Your Private Driver/Guide
When you touch down in New Zealand you will be met at the airport by Your Private Driver/Guide.
Our guides have been with us for a long time and are seasoned professionals. Our aim is to give ‘you’ our guests a memorable experience of New Zealand and its stunning scenery. With years of experience in tourism in New Zealand, we guarantee that you will receive a first-class service!
The best part about our guides is that they are local and chances are they have their go-to destinations that only locals know about. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a favourite local pub, or a fantastic attraction that most tourists overlook, our guides can help recommend authentic experiences that you may not discover on your own.
Welcome to Middle–earth
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 a coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea.
After collecting you from the airport your guide will check you 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
Waitomo - the Land of Caves and Trolls
Find your inner Hobbit (or Orc) and explore the subterranean world of the Waitomo Caves – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans - a lost world waiting to be discovered. There are a range of options here – witness the Glowworm Galaxies Cave Tour up close or test your limits and abseil down into the wet dark underworld for a tour of the mysterious Lost World cavern (7 Hours). Above ground, the area around Waitomo is also popular for horse riding and bush walking.
Approximate Distance: 195 kms | 121 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 21 mins
Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night
Journey to the Shire (Hobbiton)
An exciting day awaits this morning. Journey to the emerald pastures and rolling hills of The Shire, where Hobbiton was brought to life on a private farm in Matamata. This idyllic village blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Set to the scale of a 3ft Hobbit you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a magical world of smoking chimneys, bluebells, and the Green Dragon Inn. Visit Bag End as well as the other 43 Hobbit Holes on this fully Guided 2.5 hr Hobbiton Tour. Learn about the production of the movies – how did they make Gandalf appear so tall? Why was this exact site chosen to build Hobbiton? The passion and knowledge gleaned from your guide brings this authentic Middle-earth experience to life.
Afterwards, continue on to Rotorua, 2hrs drive. The history of New Zealand Maori is at its most visible in this area rich in geothermal activity and blessed with abundant rivers, lakes and forests. An evening Maori Concert with Hangi Meal (cooked in underground oven) will give you insight into the First People of New Zealand.
Approximate Distance: 137 kms | 85 miles Total Driving Time: 1 hours 47 mins
Accommodation Rotorua - 1 night
Rotorua - National Park
Today head for Mount Doom - stopping first at Wai-o-tapu (Sacred Waters) where New Zealand's most colourful volcanic area will have you reaching for your camera. Take in the volcanic sites at your own pace as you view massive boiling mud pools and vast steaming hotpools.
Journeying on to the pretty crater lake town of Taupo situated before the desolate Central Plateau of Tongariro National Park. Here, volcanoes soar from plains of golden tussock and rocky gorges – this is Mount Doom and Hidden Bay (entrance to Lonely Mountain) country. Drive past the foot of Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s tallest volcano, before arriving at your accommodation in the hamlet of National Park village.
Approximate Distance: 185 kms | 115 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins
Accommodation National Park - 2 nights
Mt Doom - The Tongariro Crossing
Today, rise early to begin the spectacular Tongariro Crossing, an 8-hour journey over volcanic craters and past jewel-coloured lakes. These landscapes formed the ultimate destination for Frodo’s quest for the ring – the conical volcano of Mount Ngauruhoe played Mount Doom, the volcano in Mordor where the One Ring was created within Sammath Naur. The views of the desolate, grand landscapes that surround the track are spectacular; providing the Lord of the Rings production crew with the perfect base from which to create Emyn Muil and the Plains or Gorgonath. This is a phenomenal day where you’ll get to experience otherworldly landscapes that look exactly like Middle-earth – don’t forget your camera!
If you prefer a less strenuous adventure enjoy a 3 Hours - Lord of the Rings Guided Tour of Tongariro National Park - this offers an outstanding opportunity for you to visit many of the actual filming locations used in Peter Jackson’s version of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, with first hand experiences to relay as we were involved in the production when it was here. You also explore a World Heritage status National Park of outstanding beauty with views and scenery that will leave you spellbound.
MT Ruapehu / Wellington
Just nearby, the bush of Ohakune is home to the filming location for Ithilien Camp – stop by to experience it for yourself before continuing your journey south to New Zealand’s capital, a short three-four hour drive away.
Wellington, known as the ‘Middle of Middle-earth’ and home to the New Zealand film industry, formed the production base for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Several filming locations are dotted throughout the Wellington region, while WETA Workshop Headquarters is within the city itself. The location for the creation of the Outer reaches of The Shire scene and where the Hobbits hid to escape the Nazgul can be found on Mount Victoria. The pretty refuge of Rivendell and the encampment of Dunharrow are easily visited with a short drive from Wellington City.
Approximate Distance: 306 kms | 190 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours 50 mins
Accommodation Wellington - 2 nights
Wellington - the Hobbit & LoTr Creators
Get excited about the prospect of exploring this movie making Mecca today, choosing between two fascinating Lord of the Rings tours. Both feature the amazing Weta Cave Tour.
1) Wellington Movie Tour: This short and popular tour is packed with a visit to filming locations in the Hobbiton Woods as well as a visit to the Weta Cave to gain behind-the-scenes insights into movie making magic.
2) Ultimate Movie Tour: Embark on a day of Middle-earth magic when you combine both the Valley and Wellington tours. This exciting full day incorporates special natural places, lunch at ‘Rivendell’, visits to the scenes in Hobbiton Woods and, to top it all off, a visit to the Weta Cave.
