- Destinations AsiaCaribbeanEurope
- Travel themes Round tripsTravel category
- Travel magazine
- German Site
- French Site
Thank you for your interest in this trip. If you want to revisit this page, use the QR-code shown or use the following link: https://en.itravel.lu/select/6288-new-zealand-an-unexpected-journey
The locations of the "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" films are scattered all over the island state.
The lush green hills of the town of Matamata served as the backdrop for Tolkien's Hobbit Village.
On this trip, experience not just the Shire, but also the other impressive movie sets.
You will start your journey in Auckland, where you will pick up your rental car.
The scenery is now one of the most popular tourist spots on the North Island.
Our experiences will take you to the Shire.
Take unforgettable photos here in the home of the hobbits.
The next stop is Rotorua - where it steams and bubbles everywhere.
Do you recognize it in the distance? That's right, that's Mount Doom. Our experience will take you there.
You will also stop in Wellington, the last town on the North Island.
The ferry crossing is one of the most beautiful in the world.
In the interior, the park is lush green. The coasts, on the other hand, have crystal clear water.
On the itinerary, you will also stop at the Franz Josef Glacier.
More than once you will see and recognize the sets of the film series live.
Haven't you always imagined Middle Earth to be like New Zealand?
Let yourself be enchanted by the impressive landscape of New Zealand.
Fall in love with New Zealand and the great landscapes.
Along the way, you'll pass by sets from the films again and again.
Do you recognize the river? Yes, some scenes were shot here as well.
Experience the famous Lord of the Rings movie sets live
Exciting Hobbit tours & get to know unique landscapes
Merging reality & fantasy
Stay in selected 4 and 5-star hotels with a dreamy background
Explore New Zealand's North and South Islands for 3 weeks with a rental car
Beautiful coastal landscapes, countless volcanic craters, icy glaciers and lush green rainforests - New Zealand, home to dreamy and multifaceted landscapes where the world-famous Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. Are you a Tolkien fan? Then fly with us to the end of the world and we'll show you the best and most exclusive film locations on the North and South Islands.
Today your adventure in New Zealand officially begins. A long-awaited dream finally comes true, because today you will be in the country where the LOTR movies were filmed.
Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is located in the northern part of the North Island between two large harbors. Known for its diverse water sports activities, the so-called City of Sails is a slice of heaven for all sports lovers and nature enthusiasts.
The famous Skytower is a real highlight. At 328 meters, it is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Tip for the very brave: Sky Jump or Sky Walk in a breathtaking setting (optional).
Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium is another must-see for all New Zealand travelers (optional). A transparent tunnel takes you through the underwater world and lets sharks, rays and colorful fish swim above you. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the cute little penguins and if you are looking for an adrenaline rush, organized shark diving is just the thing - an unforgettable experience.
The famous Queen Street, Auckland's busiest street, offers everything your heart desires: numerous stores, cozy restaurants and trendy bars.
Auckland Airport - Auckland Hotel: 20 km / approx. 30 minutes
1 night at Great Ponsonby Arthotel****+ with breakfast in a villa, Auckland, New Zealand
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, you will head south. Your next destination is Waitomo. The town is known for its cave system with stalactites and stalagmites, inhabited by glowworms. However, not only did the caves serve as a movie set, but also the rest of the Waitamo Valley (optional).
Discover the settings for Staddles Farm and Trollshaw Forest. Would you have guessed that the attack of the orcs, as well as the poignant scene in which Gandalf presents Bilbo with the sword, Sting, were filmed here? Take a photo at this exact spot - an amazing souvenir. If you’d like this experience, just book it with us!
Auckland - Waitomo: 200 km / approx. 2.5 hours
1 night in Woodlyn Park at Hobbit Motel, Otorohanga, New Zealand
Your journey continues to Rotorua today. Make a stop in Matamata, known for dairy farming. The lush green landscape around the town served as a film set for the Shire in Middle Earth. And this is exactly where the village of Hobbiton was built. Since then, it has permanently served as a tourist attraction.
