4.5 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

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  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand
  • Duration:9 hours

The Lord of the Rings and Palliser Bay Tour from Wellington

Discover the many filming sites from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film series that sit right on Wellington’s doorstep! As you check them out on this scenic day trip from New Zealand’s capital city, you'll see where the Orcs battled King Théoden and where Frodo recovered from his attack by Ringwraiths. You’ll also visit the largest colony of fur seals on the North Island, explore Palliser Bay’s lovely coastal scenery, and enjoy a wine tasting at one of Martinborough’s top wineries.


  • The Lord of the Rings movie locations and Palliser Bay day trip from Wellington
  • See Helm's Deep, Rivendell and other Middle-earth film sites
  • Drive through the charming towns of Featherston and Martinborough
  • Enjoy a light lunch at a rustic lakeside hotel
  • Visit the North Island’s largest fur seal colony on Cape Palliser Bay
  • Stop at a top vineyard in Martinborough for wine tastings

What You Can Expect

The Lord of the Rings and Palliser Bay Tour from Wellington

Rivendalle Bridge

After being picked up from your Wellington hotel, relax and enjoy the scenery as you are driven through the city center and into the Lower and Upper Hutt valleys. Your knowledgeable tour guide will share interesting facts about Wellington’s history as you travel to your first filming site from The Lord of the Rings, the location of Helm's Deep, where the Orcs battled King Théoden of Rohan to overtake his stronghold.

You’ll also see where the Great River Anduin flowed through Middle-earth between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, and visit Kaitoke Park, the location for Rivendell. See where Frodo’s recovery from the sword attack by the Ringwraiths was staged, and take a walk across the swing bridge to see the pristine river flowing below.

As your tour continues through the Rimutaka and Tararua Ranges, your guide will point out local landmarks. Pass through the rural farming towns of Featherston and Martinborough before reaching the tiny settlement of Lake Ferry, where you’ll stop for lunch (included) at a country-style waterfront inn.

After lunch, your tour continues to Cape Palliser Bay, where you’ll have an up-close encounter with one of New Zealand’s largest fur seal colonies. If you’re feeling energetic, follow the 250 steps leading up to the Cape Palliser lighthouse for some stupendous coastal views.

On your return journey to Wellington, stop at a Martinborough winery for a tasting of New Zealand’s renowned wines. The region produces a range of wine varieties but is especially prized for its pinot noir.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2013

This was an excellent tour, a lot of traveling to get to various areas of the tour but our driver/guide Paul was the best. It was as if we had a friend in Wellington taking us around for the day. We just had some confusion on the pick location but once that was out of the way our tour was perfect.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2013

Perfect day. Our guide Brian was excellent, very knowledgable and definitely went the extra mile. We could not fault anything. The forest trip and seeing the seals at Cape Palliser was a real hi light. Brian's driving was very safe and comfortable. We thoroughly enjoyed his company. Ross and Julia Walker and Ross and Maxine Houltham.

Clare B
United Arab Emirates

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2008

Such a good combination of sights, scenery, animals and alcohol! Our guide was great and we loved this trip!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2008

I would recommend this trip to everyone!

4 star rating: Recommended September 2008

Since I went in winter, I got a personal tour. Nobody else joined the tour! Nice day out, gorgeous weather but chilly. Be prepared for a long day of driving. The LOTR sites are all empty, with no sets, so not that exciting unless you're a Rings fan just for the thrill of being there. The guide's commentary was kinda lame, he just passed out books. Palliser Bay was most exciting, getting right up close to the seal colony among some cold wet rocks be careful! Saw large number of seals, lots of great photo ops. Beautiful scenery and totally worth it for this alone! The winery was OK, small and local, nothing to rave about really. No cheese/crackers to complement the wines. Finally saw Weta digital, just a small tourist spot, but it's fun if you're a Rings fan, cool souvenirs to buy, etc.
Note - there are some difficult walking areas on the LOTR tour, there's a swing bridge which is very narrow and sways nervously above a rushing river, wide enough for one person. Also, there's a Lighthouse at Palliser Bay that has 200 very steep stairs up a hillside. They're both optional but just FYI if nervous of heights. I went halfway took some nice photos. Too windy! Also, and this is true of all the tours I did, lunch sucked. Just a lame NZ sandwich which the tour pays for but still. Need more sustenance. Was starving by the time tour ended.
Also, if you go in winter get a Marmot hardshell and North Face softshell, and wear layers. You won't regret it! I'm so glad I had mine handy. Plus outdoor shoes, not tennies. Good grip soles.

4 star rating: Recommended May 2008

We had a great tour guide. The highlight of the tour was the intimate views of the fur seals at Palliser Bay. Check out this tour out soon before it is fully discovered.

4 star rating: Recommended October 2007

Again, most enjoyable, would recommend it to anyone.

3 star rating: Worth doing September 2014

Was an amazing experience, possibly a little pricey for what it was but i would recommend something like this.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better January 2014

We booked into this tour as we were not overly familiar with the LOTR movies so thought we should combine some LOTR sights with other more general sight seeing. We found the first half of the tour which concentrated on the LOTR shooting sights interesting. The fish and chips included lunch was also scrumptious. The second half of the tour involved travelling out to Palliser Bay and then a vineyard. This involved a lot of driving so we seemed to be in the car more than outside sightseeing, probably too much distance for a one day trip. Think the itinerary could be restructured to perhaps offer LOTR and then several options, for example there were some small towns we passed that may have been more interesting to browse in. Or perhaps several vineyards could be included. Our son took another Viator tour that focussed on just LOTR, based on his feedback, this seemed to be a lot more interesting and fun, and also tailored for people not familiar with LOTR movies. Our tour experience may also have been impacted by the fact there was just the two of us, we had expected there to be a small group.

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Tour code: 2472HT003


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