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10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island

10 days 9 nights
Auckland to Wellington
from NZD$2,999pp
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Bring the Lord of the Rings and Hobbiton to life with this 10 day tour of the key filming locations in the North Island. 

Highlights include Mt Doom and Mordor,  a visit to the living village of Hobbiton, and a behind the scenes tour of Weta Cave - the creative genius behind the movies, and in Waitomo, you'll head descend into a lost underground world.

Family touringThe Hobbit & LOTRWalking & hikingWildlife & nature
Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Day One - Welcome to Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure
Tour day 1
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 1
Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive Touring App. The App includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts, and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Welcome to Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand's self-proclaimed "City of Sails" is the country's largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Accommodation: CityLife Auckland
Accommodation type: Apartments
Admirably positioned in the hub of the city's business, retail and entertainment district, the City Life Hotel is perfect to explore Auckland. Their self-contained suites are equipped with everything you will need to enjoy your stay.

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Day Two - Enjoy a full day exploring Auckland's wild side
Tour day 2
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 2
Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach

Your full day excursion takes you first to the Arataki Visitor Centre - gateway to the Waitakere Ranges and a short drive from Auckland Central. Enjoy panoramic views - extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean - as you absorb the area's history and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings. Walk the regenerating rainforest where your experienced guide will detail local flora and fauna. Take in the giant tree ferns, bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls before venturing onto a wild west coast beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch before your eco-tour ends in an area of untamed original rainforest. Here, mature 1,000 year old kauri trees have developed separately from the rest of the world for millions of years and this part of the rainforest is particularly rich in bird life due to a successful programme to eradicate pests.

Accommodation: CityLife Auckland
Accommodation type: Apartments
Meals included: Lunch
Admirably positioned in the hub of the city's business, retail and entertainment district, the City Life Hotel is perfect to explore Auckland. Their self-contained suites are equipped with everything you will need to enjoy your stay.

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Day Three - Travel to Hobbiton Village in Matamata, then onto Waitomo
Tour day 3
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 3
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

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.

Auckland to Matamata and Hobbiton

Head southbound on State Highway one through the lush farmland and dairy pastures of the Waikato region. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of the greater Auckland area and its here you turn inland towards Matamata. This is the real Middle Earth, and you'll see many locations used in the filming of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit - as well as visiting the actual set of Hobbiton.

Hobbiton Movie Set tour from Shires Rest

Become immersed in the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Matamata to Waitomo

Today you'll head towards the coast to arrive in Waitomo. Stop in historic Cambridge, home to a host of cafes, antique stores and a large village green. Cambridge has the feel of a traditional English country town and noteworthy buildings include St. Andrew's church, the old water tower and original courthouse. Cambridge is also the centre of New Zealand’s equine industry, and an impressive bronze horse sculpture pays tribute to its history.

Continue on to Otorohanga - renowned for its celebration of New Zealand's popular culture 'Kiwiana.' Stop for a visit to the ‘Kiwi House’ a native bird park owned and operated by the Otorohanga Zoological Society, Inc. Dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's native wildlife. Within the park you will find nocturnal kiwi houses, Tuataras and many native and endangered birds. From Otorohanga it is only a short drive to the limestone hills that mark the Waitomo region and its famous cave complex.

Accommodation: Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge
Accommodation type: Bed & breakfast (B&B)
The guest lodge is situated right in the heart of Waitomo Caves Village, in a peaceful garden setting, with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. Opposite the award-winning Huhu cafe and just a couple of minutes walk from the Waitomo i-SITE Visitor and Discovery Centre.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 263 kms / 164 miles : 3.2 hours

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Day Four - Delve into the underground world of Waitomo
Tour day 4
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 4
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Tour (4 hours)

Abseil 100m into a spectacular world of prehistoric forest, glow-worms, rivers, flowstone formations and massive caverns. Explore the depths before ascending a gigantic ladder through the craggy upper levels of the 'Spider Hole'. Nothing short of sensational, this underground adventure is 4 hours in length.

Accommodation: Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge
Accommodation type: Bed & breakfast (B&B)
The guest lodge is situated right in the heart of Waitomo Caves Village, in a peaceful garden setting, with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. Opposite the award-winning Huhu cafe and just a couple of minutes walk from the Waitomo i-SITE Visitor and Discovery Centre.

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Day Five - Continue south to Tongariro National Park
Tour day 5
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 5
Waitomo to Whakapapa Village

Travel south into the heart of the Central Volcanic Plateau, Tongariro National Park. Leaving the limestone hills of Waitomo, follow the road through lush King Country pastures, named after the Maori King Tawhiao who lived here in exile during the mid 1800's. Continue on to arrive in this World Heritage Park, home to three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe - as well as many walking tracks, adventure activities and the renowned Tongariro Crossing.