Here are some alternative suggestions while in Wellington:
|National Museum - Te Papa
|Visit Cuba Street
|Weta Workshop Tour
|Zealandia Wildlife Reserve
Cruise to the South Island / The Hobbit Barrel Run
This morning crossing board the Interisland Ferry for a cruise across the challenging stretch of water that connects the Tasman Sea to the Southern Pacific Ocean, you will enter the South Island island through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. Setting off by road you will travel to Havelock at the head of the Pelorus Sound. The Pelorus river will give you access today to the scenes from the Desolation of Smaug - barrel escape. Stand on the same rocks as Bilbo and his dwarf friends. See the exact location where Kili was shot with an arrow. The gentle flow of the river is a relaxing way to connect with the untouched landscape of middle earth, onboard your inflatable two person kayak.
Approximate Distance: 36 kms | 22 miles Total Driving Time: 50 mins each way
Accommodation Blenheim - 1 night
Kaikoura Fur Seals - Or Have We Found Gollum!?
Today you will loop back towards the East Coast traveling through Marlborough Wine Country, home to world famous Sauvignon Blanc (along with other white varietals and Pinot Noir). The vines will keep you company as you reach the headlands of the East Coast. Once down on the flats this road - (worthy of any big budget car commercial) hugs the coastline - make sure you stop to enjoy the marine life as the New Zealand Fur Seals bask and play along the rocky shoreline, before arriving in gorgeous Kaikoura. The Kaikoura peninsula enjoys a mild microclimate and is overlooked by majestic snowcapped mountains. This unique proximity of ocean and mountain range offers a host of eco-tourism oriented activities, including whale watching, dolphin and seal swimming, kayaking, fishing and hiking.
Suggested Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura
|Whale Watching Cruise
|Swim with the Seals
|Whale Watching Flight
|Dusky Dolphin Viewing
|Kayaking with Fur Seals
|Pelagic Bird Watching
Approximate Distance: 309 kms | 192 miles Total Driving Time: 4 hours 25 mins
Accommodation Christchurch - 2 nights
4wd Remote Journey into Edoras, the City of Rohan
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.
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.
- 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.
Mt Cook - Tasman Glacier Adventure
Have you ever been alongside or touched an iceberg?
Leaving the Garden City, head inland towards the rural Canterbury Plains, touring New Zealand’s spectacular Mackenzie region, you will encounter sweeping vistas of tussock lands and impressive mountains that make up the Southern Alps. This afternoon experience the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake and its icebergs, in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. By boat explore the Tasman Glacier Adventure to the Terminal Lake, where you will discover the ever-changing ice face of the Glacier and icebergs, everchanging due to variable winds and currents. Knowledgeable guides, enhance your experience with their expertise and passion for this amazing alpine environment.
Approximate Distance: 332 kms | 206 miles Total Driving Time: 4 hours
Accommodation Mt Cook - 1 night
Queenstown - Adventure Capital
Today travel south via the Mackenzie Basin, the Lindis Pass and through the rugged scenery of Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown – the action packed capital of New Zealand. On arrival in Queenstown, settle in and explore the cafes and shopping district nestled around the head of Lake Wakitipu. Take a trip up the Gondola to view the spectacular alpine location, ice, lakes mountain tips abound!.
Recommended Excursions in Queenstown
|Routeburn Day Walk
|Highest Bungey Jump
|Biking Skippers Canyon
|Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise
|Dart River Jetboat Safari
Approximate Distance: 265 kms | 165 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours 10 mins
Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights
4wd Safari of the Lotr Scenes Queenstown
Today is one of those pinch your self moments as you take a full day to explore this stunning Tolkien wonderland. Explore the beauty of backcountry Glenorchy Township with a journey deep into the coveted and hard to get to Mount Aspiring National Park. This Wilderness Safari lets you enjoy isolated valleys and ancient native forests. Enjoy an easy, guided 40 – 50 minute walk through the ‘Heritage Trail’ at remote and very beautiful Real Paradise, where your expert guide will enliven your walk with an interesting commentary about the local flora and fauna as well as the Maori and colonial history of the area. You’ll also journey by 4WD coach via a scenic back-road route while enjoying stories about the history of the surrounding countryside. En route, you’ll stop to view scenery that featured as epic backdrops for the award-winning Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These sites are Isengard, Lothlórien, and Amon Hen. In the afternoon collect your rental car and travel to Lake Wanaka
Leaving the Gorge the trip heads to to the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Its near here you will experience some true off road adventure and follow a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River to get to the Ford of Bruinen, a perfect spot for gold panning and a beautiful location for drinks and snacks. From Arrowtown you will travel to the entrance of Skippers Canyon where you will be offered spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin and over mighty Skippers Canyon - a really awesome way to experience area's usually not seen by many - a must on any LoTr New Zealand Itinerary.
`Novaer' Farewell from Middle-earth
Transfer to Queenstown Airport today and board your onward flight. We know you will enjoy your Private Filming Locations Tour and you will leave New Zealand with a memory card overflowing with locations to sleuth when rewatching the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies.
Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the 'Privately Guided LOTR (Hobbit) Filming Locations Tour' - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!
What Narissa says about this tour: What better way to combine your love of the LoTR Hobbit films with travel through the most gorgeous scenery New Zealand has to offer. I'd love to talk you through the highlights of this fantastic 14 day private tour.Enquire Now