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10 Day Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island

10 days 9 nights
Auckland to Wellington
from NZD$3,792pp
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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

This Tour Also Features

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.

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 get out onto the water to experience the best views of the city.

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

Navigating New Zealand can be done easily in two ways. If you have a smartphone, you will be able to connect it to the USB of your rental car and your maps and other apps will display on the screen in the centre console of your vehicle, with the sound coming through the car speakers.
If you don't have a smartphone, chat to us to ensure we book you a car with a portable GPS system. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface, with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions, which announces street names. 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 of 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
Lord Of The Rings Half Day Tour - Wellington

With some of the best Lord of the Rings tours Wellington has to offer, you will not be disappointed on this tour. You'll visit local filming locations, view a short documentary showing the filmmaking exploits of Peter Jackson and his remarkable team and be guided through the sights and sounds of the Weta Workshop in Miramar. This is followed by a fascinating 'Window into the workshop' exhibition, showing film props and weaponry, with the artists themselves describing how the artefacts were created.

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.

Walking tracks in and around Wellington City

Wellington city has a number of walking tracks that explore the Town Belt Forest, the harbour and city suburbs.

Botanic Gardens

Home to over 26 hectares of unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and magnificent views.  Within the gardens you can explore the Sculpture Trail, there are seven major works by some of New Zealand's foremost sculptors set in the open grounds of the gardens. The Botanic Gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset and entry is free. 

Mount Victoria Loop

Distance 4.7km, Time 2.5 hours

This loop includes sections of the Hataitai to City Walkway and the Southern Walkway and will take you to the Mount Victoria lookout for fantastic views of the city. 

Matiu/Somes Island Loop Track

Time 40 minutes of walking, not including the ferry ride to the island.

This track takes you around Matiu/Somes Island, offering spectacular views across Wellington Harbour to Wellington and Hutt cities. Pause along the way to check out the island’s historic and ecological attractions, including introduced wildlife which are thriving amongst the native vegetation.  There are daily ferries to and from Matiu/Somes Island should you want to explore.

 

Southern Walkway

Distance 11km; Time 4-5 hours to complete the entire walk – but shorter sections can be walked.

The Southern Walkway follows the Town Belt forest between Oriental Bay and Island Bay. The greatest attraction of this walkway is the variety of scenery, from views of the harbour and central city at Oriental Bay, the shade and tranquillity of the Town Belt forest to the rugged and exposed Southern coastline between Houghton and Island Bays.  Shorter sections of this can be walked depending on time available and your interests. 

City to Sea Walkway

Distance 12km; Time 6-7 hours to complete the entire walk – but shorter sections can be walked.

You can choose to walk shorter sections of this walkway depending on time and interests and in either direction. Starting in the heart of the city near Parliament and finishing at Island Bay on the south Coast, this walkway passes through the Botanic Gardens, Victoria University, historic Aro Valley and many parks and reserves. You will get spectacular views of central Wellington, Mount Victoria, Mount Kaukau and the Cook Strait.

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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