Independent Middle Earth Epic

 

Documentation pack and support: We've got you covered!

When you touch down in New Zealand your detailed documentation pack will be hand-delivered by one of our trusted representatives. You'll find everything you need in one handy place: your personalised itinerary, clear instructions and maps, and reservation details for your accommodation and activities.

24 Hour Assistance: We’re just a free phone call away if you encounter any issues while you're on the road - at any time of day or night. Don’t waste your precious vacation time stressing - First Light Travel are here to help you quickly when every second counts.

What's also included?

Dedicated Travel Consultant                  Detailed Daily Itinerary and Vouchers        

 

Full 24 Hour Support 50 Page Essential New Zealand Guide  

1

Welcome to Auckland!

Welcome to Auckland, situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea.

After checking into your hotel, relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.

Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

Explore Waiheke Island     Island Kayaking Adventure     America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky Tower Relax on the Beach Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine Tour Whale and Dolphin Safari Muriwai Surf Beach


Accommodation Auckland - 1 Night

Accommodation:
Ideally situated in central Queen Street, the Airedale Boutique Suites is a beautiful four-star hotel with an elegant art deco apartment style accommodation. Enjoy shopping, eating and the city entertainment precinct right at your doorstep. Guests are welcome to enjoy stylish inner-city accommodation that offers space and convenience. A lavish renovation of this heritage building blends its fabulous art deco architecture with a contemporary feel and modern comforts.
Old MLC Building

2

Auckland - Paihia - Waitangi - 'Hole in the Rock' Cruise

Continue your journey today to Paihia in the Beautiful Bay of Islands. Discover the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and enjoy a 'Hole in the Rock Cruise'.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds
This is the location of the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document and the accord between Maori Chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. Gain a deeper understanding during a guided tour of Waitangi with one of the traditional guides and enjoy a high-quality cultural performance in the beautifully carved meeting house (Whare Rūnanga). Explore one of New Zealand’s oldest and most visited historic homes and learn about the treasures within, visit treasures such as the Treaty House, Meeting House, Flagstaff and Ceremonial War Canoe.

Hole in the Rock Cruise
Board the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Watching Cruise. Spot some dolphins and see the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse. Skip through the majestic Hole in the Rock and take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before returning to the inner islands of the Bay. 

Accommodation Paihia - 2 Nights

Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands has a sub-tropical resort ambience, with island-influenced architecture, beautifully landscaped grounds and light airy rooms.It's a perfect base to explore the beautiful Bay of Islands. Just a short walk from Paihia's village centre and the wharf. The Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands is a 4 star hotel. The Nikau Restaurant and Lounge Bar operates within the hotel and serves a la carte or buffet breakfast or dinner.
Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands

3

Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach

Take today a coach trip up to Cape Reinga - the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. The driver will take the bus up the Te Paki Stream towards the mountainous sand dunes. Enjoy New Zealand's varying and beautiful landscape. Visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and see the majestic giant kauri trees and native bush. Return to the Bay of Islands in the evening after an unforgettable journey. 


4

Paihia at Leisure - Auckland

Enjoy some free time in the Bay of Islands this morning and then return by coach to Auckland in the afternoon. 


Some recommended excursions available in the Bay of Islands:

Historical Island Cruise   Diving Rainbow Warrior   4WD Adventure Cape Reinga
Sailing the Islands   Dolphin Swimming   Giant Kauri Forest Walk
Cultural Tour of Waitangi   Golf at Kauri Cliffs   Sea Kayaking the Bay

 

Accommodation Auckland - 1 Night

Accommodation:
Ideally situated in central Queen Street, the Airedale Boutique Suites is a beautiful four-star hotel with an elegant art deco apartment style accommodation. Enjoy shopping, eating and the city entertainment precinct right at your doorstep. Guests are welcome to enjoy stylish inner-city accommodation that offers space and convenience. A lavish renovation of this heritage building blends its fabulous art deco architecture with a contemporary feel and modern comforts.
Old MLC Building

5

Auckland - Hobbiton - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

Depart Auckland this morning and travel through lush farmland to Matamata. Take a guided tour of the famous Hobbiton Movie Set, located on a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep and beef farm. Here, the village of Hobbiton was carefully created in amazing detail as a film location for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies.

