Auckland - Queenstown

Fly total time: 15 days

Your clients will begin their journey in Auckland, then head south passing through Hobbiton and the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, to the capital city Wellington. Visitors will then cross the Cook Strait to the South Island and continue towards sunny Nelson. After a breathtaking journey down the West Coast of the South Island, your clients will finish their Hobbit holiday in Glenorchy and Queenstown.

The one thing I left New Zealand remembering is how warm the people were and how generous and kind and welcoming they are. They just are very happy people – and of course they are happy, they live in New Zealand - Luke Evans (Bard)

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.

New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Day 1 - Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive into New Zealand. Spend the next two days exploring Auckland and the surrounding regions.
    Surrounded by two sparkling harbours, vibrant and multicultural Auckland is the country’s largest city and commercial hub. Home to 1.5 million people, it offers world class accommodation; outstanding food and wine; great shopping; and many attractions and sightseeing options.

    Recommended activities:

    • Half day Auckland city sights tour with one of the many fantastic tour operators
    • Go shopping in the many local boutiques and internationally known stores
    • Dine at The Viaduct, Auckland’s buzzing harbourside precinct.
  • Day 2 - Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Spend another day exploring Auckland or take a day trip to nearby Waiheke Island.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3 - Auckland - Hobbiton - Rotorua

    Drive Fly 3 hours 43 minutes 322 KMS 200 MI
    In the morning drive from Auckland to Hobbiton, approximately 2 hours. 
    In the lush countryside of Waikato, New Zealand’s most productive dairy farming region, there’s a slice of land that has become world-famous for something that the owners have taken for granted for generations. 
    The Alexander family farm which sits in rolling countryside just outside the town of Matamata was spotted by The Hobbit Trilogy Director Sir Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema in 1998 during an aerial search for film sites for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Mature pine trees (one in particular - later re-named the Party Tree) in front of a picturesque lake with surrounding landscapes untouched by 20th century clutter, perfectly resembled The Shire as described by author, J. R. R. Tolkien. It became the famous setting for Hobbiton and was rebuilt in 2011 for The Hobbit Trilogy to remain a permanent tourist attraction.
    "I’ll never forget that feeling of coming to Hobbiton the first time…there’s so many feelings of nostalgia and history." - Elijah Wood (Frodo)
    Visit the HobbitonTM Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set. 
    Enjoy lunch at The Green Dragon before heading south to Rotorua. The drive from Matamata to Rotorua will take approximately 50 minutes.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 4 - Rotorua

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    Spend the next two days exploring the geothermal region of Rotorua.
    The city of Rotorua is surrounded by a fascinating landscape of geothermal activity, freshwater lakes and majestic native forests. Home to the Te Arawa tribe, it’s a region steeped in Māori legend. Explore amazing boiling mud pools and steam vents, relax in a natural hot pool or try trout fishing.

    Recommended activities:
  • Day 5 - Rotorua

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    Your clients will spend another day exploring the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 6 - Rotorua - Wellington

    Drive Fly 5 hours 24 minutes 453 KMS 281 MI
    Depart Rotorua in the morning and drive south to Wellington, stop enroute in Ruapehu and explore Turoa which was a filming location in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In winter Turoa is a popular ski field, but the area is also well-known for its beautiful cycling and hiking trails including The Tongariro Crossing. 
    The drive from Rotorua to Wellington, via Ruapehu takes approximately 6 hours 30 minutes. Alternatively fly from Rotorua to Wellington, approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
    Spend the afternoon exploring this compact, yet exciting city. Wellington is home to an ever expanding film industry with many Middle-earth experiences on offer. Recharge at one of Wellington’s hip cafés, restaurants and bars.
    If you are arriving by air into Wellington, keep an eye out for Gollum, Gandalf and two giant eagles in Wellington Airport’s main terminal building. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit Wellington i-SITE Visitors Centre to pick up a Middle of Middle-earth film map.
    • Ride the Wellington Cable Car and enjoy magical city views
    • Visit the Weta Cave, a mini museum featuring movie props, collectables from Weta Workshop
    • Go on a film tour of Wellington 
    • Visit the Carter Observatory and learn about the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere
    • Stroll along Wellington’s waterfront and scenic Oriental Bay
    • Enjoy the vibrant café, restaurant and bar scene
  • Day 7 - Wellington

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    Spend another day exploring vibrant Wellington.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 8 - Wellington - Nelson

