If you came to New Zealand to fulfil a dream of discovering Middle-Earth in real life, this is the Lord of the Rings tour you can’t miss. See the best filming locations at a leisurely pace on this top New Zealand guided tour. Your private guide will meet your group at the airport and take you on an insider’s tour of Middle-Earth!

Offering New Zealand’s top escorted tour operators and highly experienced tour guides, we cater for groups of 1-20 people. No date or itinerary restrictions, your Lord of the Rings guided tour can be fully customised.

21 Day Lord of the Rings Guided Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Auckland

Your fantastic guided holiday begins in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Home to 1/4 of New Zealand’s population and bordered by two stunning harbours, Auckland is thriving, diverse city surrounded by natural wonders.

Explore Auckland with your guide, visiting top attractions such as the Sky Tower, Mt Eden’s volcanic crater, Waiheke Island, Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, or Piha Beach.

Stay 1 night in Auckland.

Day 2 Bay of Islands + Dolphin Cruise

Travel time Auckland to Bay of Islands – 3 hours 

Leave the city behind as your tour continues north to the Bay of Islands, a stunning stretch of coastline with secluded beaches, forested hills, and fantastic marine wildlife.

In the afternoon, cruise among the 144 islands in the bay and keep an eye out for dolphins, whales, and penguins!

Stay 2 nights in Paihia.

Day 3 Northland Tour to 90 Mile Beach

Discover the wild northern reaches of New Zealand today with your guide – venture past forests and farmland and windswept beaches on the journey to Cape Reinga, where a lighthouse marks the northernmost tip of New Zealand.

On the way, take in the vast expanse of 90 Mile Beach and visit an ancient Kauri grove hidden within lush native bush.

Day 4 Hamilton

Travel time Bay of Islands to Hamilton – 5.5 hours 

Your tour will pass through the City of Sails once more as you continue south to Hamilton, New Zealand’s largest inland city.

In the afternoon, visit the chocolate and candy factory with your guide and relax in the city.

Stay 1 night in Hamilton.

Day 5 Waitomo Glowworm Caves Tour

Travel time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves – 1 hour 

Venture off the beaten track as your guide takes you on a scenic drive to the Waitomo Caves. The land is wilder around here, with limestone outcroppings emerging from farmland and densely forested hills rising all around, but the wildest landscape of all lies underground.

Witness the marvels of these vast caverns as you explore two fantastic caves – the Ruakuri Cave, home to a dizzying array of cave formations, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you will be dazzled by a galaxy of glowworms overhead.

Travel time Waitomo Caves to Rotorua – 2 hours 

Enjoy the scenic drive through rolling farmland to Rotorua, the geothermal capital of New Zealand.

Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.

Day 6 Hobbiton + Geothermal Wonders

Travel time Rotorua to Matamata – 1 hour 

Experience the magic of Middle-Earth as you tour the Hobbiton Movie Set, where the charming village from The Lord of the Rings has been brought to life.

In the afternoon, tour the exciting geothermal attractions in Rotorua with your guide, visiting sulphur springs, mud pools, geysers, and sinter terraces. You have the option to add on dinner at the top of the Skyline Gondola or  a Maori cultural experience including a Hangi dinner.

Day 7 Mount Doom Scenic Flight

Travel time Rotorua to Taupo – 1 hour 

Your geothermal experience will continue as you enjoy the short drive to Taupo, a small town set beside New Zealand’s largest lake. With the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park looming in the distance, and the lake itself formed from an ancient volcanic crater, you will get a close-up look at the immense forces that shaped New Zealand. Visit Huka Falls with your guide and relax on the lakefront.

In the afternoon, lift high above Lake Taupo to soar around the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park, flying over Mt Doom as you explore the craters and colourful volcanic lakes on a scenic floatplane flight.

Stay 1 night in Taupo.

Day 8 Wellington

Travel time Taupo to Wellington – 4.5 hours 

Continue south to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Your guide will help you become acquainted with this charming city – you could visit the Te Papa Museum, ride the Wellington Cable Car, or take in the views from the top of Mt Victoria.

Stay 2 nights in Wellington.

Day 9 Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour

Visit filming locations around Wellington, make a stop at Weta Studios for a guided tour, and enjoy a Lord of the Rings-themed lunch today on a fantastic full-day Lord of the Rings tour of Wellington.

Day 10 Interislander Ferry + Marlborough Wine Region Tour

Sailing time Wellington to Picton – 3 hours 

Travel time Picton to Kaikoura – 2 hours 

Begin your day with a cruise across the windswept Cook Strait.

Upon reaching the South Island, your guide will take you on a scenic drive through the Marlborough wine region, with the option to stop at a winery (or two!) along the way for samples of the award-winning wines.

Spend the evening in Kaikoura, a stunning coastal town with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Be sure to sample the superb local seafood at dinner!

Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.

