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  • Middle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth Explorer
  • Middle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth Explorer

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Middle Earth Explorer


Begin writing your own story as you travel to Middle Earth in this exclusive New Zealand journey. Spend time touring through the farmlands and landscapes used as sets, explore spectacular geothermal parks, and witness a powerful cultural performance by the Maori people. Spend the next day visiting filming locations of the Shire and Helms Deep, then embrace your adventurous side on a Dart River Wilderness Safari and imagine yourself on screen, surrounded by iconic mountains and landmarks; the perfect opportunity to see New Zealand's true beauty. Wander through this one-of-a-kind country, checking out Hobbiton Village, century-old forests and majestic mountainscapes as you embark on an adventure from North Island to South Island. 

Middle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth ExplorerMiddle Earth Explorer


Day By Day

Day 1 – Welcome to Auckland
Encircled by three harbors totaling 18,000 miles of coastline, hundreds of Auckland’s beaches are within easy reach. And they’re all so different, from idyllic white-sand beaches to wild black-sand surf spots. Get into some of the countless activities on and off the water or just unwind and soak up the views. Or opt to see modern and traditional works from around the world at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Visit smaller local galleries to pick up a special painting, sculpture or carving to take home, stroll through modern sculpture parks, or join an intimate art appreciation tour.

Starting Accommodation: Rydges Auckland


Day 2 – Auckland to Rotorua Via Hobbiton
Enjoy a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy for a fascinating guided tour. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Travel through the heritage town of Cambridge where tree-lined streets add to the English-style atmosphere. From here, the journey continues through undulating green hills, reminding you that you are approaching Hobbiton Shire. On arrival at Shire's Rest, embark on a Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest 'green set' in the world and the only place where you get an emotional response with a movie set in a natural setting. There are 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and the Green Dragon Inn. At this stunning location, guests may take photographs at the door of Bilbo's house, 'Bag End', and look out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. After the tour, lunch is available for purchase at the Shire's Rest Cafe before joining the shuttle to transfer you to Rotorua.

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside


Day 3 – Eco Thermal Park Tour and Marae Hangi & Concert
Depart from your Rotorua city accommodations for this small-group half-day tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. Today's tour will visit Wai O Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The two parks offer a variety of thermal activity: at Wai-o-tapu, the colorful hot springs are the key features along with the famous Lady Knox geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic valley, the guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption that blew open this now spectacular, bush covered geothermal park. The local naturalist guide will explain the volcanic processes of Rotorua and New Zealand while you have the opportunity to view the volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool, and hot springs. This half-day tour operates 8:30am to 12:30pm with hotel pick-ups prior to departure.

Later, experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling and hangi feasting. This Twilight Cultural Tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and powhiri (ancient ceremony of welcome) before you will be 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. At the heart of the Village, enter the ancestral Meeting House and relax as the families entertain you with a powerful Cultural performance, including action songs, poi, stick games and the famous 'haka' - Maori War Dance. The sharing of food is an important part of Maori custom - join in the traditional hangi buffet feast, followed by New Zealand dessert. The evening draws to an end with the Poroporoaki - the official closing ceremony, before you are safely transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by motor-coach.

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Meals: Dinner


Day 4 – Travel to Wellington
Takeoff to Wellington and continue on the next stage of your adventure.

Starting Accommodation: QT Museum Hotel


Day 5 – 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 and to 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, in addition to the world famous Weta Cave; now including the Windows into Workshop exhibition. This gives a unique 'behind the scenes' look at the inner workings of Weta Studios.

Starting Accommodation: QT Museum Hotel
Meals: Lunch


Day 6 – Travel to Queenstown
Takeoff to Queenstown and continue on the next stage of your adventure.

Starting Accommodation: Hotel St. Moritz


Day 7 – Dart River Wilderness Safari
Transfer from Queenstown by coach to Glenorchy and the mouth of the Dart River to board the 18-foot specially prepared jet boat. 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.

The tour includes an easy guided 30-minute bush walk at Rockburn at Paradise where your knowledgeable guide will enliven your walk with an informative and entertaining commentary about the native forest, the unique flora and fauna, as well as the fascinating Maori and colonial history of the area. Rejoin the jetboat for the ride back to Glenorchy where you will board the coach for the transfer back to Queenstown.

Starting Accommodation: Hotel St. Moritz


Day 8 – Safari of the Scenes
Travel in a safari-equipped 4WD vehicle for 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. Travel through historic Arrowtown, and then the Land Rovers are put through their paces making 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 visited during this half-day tour include a glimpse of the Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings and the Ford of Bruinen. No sets are left, just the gorgeous scenery featured in the film.

Starting Accommodation: Hotel St. Moritz


Day 9 – Queenstown to Mt Cook and Christchurch
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 feet in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. To one side of Mt. Cook is the mighty 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. From Mount Cook, head back to the highway to continue north along the Tasman River, to Lake Tekapo, where you may 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 high country farmers' best friend. The tour continues through diverse farmland before arriving in Christchurch. Tour duration is around 12 hours, and stops may be made along the way to collect and drop off additional passengers.

Starting Accommodation: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch
Meals: Lunch


Day 10 – 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: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch
Meals: Lunch


Day 11 – Depart Christchurch
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flights.


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Included Activities

Dart River Wilderness Safari
Dart River Wilderness Safari
Queenstown
Length: Half-day
Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tour
Rotorua
Length: Half-day
Middle-earth Film Locations
Middle-earth Film Locations
Wellington
Length: Half-day
Safari of the Scenes
Safari of the Scenes
Queenstown
Length: Half-day


Pricing

Package Level: Superior

Please note all prices listed are approximations and subject to current rate of exchange adjustments. Each itinerary can be fully customized to your interests and needs.

Twin Share
7/1/2021 - 9/30/2021$3,310
10/1/2021 - 10/31/2021$3,360
11/1/2021 - 11/30/2021$3,620
12/1/2021 - 1/31/2022$3,600
2/1/2022 - 3/31/2022$3,640
Single Traveler
7/1/2021 - 9/30/2021$4,835
10/1/2021 - 10/31/2021$4,905
11/1/2021 - 11/30/2021$5,445
12/1/2021 - 1/31/2022$5,370
2/1/2022 - 3/31/2022$5,445

Add internal air to this package from $215*


Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms