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13 Day North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Days
13

Pricing From
$6005

North Island / South Island
Book Now

Overview

13 day North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer New Zealand Independent Coach Tour MapThis LOTR and Hobbiton themed 13-day North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach in New Zealand will take you across superb scenery from Auckland to Christchurch. You will visit iconic LOTR film locations like the Hobbiton Movie Set and Edoras. Other highlights include the TranzAlpine Train and Milford Sound Nature Cruise.

Flexible Itineraries and Daily Departures

Our New Zealand Independent coach tours can be adapted or extended according to your requirements. You can start anytime and if you want to stay longer at any place on the itinerary, let us know, ALL itineraries can be amended.

If you do not find a Tour that suits you, just ask us to provide you with a personalised coach touring holiday.

Looking for a fully escorted coach tour? Check out our guided departures here!

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Hobbiton Movie Set

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Snowy Edoras

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Weta Studios

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Te Puia, Rotorua

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

TranzAlpine Train

North to South Lord of the Rings Explorer Independent Coach

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive Auckland

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Afternoon City Highlights tour
Discover Auckland's history, culture and scenery with this half-day afternoon highlights tour. Travel through the city centre and heritage suburb of Ponsonby before crossing the harbour bridge for spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline. Visit New Zealand's Americas Cup racing precinct - the Viaduct Harbour - as well as Queen Street, a central shopping district. Visit The Domain - 75 hectares of gardens, duck ponds, public art spaces and is home to the majestic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Continue through historic Parnell Village, where you'll have an opportunity to explore during an afternoon tea stop (own expense). Next traverse the bays to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Named after one of New Zealand's Prime Ministers, the park has formal gardens and tranquil atmosphere with a panoramic outlook over the picturesque Eastern Bays. The tour will then take you back along the waterfront to finish in downtown Auckland.

Day 2Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua full day Experience

This full day tour has it all! From the magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations of Waitomo to the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. Includes a visit to the glow worm caves, a maori cultural performance, a visit to the Agrodome and bubbling mud pools and geysers.

Day 3Hobbiton and Mitai Maori Village

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua
Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12 acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

Mitai Maori Village
An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Day 4Fly from Rotorua to Wellington

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Airport.

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Wellington
Fly from Rotorua airport to Wellington airport.

Private transfer Wellington airport to hotel
You will be met on arrival into Wellington airport and transferred to your hotel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
In a small group, you will head out to the Valley to explore the filming locations for Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack; the River Anduin where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen; the Gardens of Isengard, where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and the site of the orcs felling the trees; see the quarry used for the filming of Helms Deep in Rohan and Minas Tirith in Gondor. Then back to the City to visit the Mount Victoria lookout and Buckland Forest where you can take a "shortcut to mushrooms", "get of the road" and hide where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders before taking a run to the Buckleberry Ferry and discovering Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment along the way.

Day 5Fly from Wellington to Christchuruch

Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport
You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch
Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 6Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday. See how this spectacular mountain was transformed into Edoras - the capital city of the Rohan people from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Marvel at its rugged unspoilt beauty and breathe in the clear mountain air, while you indulge in a gourmet sparkling wine picnic.

Day 7Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Day 8Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama and a short afternoon tea stop is available here (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

Day 9Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2.5 hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 10Nomad Safaris 'Safari of the Scenes' Glenorchy tour

For those keen on Lord Of The Rings - this is the tour for you. Go on a scenic adventure through some of the iconic locations used in the filming. Although none of the sets are left behind, the landscapes will be instantly recognisable. Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the small town of Glenorchy and enjoy the spectacular views of the Remarkables Range as you drive. From Glenorchy you'll head into the beech forests of Paradise - located on the outskirts of Mount Aspiring National Park - before heading up the dart valley and back. Film locations you'll see include Isengard, Lothlorien, Ithilien Camp and the Seat of Seeing.

Day 11Queenstown to Fox Glacier

The West Coast encapsulates five National Parks, covering an array of scenic highlights including New Zealand's highest mountain, longest caves and famously it's lowest and most accessible glaciers. Step aboard your tour coach and begin your journey with breathtaking scenery of high mountain peaks and the stunning blue lakes of Dunstan, Wanaka and Hawea. You continue through to Haast Pass - the southernmost pass between the East and West coasts of the South Island. Arriving on the West Coast you enter an awe-inspiring landscape of vast rainforests, crystal clear waterfalls and rugged mountain tops. Winding your way through the spectacular rugged West Coast your journey concludes on arrival into the small village of Fox Glacier.

