December 16, 2013
San Francisco, CA (December 13, 2013) – As the world awaits the upcoming release of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Viator.com, the leading resource for researching and booking tours and activities worldwide, has announced the launch of a new of collection of hand-picked experiences that bring travelers straight to the heart of “Middle-earth.”
Dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien as the hometown of the characters in “The Lord of the Rings” and in the prequel trilogy “The Hobbit,” Middle-earth is depicted beautifully on screen by film-maker Peter Jackson, using the lush and stunning landscapes of New Zealand as the backdrop. Viator has added three new “Hobbiton” tours to its selection of Lord of the Rings experiences so fans of the Tolkien series can revel in behind-the-scenes access to the actual sets used in filming. In addition to walking in the footsteps of Bilbo and Gandalf, travelers will be treated to insider information provided by expert local guides.
Be the First on Set, Only with Viator
Available only through Viator.com, the Viator Exclusive: Early Access to The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set provides the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at where ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and the 'Hobbit' trilogies were filmed. This exclusive small group tour departs Auckland at 6:30am and arrives at this popular attraction near Matamata, a small agricultural town approximately 2.5 hours' drive from Auckland, before the site opens to the general public. The expert guide brings travelers to portions of the set typically only accessed by the crew and off-limits to other tour groups. Travelers will see Bilbo Baggins’ house, Bag End, the Mill and the Party Tree among other recognizable landmarks, and enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Green Dragon Inn.
A Private Journey to Middle-earth
For a personalized experience, the Private Tour: The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland lets travelers select their departure time from Auckland and travel to the Hobbiton movie set on a private drive along the meandering Waikato River. On the way to Middle-earth, travelers will see where a famous battle took place in 1863 between Maori and British forces at Rangiri, have views of the sacred Taupiri Mountain and drive through the historic site of Ngaruawahia, seat of the ancient Maori king and a traditional Maori meeting place. Hear tales of the filming and visit the films’ iconic sites including the Hobbit holes cut into the ground at Bag End. Travelers enjoy lunch at the Green Dragon Inn before a relaxing return trip to Auckland.
Combine the Hobbits of Hobbiton with the Glow Worms of Waitomo
Travelers can experience two of New Zealand’s most popular attractions during the Private Tour: Waitomo Caves and The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland. The private drive through the gently undulating farming country makes its first stop at Waitomo to join a 45-minute tour of the glow-worm caves, including a tranquil boat ride on an underground stream to ensure an up-close view of the glow worms. After lunch in Waitomo, travelers are transported to Matamata and the Shire's Rest café where the Hobbiton tour begins. The tour takes visitors on a drive through the bucolic sheep farm chosen as the Hobbiton movie set and visits its most memorable sites before returning to Auckland.
For More LOTR and The Hobbit
Viator has a selection of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit tours across New Zealand departing popular destinations including Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Rotorua, in addition to two shore excursions for cruise passengers in port in Auckland and Tauranga.
For more information, as well as the latest deals, promotions, contests and news, travelers can check out Viator.com, the Viator Tours & Activities App (iOS and Android) and the Viator Travel Blog. Follow Viator on Facebook and Twitter.
Viator® is the world’s leading resource to discover and book travel activities, providing online and mobile access to more than 15,000 curated trip activities including tours, attractions, shore excursions and private guides, in more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. In-house travel experts work with trusted local operators to ensure the quality and value of every experience, all backed by Viator’s 24/7 customer service and global low-price guarantee. With more than 350,000 verified reviews plus exclusive videos and insider travel tips, Viator has everything a traveler needs to find and book the best things to do worldwide. In addition to the flagship site—Viator.com—travelers can book in advance or in-destination via the Viator Tours and Activities App for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android, the Viator Shore Excursions website as well as local-language sites for European, Latin American and Asian travelers. Viator also provides tours and activities to more than 2,500 affiliate partners including some of the world’s top airlines, hotels and online travel agencies. Founded in 1995, Viator is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Sydney, London and Las Vegas. Viator—travel with an insider.
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