You can join a guided tour to visit Hobbiton. See the homes of Sam and Frodo and walk along the many small hobbit caves. As you walk with your guide, experience how authentic the quaint hobbit village is. See the great macrokarpa needle tree under which the great birthday party for Bilbo was held and fortify yourself with a delicious lunch at the café, The Shires Nest (optional).
After taking pictures of Hobbiton and the gorgeous green landscape, continue to Rotorua. Situated on the volcanic plateau, this small town is well worth a visit at any time of the year. Here you will discover the culture of the Maoris, the indigenous people of Australia, and come across hot springs, bubbling mud holes and a strong smell of sulfur that will fill your nostrils.
Your journey to Rotorua will take you past fields and wide meadows.
Waitomo - Rotorua: 136 km / approx. 2 hours
1 night at Robertson House with breakfast in the Blue Room, Rotorua, New Zealand
Your itinerary today takes you further to Tongariro National Park. On your drive south, you will see New Zealand's largest lake, Taupo Lake. Originally an ancient volcanic crater, it is now filled with water and covers an area of 616 km².
After arriving in New Zealand's oldest national park, check into your hotel.
Because of its cultural and natural features, Tongariro National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nearly 100 years. In 1887, it was given to the people of New Zealand as a gift from the Maori chief, Te HayHay.
It is also the fourth oldest national park and includes three active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Besides the volcanic activities, the area also offers enough space for pure adventure. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day hike along emerald green lakes and volcanic rocks, is very popular. Experience the unique volcanic landscape here and get a fantastic view of Lake Taupo.
With a height of 2797 meters, Mount Ruapehu is not only the highest volcano in New Zealand, but also served as a filming location for the Lord of the Rings trilogy - namely as a backdrop for Mordor and the Emyn Muil. At the rocky outcrop called Meads Wall, Frodo and Sam managed to capture Gollum. On the slopes, as well as on the surrounding parking lots, scenes where the orcs attacked the elves and humans were also filmed.
Rotorua - Tongariro National Park: 180 km / approx. 2.5 hours
2 nights accommodation at Chateau Tongariro**** with breakfast in Run of House Room, Whakapapa, New Zealand
After breakfast at the hotel, a new adventure awaits you: a thrilling hike through Tongariro National Park. Hike past different vegetation zones and see turquoise blue lakes, partly active volcanoes and vast crater landscapes - a landscape you only know from movies (optional).
But here the dreamy scenery also served as a filming location for Tolkien’s trilogy. Most of the scenes for Mordor were shot here. And don't forget to take a look at Mount Ngauruhoe, also known as Mount Doom. Once in Tongariro National Park, you can let your imagination run wild and we guarantee you will get your money's worth - it's easy to imagine the whole area full of orcs and the fires of Modor. Your guide is the best person to ask any questions, as he worked with the Lord of the Rings crew for a total of 8 weeks during filming.
Please remember to bring clothing that is appropriate for the outdoors, sturdy shoes and enough water. You can book the experience in advance with us, of course.
Another highlight awaits you today: You will drive to Wellington and explore New Zealand's capital. Passing the inland, you will pass the coastal section of the Kapiti Coast and cross the small towns of Palmerston, Levin, Otaki and Paraparaumu, before finally experiencing Wellington after about 4.5 hours.
Wellington is deemed the gateway to the South Island and lies between two harbors surrounded by natural lush nature. Known for its art, culture and unique landscapes, Wellington is also a real gourmet paradise.
Once in Wellington, don't miss the beautiful Botanical Gardens. Also, visit the interactive Museum of New Zealand Te Papa as well as the Mount Victoria lookout, from where you can enjoy an unforgettable view of all parts of the small capital.
One of New Zealand's most important Lord of the Rings filming locations is Mount Victoria, which you can easily reach on foot from the city center. The mountain's woodlands served as the backdrop for Hobbiton Forest. This is where the hobbits hid from the black riders. The amazing Wellington Kaitoke Regional Park was turned into Rivendell and it was where Frodo recovered from the knife attack of the Nazgûl.
Just a 45-minute drive northwest of Wellington is Queen Elizabeth Park. Impressive scenes of the successful motion picture were also shot here. Can you spot the fields where the legendary battle between the Nazgûl ringwraiths and the elephant-like Mûmakil was filmed?