    Drive Fly 5 hours and 40 minutes (including ferry) 206 KMS 128 MI
    Head out of Wellington by ferry and enjoy a scenic cruise across the Cook Strait through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds to Picton. The journey takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours and seals and dolphins can often be spotted along the way.
    Arrive in the seaside town to Picton bustling with cafes, museums and seaside walks. Nelson is 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from Picton.
    Alternatively fly from Wellington to Nelson, approximately 40 minutes.
    Nelson is surrounded by three national parks each with their own distinct landscapes, there are many outdoor activities on offer including hiking, fly fishing, biking and kayaking. Unwind with a glass of craft beer, from one of the many craft beer breweries, in New Zealand’s sunniest region.
    Nelson was the backdrop for several locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The exact locations were filmed on private property, but visitors can get a good feel for these locations with a horse trek through Golden Bay.

    Recommended activities:
  • Day 9 - Nelson

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    Spend the day exploring Nelson or the surrounding areas.

    Recommended activities:

    • Explore Chetswood Forest at Canaan Downs
    • Relax with a glass or two of Middle-earth wines
    • Take a helicopter ride over Kahurangi National Park and take in the views of Mt Owen (Dimrill Dale) or Mt Olympus (South of Rivendell)
    • Take a day trip to Farewell Spit
    • Visit one of Nelson’s weekend arts and craft markets
    • Enjoy a glass or two of craft beer at one of the region’s many craft beer breweries
  • Day 10 - Nelson - Franz Josef

    Drive Fly 5 hours 38 minutes 459 KMS 285 MI
    Depart Nelson in the morning and journey to Franz Josef on the picturesque the West Coast.
    Your clients may wish to make a detour to Punakaiki to visit the Pancake rocks or take a lunch break in Greymouth or Hokitika, then continue onto Franz Josef.
    Glacier country encompasses Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers which are some of the most accessible glaciers in the world. There are a wealth of attractions and activities in this region including hiking, quad biking, scenic flights and sky diving. It is possible to view wildlife at the kiwi breeding programme in Franz Joseph, Whataroa’s White Heron Sanctuary and kiwi in the wild at Okarito. At the end of a busy day relax in the hot pools.
    The beautiful reflection of Aoraki/Mount Cook can be seen at Lake Matheson, near Fox Glacier. Aoraki/Mount Cook was used in the backdrop of some of the aerial filming in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
  • Day 11 - Franz Josef

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    Spend the day discovering Glacier Country.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 12 - Franz Josef - Glenorchy

    Drive Fly 5 hours and 5 minutes 398 KMS 247 MI
    Depart Glacier Country in the morning and head south to Glenorchy, the journey will take approximately 5 hours.
    Glenorchy is a rustic town nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu. It is a true outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise, with some of the most scenic walking tracks in the country right on Glenorchy’s doorstep.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a 4WD tour of Mt Aspiring world heritage park
    • Experience the Dart River WILDERNESS Jet
    • Take a Dart River FUNYAK
    • Hike part of the Routeburn Track (normally 3 – 4 days) or hike a portion of the Rees and Dart Track (normally 4 – 5 days)
  • Day 13 - Glenorchy - Queenstown

    Drive Fly 41 minutes 46 KMS 28 MI
    Spend the morning exploring Glenorchy, in the afternoon travel from Glenorchy to Queenstown.
    The alpine resort of Queenstown offers visitors an array of activities from cruising Lake Wakatipu to teeing off on championship golf courses. Queenstown rewards visitors with world-class dining and a vibrant nightlife scene.
    I had a lot of off-time so I was able to see some of the sights in Queenstown…and of course it is more incredible than you can describe. It was more beautiful than I really know how to put into words … truly and utterly breath-taking. – Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel)

    Queenstown it is another filming location in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; it is also a great base for your clients to experience the region’s spectacular scenery and multitude of attractions and activities.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a tour and check out some of the stunning locations featured in The Hobbit Trilogy Director Sir Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies
    • Adventure activities include bungy jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and ziplining
    • Enjoy the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu on a boat cruise and visit a high country station
  • Day 14 - Queenstown

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    Spend the day exploring more of Queenstown’s attractions and activities.

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy world class golf courses including Jack’s Point, Millbrook and The Hills.
    • Take a wine tour to get a taste of the region’s 75 wineries
    • Grab a bike and go cycling – options are available to suit everyone, including cycling on the Queenstown Trail, mountain biking and heli biking
    • Ride the gondola and enjoy spectacular views from the Skyline complex on Bob’s Peak
  • Day 15 - Queenstown

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    Spend another day discovering Queenstown or depart Queenstown.