Journey beneath southern skies on this fourteen day independent itinerary and discover a land reminiscent of JRR Tolkien's fantasy world of lush lowlands barren wastelands, deep hidden valleys and remote mystical mountains. Experiencing New Zealand's wide variety of landscapes from the green, rolling farmlands, enchanting woods and rivers, dramatic gorges and soaring mountains is a delight, as they are all within such easy reach of one another. Enjoy luxury accommodations and small group touring experiences as you navigate the most scenic Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit sights across the North & South Islands.
- Round-trip International Economy airfare from Los Angeles
- Add-on airfares available from other cities
- Domestic New Zealand flights
- 2 nights Sofitel Auckland Viaduct
- Half day small group Auckland city tour
- Intermediate Automatic Rental Car for 4 days
- Hobbiton Movie & farm Tour
- 2 nights at The Regent Rotorua
- Te Puia to learn about Maori arts and crafts & evening indigenous dinner and performance
- 2 Nights QT Museum Hotel, Wellington
- Lord of The Rings Wellington City Locations Tour & Weta Workshop
- 2 nights The George Hotel Christchurch
- Lord of the Rings Edoras tour
- 3 Nights The Rees Queenstown
- Half day small group Safari of the Scenes tour
- Private transfers between airports and hotels on arrival in Auckland and in Christchurch & Queenstown
Day 1 - Depart US
Ask about our options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.
Day 2 - Cross International Date line
Day 3 - Arrive Auckland
Welcome to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland offers all of the things associated with a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, from beautiful scenery to adrenaline pumping adventure - and first-class food and wine. You’ll stay 2 nights at the Sofitel Auckland Harbour Auckland. New Zealand’s newest five star waterfront hotel overlooking Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour.
ACCOMMODATION - The stylish Sofitel Auckland luxury hotel places guests in the heart of Auckland Central between the upscale Viaduct Harbour lifestyle development and the attractions of the new Wynyard Quarter. Its understated elegance overlooks the shimmering Waitemata Harbour. Each luxuriously spacious room and suite features a private Juliet balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows and 5-star indulgences from the unparalleled comfort of the Sofitel MyBed to marble bathrooms, each with a rain shower and deep soaking tub.
Day 4 - Auckland - Half Day City Tour
This morning you will collected for your Auckland City Revelaed half day tour. New Zealand's largest and busiest city is set on 48 dormant volcanic cones and lies between two harbours: the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. The tour begins with a drive up Queen Street, past Auckland University and through Auckland Domain to Ponsonby. Head over the harbour bridge to the North Shore and enjoy a stroll on Narrow Neck Beach in historic Devonport. Re-board the coach for a trip up to the summit of Mt Victoria for stunning panoramic views over Auckland City, then travel back over the harbour bridge to Westhaven Marina. Finish with a visit to Auckland Fish Market before continuing on to the Viaduct Harbour.
Day 5 - Auckland - Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour - Rotorua (165 miles, 3.5hrs)
This morning collect your rental vehicle and drive south through picturesque working sheep farm with views across the Kaimai Ranges towards the Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata. Your guide will escort you through the ten acre site of where the Lord of the Rings movie set used to be. Your guide will explain all about what was needed to create the Hobbiton set and tell stories about what went on during filming. Check out the Hobbit holes from the film set. After viewing the Bag End, you can pet and feed the hand reared sheep and hand bottle feed lambs.
Continue your journey to Rotorua. Rotorua's striking gardens, cobbled streets and fascinating mix of Maori and English Tudor architecture give the city a significant point of difference. You’ll stay here 2 nights at the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel - a beautifully appointed 5 star hotel
ACCOMMODATION - Stay two nights at Regent of Rotorua. A gem that stands apart from the crowd as Rotorua's most stylish hotel, this central city hotel has been designed with the modern traveler in mind. Prepare to be wowed by an eclectic mix of stylish spaces. Refreshingly original, the Regent marks the epitome of chic, luxury accommodation in the city.
Day 6 - Te Puia - Evening Maori Culture & Hangi Feast, optional (additional cost) half day White Island Tour
This morning consider an optional adventure to New Zealand's only active Volcano, White Island (additional cost applies)
Begin your White Island adventure in Rotorua where, after being collected from your accommodation, you'll enjoy a 70-minute scenic drive to Whakatane. Once in Whakatane, you'll board the boat and cruise across the pristine waters of the Bay of Plenty to White Island (Whakaari) New Zealand's most active volcano. After being fitted with hard hats and gas masks, guides will lead you on an exploration of the crater floor. Experience roaring fumaroles, sparkling sulphur chimneys, bubbling pools of mud and the spectacular main crater vent. Along with the breathtaking scenery, visitors will learn about the island's fascinating and often tragic history. Lunch will be served back on the boat as you cruise and see the outer walls of the island, abundant with Pohutukawa and Australasian Gannet colonies. The area is also home to dolphins, whales and other marine life, and viewing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a great way to end the day.
This evening visit The New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute where masters and students share their art and their stories about our carving and weaving schools. Step into our ancient valley where geysers, mud pools and boiling waters still play after 40,000 years at Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley.
