Road Trip - Middle‑earth™ to the Wild West Coast

This South Island road journey takes you from sun-drenched Nelson to the mountainous West Coast, where you'll see mirror-smooth lakes and the strange Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Take advantage of local crops, eat and drink fresh from the source, and stroll around Middle EarthTM.

Go New Zealand Go New Zealand 5 months ago
Road Trip - Middle‑earth™ to the Wild West Coast

Day 1: Start your journey in Nelson

Your voyage begins in New Zealand's sunniest region, which offers a culinary feast of orchards, vineyards, and sun-kissed hop fields, as well as exquisite local breweries. Nelson is a food and wine lover's paradise, with a thriving arts scene to boot. With over 350 working artists and crafters in traditional, modern, and Mori arts working locally, you'll have no trouble selecting one-of-a-kind mementos to take home.

Split Apple Rock
Split Apple Rock Moonraker Way, Kaiteriteri, New Zealand

Add on: Middle‑earth™ and the Pelorus River

Why not spend a day between Blenheim and Nelson exploring the picturesque reserves and forest glades? Tracks leading to waterfalls and rock pools may be found, or hike over a ridge to a 417-meter summit can be found. There is also some MiddleearthTM magic in this location. Pelorus Bridge was chosen by Peter Jackson to film scenes from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The dwarfs were filmed floating down the river on barrels, an event Stephen Hunter, who played dwarf Bombur, referred to as "his favorite day on set."

Pelorus River
Pelorus River, Marlborough, New Zealand

Day 2: Wildlife encounters in Abel Tasman National Park

Visit Abel Tasman National Park for the ultimate wilderness and animal fix. The areas between the tidal line and the natural vegetation are filled with attractive golden sand beaches. Friendly marine creatures are a constant part of the scenery, while crystal clear streams fall down mossy valleys to join the ocean.

Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park, South Island, New Zealand

Day 3: Get active in Nelson Lakes National Park

Travel south from here to St Arnaud, a lovely town on the edge of Lake Rotoiti. The lush forests and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park are easily accessible from St Arnaud. There are several beautiful day hikes to select from.

Lake Rotoiti
Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, Tasman, New Zealand

Day 4: Head to Punakaiki and Hokitika

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks is a must-see for anybody visiting the West Coast. These historic limestone stacks, which date back over 30 million years, are the region's most popular natural attraction. To see the blowholes in action, go during high tide. From here, travel to Hokitika, which is known for its pounamu (greenstone) jewelry and art. Local pounamu can be purchased or you can carve a piece for yourself.

Punakaiki, New Zealand

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