During your guided tour you will see sights such as Hobbit holes, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn, and you will learn how farmland was transformed into a living, breathing piece of Middle-earth. After exploring Hobbiton, enjoy a delicious lunch at the Green Dragon Inn.

At the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, take a 45-minute guided tour through impressive underground caverns and learn how stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone structures were formed over millions of years. Your tour includes a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – glide silently along an underground river as you gaze at the twinkling glowworms overhead.

After visiting Waitomo and Hobbiton, continue to Rotorua, arriving in the early evening.

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 Nights

Accommodation:
This 4.5 star deluxe property is perfectly situated next to mystical Lake Rotorua and is just a brief stroll from the City centre, close to many restaurants and bars. The hotel offers world class residential style accommodation that is suitable for those travelling on business and for leisure. Restaurant Nikau offers a good range of evening menu choices, from the Restaurant's famous Nikau Burger to fine dining options, while the Brassiere Poolside Restaurant is the perfect place to start your day with an alfresco style breakfast beside the geothermal heated pool.
Millenium Hotel Rotorua

6

Rotorua

Rotorua Sightseeing Tour
Enjoy a sightseeing tour this morning in Rotorua. Experience the Maori Culture and the amazing Te Puia. You will continue on to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park where you can join the Kiwi Encounter and then head over to the Agrodome Sheep Show for a taste of 'very kiwi' farm tour.

Maori Cultural Experience Rotorua
This evening we visit the Tamaki Tribal Village for an evening of culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared Maori Hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance including the famous haka - lots of fun! 


 


7

Rotorua - Wellington

Take an internal flight from Rotorua to Wellington today (cost of flight not included). 

Embraced by a natural amphitheatre of ocean and hill, Wellington merges big city culture with small town charm. A lively energy pulses through what is celebrated as New Zealand’s arts, film, coffee, culinary, craft beer, events and political capital.

Wellington is also known as a socially and environmentally conscious city. Declared nuclear weapon free over 30 years ago in 1982, it was also the first capital city in the southern hemisphere to gain Fair Trade status, and is home to the world-leading Zealandia sanctuary.

Accommodation Wellington - 2 Nights

Accommodation:

Centrally located downtown with a stunning Harbour vista is Rydges Wellington. The hotel offers 280 rooms with modern facilities including free WiFi. There are also 19 apartment-style suites for longer stays. 


8

Weta Film Studios Tour

Today you will see the best of the Middle Earth on your Lord of the Rings Movie Tour. Embark on a tour of Middle-earth magic.There is something for all the Lord of the Rings and movie fans alike, see world famous Lord of the Rings scenes, introduction to the movie-making industry and long visit to THE WETA CAVE included.

Let us show you where they filmed:

  • Hobbiton Woods
  • Frodo Tree
  • Shortcut to Mushrooms
  • "Get off the Road!"
  • Race to the Ferry

and a couple more scenes if we have time...

​We visit Miramar - the home of New Zealand's movie industry, including Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post. Then we spend over an hour at THE WETA CAVE, you have plenty of time to take pictures and purchase movie memorabilia or simply absorb the creativity within. You have the option of viewing Weta's documentary or upgrading to join the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.

Meals: Lunch


9

Wellington to Christchurch

You will take an internal flight from Wellington to Christchurch today (cost of flight not included) . Once arrived in Christchurch you have some free time to explore the city on your own. 

New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch sits on the very edge of the Canterbury Plains and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. A number of new and exciting developments are popping up everywhere since an earthquake damaged the city a few years ago.
 

