If any of you are in the fortunate position to be planning a grand vacation, take a look at Groupon Getaways. They have a bunch of fabulous vacations at a great rate, like this 14 day Hobbit Adventure from Air New Zealand for $2499 including Airfare & Hotel Accomodations ($3678 value). OK, so yes, this is out of our normal realm of posting about $5 toys for Christmas, but it’s fun to dream, right? In all reality, it is a great value for the price.
Check out this itinerary:
Days 1–5: Auckland
Beautiful beaches, volcanic hills, and harbors filled with brightly colored sailboats surround Auckland, a bustling city in northern New Zealand. Since several harbors and bays border the downtown area, boating is a popular pastime—Auckland is often called the “city of sails” for having more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. The city is also home to the world’s largest Polynesian population. Learn more about Polynesian history and culture at the Auckland Museum, home to an extensive collection of Maori and Pacific Islander artifacts.
While in Auckland, you’ll take a half-day city tour, which includes a visit to Parnell, a historic neighborhood lined with boutiques and antique shops, and a scenic drive along Waitemata Harbor. The tour concludes at Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, which has panoramic views of downtown Auckland and Waitemata Harbor. You’ll also have two full days to explore Auckland on your own.
Days 6–7: Rotorua
Geothermal activity abounds in the city of Rotorua, including geysers, boiling mud pools, and cartoon animals with steam coming out of their ears. Te Puia, a geothermal valley a few minutes outside of the city, encompasses many of these wonders. The valley’s Pohutu Geyser erupts 10 to 25 times a day. Te Puia is also the site of the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you can see cultural performances and artwork and visit a kiwi conservation facility that takes in injured birds.
On your first evening in Rotorua, visit a re-created Maori village to watch traditional music and dance performances, then dine on typical Maori foods. The following day is taken up by a half-day tour of the Waikato region, or the Shire, where several scenes from The Hobbit were filmed.
Days 8–9: Wellington
Located on the southern tip of the North Island, Wellington is both New Zealand’s capital and its cultural center. It’s home to the national Museum of New Zealand, where you can see a 1,000-pound colossal squid on display and learn more about the country’s settlers.
In Wellington, you’ll take a half-day Rover tour that visits seven filming locations, including the settings for Minas Tirith, Helm’s Deep, and Rivendell, where you’ll enjoy a cup of tea underneath the Elven trees. The specialist tour guides give you plenty of time to explore each site and ask questions about the filming process.
Days 10–14: Queenstown
Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown plays host to a number of outdoor activities all year long, including skiing and snowboarding, whitewater rafting, and hang gliding. Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island, the city contains dozens of wineries that offer tours and tastings of the region’s famous pinot noir.
On your second afternoon in Queenstown, head about 30 miles outside of the city for a half-day tour of Glenorchy. The tour whisks you through the filming locations of Isengard, Ithilien Camp, and the battle of Amon Hen. The next two days are yours to explore Queenstown on your own before heading back home