your timing is right you may get to see some of the local resident little blue penguins. The Waitaki Valley makes a large contribution to New Zealand's electricity supply with its 3 hydro dams. Arriving into Omarama you are now truly in the high country but don't think these vast empty lands are useless, these are some of the country's most productive merino sheep stations. The turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki guide you the final 45 minutes to Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 13 - Take a scenic drive to Laketown from the Hobbit (Lake Pukaki), then on to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise. You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

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Day 14 - Explore Christchurch before you leave Middle Earth for home

Driving distance and time: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Christchurch today

Explore more of Christchurch before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

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