Some Suggested Activities in Christchurch:

Easygoing Cycling Tour   Punting the Avon River   Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural Evening French Akaroa Tour Southern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch Gondola Clearwater Golf Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

 

Accommodation Christchurch - 2 Nights


10

Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

After a short drive is Methven, a quaint, pretty village that is home to pristine landscapes, down to earth local kiwis and many passionate outdoor enthusiasts. This town played an integral part in the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy; becoming a base for cast and crew as they worked in the nearby countryside. A must do when on any Tour of Middle Earth New Zealand.

The Tour
The capital of the Rohan people, Edoras, was created in the isolated and beautiful high country station of Mount Potts. Journey into this remote wilderness and soak up its crystal-clear lakes, rivers and crisp mountain air. This full day tour incorporates a 4WD tour onto Mount Sunday/Edoras, a gourmet champagne picnic lunch, full movie commentary from our expert, friendly guides and magnificent, signature New Zealand scenery for an experience you’ll never forget.


Tour Highlights:

  • Thrilling 4WD adventure across a handful of small streams and right to Edoras itself.
  • Standing on the summit of Edoras just like Eowyn did, after a guided walk to the top.
  • Fascinating photos of Edorasunder construction during production – exclusive to us!
  • Spot the Misty Mountains and the landscapes that created the backdrop to Helms Deep.
  • Enjoy a gourmet champagne picnic lunch in the outdoors.
  • Entertaining and interesting commentary from local, friendly kiwi guides.
  • Handle replicas – Aragorn’s Sword, King Theoden’s Sword, Gimli’s Axe, Gandalf’s Staff, Flag of Rohan.
  • Find out for yourself why this stunning location was so popular with the cast and crew.

11

Christchurch - Mt Cook National Park

Leave the city today westwards through the Canterbury plains, you will find a superb location for some great photos at Lake Tekapo. Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley in New Zealand's South Island. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and roll away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd' sits alone on its shores and the views to our highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable. 

Enjoy a Glacier Explorers Tour this afternoon in Mt Cook. Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal Lake. This tour is existing only three times over the world and is the only one in New Zealand. See stunning towering ice cliffs, floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. 


Accommodation Mt Cook - 1 Night

A stunning destination surrounded by the silent splendor of the Southern Alps and with spectacular views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area. There is a selection of properties within the Terrace Road campus from Hotel to Chalet and Mountainview Motels - all budgets and standards can be catered for.

Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook

12

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - Queenstown

Visit the Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre today - a tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary / humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers. 

Afterwards you will continue to the adventure Capital of New Zealand - Queenstown. The surrounding area is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards and the natural landscape with wild rivers, high peaks and deep canyons has allowed Queenstown to developed an exciting array of outdoor adventure activities - and there's plenty to choose from. But if you are just want to chill out then Queenstown's compact downtown area is relaxed during the day and huge fun at night. In any season, you can count on stylish designer shops and many trendy restaurants offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences.

Accommodation: Queenstown - 4 Nights

Sitting on the crystal-clear shores of Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Gardens is centrally located - only a five-minute walk to town on level ground - home to prime restaurants and boutique shopping. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with views from private balconies over manicured landscapes, with the property being adjacent to the beautiful Queenstown Gardens.

Novotel Queenstown

13

Queenstown at Leisure - TSS Earnslaw

One of the best ways to see Queenstown’s surrounding landscape – a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic century-old coal fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw.

 

Recommended excursions around Queenstown:

Routeburn Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise   Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail


14

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Today promises to be one of the major highlights of your time in New Zealand. We journey to Te Anau, the gateway to the stunning Fiordland National Park, before driving the spectacular Milford Road. Lush forests, glacier-carved valleys, snowy peaks and mirror-like lakes dot this very special driving experience into a renowned World Heritage Site. Continuing through the hand-carved Homer Tunnel and on to Milford Sound itself, the views of this grand fiord are breath taking. We explore its inky waters on a boat cruise, soaking up the surroundings of granite cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and unique wildlife before journeying back to Queenstown


15

Glenorchy - Gateway to Paradise

The tour to rule them all for LOTR fans. This scenic Glenorchy safari offers breathtaking mountain and forest views along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and the Paradise Valley. Visit the filming locations for Isengard, the Ithilien Camp, Lothlorien & Fanghorn forest and the Seat of Seeing/ Battle of Amon Hen, and many more.