Day 11 Christchurch

Travel time Kaikoura to Christchurch – 2.5 hours 

With a thriving restaurant scene, a string of beautiful parks, and a historic town centre, Christchurch is an excellent holiday destination.

Explore Christchurch with your guide, visiting the botanic gardens, the Christchurch Cathedral, the RE:Start Container Mall, and the Canterbury Museum.

Stay 2 nights in Christchurch.

Day 12 Edoras Tour

Take a journey into Middle-earth with a full day tour from Christchurch to a key Lord of the Rings filming location. Edoras, also known as Mt Sunday, is set within the remote Mt Potts high country station. Learn how the set was built on top of sheer cliffs, see exclusive photos from the film’s construction, and enjoy awe-inspiring 360-degree views from the summit.

Day 13 Mount Cook Village + Tasman Glacier

Travel time Christchurch to Mt Cook Village – 4 hours 

Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today as you cross over Burkes Pass. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner. Continue past Lake Pukaki on your way to Mt Cook Village, nestled at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain. Your guide will take you to a viewpoint over Tasman Glacier, lying at the base of the spectacular Tasman Valley.

Stay 1 night in Mt Cook Village.

Day 14 Wanaka

Travel time Mt Cook Village to Wanaka – 2 hours 

The scenery remains just as spectacular as ever while you continue your tour south to Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere. Along the way, your guide will take you to sample the fresh fruit from the orchards of Cromwell.

Explore the town with your guide, with the option to visit Puzzling World or Rippon Winery, take a scenic drive into Mt Aspiring National Park, or enjoy a peaceful lakeside stroll.

Stay 1 night in Wanaka.

Day 15 Te Anau

Travel time Wanaka to Te Anau – 3 hours

Your scenic tour will continue as you enjoy the drive over the Crown Range to Queenstown. Your guide will stop along the way for photos at fantastic viewing points.

In the afternoon, continue to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.

Day 16 Milford Sound Cruise

Embark on a fantastic journey along the Milford Highway today to New Zealand’s most iconic fiord – Milford Sound. Travel with a small tour group on this extended day trip to Milford Sound, stopping along the way for countless scenic photo opportunities and short walks plus a delicious morning tea. At Milford Sound, enjoy a scenic nature cruise that takes you up close to the majesty of the fiord – you might even spot keas, seals, dolphins, or the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin!

Day 17 Dunedin

Travel time Te Anau to Dunedin via the Catlins – 5 hours 

Along the way to Dunedin, your guide will take you on a tour of the remote Catlins coast, where you will find pounding waterfalls, an iconic lighthouse, lush native bush, a petrified forest, and maybe even penguins and dolphins! Stop for a number of nature walks and photo opportunities along the way, and soak in the wild natural beauty.

In the evening, relax in Dunedin, where you will find a number of striking historic buildings in the compact town centre.

Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.

Day 18 Taieri Gorge Railway Journey

Today, join the Taieri Gorge Railway for a spectacular journey through the rugged gorges of Central Otago.

In the afternoon, your guide will show you around Dunedin – you have the option to visit Larnach Castle, the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, Speight’s Brewery, or the Otago Peninsula.

Day 19 Queenstown – The Adventure Capital of New Zealand!

Travel time Dunedin to Queenstown – 3.5 hours 

Your adventure continues through the ever-changing hills of Central Otago, past bluffs and gorges, farmland and vineyards, to reach Queenstown.

Relax and explore the city independently in the evening, or add on a cruise and high country dinner with the TSS Earnslaw.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.

Day 20 Dart River Jet Boat Safari + Isengard

Explore the Lord of the Rings locations around Queenstown with your guide today on an excursion to the stunning Glenorchy region, nestled at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

From there, join a jet boat safari which continues past Glenorchy up the Dart River, passing into the Paradise Valley (easily recognisable as Isengard). Stop for a nature walk through the forest used as Lothlorien, and marvel at the snow-capped mountain peaks and stunning turquoise river.

Afterwards, relax and explore Glenorchy with your guide. You have the option to enjoy a forest walk, visit further filming locations (including the Ithilien Camp, the location of the Battle of Amon Hen, and the setting for Beorn’s house from The Hobbit), or take a scenic drive to Kinloch Lodge for a coffee or lunch overlooking the wild reaches of Lake Wakatipu.

Day 21 Queenstown Lord of the Rings tour

Visit the historic mining settlement of Arrowtown and explore the Lord of the Rings locations around Queenstown with your guide today on a relaxing scenic drive. Several locations you’ll see are the Argonath (the Pillars of the Kings), the Misty Mountains, the Ford of Bruinen, and Deer Park Heights (where the Battle of the Wargs and the Refugees of Rohan were filmed).

In the evening, raise a glass to a fantastic holiday!

Day 22 Depart Queenstown

Your guide will deliver you to Queenstown Airport for your departing flight.

