New Zealand Lord of the Rings Tour
Study Maori Culture & Anthropology
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Today you arrive in Auckland, and once you get settled at your hotel, you’ll meet up with your guide for dinner and a discussion about the upcoming adventures! A walk around Auckland is well worth it, as is a trip up the Sky Tower for a beverage 60 stories up with spectacular views!
After breakfast, you’re heading out from Auckland to the fabled Waitomo Caves with their shimmering glow worms covering walls made up of towering limestone stalactites and stalagmites. Parts of the caves were used to record audio for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and today you’ll get to wander underground, and do a “black water rafting” ride past Glowworm Grotto.
Then it’s onto the town of Roturua, where you’ll get checked in to your hotel and have a break before heading off to dinner at Mitai, a traditional Maori village. You’ll get an introduction to Maori culture, marveling at the lush setting and enjoy a traditionally prepared Maori meal while learning about the story of the Maori people, their history of tattoos, demonstrations of weaponry and more. Top it off with a Haka, the traditional war cry or war dance that challenges an opponent with stamping and ritualized shouting for a perfect New Zealand-style evening!
After breakfast, you’ll get to explore Roturua’s incredible geysers, mud baths and other scenic wonders as a result of being on the edge of one of the planet’s most volcanically active regions. Then it’s off to Hobbiton! Even the drive to the former movie set is stunning, featuring amazing views of the Kaimai mountain range. Once you’re in Hobbiton itself, you’ll get to explore Bag End, the Party Tree, hobbit holes and gardens. Your knowledgeable guide will also fill you in on the history and behind the scenes tidbits about the making of the movies and creating the town set itself, including a fascinating tale of how this otherwise unremarkable sheep farm was transformed into the beloved Hobbiton.
Top off your day with a meal at the Green Dragon Inn, fully reconstructed from the films and the books both inside and out, and offering two of their own ales, apple cider, or non-alcoholic ginger beer, and a variety of “traditional fayre” which you can enjoy by a roaring fire or in the beer garden overlooking the town. After an unforgettable Hobbity evening, it’s back to the hotel in Roturua to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.
This gorgeous journey will take you past New Zealand’s biggest lake, Lake Taupo, formed from the caldera of a massive former volcano. You’ll also pass Mount Ruapehu, which is still volcanically active. And, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll probably recognize the shape of Mount Ngauruhoe, which featured as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings.
Once you arrive in Wellington you’ll be transferred to your hotel, then set out to explore this gorgeous bayside capital of New Zealand, strolling the compact town center and meeting up for dinner to talk about what you’ve seen so far – and what’s still to come!
Today you’ll get to completely immerse yourself in all things LOTR, with a full-day guided tour that will take you to all the important filming locations used in the movies in the Wellington area. You’ll check out Mount Victoria overlooking the bay, followed by a walk through the Outer Shire. After lunch, you’ll head to nearby shoot locations used for Dunharrow, where the Rohirrim sought refuge in the White Mountains in The Two Towers film. You’ll also see the location used for the village of Bree, inspired by Tolkein’s time spent in the English village of Brill.
Next up, head to Weta Studios, the Oscar-winning company who created the special effects used in the films. You’ll get to see a mini-museum stocked with props used in the films, as well as a tour of the workshop where you can see the authentic practical effects that were crafted not only for the LOTR movies but also Avatar and more.
After breakfast, you’ll head up to Kaitoke Regional Park, the shooting location for many of the scenes for the Elvish town of Rivendell. You’ll get a thorough explanation of the numerous memorable shots and scenes that were created here, followed by guided hikes to still more stunning overlooks that don’t appear in the film. Bring a bathing suit as the lazy river cutting through here is perfect for a dip after a lovely hike in summertime. Enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch under the same trees where elves once readied their bows before heading back down to the city and to the hotel to freshen up. After a bit, head out to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum that celebrates native culture as well as documenting the colonial history and the unique nature of the island nation. At dinner in downtown Wellington, you can catch up and share your most treasured reflections on your Hobbiton/New Zealand adventure!
After breakfast, it’s “there and back again,” following an amazing journey. It’s time to wrap up and get ready to head home, but with your memory stocked with images and stories you’ll never forget!
“Mae govannen!” (“Well met” in Elvish). Of all the breathtaking places on earth, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson could really only pick one for creating his epic films: New Zealand. With its craggy mountains, active geysers, verdant green valleys and deep fjords, this island nation seems custom-made for bringing J.R.R. Tolkein’s beloved characters and their epic adventures to life. This journey will take you through most of the important filming locations as well as introducing you to the Maori culture and the striking, rugged beauty of New Zealand.
Get ready for an unforgettable journey “there and back again,” and walk in the furry footsteps of your favorite Hobbits!
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