...we are having a great great great trip!!!
Ellie L.
New Zealand
by The Travel Group
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Self drive - to explore The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Day 01: Arrive in Auckland which is the country’s largest city and home to 1.5 million people. It is surrounded by two harbours and offers world class accommodation, outstanding food and wine and great shopping.

Day 02: Drive from Auckland to Waitomo (approximately 2 hours)
Here you will see the subterranean waterfalls; spectacular glowworm light displays and awe inspiring rock formations created millions of years ago. With its name coming from ‘Wai’ which translates as water and ‘tomo’ which means entrance or hole in Maori, Waitomo is the perfect setting for some of New Zealand’s natural wonders.

Filming for The Hobbit’ trilogy took place on private farmland just around the corner from the famous Waitomo Caves and locals moved out of their homes to allow the film crew to stay in the area.

Day 3: Explore more of the caves before driving from Waitomo to Hamilton (approximately 1 hour.)

The riverside city of Hamilton lies in the heart of the Waikato region. Best known for nature based tourism and off the beaten track experiences, the city and surrounding area offers something for everyone.

Day 4: 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 Sir Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema in 1998 during an aerial search for film sites for The Lord of the Rings. Mature pine trees 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. Tolkein. It became the famous setting for Hobbiton and was rebuilt in 2011 for The Hobbit trilogy to remain a permanent tourist attraction.

Just 45 minutes from Hamilton, you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings movies in a fascinating two hour guided tour. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Rangers 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 Shire’s Rest café before heading down to Rotorua. The drive from Matamata to Rotorua will take about 45 minutes.

Day 05: 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 Maori 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.

Day 06: Drive to Taupo, and visit the famous Huka Falls – New Zealand’s most visited tourist attraction and the Aratiatia Rapids – where filming also took place.

Day 07: Drive to Tongariro (about 1 hour)
This is one of the favourite locations for the cast and crew of The Hobbit who were really impressed by the scenery and the cultural experience the local Maori people gave them.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is described as one of the best one-day hikes in New Zealand crossing from alpine meadows to mountain summit with stunning volcanic features along the way. Walk across a lunar landscape of craters, scattered pumice, active volcanoes, mountain springs, lava flows, emerald lakes, piles of scoria and statue-like mounds of volcanic desert. This is an 8-9 hour guided trek. The summit of Mt Tongariro is 1967 m and Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), 2287m above sea level.

Day 08: Drive from Tongariro to Wellington (approximately 4.5 hours)
Nestled between a picturesque harbour and forest clad hills, the views are everywhere. Wellington has pioneered museums, public galleries and civic space to give the city an easy-living style. Boutique shops, chic cafés and restaurants are always busy. The compact city is a pleasure to walk around with a lively waterfront and bays all around the harbour to enjoy.

Day 09: In Wellington
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.
"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. 

Day 10: Departure

Marie is very happy to answer any of your questions, or for more information contact her at:
marie@travelg.com or 604-681-6345

 

There is much excitement in New Zealand right now with the world premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington. Air New Zealand has painted their aircraft with Hobbit characters and produced a great flight safety video promoting the movie.

So if you are a Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fan here is a suggested self drive itinerary for you to include on your next trip to Middle Earth!