Travel through the city of Rotorua and your friendly knowledgeable guide will talk about notable points of interest as you pass by. Traverse over the Mamaku Ranges, through the Fitzgerald Glades where native ferns and tress line the roadside and create a canopy overhead which gives a tunnel effect. Enjoy the stunning views before dropping over the ranges into the fertile Waikato plains, where dairy cows are seen in abundance. This is the most densely populated area of dairy cows seen anywhere in the world. The dairy industry in New Zealand is our number one export income earner – so cows are a must see on your visit. Sit back and enjoy the countryside before arriving at famous Glowworm Caves in Waitomo.
These are limestone caves – created millions of years agao by fossills from the seabed floor. The Waitomo Caves lie to the west of Rotorua in lush Waitomo farmland . On arrival you will be greeted by a local guide and then descend into a guided tour through the World-renowned Waitomo Caves – boasting ageless Stalactites & Stalagmites, then down another level brings you to the Cathedral Cavern before you hop on board the unforgettable boat ride. Marvel at Mother Nature’s light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Meander underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the myriad of glow worm lights that make up the Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you’ll immediately experience a serene ambience and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way.This glowworm species, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as your expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves’ historical and geological significance.
The second part of the day is spent at Hobbiton; the movie set location for Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films, near the town of Matamata. Hobbiton Movie set is approximately a 1.5hour drive from Waitomo, again vis lush farmland. On arrival at the Shire – you can take some time to have some lunch at Shires Rest cafe before hopping onboard your Hobbit bus and heading off over the beautiful sheep and beef farm which is home to Hobbiton Movie Set. Then spend an informative 2 hours touring around the movie set location with a local guide filled with movie knowledge and passion. Stand under the party tree, walk past the Hobbit holes, imagine yourself amongst the characters. Nestled deep in the rolling hills of the Waikato, this location was chosen for its unblemished landscape. Bilbo Baggins was no typical hobbit, he did not want adventure, but you will have to come and see why he was so reluctant to leave the comfort of The Shire. At the conclusion of your journey you get a special treat in the Green Dragon Inn where you will receive a local shire ale, cider or ginger beer.
On conclusion of the tour you will be returned to the Shire – check out the shops and then we depart for Rotorua (or Auckland if you desire – additional cost).
Recommend that you wear comfortable walking shoes and take a warm jacket.