A Halfling's Ramble - 1 Week in Middle-Earth™

Most hobbits don't like to stray too far from home. This week-long Middle‑earth™ itinerary is the perfect length in which to experience some of the North Island's best attractions.

Discover Middle-Earth

7 days

Drive from Auckland to Whitianga

3 hr 20 minutes
Auckland to WhitiangaDay 1
Summers Day at Hahei Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
The Coromandel

Journey from the exciting urban hub of Auckland to the coastal paradise of the Coromandel. Cloaked in native rainforest, with dazzling white sand beaches and picturesque coves, The Coromandel is a favourite holiday destination.

Cathedral Cove is a picturesque photo spot, and at Hot Water Beach you can dig your own natural spa. You can see both these attractions in one day - but you'll need to time it carefully, as you need to be at Hot Water Beach within 2 hours of low tide to access the naturally heated water.

Spend the night in the beach town of Whitianga. It's got a good range of accommodation, shops and restaurants - expect to eat some excellent seafood while you're here.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Cathedral Cove
  • Thames gold mining history
  • Coromandel art galleries and craft shops

    Drive from The Coromandel to Rotorua

    3 hr 10 minutes
    The Coromandel to Rotorua via HobbitonDay 2
    Bay of Islands by Alistair Guthrie

    Today make your way from The Coromandel to Matamata where you will find the original Hobbiton Movie Set, with its enchanting community of life-sized Hobbit holes. Enjoy a guided tour around The Shire, your knowledgeable guide will enlighten you about the history and the on-location filming processes. Stop for a handle of ale at the Green Dragon Inn or grab a light lunch at the Shire's Rest Café. 

    Then continue to Rotorua, one of the world's most lively fields of geothermal activity. Spend the evening enjoying a Maori Cultural Performance and traditional hangi.

    Car-free option

    Add a night in Tauranga: 5 h | Coromandel to Tauranga & 1 h 25 min | Tauranga to Rotorua.

     HIGHLIGHTS:

    • Discover the real Middle‑earth™
    • Watch geysers erupt and mud boil
    • Learn the how to perform a perfect haka
      Spend the day in RotoruaDay 3
      Te Puia Rotorua.
      Te Puia, Rotorua

      A fascinating mix of geothermal activity, Maori culture, and adventure, Rotorua is a region that offers a multitude of experiences.

      Explore the bubbling mud pools and geysers of Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, or get your adrenaline pumping with some of the great adventure activities on offer. Visit Te Puia or Tamaki Maori Village to experience Maori culture and learn about the fascinating history of New Zealand's indigenous people.

      For those that love getting outdoors, try a walk or mountain bike along the network of trails that wind through the giant Redwood forests.

       Highlights: 

      • Explore the forest canopy on a Treewalk
      • Take a downhill ride via OGO or Luge
      • Discover hidden mirror pools and geysers

        Drive from Rotorua to Waitomo

        1 hr 55 minutes
        Rotorua to WaitomoDay 5
        Waitomo, Waikato of Islands By Corin Walker Bain

        Today you'll make your way to Waitomo, where you can discover multiple film locations. On your journey, pause to explore Cambridge with its range of shops and cafes, or stop at Otorohanga Kiwi House and meet our national icon.

        Roam around the native forest and limestone cliffs used as filming locations for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit on a guided tour with Hairy Feet Waitomo. Or explore the Waitomo Caves fascinating labyrinth of underground sinkholes, tunnels and rivers beneath rolling green farmland. Peter Jackson loved the acoustic quality of these caves and recorded some of the soundscape for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

        HIGHLIGHTS

        • Guided film set tour
        • Waitomo caving experience
        • Free-flight aviary at Hamilton Zoo

          Drive from Waitomo to National Park

          1 hr 50 minutes
          Waitomo to National ParkDay 5
          Tongariro Apline Crossing, Ruapehu by Paul Abbitt

          Turn south towards Mt Ruapehu. Ruapehu, in the Central Plateau, is known for it's mountainous, desolate beauty. This location was used as a filming location for some of the Mordor scenes in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

          The Ruapehu region offers a profusion of different activities, from hiking trails to rafting and skiing in winter. The Ohakune Old Coach Road is a popular half-day cycle trail that follows a cobblestone road once used to join the two ends of main trunk railway line before it was finally connected in 1909.

          Alternatively, spend the afternoon relaxing with a high tea at the grand Chateau Tongariro Hotel.

          HIGHLIGHTS

          • Walk to Taranaki Falls
          • Hiking, rafting, climbing.
          • Gateway to Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu

            Tongariro Alpine Crossing

            Hikers advised to take a shuttle to trailhead
            Tongariro Alpine CrossingDay 6
            Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu
            Tongariro Alpine Crossing by Camilla Rutherford

            To truly appreciate the bright emerald lakes, volcanic landscapes and spectacular mountain views of the Ruapehu region, you can't go past Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

            This challenging one-day hike is often billed as one of the best in the world. With stunning views of the plateau's three imposing volcanoes, old lava flows and active steam vents. Lord of the Rings fans will recognize the shape of Mount Ngauruhoe, as the mountain that stood in for Mount Doom in the trilogy. 

            During peak season, the Department of Conservation recommends that visitors access the track via a shuttle from Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupo or Ohakune. A full list of operators can be found here.

            HIGHLIGHTS

            • Emerald lakes
            • Panoramic views
            • Volcanic craters and lava flows

              National Park to Wellington via Taupo

              1 hr 20 minor 1 hr TUO to WLG
              National Park to Wellington via TaupoDay 7
              Weta Cave Troll, Weta Workshop, Wellington.
              Cave troll image courtesy of Weta Workshop

              Catch a morning flight from nearby Taupo to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

              Located at the southernmost tip of the North Island, Wellington is home to Weta Workshop and the Weta Cave. Here, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at movie making magic in action. 

              Spend the rest of your journey indulging in the city's buzzing food and wine scene, checking out the museums and galleries or enjoy a cable-car ride to the Kelburn lookout for expansive harbour views.

              HIGHLIGHTS

              • Weta Workshop & Weta Cave
              • Art and culture in Wellington
              • Zealandia

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