You will be met at the airport by one of our friendly guides who will transfer you to your hotel (guided tours only) or one of our friendly representatives who will give you your route notes and hand over the keys to your rental vehicle (self-driven tours). In the afternoon you could take a Christchurch city tour. Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as ‘The Garden City’. This city tour could include a visit to ‘The Sign of the Kiwi’, the most panoramic of Christchurch’s viewpoints, a stroll in the botanic gardens and drive around the bays of Christchurch taking in Lyttelton which was the gateway for many of Christchurch and the Canterbury region’s first settlers.
Today you make the journey north to Kaiteriteri, a beautiful beachfront holiday town situated on the South Island’s sunny north coast. Arriving in the afternoon, you will have time for either a stroll on the beach, a game of mini golf, a kayak or simply some time to relax, unwind and enjoy a nice meal before you venture off on your epic Lord of The Rings tour tomorrow morning!
This morning you will head to neighbouring Motueka, where you will be taken on an exhilarating helicopter tour up to the remarkable and remote rock formations and mountain tops of Mount Owen, used to portray scenes from “Dimrill Dale.” A gourmet lunch is provided at the top and then it’s back in the helicopter to fly over New Zealand’s largest natural sinkhole and beautiful Boulder Lake. Upon landing, you farewell the sunny north coast and head southwest, to the lush rainforest of the west coast. Upon arrival in Punakaiki, you will explore the pancake rocks and blowholes situated right next to the village; a bizarre, rugged, rocky landscape which impresses thousands of visitors each year with its powerful forces of nature.
Heading south down the West Coast Road; known by many as the most picturesque road in New Zealand, you will see rainforest and the shores of the Tasman Sea side by side, along with cliffs, waterfalls and green paddocks. At the end of all this, you will arrive at a Glacier! Franz Josef Glacier is unique in the fact that it terminates around 300m below sea level and the base is surrounded by rainforest. You can take a walk to the base of the glacier and look up to the rugged mountains where the Lighting of the Beacons took place. Tonight you have the opportunity to relax and unwind in the thermal hot springs located in native rainforest in Franz Josef Village. This afternoon or tomorrow morning you have the option of a helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier with a snow landing or a 3 hour heli-hike experience which includes a helicopter landing and guided walk through the crevasses of the glacier! (Optional – extra cost)
Today we take a journey south through the beautiful native forests, streams and mountains of the Haast Pass, as well as the huge gleaming blue waters of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, toward New Zealand’s adventure capital; Queenstown. First of all though, it is vital to stop along the way at any of the region’s breath-taking waterfalls and take in the sights and sounds of the centuries-old native forest which has been described by the Unesco World Heritage Organisation as being some of the most reminiscent of Gondwanaland found anywhere in the world. Also along the way is the picturesque lakeside holiday town of Wanaka. Looking across the lake, you will see the backdrop used for Gandalf’s flight to Rohan with Gwaihir, after his rescue from Orthanc. You also have the option today of either walking the Diamond Lake walking track to see this location up close, or we can pay a visit to Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World; home to the great 3-D maze, incredible illusion rooms, a puzzle centre and the “psychic challenge.” Following this, we will conquer New Zealand’s highest altitude highway and possibly stop in at one of New Zealand’s oldest pubs; the Cardrona Hotel for a drink. Once we make our descent down the mountain into Queenstown, you will be inescapably bombarded by familiar Lord of the Rings scenery, including the spectacular Remarkables Mountain Range, another of the unforgiving landscapes used to portray the journey through the slopes of Dimrill Dale.
Today you will be taken on a full day LOTR tour, entitled the “Safari of the Scenes,” which includes all the major film locations surrounding Queenstown, such as The Ford of Bruinen, the Gladden Fields, Pillars of the Kings, Amon Hen and the Ithilien camp! Dress up in a cloak and have a sword fight in the Lothlorien Forest! After you return in the afternoon, the rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.
Heading towards New Zealand’s tallest mountain, along the way you will stop for lunch at Amisfield Winery for a delicious 3 course trust the chef lunch. After this, you will enjoy a guided tour of the site of the largest battle scene filmed for the entire trilogy; The Pelennor Fields, before continuing on to Mount Cook Village, where you can spend a relaxing evening at the foot of New Zealand’s tallest mountain.
Today you head to our final destination on your epic journey through Middle Earth; Edoras! To get here, you will travel via the stunning electric blue Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo and then be shown around by the good folk at Hassle Free Tours. Following this tour, you will travel to Christchurch where you will be transferred to your travel connections. We hope you enjoyed your epic journey through Middle Earth!