16

Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier

Travel along the rugged West Coast Road and over the Haast Pass. Discover the rich alpine rainforest as you journey through this historic region. Through the Gates of Haast is a lost world that’s so spectacular and remote UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area.

This afternoon there’s free time to explore Franz Josef township. The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand’s West Coast glaciers. Take the opportunity to experience the most spectacular glacier environment anywhere in the world, offering a range of glacier hiking options.

Accommodation Franz Josef - 2 Nights

Situated on the very edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier will welcome you in true New Zealand style. The Hotel makes the most of its alpine location and is only moments from spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. The highly regarded Hot Pools are within walking distance. Featuring patios or balconies, the simple, warmly decorated rooms and suites include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, plus tea and coffee making facilities. Suites add living areas. (formerly known as the Scenic Circle Franz Josef Glacier Hotel) has quality rooms with balcony views and special access.
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

17

Franz Josef at Leisure - Scenic Helicopter Flight

Franz Josef at leisure
Enjoy some free time at leisure in Franz Josef today and a stunning Glacier Scenic helicopter flight. You are in the heart of the Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful areas in New Zealand and the home of the Kea, a protected native parrot that thrives in the chilly environment and is infamous for its inquisitive and often destructive behaviour! 

Glacier Scenic Flight
Sub-tropical forest and snow-covered glaciers vie for space on this narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps on the West Coast of the South Island. The Franz Josef Glacier is the most low-lying of its type in the world and these frozen rivers of ice can travel up to 3 metres per day down the mountain valleys. This is the ultimate glacial and mountain experience, this flight tour covers it all; Glacial icefalls, crevasses and neves, and views from ocean to Alps. Get your camera ready for the spectacular snow landing – with rotors off, the silence is deafening.

Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:

Kayak Okarito Lagoon 

   Glacier Hot Pools       Glacier Scenic Flight

Horseback Riding  

   Walk to Glacier Face    Glacier Heli-hike

 


18

Franz Josef - Greymouth - Christchurch

This morning you will travel by coach to Greymouth. Then you will board the Tranzalpine to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine Train, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Descend through spectacular gorges, river valleys and over massive viaducts before completing your journey at Christchurch.

Accommodation Christchurch - 1 Night


19

Bon Voyage!

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage! Today we say farewell. We take care of your transfer to Christchurch Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.


Notes

What is an Independent Coach Tour

Tour Inclusions

  • 4 Star Motels
  • Experienced Driver Guides
  • Detailed and informative commentary
  • Travel in an air-conditioned coach
  • 24 Hour Assistance
  • Daily Departures
  • Waitangi Visit
  • Hole in the Rock Cruise
  • Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach Tour
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Maori Cultural Experience Rotorua
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
  • Lord of the Rings Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
  • Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
  • Glacier Explorers Mt Cook Boat Tour
  • Edmund Hillary Centre Explorer Pass
  • Central Boutique Tour Central Otago
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Glenorchy - 4WD Tour for LOTR fans
  • TSS Earnslaw Cruise
  • TranzAlpine Rail Journey
  • Return airport transfers - flight details to be provided 14 days prior to travel

What Michelle says about this tour: We fell in love with Tolkiens middle earth and you are going to fall further in love with New Zealand. Your journey covers mountains, rivers and lakes - each a cinematic masterpiece in its own right. Accommodation is placed at high 4 star standard and the travelling days are mainly 3-4hrs so plenty of time to stretch your legs and enjoy the included activities.
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Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price