Day 1 – USA to Auckland
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
Day 3 – Welcome to Auckland
Once you clear customs & immigration, please turn left in the arrivals area, and look for your driver waiting at the pre-chartered counter. Your driver will have a sign with your name on it. Transfer to your city accommodation by private vehicle.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Auckland to Rotorua, and Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Here, the tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. The guide will escort you through the ten acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Marae Hangi & Concert
Share in the Powhiri - an ancient ceremony of welcome before you are invited into the Pre-European Maori village nestled within the native Tawa forest. Enter the living village, as it comes alive with the sights, sounds and activity of days gone by, including facial tattooing, weaving, carving and demonstrations on how food was cooked and preserved many years ago. See, touch, take time and talk to the people as you wander through the village - you may even be invited to take part in stick games and warrior training. Witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit by your selected Chiefs, to reveal baskets laden with your sumptuous feast, which has been cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Rotorua to Wellington
With a backdrop of rolling green hills and a magnificent waterfront as its stage, Wellington was destined to be New Zealand's entertainment capital. It is the home to New Zealand's national museum and has more restaurants, bars and cafés per head than New York. Amazingly, this flurry of activity exists in a city that is little over a mile long and can be traversed in 20 minutes. Shop funky boutiques or people watch while nursing a cappuccino at the foreshore.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Middle Earth in Wellington
An entertaining journey of discovery through the Wellington region with a small group of discerning travelers. While most of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy film sets have now been removed, the New Zealand scenery remains as an image of Middle Earth.
Today you will visit the filming locations of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith and where the the Hobbits raced to the ferry. Be spellbound at the site of Lothlorien; the majestic Fernside Lodge. Fernside's lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien. You will sit beside the Gladden fields. Fernside's white bridge lives on as a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. Visit Rivendell and where Aragorn was washed ashore. See Mirimar - production central, and where many of the stars lived during the filming.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Wellington to Queenstown
Originally settled by the gold miners and station owners, it is now home to all the adrenaline-filled adventures such as bungee jumping, the Canyon Swing, jetboating, rafting, and amazing scenic helicopter flights. Take a more sedate gondola ride to Bob's Peak for great views or the 110 year old steamer, The Earnslaw as she cruises around Lake Wakitpu. You may wish to visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. There are some interesting wineries such as Amisfield (great for lunch or early dinners) which is just outside the town. You will find all the souvenirs you need here for your New Zealand visit, including a 'Lord of the Rings' gift store.
Queenstown is home to some superb restaurants that cater for all your appetite desires. The Cow (great pizzas), The Botswana Butchery (the name says it all), Bella Cuccini for Italian and Les Alpes for French cuisine. For the ultimate burger, visit Fergburger!Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 9 – Dart River Wilderness Safari
The Wilderness Safari takes you on a spectacular 90 minute jet boat journey through the Dart's ever-changing braided river system, where you'll be surrounded by snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys and waterfalls. It includes an easy guided 30-40 minute walk through the 'Heritage Trail' at Paradise, where your knowledgeable guide will enliven your walk with an informative and entertaining commentary about the ancient native beech forest, the unique flora and fauna, as well as the fascinating Maori and colonial history of the area. You'll also journey by coach via a scenic back-road route, while hearing stories about the surrounding countryside and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films, including 'The Lord of the Rings.'Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 10 – Safari of the Scenes
In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, we will take you on a true off-road adventure. The experienced guides will host you on a breathtaking excursion through the diverse scenery on offer in the Wakatipu Basin. We travel through historic Arrowtown and put the Land Rovers through their paces as we make a number of crossings over the Arrow River. View the stunning lake and mountain views from The Remarkables Road and the Skippers Canyon Saddle.
Some of the Lord of the Rings sites we will visit during this tour includes a glimpse of the Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings and the Ford of Bruinen. No sets left, just the gorgeous scenery featured in the film.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 11 – Queenstown to Christchurch, coach tour
Depart Queenstown and travel by Great Sights tour coach through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into Mackenzie Country to visit Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain - Aoraki (Mount Cook). There are 17 peaks over 10,000 in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. Nudging one side of Mt Cook is the Tamsan Glacier, a 30 kilometer (18 mile) giant, and one of the longest outside the Himalayas.
At Mount Cook Village, there is time to experience an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (weather permitting and additional cost) which may be booked in advance or on the day. Lunch is included today.
Then, continue north along the Tasman River, to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd - a historic church dedicated to the early pioneers of this area, and the sheepdog - a statue that is a tribute to a high country farmers' best friend. The tour continues through diverse farmland before arriving into Christchurch.Starting Accommodation:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (L)
Day 12 – Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Join the Lord of the Rings Tour and journey to the LOTR filming location: remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday. See how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoiled beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air.Starting Accommodation:
Ibis Christchurch (L)
Day 13 – Christchurch to USA
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flights.