Day 7 - Rotorua to Wellington (280 miles, 5.5hrs)
Self drive to the capital. Wellington’s compact village-like size makes the city an easy place to walk around, yet its cosmopolitan flavor it the sophistication of a big city. Take a ride up the cable car to the Wellington Botanic Garden and the Carter Observatory; this vantage point commands an excellent view of the city and harbor, or stroll the city streets for a delicious lunch at one of the many inner-city cafs and soak up some of Wellington’s famous caf culture. You will spend 2 nights at the Museum Hotel
ACCOMMODATION - The QT Museum hotel This hotel incorporates classically elegant rooms, spacious studios and suites, award winning restaurant and bars, beautifully appointed and versatile function spaces and a superb collection of contemporary New Zealand art displayed in lobby and foyer areas. Situated opposite Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand, and Wellington's waterfront and a short walk from the cafs/restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping of the vibrant Courtenay Quarter
Day 8 - Lord of The Rings Wellington City Locations Tour & Weta Workshop
Lord of the Rings Half Day Tour around the Wellington region exploring the film locations used around Wellington. Head past the Embassy Movie theatre that held the world premier of LOTR: Return of the King. See where the stars walked and 100,000 people gathered to watch. Then it's up to Mt Victoria. After a quick stop at the lookout, your guide will drive down to the 'Green Belt'. Here you will walk through the forest to stand where the actors stood while filming. Next stop is the Weta Cave and Workshop Exhibition for a guided tour of the prop-making and make-up side of Weta Studios. Tour concludes approximately 4 hours after commencement.
Day 9 - Wellington to Christchurch
Return rental vehicle and fly to Christchurch. Welcome to Christchurch, the ‘Garden City’. The Southern Alps provide a fantastic backdrop to this awesome city. Perched on the coast, Christchurch is the doorway to the Canterbury Plains which spread westwards towards the mountains. You will stay for 2 nights at the Orari Bed & Breakfast.
ACCOMMODATION - The George, a luxury boutique hotel, is the essence of supreme comfort and is renowned for offering a personalized stay and attentive staff. Located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon you will find peaceful Christchurch accommodation just steps from the cultural precinct and key attractions. Impeccable service in an intimate ambiance is guaranteed at The George, the only Christchurch Hotel with a one-to-one staff to guest ratio.
Day 10 - Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday; and see how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoiled beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air. This amazing day includes 4WD access onto Mt Sunday/Edoras itself, a delicious champagne picnic lunch, full running commentary from our friendly and knowledgeable kiwi tour guides and spectacular scenery you will never forget.
Day 11 - Christchurch to Queenstown
This morning fly to Queenstown, the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is the perfect destination all year round. The Sofitel Queenstown is where you’ll stay for the next 3 nights.
ACCOMMODATION - Showcasing breath taking panoramic lake and alpine views, The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a sophisticated Five Star hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with its own beach and private wharf. The many unique features at The Rees Hotel include a fine dining restaurant with an award winning chef who creates exquisite menus showcasing the spectacular produce available in Central Otago, an extensive award winning wine cellar, library and courtesy shuttle to/from Queenstown town centre.
Day 12 - Safari of the Scenes - Glenorchy
For Lord of the Rings fans, this is the tour really does take you there and back again. This scenic sightseeing tour includes recognizable film locations and stunning natural scenery. You’ll travel from Queenstown to Glenorchy stopping at breath-taking viewpoints along the way. Beyond Glenorchy follow the Dart River to the spectacular filming location for Isengard. This location offers stunning views of Mt Earnslaw. Heading to Paradise to discover the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. Leaving Glenorchy and returning towards Queenstown you will stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp. This tour also includes locations from Xmen Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. All tours are subject to weather, road & river conditions.
Day 13 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our boutique tour options, see our e-brochure or speak with an Aspire expert
- Milford Sound Nature Cruise
An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
- Appellation Central Wine Tours
Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
- Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover Jet,Helicopter & WhiteWater Rafting
The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section.
- Zipline Ecotour
Commence an ecotour on Queenstown's original zipline course and the perfect starter to your adventure experience. Comprised of four ziplines, starting and finishing at the top of the Skyline gondola, the tour is designed to start low and slow and gradually build your confidence as it gets progressively longer, higher and faster. All ages love the interaction this guided aerial tour has to offer.
Day 14 - Depart for US
* Peak Season 1Dec17-28Feb18 pricing - Availability very restricted, package pricing may be higher Dec-Feb period, depending on availability
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour).
Additional departure gateways & pricing:
- Depart on Air New Zealand’s non-stop Houston – Auckland flight for a supplement of $250 per person
- Add on airfares available from most major airports - Add $200 from Dallas, Add $320 from Denver, Seattle, Add $400 from Chicago, Minneapolis, Add $450 from NYC, Boston, Miami, Washington
International Economy with Air New Zealand
State-of-the-art Economy seats have been designed to provide a really comfortable seat for everybody. The armrest disappears right into the back of the seat so you can be more comfortable during our longhaul trips.
As well as the delicious and fresh meals from the kitchen, you can order tasty snacks throughout the flight, at the touch of your screen. No waiting for hours between meals - eat when you want to. And, of course, there's always a superb selection of New Zealand wines from the onboard cellar.
The vast selection of activities on our inflight entertainment will keep even the most fidgety of flyers engaged for the whole flight. Enjoy over 1,700 hours of content - including latest movies, TV box sets, video games, and a dedicated kids section - all on a 10.6” personal touch screen in widescreen format. If you need more, there are always the USB and iPod connections to plug in to.
Consider upgrading Skycouch, Premium Economy or Business Class.
Skycouch - from $549 one way (based on 2 persons sharing)
Premium Economy - from $950 per person round trip
Business Class (Lie-flat bed) from $4000 round trip
Note: All upgrades are subject to availability, upgrade cost may be higher
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco for purchase by 31 October, 2017. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.