New Zealand Vacation Itinerary - 21 Day Middle Earth Adventure - by New Zealand Encounters and Travel
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New Zealand Vacation Itinerary - 21 Day Middle Earth Adventure

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21 Day Middle Earth Adventure


Experience for yourself the magic of visiting Lord of the Rings film sites on this 21 day self-drive itinerary.

This enchanting journey includes Auckland, Taupo, Tongariro National Park, Wellington, Fiordland, Te Anau, Queenstown, The Southern Alps, Christchurch and more.



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Itinerary


Day 1 - Arrival Auckland Private transfer
Arrival Auckland International Airport. No need to deal with a rental car and juggle a map after such a long flight. We will arrange for a driver to meet you then transport you to your downtown accommodation. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have the day (or a portion of the day) to begin exploring and enjoying Auckland, 'The City of Sails'.
   
Accommodation:
Your Hotel is situated in the heart of the city and has been transformed into an art deco hotel. Beautifully presented, areas such as the entrance foyer and the lifts have been refurbished to their original 1950's glory.

One night stay.

Region:
Auckland

Day 2 - Auckland - Matamata - Taupo 4 hour drive
Enjoy a leisurely drive through one of New Zealand's richest agricultural and pastoral areas to your first LOTR site - Hobbiton! The town of Hobbiton was built during the middle of 1998 on a farm just outside the Waikato town of Matamata.

Filming didn't start until late 1999, a year after the building was completed, to allow time for the the small village to age and the gardens to grow. While much of the set has been dismantled the you will enjoy a guided tour of the site.

Your journey then takes you to Lake Taupo - our largest inland lake.
   
Accommodation:
This accommodation is a 5 star award winning lodge. Staying here is like staying with friends and family, yet with all the luxuries of lodge accommodation. Your suite has its own en-suite, and floor-to-ceiling windows to capture the lake and mountain views.

One night stay.

Region:
Lake Taupo

Day 3 - Taupo - Tongariro National Park 2 hour drive
In the distance Mordor and Mt Doom beckon - the powerful images of Mt Tongariro National Park will forever be etched in your memory as you drive south.

The Ithilien Camp was filmed at Ohakune which is located on the edge of the Park.
   
Accommodation:
The Grand Chateau was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's most famous buildings.

Two night stay.

Region:
Ruapehu

Day 4 - Tongariro No travel
Spend the day exploring the Tongariro National Park region including the volcano Tongariro where the scenes of Mt Doom and Mordor were shot.

Most of the filming was done on the volcano Tongariro for these scenes and our famous volcano Ruapehu which has erupted a few times in recent years, was not used at all.

Tongariro National Park has some great walking tracks that take you to the very top of the mountain from which spectacular views of Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Lake Taupo can be seen.

You can choose either a more demanding hike up Mount Ruapehu to the crater lake, or easier walks on the lower slopes of the mountain. Both are guided.

There is a chair lift that can take you from the car park to 2,000 metres - 6,560ft)for the start of many trails or simply enjoy the great views.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Ruapehu

Day 5 - Tongariro - Rangitikei 2 hour drive
It is a short drive drive from the National Park to the Mokai Valley and your accommodation for the next two nights.
   
Accommodation:
You accomodation is a rustic riverside retreat set on the edge of a gorge and overlooking the Rangitikei River amidst lush native bush and fertile farmland.

The remote Mokai Valley is where the scenes of River Anduin were filmed.

2Two night stay.

Region:
Wairarapa

Day 6 - Rangitikei No travel
A full day to explore the beautiful Rangitikei region where scenes from the movie for the Anduin River were shot.

Your options for today are a full or half day guided trout fishing trip, bungy jump, river rafting, walking, or just taking in the breath-taking scenery.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Wairarapa

Day 7 - Rangitikei - Levin - Wellington 4-5 hour drive
It's a straight-forward picturesque drive skirting the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges down Highway 1 to Wellington.

To experience the mystery of Trollshaw Forest & Osgiliath Wood, turn right just prior to reaching Levin and visit Waitarere Forest.
   
Accommodation:
This unique boutique hotel is located downtown in the heart of New Zealand's vibrant capital city. This Hotel is one of Wellington's icons, an ideal place to stay while you explore.

Three night stay.

Region:
Wellington

Day 8 - Wellington No travel
During your full day tour you will see the Gardens of Isengard, the felling of the Orc Tree, Anduin River, Helms Deep and Minas Tirith, the Fords of Isen, Dunharrow and Rivendell.