Or visit the unique Putangirua Pinnacles, an unusual rock formation. Get up close and personal with the eerie scene where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli searched for the Paths of the Dead.
Travel time Tongariro National Park - Wellington: 337 km / approx. 4.5 hours
2 nights' accommodation at QT Museum Hotel****+ with breakfast in an executive studio, Wellington, New Zealand.
It’s time to leave the North Island. After breakfast at your hotel, check out at your hotel and drive with your rental car to the ferry pier (you take your car onto the ferry). During the approx. 3-hour ferry crossing to New Zealand's South Island, enjoy a gorgeous landscape as far as the eye can see - don’t forget your camera. You will cross the famous Cook Strait and enjoy a unique view of New Zealand's capital. With a little luck, you can also see dolphins here. By the way, this ferry crossing was once called the "most beautiful ferry crossing in the world".
In the early afternoon, you will reach Picton. Here you will pick up your rental car again and continue to the Abel Tasman National Park. On the way, you will pass by the city of Nelson. With its golden beaches, lush bushes and artistic city center, New Zealand's sunniest region is the ideal place to stop and enjoy the great weather. Our tip: Visit the jeweler Jens Hansen, also called "The Ringmaker". The Ringmaker was responsible for producing 40 different rings for the fanciful trilogy and has an original ring on display in his store. Did you know that a ring with a diameter of 20 cm was made for the close-ups so that it can be seen better when it is lying in the snow? You can have a replica made here as a special souvenir!
After this short rest, your itinerary continues to New Zealand's smallest as well as most popular national park, the Abel Tasman National Park. This coastal paradise covers an area of 225 km² and offers a dreamy, diverse landscape: bays, crystal clear creeks and fine golden beaches invite you to relax.
Ferry crossing Wellington - Picton: approx. 3.5 hours
Picton - Abel Tasman National Park: 180 km / approx. 2.5 hours
3 nights in Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets**** with breakfast in Studio Unit, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
The Abel Tasman National Park was named after Abel Tasman, the first European to set foot in New Zealand in 1642. A magnificent landscape and a rich wildlife make up New Zealand's smallest national park. Numerous bird species like cormorants, boobies and little blue penguins enrich this beautiful coastal paradise and make it the oasis it is for everyone who gets to visit it.
Lord of the Rings fans also get their money's worth here. You can, for example, take a trip to the mountainous landscape of Takaka Hill, about 70 km away, and visit the forest area that represented Chetwald in the trilogy. This is also where the scene where the hobbits run through the forest and try to outrun the Black Riders was filmed.
Today you will depart for Punakaiki after three wonderful days in the Abel Tasman National Park. On your onward journey, you will pass the small town of Murchison. You can make a stopover on the west coast in the town of Westport if necessary. Visit, for example, New Zealand's northernmost seal colony in Tauranga Bay, 12 km away, and then continue along the coast until you reach your destination after about 50 min. Known for its “Pancake Rocks", Punakaiki is surrounded by beautiful landscapes in the heart of the Paparoa National Park.
Abel Tasman National Park - Punakaiki: 284 km / approx. 4 hours
1 night at Punakaiki Resort**** with breakfast in Standard Room, Punakaiki, New Zealand
After breakfast at the hotel, you will leave the Paparoa National Park and drive to your destination today, the town of Franz Josef - famous for the eponymous glacier. You will continue along the west coast and, after about 90 km, you will pass the small town of Hokitika. Make a short stop here and take in the Tasman Sea before reaching Franz Josef. Our tip: A helicopter flight over Fox Glacier, which is about 14 kilometers long, is a flight that promises breathtaking landscapes and an experience that will certainly not leave you cold.
Duration of the Punakaiki - Franz Josef trip: 215 km / approx. 3 hours
1 night at Rainforest Retreat**** with breakfast at Tree Hutt, Franz Josef, New Zealand
Today you will continue your journey to Wanaka. You will drive further south along the west coast and pass the village of Haast. Wherever you look, you will experience an unspoiled landscape: green valleys, spectacular waterfalls and quiet rivers await you. Passing Mount Aspiring National Park, which stands out for its alpine landscape, you will reach the small town of Wanaka after a short drive of only a few minutes. Situated on the fourth largest inland lake in New Zealand, Wanaka is the ideal starting point for adrenaline junkies, hiking enthusiasts and travelers seeking relaxation. Relax at a local restaurant or end the day at a trendy bar.
