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Similar itineraries

10 day North Island Food and Wine explorer

10 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Wellington
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

10 Day Northern Adventure

10 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Apartments

 

The Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island add +

The Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island
The Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island
The Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island
The Essential Middle Earth Tour of the North Island

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: a scenic flight over 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.  In Waitomo, you'll stay in your very own Hobbit Hole!

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 739 kms / 459 miles, 9.1 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$119 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Welcome to Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. Containing all the documentation you’ll need for the duration of your tour, this comprehensive bag includes a bound version of your itinerary complete with driving instructions and maps for each travel leg. You’ll also receive the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - as well as a New Zealand touring atlas and relevant brochures on the destinations you’ll be visiting. While travelling throughout New Zealand we offer 24 hour support should you need any help at all.

Complimentary New Zealand cell phone for your holiday

You will receive a New Zealand cell phone for the duration of your tour, with $50 credit pre-loaded. The number is allocated around 14 days before your arrival so you can let friends and family know your contact details ahead of time if you wish. Receiving calls (including international) doesn't cost anything so there are no expensive roaming charges. It's a great option to help you make dinner reservations, book an activity, call ahead to your accommodation or for getting in touch with us if you need any help. The $50 loaded credit will give you around 100 minutes of local and international talking time.

Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City

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 take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Your accommodation - SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$30-NZ$35 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
 

Day 2

Enjoy a full day exploring Auckland's wild side

Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest full day tour

Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest full day tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest full day tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest full day tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest full day tour

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.

Your accommodation - SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Lunch

 

Day 3

Travel to Hobbiton Village in Matamata, then on to Waitomo where you'll stay in your very own Hobbit Hole

Driving distance and time: 263 kms / 164 miles : 3.2 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Matamata and Hobbiton

Auckland to Matamata and Hobbiton
Auckland to Matamata and Hobbiton
Auckland to Matamata and Hobbiton
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

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Become immersed in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your two hour 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

Matamata to Waitomo
Matamata to Waitomo
Matamata to Waitomo
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.

Your accommodation - Woodlyn Park Waitomo

Style: Motels - economy

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 1 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 15-20 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
Woodlyn Park Waitomo
Woodlyn Park Waitomo
Woodlyn Park Waitomo
Woodlyn Park Waitomo
 

Day 4

Delve into the underground world of Waitomo

Waitomo Adventures Lost World Tour (4 hours)

Waitomo Adventures Lost World Tour (4 hours)
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Tour (4 hours)
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Tour (4 hours)
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.

Your accommodation - Woodlyn Park Waitomo

Style: Motels - economy

 

Day 5

Continue south to Tongariro National Park

Driving distance and time: 151 kms / 94 miles : 1.8 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Waitomo to Whakapapa Village

Waitomo to Whakapapa Village
Waitomo to Whakapapa Village
Waitomo to Whakapapa Village
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.

Your accommodation - Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Bayview Chateau Tongariro
Bayview Chateau Tongariro
Bayview Chateau Tongariro
Bayview Chateau Tongariro
 

Day 6

Today you'll take a spectacular flight over Mt Doom and Mordor

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand’s oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. See all three volcanoes  - Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu as well as the iconic Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama lake. Climbing to 10,000 ft, you'll also view the active Mt Ruapehu crater lake, and spot some of the landscapes used in the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

There are a plethora of walks in and around Whakapapa Village and Tongariro National Park. From short 15 minute hikes to longer 5 hour treks, there is something for every level of fitness. All established tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation and before heading out on a walk, it is best to check the track conditions and suitability at the local DOC information office in the centre of the village. Below are a selection of the best walks to do:

  1. Whakapapa Nature Walk,15 min loop track
  2. Mounds Walk, 20 min one way
  3. Tawhai Falls, 20 min one way
  4. Ridge Track, 340 min return
  5. Taranaki Falls, 2 hour return
  6. Whakapapanui Walk, 2 hour return
  7. Tupapakurua Falls Track, 5 hour return

Your accommodation - Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Style: Hotel 4 star

 

Day 7

Head down the coast to the vibrant metro area of Wellington

Driving distance and time: 320 kms / 199 miles : 3.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Whakapapa Village to Wellington

Whakapapa Village to Wellington
Whakapapa Village to Wellington
Whakapapa Village to Wellington
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.

Your accommodation - City Life Wellington

Style: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$15-NZ$20 per 24 hr
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Gym/fitness centre
City Life Wellington
City Life Wellington
City Life Wellington
City Life Wellington
 

Day 8

Spend the day discovering the LOTR filming locations in Wellington

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour

On this half-day tour explore key Lord of the Rings filming locations all within an hour of central Wellington. Highlights include the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin and the sites of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Stroll where the hobbits raced to the Buckleberry Ferry and see where the infamous 'get off the road' scene was shot. You'll also stop and overlook the site of the Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment.

Your accommodation - City Life Wellington

Style: Apartments

 

Day 9

Today explore Wellington, then visit Weta Cave, the genius behind the LOTR and Hobbit special effects

Wellington

Wellington
Wellington
Wellington
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.  

Weta Cave and Windows into the Workshop Tour

Weta Cave and Windows into the Workshop Tour
Weta Cave and Windows into the Workshop Tour
Weta Cave and Windows into the Workshop Tour
Weta Cave and Windows into the Workshop Tour

Visit The Weta Cave, a mini-museum filled with props, characters and displays from well known movies including Avatar, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Hear stories of how these figures were brought to life and learn about the artists who created them. Watch behind-the-scenes interviews from Weta co-founders Sir Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk - and gain insight into the creativity and imagination that comes with crafting the art of Weta.

You'll also take a guided tour through the inner workings of Weta Workshop and learn about its processes and design elements. Please keep in mind that many of the projects Weta Workshop has been involved in contain graphic scenes and special effects that may not be suitable for everyone.

Your accommodation - City Life Wellington

Style: Apartments

 

Day 10

See more of New Zealand's capital city then depart for your onward journey

Driving distance and time: 6 kms / 4 miles : 0.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

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.

 
 

Testimonials

"A wonderful two week loop of the South Island. We were impressed by the natural beauty in all the locations" see more