Elven Magic 2-Weeks in Middle‑earth™
Gorgeous and enchanted places are important to elves, and this two-week trip will show you some of New Zealand's most beautiful spots. As you go around the North and South Islands, look for filming locations such as Forest River, Dimrill Dale, and Lothlorien.
Day 1: Auckland
Auckland is your entry to Middle-earthTM, a dazzling coastal metropolis of islands and harbours noted for its breathtaking beauty and laid-back culture. Rangitoto, a dormant volcanic island within Auckland's bay, is only a short ferry trip away. Climb to the top for a 360-degree panorama of the city and its surrounding islands. Then go to the Viaduct, Britomart, and Wynyard Quarter for the evening. Gourmet eateries and a burgeoning nightlife can be found in these bustling downtown districts. Take in the vibrant atmosphere while enjoying high-quality food and drink.
AucklandAuckland, New Zealand
Day 2: Auckland to Hamilton via Hobbiton™
After spending the night in Auckland, head south to the Hobbiton Movie Set. In both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Hobbiton appears exactly as it did in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Take a look at the Party Tree and Bag. Close the distance between you and the Green Dragon InnTM before satisfying your thirst with a pint of ale. Continue on to Waitomo, the filming location for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's Trollshaw Forest and Staddle's Farm. Explore the filming location for the Troll Camp Fire sequences on a guided trip through Mangaotaki Valley. The neighboring towering limestone cliffs will make you feel as though you've just walked into MiddleearthTM itself.
Ngarunui BeachNgarunui Beach, Wainui Road, Raglan 3297, New Zealand
Day 3: Visit Waitomo Caves
Explore the Waitomo Tunnels and everything they have to offer - this maze of caves is hidden beneath the Waitomo Valley's rolling green hills. Glowworms twinkle in the night, as rivers and walking paths wind their way through the caves. Take a walking tour of the underground waterways or try Blackwater rafting. Because of their acoustic quality, Peter Jackson used sound captured in Waitomo Caves for scenes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Take a flight to Wellington in the afternoon from the neighboring Hamilton Airport.
Waitomo CavesWaitomo Caves, New Zealand
Day 4: Explore Wellington
Weta Workshop and Weta Cave are located in Wellington, New Zealand's film production capital. The Hobbit trilogy's post-production was completed entirely here. There is also a thriving cultural and theatre scene in the city, as well as numerous live music venues to visit. Take in broad city views with a cable-car journey to the Kelburn overlook, and keep your eyes peeled and pats ready for Mittens the cat of Wellington, who was filmed nearby in Mount Victoria (which resembled Hobbiton Woods).
WellingtonWellington, New Zealand
Day 5: Wellington to Nelson
Take the ferry from Wellington to Picton before continuing on to Nelson. There's lots to do here, as well as some great filming settings to explore, as it's known as New Zealand's sunniest region. Nelson is a place that you can easily spend a couple of days exploring with its magnificent beaches, rich national parks, and eccentric settlements. Paddle from one white sand beach to the next in a kayak. Chetwood Forest and Dimrill Dale, both south of Rivendell, are nearby filming locations.
Marlborough DistrictMarlborough District, Marlborough, New Zealand
Day 6: Discover Nelson region
Spend the day exploring the Nelson region. Visit Jens Hansen Jewellers, the designers of The One Ring, or take a trip through Abel Tasman National Park to see offbeat galleries. Wineries abound in the region, making it ideal for people who enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc, riesling, or pinot gris.
Day 7 - 8: Nelson to West Coast Glaciers
Travel down the West Coast to Franz Josef at your leisure. On the way, don't forget to stop by the famed Punakaiki Rocks. Cliffs and ravines rise out of the rough shoreline with hundreds of horizontal slices resembling hotcakes. Water columns rise high, driven through millions of years of tiny blowholes. The glaciers here flow practically to sea level, making them some of the most accessible glaciers on the planet. There are numerous opportunities to get up close and personal with the glaciers. From casual strolls to a guided glacier hike, there's something for everyone. Scenic heli-flights allow you to completely experience the enormity of the landscape. The lighting of the beacons is one of the nearby filming sites.
Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Day 9: West Coast to Wanaka
Today's drive is long, but the breathtaking alpine landscape along the way to Wanaka is worth numerous photo stops. Spend the night in this quaint lakeside village and dine at one of the numerous eateries. Make sure to sample some of the region's prized pinot noir.
You'll wake up amid a deep blue lake and soaring mountains, and the parallels to MiddleearthTM are unending.
Treble ConeTreble Cone, New Zealand
Day 10 - 11: Wanaka to Glenorchy
Today's adventure takes you into the heart of the actual Middle EarthTM, with various filming locations from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in Glenorchy. Glenorchy's settings, set against a backdrop of towering mountains and native forest, are ideal for film scouts. Isengard, Lothlorien, and Fangorn Forest were all filmed here by Peter Jackson. Beorn's House in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was located in nearby Paradise. While you're here, take a short hike or horseback ride through the local area's trails.
GlenorchyGlenorchy 9372, New Zealand
Day 12 - 14: Explore Queenstown & surrounds
Queenstown is a popular visitor destination surrounded by mountains and a crystal-clear lake, offering everything from adventurous activities to luxury and world-class wine. The Ford of Brunein, The Gladden Fields, Pillars of the Kings, Isengard, and Lothlorien are among the many Middle-earthTM filming locations.
Take your time visiting Queenstown and the surrounding area. Take a gorgeous flight or go for a day trek in the nearby mountains. Arrowtown, a gold-mining town, is well worth a visit if you have the time. End your Middle-earthTM New Zealand experience with an adrenaline-pumping bungy jump you won't soon forget.