Self-drive Lord of the Rings New Zealand tour (South Island)

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    Gaze out to the mountains from Lake Tekapo in spring | Travel Nation

    Soak up the scenery at Lake Tekapo

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    Enjoy a safari tour of the movie backdrops

    Enjoy a safari tour of the movie backdrops

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    Pay a visit to Lake Tekapo's Church of the Good Shepherd

    Pay a visit to Lake Tekapo's Church of the Good Shepherd

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    Experience some true off-roading!

    Experience some true off-roading!

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    Take a slight detour to Lake Wanaka

    Take a slight detour to Lake Wanaka

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    Sights include Kawarau Gorge - the setting for Argonath/Pillar of the Kings

    Sights include Kawarau Gorge - the setting for Argonath/Pillar of the Kings

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    Don't miss the highlights of Middle Earth!

    Don't miss the highlights of Middle Earth!

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    Are you brave enough to experience the AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown?

    Are you brave enough to experience the AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown?

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 7

From: Christchurch

To: Queenstown



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: New Zealand

    If you want to discover the magical locations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, look no further than this Lord of the Rings New Zealand tour through the South Island. Beginning in Christchurch, this self-drive itinerary takes you all the way to Queenstown while experiencing LOTR highlights including a full day Edoras tour. You’ll be road tripping through stunning countryside, under majestic mountains and stopping at beautiful lakes to top it all off!

    If just one island doesn’t quite cut it, how about combining this trip with the north island equivalent, ensuring you don’t miss a thing while exploring Middle Earth. 

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Visit LOTR set locations in NZ’s South Island
    • Full day Lord of the Rings Edoras tour
    • Get your hands on replica props
    • Drive through incredible scenery
    • Spend time in exciting Queenstown


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 2 nights Christchurch
    • 1 night Lake Tekapo
    • 3 nights Queenstown    


    Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch      

    Upon arrival at Christchurch airport, pick up your rental vehicle before driving to your first hotel, where you’ll check in for your two night stay.

    Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city with an abundance of things to do and see. The remainder of your day is free to spend time discovering some of its highlights; perhaps a walk around the botanical gardens, or a stroll through the city to take a look at the RE:Start shopping mall made of shipping containers.  

    Day 2: Christchurch   

    Today you will be collected from your hotel to start your full day Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour. You will be driven in a 4WD vehicle to the remote Mt Sunday on Mt Potts High Country Station, the location of Edoras in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. From here, a short guided walk to the summit allows you to stand where the capital city of Rohan once stood, where you can take in the breath-taking 360 degree views of rivers, lakes and mountains including the Misty Mountains and the area that formed the backdrop to Helms Deep.

    To top off this amazing tour, you will be able to handle movie replicas of Aragorn’s Sword, Gimli’s Axe, Eowyn’s Sword, Gandalf’s Staff, the Flag of Rohan and a map of Middle Earth. Enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back to Christchurch where you will be dropped off at your hotel. 

    Day 3: Christchurch – Lake Tekapo      

    You will set off today and drive to Lake Tekapo, approximately a three and a half hour drive. You can take your time today and have a leisurely morning in Christchurch, and find a nice stop for lunch during your drive to the lake.

    Upon arrival at Lake Tekapo, ensure you pay a visit to its popular landmark, the pretty stone Church of the Good Shepherd and also look for the bronze statue of a sheepdog. Check in to your hotel for your one night stay.   

    Day 4: Lake Tekapo - Queenstown       

    Make your way south to Queenstown, which is about a three hour drive. If you have time on route, take a slight detour to Wanaka and stop to admire the gorgeous lake and have a bite to eat.

    Continuing on to Queenstown will take you on a route through Cardrona, offering up some fantastic scenery. Once you arrive in Queenstown, check into your hotel for your three night stay before heading out and exploring this amazing alpine and lake resort.

    Day 5: Queenstown    

    Your day will comprise of a morning or afternoon safari of the Scenes tour, depending on which you choose. This scenic Lord of the Rings tour is based around the Wakatipu Basin and combines an off road adventure with visits to several filming sites, including The Remarkables (The Misty Mountains), Deer Park Heights (The Battle of the Wargs) and the Kawarau Gorge (Argonath/Pillars of the Kings).

    You will then head out to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Experience some true off roading by following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River before crossing to her to the Ford of Bruinen. At this point it is time for a rest and some tea, where you can try your hand at a spot of gold panning.

    Afterwards, the tour continues to the entrance of Skippers Canyon for spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin. It’s then time to head back to Queenstown where you will be dropped back at your hotel.

    Day 6: Queenstown    

    We have left a whole day free for you to fill, which will be hard as there is so much to squeeze in! Why not add in a tour to Milford Sound, brave the famous AJ Hackett Bungy Jump, go jet boating on the Shotover and Dart Rivers, or hike around the lake. These are just a few ideas as there is an endless amount of things to do in Queenstown.

    If you would like us to include an extra tour for today just let us know, we could even add in an additional Lord of the Rings Tour!

    Days 7: Depart Queenstown

    Your adventure through Middle Earth to come to an end, so it is time to drive to Queenstown Airport to drop off your car hire and board your onward flight.


    New Zealand is a year-round destination and there is always something to see and enjoy whatever time you decide to travel. High season runs from December to February (summer), prices will be at a premium at these times and availability limited so it is advisable to book in advance. March to April and September to November can be a great time to travel as the weather is fine and the crowds fewer. Low season is May to August (winter) for most of New Zealand, this is however the best time for skiing and so ski towns such as Queenstown will be at their busiest.

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

    What's included
    • 6 nights’ accommodation
    • Rental car
    • Full day Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
    • Half day Safari of the Scenes      
    Not included
    • Flights
    • Meals and drinks
    • Any additional tours or entrance fees not mentioned in inclusions
    • Tips & gratuities
    • Personal expenses
    • Fuel