Day 12TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch

Fox Glacier to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel northwards through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari.A stop at the Bushman's Centre for a 20-minute refreshment stop where you can purchase morning tea here if required. We pass through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival at Hokitika at there is a further 35-minute break in your journey. This allows time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or relax and have a refreshment stop. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. At approximately 1:15pm you arrive into Greymouth. The coach will take you to the Railway Station where you need to report for your train journey on the world famous Tranz Alpine Express.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation
On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Day 13Depart Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

PRICE PER PERSON (TWIN SHARE)

  • 3-Star Hotel Accommodation: from NZ$6,005*

* PLEASE NOTE

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Prices quoted are per person and are room only. Prices do not include meals. Twin share is based on 2 people travelling together and sharing one room. Single room and triple share prices are available.

PAYMENT

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after booking

CANCELLATION CHARGES

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive Auckland

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Afternoon City Highlights tour
Discover Auckland's history, culture and scenery with this half-day afternoon highlights tour. Travel through the city centre and heritage suburb of Ponsonby before crossing the harbour bridge for spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline. Visit New Zealand's Americas Cup racing precinct - the Viaduct Harbour - as well as Queen Street, a central shopping district. Visit The Domain - 75 hectares of gardens, duck ponds, public art spaces and is home to the majestic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Continue through historic Parnell Village, where you'll have an opportunity to explore during an afternoon tea stop (own expense). Next traverse the bays to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Named after one of New Zealand's Prime Ministers, the park has formal gardens and tranquil atmosphere with a panoramic outlook over the picturesque Eastern Bays. The tour will then take you back along the waterfront to finish in downtown Auckland.

Day 2Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua full day Experience

This full day tour has it all! From the magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations of Waitomo to the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. Includes a visit to the glow worm caves, a maori cultural performance, a visit to the Agrodome and bubbling mud pools and geysers.

Day 3Hobbiton and Mitai Maori Village

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua
Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12 acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

Mitai Maori Village
An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Day 4Fly from Rotorua to Wellington

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Airport.

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Wellington
Fly from Rotorua airport to Wellington airport.

Private transfer Wellington airport to hotel
You will be met on arrival into Wellington airport and transferred to your hotel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
In a small group, you will head out to the Valley to explore the filming locations for Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack; the River Anduin where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen; the Gardens of Isengard, where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and the site of the orcs felling the trees; see the quarry used for the filming of Helms Deep in Rohan and Minas Tirith in Gondor. Then back to the City to visit the Mount Victoria lookout and Buckland Forest where you can take a "shortcut to mushrooms", "get of the road" and hide where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders before taking a run to the Buckleberry Ferry and discovering Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment along the way.

Day 5Fly from Wellington to Christchuruch

Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport
You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch
Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 6Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday. See how this spectacular mountain was transformed into Edoras - the capital city of the Rohan people from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Marvel at its rugged unspoilt beauty and breathe in the clear mountain air, while you indulge in a gourmet sparkling wine picnic.

Day 7Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Day 8Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama and a short afternoon tea stop is available here (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

Day 9Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2.5 hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 10Nomad Safaris 'Safari of the Scenes' Glenorchy tour

For those keen on Lord Of The Rings - this is the tour for you. Go on a scenic adventure through some of the iconic locations used in the filming. Although none of the sets are left behind, the landscapes will be instantly recognisable. Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the small town of Glenorchy and enjoy the spectacular views of the Remarkables Range as you drive. From Glenorchy you'll head into the beech forests of Paradise - located on the outskirts of Mount Aspiring National Park - before heading up the dart valley and back. Film locations you'll see include Isengard, Lothlorien, Ithilien Camp and the Seat of Seeing.

Day 11Queenstown to Fox Glacier

The West Coast encapsulates five National Parks, covering an array of scenic highlights including New Zealand's highest mountain, longest caves and famously it's lowest and most accessible glaciers. Step aboard your tour coach and begin your journey with breathtaking scenery of high mountain peaks and the stunning blue lakes of Dunstan, Wanaka and Hawea. You continue through to Haast Pass - the southernmost pass between the East and West coasts of the South Island. Arriving on the West Coast you enter an awe-inspiring landscape of vast rainforests, crystal clear waterfalls and rugged mountain tops. Winding your way through the spectacular rugged West Coast your journey concludes on arrival into the small village of Fox Glacier.

Day 12TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch

Fox Glacier to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel northwards through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari.A stop at the Bushman's Centre for a 20-minute refreshment stop where you can purchase morning tea here if required. We pass through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival at Hokitika at there is a further 35-minute break in your journey. This allows time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or relax and have a refreshment stop. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. At approximately 1:15pm you arrive into Greymouth. The coach will take you to the Railway Station where you need to report for your train journey on the world famous Tranz Alpine Express.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation
On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Day 13Depart Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

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