Highlights Include: 

  • Visiting all of the top Lord of the Rings destinations, including:
    • Hobbiton
    • Mt Doom
    • Weta Workshop
    • Rivendell
    • Edoras
    • Pelennor Fields
    • Lothlorien
    • Isengard
    • The Pillars of the Kings
  • Spotting dolphins, whales, and penguins as you cruise through the stunning Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands Cruise New Zealand

  • Visiting the remote northern tip of New Zealand at Cape Reinga, and exploring 90 Mile Beach.

Cape Reinga New Zealand

  • Witnessing a fantastic galaxy of glowworms at Waitomo Caves.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves guided tour New Zealand

  • Exploring the beautiful Ruakuri Cave, filled with delicate formations and echoing waterfalls.

Ruakuri Cave family guided tour, Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

  • Experiencing the magic of Middle-Earth as you explore the exquisitely rendered Hobbiton movie set.

Green Dragon, Hobbiton movie set tour New Zealand

  • Exploring the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua – see geysers, bubbling mud pools, turquoise sulphur springs, and colourful sinter terraces.

Rotorua New Zealand

  • Visiting the magnificent Huka Falls.

Huka Falls Taupo

  • Soaring high above the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, past craters and emerald lakes and lava flows, and spotting Mt Doom along the way!

  • Visiting Weta Workshop and a number of iconic Lord of the Rings filming locations around Wellington.

Lord of the Rings tour Wellington

  • Cruising the stunning Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry.

Interislander Ferry New Zealand

  • Taking a scenic drive through the rolling Marlborough wine region – maybe even stop to taste a few of the award-winning wines along the way!

Marlborough Winery

  • Sampling the famous crayfish, blue cod, and paua in Kaikoura, a spectacular seaside town ringed by mountains.

Kaikoura New Zealand

  • Visiting the remote, spectacular valley where you will find Mount Sunday, the filming location for Edoras.

Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

  • Driving through the Mackenzie Basin, with countless photo opportunities along the way – see the craggy, snow-capped Mt Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain), drive past two stunning turquoise lakes, and witness the grandeur of the Southern Alps.

Lupins at Mount Cook, Mackenzie Basin, New Zealand

  • Discovering the strange Moeraki Boulders lying on the windswept Otago coast.

Moeraki Boulders New Zealand

  • Travelling through the rugged Taieri Gorge on an spectacular train journey through the barren wilds of Central Otago.

Taieri Gorge Railway Dunedin

  • Touring the remote Catlins Coastline – see windswept coastal vistas, pounding waterfalls, lush native bush, petrified forests, and possibly even penguins and dolphins.

Catlins Coast New Zealand

  • Journeying down the incredible Milford Highway and experiencing the grandeur of Milford Sound on an unforgettable nature cruise.

  • Staying in Queenstown, the vibrant adventure capital of New Zealand.

Queenstown New Zealand

  • Discovering the rugged surrounds of Queenstown with your guide – visit the filming locations of the Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), the site of Isildur’s fall, the Ford of Bruinen, and more!

Nomad Safaris guided tour Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Venturing into paradise on the Dart River Jet Wilderness Safari, and marvelling at the incredible filming locations of Isengard and Lothlorien.

Dart River wilderness jet safari, Queenstown, New Zealand

 

Your privately guided tour includes:

  • All transportation within New Zealand – you will be collected at the arrivals hall of Auckland Airport and dropped off at the departures hall of Queenstown Airport
  • Excellent 4-star accommodation
  • Private tour guide
  • Sightseeing and Photo Stops En Route
  • Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock Cruise
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo Tour
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
  • Mt Ruapehu Vista Scenic Floatplane Flight
  • Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour
  • Interislander Wellington to Picton Ferry
  • 4WD Tour to Edoras Including Champagne Picnic Lunch
  • Taieri Gorge Railway Journey
  • Te Anau Lord of the Rings Helicopter Tour
  • Milford Sound Fiordland Extraordinaire Tour
  • Dart River Jet Wilderness Safari

** Your privately guided tour does NOT include flights, food (except where included in activities) or travel insurance.

 

Pricing

As guide prices are split between travellers, the pricing will vary depending on the number of travellers on your tour.

1 Traveller:    NZD$34,399

2 Travellers:  NZD$18,649 per adult | NZD$17,599 per child

3 Travellers:  NZD$14,199 per adult | NZD$13,149 per child

4 Travellers:  NZD$11,999 per adult | NZD$10,899 per child

5 Travellers:  NZD$10,649 per adult | NZD$9599 per child

6 Travellers:  NZD$9749 per adult | NZD$8699 per child

7 Travellers:  NZD$9149 per adult | NZD$8049 per child

8 Travellers:  NZD$8649 per adult | NZD$7599 per child

9 Travellers:  NZD$8649 per adult | NZD$7599 per child

10 Travellers: NZD$8299 per adult | NZD$7249 per child

11 + Travellers:  Please enquire for your custom quote