Auckland - Queenstown

Fly total time: 10 days

An itinerary that fits in all the sights, taking visitors from the top of the North Island right down to the Southern Lakes Region.

This a tour that will get vistors to all the Middle-earth hotspots, but at leisurely pace. With so much to take in, the last thing people need is to be rushed on their holiday. Starting in Auckland, the tour will meander past Bilbo's Hobbiton home, to the mysterious bubbling mud pools of Rotorua where visitors might just feel like they're in Tolkien's world after all. Reaching Wellington on Day 4, enthusiasts will revel in the chance to visit The Hobbit Trilogy Director Sir Peter Jackson's film studios, where it all came to life.

A ferry ride across the Cook Strait lands visitors in the South Island, where after some time basking in sunny Nelson they're transported to Queenstown. Not just the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown and the surrounding Southern Lakes are home to many film settings for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.

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

    Arrive into New Zealand. Spend the day at leisure. 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, and great shopping, sights and attractions.

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  • Day 2: Auckland - Hobbiton - Rotorua

    Drive Fly 2 hours 40 minutes 228 KMS 141 MI
    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)
    Just 2 hours from Auckland, you can 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. This is still a working sheep and beef farm and there’s the chance to cuddle and bottle-feed pet lambs. Enjoy lunch at The Green Dragon before heading down to Rotorua. The drive from Matamata to Rotorua will take a further 45 minutes.

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  • Day 3: Rotorua

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    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. Whether you want to explore amazing boiling mud pools and steam vents, relax in a natural hot pool or try your hand at trout fishing, Rotorua is the place to do it.

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  • Day 4 : Rotorua - Wellington

    Drive Fly 5 hours 30 minutes 452 KMS 280 MI
    There are two ways to get from Rotorua to Wellington - by road or by air. The drive will take approximately 6 hours and a direct domestic flight will take 1 hour and 10 minutes.
    "I know I speak for a company of hobbits, dwarves, elves and orcs when I say that this city holds a special place in all our hearts. We cannot think of a more perfect way to send The Hobbit off into the world than to celebrate with a huge party here in Wellington, where the journey began," - Sir Peter Jackson.
    In November 2012 the spotlight was on the coolest little film-making capital in the world - Wellington - for the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
    The Hobbit Trilogy Director Sir Peter Jackson brought Hollywood to New Zealand, and has created his own film empire on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula with Stone St Studios (film studio), Park Road Post (post production facility), and Weta Workshop/ Digital (special effects and make-up).
    While the focus will be on Wellington as home of the production studios, digital effects and creative wizardry behind The Hobbit Trilogy, the city and surrounding districts also offer visitors many other memorable experiences from a rugged coastline with native wildlife to thriving cafés, restaurants and diverse arts & culture.
  • Day 5: Wellington

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    A tour is the best way to uncover the secrets of movie making in Wellington. Visit the sites where filming began for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with Wellington Rover Tours and Flat Earth Tours. Stops include the Hutt River (Anduin) and Harcourt Park (Isengard), Kaitoke Regional Park (Rivendell), Minas Tirith and Helms Deep at an old quarry closed to general visitors. You will also see Wellington city from the summit of Mount Victoria and run along the same path that the Hobbits ran to the ferry and on to the famous ‘Get off the Road’ scene.

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  • Day 6: Wellington - Marlborough - Nelson

    Drive Fly 7 hours 40 minutes 304 KMS 188 MI
    Travel from Wellington to Picton, on a breathtaking 3.5 hour cruise across Cook Strait. Once in Picton, drive 2 hours through to Nelson.
    "I can’t believe Nelsonians get to wake up in this amazing paradise every morning." Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf).
    The Nelson Tasman area boasts some of the most dramatic locations used in The Hobbit Trilogy and is famous for its sunny climate, outdoor adventure, the fascinating arts and crafts community and quality wines and food.
    Many of the props used in the epic The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were made around Nelson, and a number of Weta Workshop’s key costume, prop and set designers herald from the region.
  • Day 7: Nelson

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    Nelson is the sunniest place in New Zealand with over 2500 annual sunshine hours. It’s famous for beautiful sun-kissed beaches, fine wine and craft beer - all a product of the sunny climate. Spend the next two days exploring this paradise

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  • Day 8 - Nelson - Queenstown

    Drive Fly 10 hours 811 KMS 503 MI
    "I feel I know Queenstown quite well…. I’ve been to places that have the same sort of spirit elsewhere in the world but nowhere in quite such a magnificent setting." - Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
    A domestic flight will be required to travel from Nelson to Queenstown.
    Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier, all season, lake and alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, it is a world-renowned filming mecca. Big screen movies, television programmes and hundreds of major commercials are shot in the region each year.
  • Day 9: Queenstown

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    As well as spectacular scenery, Queenstown offers just about every type of soft and extreme adventure invented and also woos visitors with luxury accommodation, top quality food and wine. There are more than 150 restaurants and 177 vineyards.
    "Been to Paradise before, that’s where we shot a few scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring mainly back in 1999, Lorien forest, Boromir’s death…Great thing about this job, you get to see beautiful, beautiful places like this." Director Sir Peter Jackson’s Production Blog 6.
    Literally visit Paradise where The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was shot. 

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  • Day 10: Departure

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    Depart Queenstown.