Franz Josef - Wanaka: 285 km / approx. 3.5 hours
2 nights accommodation at Tin Tub Luxury Lodge**** with breakfast in Peak View Room, Wanaka, New Zealand
Another exciting experience awaits you today: you will drive to New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. Embark on the challenging Crown Range Road and you will be rewarded with a unique panoramic view. From the Cardrona Valley, you can take a short detour to Mount Cardrona. From the mountain, see mysterious backdrops that served as filming locations for Middle Earth, such as the Waiau River, which embodies the Anduin River, and Mount Olympus, as well as Mount Owen, which represents Shadow Creek Valley.
As an alternative route to Queenstown, you can drive along the Clutha River and watch adrenaline-seeking bungee jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge. Just before you reach Queenstown, you'll travel across the picturesque wine region of Gibbston.
Surrounded by a mountain range, Queenstown offers everything your heart desires: experience the craziest adventures you've ever dreamed of, such as a bungee jump from the world-famous, 43-meter-long Kawarau Suspension Bridge. To compensate, Queenstown also offers a wide range of spa and wellness facilities as well as excellent local wines - a real treat for your taste buds.
Wanaka - Queenstown: 70 km / approx. 1 hour
4 nights in Chalet Queenstown**** with breakfast in Guest Room, Queenstown, New Zealand
Today you have to say goodbye to Queenstown. After replenishing your energy at the breakfast buffet, your journey continues to Twizel.
Not far from Queenstown, lies Arrowtown, a former gold mining town as well as one of the most beautiful historic towns in New Zealand. Discover the Ford of Bruinen on the Arrow River (where a frightened Frodo, with Arwen's help, safely made it to the other side of the river) and hike to Wilcox Green, where scenes were filmed on the Sword Fields. You will also be captivated by Chad Farm, from where you will have a great view of the Anduin River.
After visiting more spectacular filming locations, you will continue to the 971-meter-high Lindis Pass and drive through the village of Omarama. Passing the picturesque sheep country, you will reach Twizel after about 20 minutes.
Not far from New Zealand's highest mountain - Mount Cook - and its largest glacier group - the Tasman Glacier - lies Twizel. Known for its numerous sports facilities, the town is the ideal starting point for mountain biking or kayaking. If you are lucky, you will see one of the rarest birds in the world, the black stilt, and end the day in one of the many seafood restaurants.
Queenstown - Twize: 263 km / approx. 3 hours
1 night at Matuka Lodge***** with breakfast in Deluxe King Room, Twizel, New Zealand
Drive to Christchurch in the early afternoon. Welcome to New Zealand's second largest city. After arriving at your hotel, how about a visit to the Botanical Gardens? Stroll along beautifully landscaped flower beds and relax with a cool refreshing drink on the spacious lawn. Another interesting sight is the Catherdral Square which forms the center of the city with the famous Christchurch Cathedral.
Twizel - Christchurch: 350 km / approx. 4 hours
1 night at Orari Bed & Breakfast****+ with breakfast in Room 6, Christchurch, New Zealand
Today marks the end of your trip. After packing your bags for the last time in this trip, you will hand in your rental car at the the airport in Christchurch. With all kinds of unforgettable memories, you will start your return flight.
Great Ponsonby Arthotel****+, Auckland, New Zealand (1 night)
The Great Ponsonby Arthotel welcomes you in the historic as well as very popular district of Auckland. The 19th-century mansion has 11 individually decorated luxury rooms, all with en suite bathrooms and desks. Located a mere 2 minutes from the vibrant city center, you'll be close to the best galleries and restaurants.