Your tour includes stunning and exclusive Lothlorien - you will see where Smeagol fought Deagol beside the Gladden fields. Your gourmet lunch is included and so is the trip to Miramar and Seatoun; NZs Hollywood and Production Central. See where the cast and crew lived, where the Village of Bree was and follow the path of the World Premiers.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night

Region:
Wellington

Day 9 - Wellington No travel
You have a full day to explore the many scenic and civic highlights this beautiful city has to offer; including the new Te Papa museum, The Beehive (New Zealand's Parliament Building), the shops and restaurants of Lambton Quay and Cuba Street.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Wellington

Day 10 - Wellington - Picton - Nelson 3 hour ferry + 2.5 hour drive
A 9.30am ferry crossing has you in Picton by 12.30pm and the opportunity to enjoy Marlbrough wine country before driving to the Nelson region.

Your Southern Middle Earth Adventure is about to begin!
   
Accommodation:
Your accommodation is a beutifully restored, historic home overlooking the harbour entrance, Haulashore Island and Tasman Bay. The Tasman & Arthur mountain ranges contribute to some dramatic sunsets.

Three night stay.

Region:
Nelson

Day 11 - Nelson with optional Abel Tasman No travel
The Abel Tasman Park is only one hour from Nelson and offers a lovely coastline, a fabulous walking track and glorious beaches. Close to Abel Tasman is Takaka Hill where scenes for the Chetwood Forest were filmed in Lord of the Rings.

A very popular and highly recommended way to enjoy the region is on a kayak excursion. The Park is usually very calm due to the mountains blocking the prevailing wind. The day trip gives the opportunity to see the many bays, coves and wildlife of the region.

Travel by water taxi from Marahau to Anchorage Bay in the heart of the park. From there, kayak north exploring the magnificent beaches & peaceful lagoons.

After a picnic beachside lunch, hoist the sail on your kayak and sail back to Anchorage Bay on the afternoon breeze. Return to Marahau with the water taxi.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Nelson

Day 12 - Nelson No travel
Today you may choose to enjoy the city of Nelson with its' picturesque and charming city centre, many craft outlets, art galleries and easily acessible beaches.

Mt Olympus, in Golden Bay, is a remote location in the Kahurangi National Park. This location provided footage for scenes in the Eregion Hills, along with the rough country south of the Elven stronghold of Rivendell, home of Elrong. Frodo recovers here and the Fellowship of the Rings was formed here.

Visit Jens Hansen's studio in Nelson where "The Ring" was created.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Nelson

Day 13 - Nelson - Queenstown flight
Your mid-morning flight will take you into the heart of the South Island to the Misty Mountains, Amon Hen and the Ford of Bruinen.

You will have some time this afternoon to familiarise yourself with Queenstown; we suggest you ride the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak (a must). The views are phenomenal! There is a restaurant, walking tracks, bungy jump and luge up top - big fun!
   
Accommodation:
This B&B has magnificent views overlooking Queenstown. The vibrant town centre is only a short walk away.

Three night stay.

Region:
Queenstown

Day 14 - Queenstown No travel
This is a very special full day tour!

By the end of the day, you will have visited 18 locations and had the opportunity to handle Narsil, Hadhafang, Sting, Gimli's Helm, Evenstar, Aragorn's Ring and a real elven cloak with an elven mallorn leaf brooch.
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Queenstown

Day 15 - Queenstown - Glenorchy - Queenstown 1 hour drive
After breakfast, you will join your special day trip into Middle Earth where Lothlorien, Fangorn and Amon Hen were filmed.

This is a true wilderness experience. A journey of discovery, ancient forests, cascading waterfalls; New Zealand wilderness at its best.

Now you travel down the river via inflatable canoes. You journey through rock gorges, down a slow scenic river absorbing the serene tranquillity of this 'lost land'.

Arrival back at your accommodation is around 5:00pm.
   
Accommodation:
Same as the previous night.

Region:
Queenstown

Day 16 - Queenstown - Fiordland 2 hour drive
Today you depart the bustle of Queenstown and head south to the wonders of the Fiordland National Park and two Lord of the Rings film sites.

Just before entering the National Park you will take a short detour to the Mavora Lakes. The beautiful Mavora Lakes were the setting for 6 sites including Nen Hithoel. In the movie, hairy-footed hobbits and stench-ridden Orcs can be seen against the backdrop of these lakes and impressive mountains.

Then it's onto Lake Te Anau and the small township of Te Anau. Once settled into your accommodation you may then want to drive to the start of the Kepler Track where the Kepler Mire is located.

The Kepler Mire was used to shoot scenes of the Dead Marshes. Kepler Mire is the largest of the wetlands in the Te Anau Basin wetland complex and is the largest known string bog in New Zealand. It is a very rare type of wetland in the Southern Hemisphere as it is found mostly in arctic conifer forests in high northern latitudes.

You may also want to visit the nearby bird park to see the Takahe birds. They were once thought to be extinct until a tramper in the 1950's found one of these large, friendly and colourful birds.
   
