Day 1: Auckland – Waitomo – Rotorua (L, D)Following hotel pickup, depart Auckland aboard your air-conditioned coach, heading south to the North Island’s renowned Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Enter the otherworldly limestone labyrinth with your guide, observing the stalactite formations and phosphorescent shimmer of tiny glowworms during a tour of the caves.
After you emerge from this subterranean marvel, re-board the coach for a boxed lunch served while you are driven east to Rotorua. Enjoy free time to explore before a duck tour of Rotorua’s scenic lakes by amphibious vehicle.
Discover New Zealand’s Maori heritage during a cultural evening including a traditional Maori hangi — a feast of meat and vegetables cooked in an earth oven — before retiring at your hotel for the night.
Overnight: Standard or superior hotel accommodation in Rotorua
Day 2: Rotorua – Hobbiton – Auckland (B)After breakfast, head to Te Puia for an otherworldly geothermal experience. Stroll the walkway past bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers on display before you enjoy more cultural performances by the local Maori people.
Next, your guide takes you to Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a rare glimpse of the kiwi, New Zealand’s signature bird. Then stop at the Agrodome, a working farm, to watch sheepdogs and sheep-shearing in action.
Continue on with a scenic coach drive across the Kaimai Range to a farm near Matamata. Here, you’ll explore the fairytale landscape of the Shire featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. During your Hobbiton Movie Set tour, stop for photo ops in front of Bilbo Baggins’ house and other hobbit holes, and visit the Green Dragon Inn.
Your tour concludes in the early evening, with the option to be dropped off in Auckland or Rotorua.