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New Zealand: Take a Journey Through the Mystical Land of Lord of the Rings

on July 8 | in Cover, Issue 8, Travel & Leisure | by | with No Comments

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Are you a fan of the Shire and anything to do with the Lord of the Rings?  Would you like your trip to New Zealand to include Middle-Earth and beyond?  Begin your journey by crossing the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole—and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.

Auckland to Rotorua, and Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

hobbiton-movie-set-and-farm-tourHere, the tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. The guide will escort you through the ten acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, the Mill, and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into the Shire from Middle-earth.

Marae Hangi & Concert

maori dance warrriorShare in the Powhiri, an ancient ceremony of welcome, before you are invited into the Pre-European Maori village nestled within the native Tawa forest.  Enter the living village as it comes alive with the sights, sounds, and activity of days gone by, including facial tattooing, weaving, carving, and demonstrations on how food was cooked and preserved many years ago.
See, touch, take time, and talk to the people as you wander through the village—you may even be invited to take part in stick games and warrior training. Witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit by your selected chief to reveal baskets laden with your sumptuous feast, which has been cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.


Rotorua to Wellington

Wellington_NZ-cablecar-topviewWith a backdrop of rolling green hills and a magnificent waterfront as its stage, Wellington was destined to be New Zealand’s entertainment capital. It is the home to New Zealand’s national museum and has more restaurants, bars, and cafés per head than New York. Amazingly, this flurry of activity exists in a city that is little over a mile long and can be traversed in 20 minutes. Shop funky boutiques or people watch while nursing a cappuccino at the foreshore.

Try an entertaining journey of discovery through the Wellington region with a small group of discerning travelers. While most of the Lord of The Rings trilogy film sets have now been removed, the New Zealand scenery remains as an image of Middle Earth.

Middle Earth in Wellington

shire 2Today you will visit the filming locations of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith, and where the the Hobbits raced to the ferry. Be spellbound at the site of Lothlorien, the majestic Fernside Lodge. Fernside’s lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien; here, sit beside the Gladden fields for beautiful views. Fernside’s white bridge lives on as a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. Visit Rivendell and where Aragorn was washed ashore. See Mirimar—production central, and where many of the stars lived during the filming.

 Wellington to Queenstown

Amis Field WineryOriginally settled by the gold miners and station owners, Queenstown is now home to all the adrenaline-filled adventures such as bungee jumping, the Canyon Swing, jetboating, rafting, and amazing scenic helicopter flights. Take a more sedate gondola ride to Bob’s Peak for great views or the 110-year-old steamer, The Earnslaw, as she cruises around Lake Wakitpu. You may wish to visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. There are some interesting wineries such as Amisfield (great for lunch or early dinners), which is just outside the town. You will find all the souvenirs you need here for your New Zealand visit, including a Lord of the Rings gift store.

Queenstown is home to some superb restaurants that cater for all your appetite desires: the Cow (great pizzas), The Botswana Butchery (the name says it all), Bella Cuccini for Italian, and Les Alpes for French cuisine. For the ultimate burger, visit Fergburger!

Dart River Wilderness Safari

dart-river-wilderness-safariThe Wilderness Safari takes you on a spectacular 90-minute jet boat journey through the Dart’s ever-changing braided river system, where you’ll be surrounded by snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys, and waterfalls. It includes an easy guided 30 to 40 minute walk through the Heritage Trail at Paradise, where your knowledgeable guide will enliven your walk with an informative and entertaining commentary about the ancient native beech forest, the unique flora and fauna, as well as the fascinating Maori and colonial history of the area. You’ll also journey by coach via a scenic back-road route while hearing stories about the surrounding countryside and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films.

 Safari of the Scenes

misty mt.In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, we will take you on a true off-road adventure. The experienced guides will host you on a breathtaking excursion through the diverse scenery in the Wakatipu Basin. We travel through historic Arrowtown and put the Land Rovers through their paces as we make a number of crossings over the Arrow River. View the stunning lake and mountain views from The Remarkables Road and the Skippers Canyon Saddle.

Some of the Lord of the Rings sites we will visit during this tour includes a glimpse of the Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings, and the Ford of Bruinen. No sets left, just the gorgeous scenery featured in the film.

Queenstown to Christchurch coach tour

Depart Queenstown and travel by Great Sights tour coach through the rugged and beautiful landscape pf Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into Mackenzie Country to visit Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki (Mount Cook). There are 17 peaks over 10,000 feet in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. Nudging one side of Mt. Cook is the might Tamsan Glacier, a 30 kilometer (18 mile) giant, and one of the longest outside the Himalayas.
At Mount Cook Village, there is time to experience an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (weather permitting and additional cost), which may be booked in advance or day-of.Then, continue north along the Tasman River to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd—a historic church dedicated to the early pioneers of this area, and the sheepdog—a statue that is a tribute to high country farmers’ best friend. The tour continues through diverse farmland before arriving into Christchurch.

Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour

Join the Lord of the Rings Tour at Mt. Potts and journey to the LOTR filming location: remote and beautiful Mt. Potts high country station, home of Mt. Sunday. See how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan province 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.

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