Woodlyn Park, Otorohanga, New Zealand (1 night)
Experience a unique time at Woodlyn Park. Just 2 minutes from the Waitomo Caves, Woodlyn Park is the ideal base to visit the glowworm caves as well as numerous locations where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. The somewhat different accommodation has 4 different room categories: The Train Motel, the Plane Motel, the Boat Motel and the Hobbit Motel. Live your New Zealand dreams at the Hobbit Motel.
Robertson House, Rotorua, New Zealand (1 night)
Robertson House welcomes you to one of the most beautiful corners of New Zealand, where gorgeous nature meets unique Maori heritage. Just a ten-minute walk from the city center, you will find the completely renovated Robertson House. Relax in the cozy atmosphere of the English Garden and unwind on the beautiful veranda.
Chateau Tongariro****, Whakapapa, New Zealand (2 nights)
Chateau Tongariro Hotel is located in the heart of Tongariro National Park, at the foot of Mount Ruapehu. The historic hotel has 106 rooms and is the ideal base for exploring the diverse landscape. The Lord of the Rings crew also stayed here while filming. Experience a wonderful stay.
QT Museum Hotel Wellington****+, Wellington, New Zealand (2 nights)
This boutique hotel is located in the heart of the city, across from Wellington's beautiful harbor and New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa. The QT Museum Hotel has 165 rooms, a spacious lobby, and a bar that invites you to relax. The award-winning Hippopotamus restaurant treats you to French cuisine and a beautiful view of the harbor.
Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets****, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand (3 nights)
Situated on a small hill, start your day with a wonderful view of New Zealand's smallest national park. Relax on the golden sandy beach and explore the numerous hiking trails. All rooms are clean and friendly with en-suite bathrooms.
Punakaiki Resort****, Punakaiki, New Zealand (1 night)
The Punakaiki Resort welcomes you in the Paparoa National Park in close proximity to Punakaiki Beach as well as the world-famous "Pancake Rocks". The beach resort has 63 modern furnished rooms, all equipped with a refrigerator and a private bathroom. Enjoy a great time in an eco-friendly resort with a wonderful view over the sea and the rainforest. From Punakaiki Resort you can easily reach numerous activities. Take a kayak tour on the river or join a guided hike through Paparoa National Park.
Rainforest Retreat****, Franz Josef, New Zealand (1 night)
Rainforest Retreat is located in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier Village on New Zealand's wild west coast. Set on 2.6 hectares surrounded by lush green bushes, this world-class accommodation has 30 rooms overlooking the rainforest. Just 500 meters away is the Franz Josef Heli Hike trailhead, and within a 5-minute drive is the Franz Josef Glacier.
Tin Tub Luxury Lodge****, Wanaka, New Zealand (2 nights)
Tin Tub Luxury Lodge will make you feel right at home: Here you can relax and enjoy the magnificent view of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. The five rooms and villas are spacious and have all the luxurious amenities. Start the day with a hearty breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, homemade bread and muffins, as well as eggs, tea and coffee before exploring the picturesque surroundings. Activities range from skiing and hiking to bike tours and wine tasting.
The lodge also offers its own tennis court, outdoor pool and gym. The sauna invites you to relax after an eventful day.
Chalet Queenstown****, Queenstown, New Zealand
Just a 5-minute walk from Queenstown town center is the boutique hotel of Chalet Queenstown. All seven rooms are modern and cozy with gorgeous views of the lake and mountain scenery. Start your day with a sufficient European-style breakfast and relax after an adventurous day with a refreshing drink in the stylish lounge.
Matuka Lodge*****, Twizel, New Zealand
Matuka Lodge is located at the foot of the Southern Alps and welcomes you with magnificent views of Lake Pukaki. Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and reach Twizel town center in just 5 minutes drive. Matuka Lodge has four stylishly decorated rooms, all of which have their own patio with mountain views.
Orari Bed & Breakfast****+, Christchurch, New Zealand.
This luxury boutique bed & breakfast welcomes you to the heart of the city in a fully renovated historic mansion dating back to 1893. The 10 rooms are luxuriously and generously furnished and all have en suite bathrooms. The Canterbury Museum and the magnificent Botanical Gardens are just a few minutes' walk away.
Duration of the trip: 21 days / 20 nights