Accommodation: Tongariro Crossing Lodge
Accommodation type: Motels - economy
Tongariro Crossing Lodge is a small boutique, colonial-inspired accommodation whose buildings date back to the early 1900s. The lodge is made up of just six well appointed, large, warm rooms with their own bathrooms.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 151 kms / 94 miles : 1.8 hours

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Day Six - Today explore the area around Mt Doom
Tour day 6
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 6
Private Guided Scenic Highlights Tour of Tongariro National Park with Adventure Outdoors

Experience the best of the Tongariro National Park with this Scenic Highlight short walks & drive tour. Designed to suit ensuring a relaxed pace with stunning views.

Accommodation: Tongariro Crossing Lodge
Accommodation type: Motels - economy
Tongariro Crossing Lodge is a small boutique, colonial-inspired accommodation whose buildings date back to the early 1900s. The lodge is made up of just six well appointed, large, warm rooms with their own bathrooms.

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Day Seven - Head down the coast to the vibrant metro area of Wellington
Tour day 7
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 7
Whakapapa Village to Wellington

Your drive today takes you from the North Island Volcanic Plateau to New Zealand's capital, Wellington. Leaving Whakapapa Village, make your way through the Rangipo Desert, skirting the edges of the Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites.

Catch a glimpse of the volcanically active Mt Ruapehu and if you're Lord of the Rings fan, you'll enjoy seeing the symmetrical Mt. Ngauruhoe - better known as Mt Doom. A little further is the military town of Waiouru, home to the New Zealand Army museum and a unique collection of military history.

Continue south to the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the spectacular Kapiti Coast. Take a short detour to the quaint seaside town of Paraparaumu before arriving into Wellington City.

Accommodation: CityLife Wellington
Accommodation type: Apartments
City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel with every amenity required for a comfortable stay, as well as being in a superb location to explore the compact city centre. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 hours

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Day Eight - Spend the day discovering the LOTR filming locations in Wellington
Tour day 8
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 8
Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour

In a small group, you will head out to the Valley to explore the very best filming locations Wellington has to offer. See Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack, the River Anduin where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen, the Gardens of Isengard where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and the site of the orcs felling the trees, the quarry used for the filming of Helms Deep in Rohan and Minas Tirith in Gondor. Then back to the city to visit the Mount Victoria lookout and Buckland Forest where you can find the "shortcut to mushrooms" then "get off the road" and hide where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders before taking a run to the Buckleberry Ferry and discovering Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment along the way.

Accommodation: CityLife Wellington
Accommodation type: Apartments
City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel with every amenity required for a comfortable stay, as well as being in a superb location to explore the compact city centre. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

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Day Nine - Today explore Wellington, then visit Weta Cave, the genius behind the LOTR and Hobbit special effects
Tour day 9
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 9
Wellington

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Take a turn on the boardwalk en-route to Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum or catch a historic cable car from Lambton Quay and soak up the city sights. Wander the boutiques on Cuba St and check out the aptly named ‘Beehive’ off Parliament House.

Play hobbit for day and book a tour through Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award winning design studio for Lord Of The Rings. If eating is your thing, drive an hour out of town to Martinborough and experience some of the region's best food and wine. For those interested in New Zealand's native species, a trip to Zealandia is a must - the world's first fully fenced eco-sanctuary. Then kick off your evening in style - search ‘Metro Eats’ to choose from a plethora of the city’s best restaurants to dine.
 

Weta Cave Workshop Tour & Miniature Effects Tour

The Weta Cave mini-museum brings you face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies, including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Visit Weta Cave Workshop and get up close to the props, weapons and costumes created for The Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, The Great Wall, Avatar, District 9, and more. See artists at work on our tour stage and peek through windows that look directly into the Workshop. Hear stories from the Weta Workshop crew. Many have worked on the films themselves!
Weta Workshop is also known for its extraordinary miniatures and bigatures created for films like The Lord of the Rings, Furious 7, The Legend of Zorro, and Master and Commander. On the Miniatures Stage Tour, you'll visit the authentic Thunderbirds Are Go shooting stage and discover Weta Workshop's latest jaw-dropping creations.

Accommodation: CityLife Wellington
Accommodation type: Apartments
City Life Wellington is a suite style hotel with every amenity required for a comfortable stay, as well as being in a superb location to explore the compact city centre. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

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Day Ten - See more of New Zealand's capital city then depart for your onward journey
Tour day 10
10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island - Day 10
Depart Wellington today

Choose to explore more of Wellington's sights before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 6 kms / 4 miles : 0.1 hours

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