Accommodation:
Architectually designed and located perfectly to give magnificent views of Lake Te Anau and mountains, your motel accommodation is only 3 minutes walk to the town centre.

Two night stay.

Region:
Fiordland

Day 17 - Milford Sound Day Trip Full day guided trip
A day to sit back, let someone else do the driving and enjoy the scenery while listening to entertaining and insightful commentary.

Your day begins at 8:30am when you join this small group tour (only 12 maximum). Walks, morning tea by a river, photographic stops and more are enjoyed on the road from Te Anau out to Milford Sound. You then hop on a two hour morning cruise on Milford Sound. This day trip is truly a special excursion that requires lots of film!
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Fiordland

Day 18 - Fiordland - Lake Tekapo 5 hour drive
Today you head towards our highest mountain, Mount Cook, via Queenstown.

The smooth velvety mountains of the Lindis Pass are the highlight of this drive. Just past Omarama on your left, you will see the Clay Cliffs. They are quite dramatic, if you want a detour there is a turn off to the cliffs and a walkway amongst the cliffs.

Twizel is a small service town in the Mackenzie Country between Queenstown and Lake Tekapo and was used for filming scenes of the Pelennor Fields.

Tekapo township sits at the southern end of the lake facing north with remarkable views across the turquoise coloured lake towards the mountains beyond. The setting is both majestic and awe-inspiring.
   
Accommodation:
Your B&B is built on an elevated site overlooking Lake Tekapo and has spectacular unobstructed lake and alpine views.

Two night stay.

Region:
Central Otago

Day 19 - Lake Tekapo
Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer are readily accessible to travellers. By boat, you explore the huge dripping iceface of New Zealand's largest glacier. Watch and listen to the ice melting before your eyes in this tranquil glacial lake nestled in the Southern Alps.

Fantastic photographic opportunities are abundant.

The grandeur of New Zealand's most spectacular alpine destination will leave an impression which is difficult to describe and impossible to forget!
   
Accommodation:
Same as previous night.

Region:
Central Otago

Day 20 - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch 4 hour drive
You will drive to Christchurch today through the sprawling plains of Southern Canterbury, with the Southern Alps spread out across the Western horizon.

The drive will take you to Methven, then onto Mount Sommers where you follow a gravel road to the location for Edoras which is set on the summit of Mt Sunday. You may choose to take up the option to see Edoras on a four wheel drive tour which is an additional cost.
   
Accommodation:
This beautifully preserved heritage house is furnished in classic Victorian style, complete with a superb collection of fine art and antiques and is situated in Worcester Boulevard, opposite the Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, Museums and Art Gallery.

One night stay.

Region:
Canterbury

Day 21 - Christchurch - International Departure
Depending on your International departure flight, you may have time today to explore the garden city of Christchurch. A domestic flight to Auckland may be required for those departing New Zealand from Auckland.

For those who can, we suggest adding another day so you can enjoy this charming city.
   
Accommodation:


Region:
Canterbury



Pricing and Inclusions


With accommodations and activities as advertised
From $5,500 NZD per person (Share Twin)

Inclusions


    • Preferred Accommodations & Meals as listed.
    • Budget Rental Car - Mid Size, automatic transmission with airconditioning and partial insurance.
    • Preferred Accommodations & Meals as listed.
    • Budget Rental Car - Mid Size, automatic transmission with airconditioning and partial insurance.
    • Designer Travel's exclusive Lord of the Rings travel pack with highlighted maps of your route, area guides for each region you visit and your comprehensive daily planner with sightseeing and activity options and suggestions.
    • Airport - Accomodation Transfer Auckland
    • Queenstown LOTR site Tour
    • Dart River Fun Yaks full day
    • Milford Sound small group Coach & Cruise
    • Wellington - Picton Ferry Crossing
    • Hobbiton Village Tour
    • Wellington LOTR sites full day tour
    • Glacier Lake by boat
    • Exclusive Lord of the Rings travel pack with highlighted maps of your route, area guides for each region you visit and your comprehensive daily planner with sightseeing and activity options and suggestions.

Exclusions


    • Optional activities not specified
    • Meals not specified
    • Internal Domestic Airfares
    • International Airfares
    • Petrol/oil and collision damage waiver with rental vehicles
    • Items of a personal nature such as laundry/liquor etc

Departures


Departures for this trip is on a daily basis. The popularity of these accommodations means significant advance booking is recommended.

Accommodation and Meals


Included Meals as advertised:
12 Breakfasts

Accommodations:
All accommodations described are our preferred accommodation for that destination. Every effort will be taken to supply the described property. Should there be limited availability at the described accomodation, a suitable and comparable substitute will be offered. Revised pricing will be offered if the accommodation level alters.

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