Following in the Footsteps of The Lord of the Rings- Visiting Greater Wellington

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For fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand is a dream destination. With its rolling green landscapes, high mountains and lush valleys, the country bears a deep resemblance to the fictional Middle Earth in the movies. Over 150 locations in New Zealand were used to film the fantasy trilogy. Here are the best locations to visit if you are looking for an authentic Lord of the Rings experience.

1. Hobbiton

Hobbiton has been used as the filming location for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Located in the Waikato district, the set is situated on a private farm. Today, it has become a popular tourist destination for Tolkien fans and you can even get guided tours around the set.

Although the set was torn down after The Lord of the Rings movie, it was rebuilt during filming of The Hobbit movies. The set includes a visitor centre, a merchandise store selling movie memorabilia, a café and genuine representations from Middle Earth. Even for non-fans, this is still a place you will enjoy visiting. The scenery is breathtaking and the attention to detail is truly amazing.

2. Paths of the Dead

Paths of the Dead are featured prominently in Return of the King, where Aragorn walks among the White Mountains. You can visit the actual location in the Wairarapa district. The towering rocky mountains known locally as The Pinnacles create a serene landscape that will appeal to anyone, whether you are a fan of the movies or not.

This is the perfect place for a hiking adventure. Climb up the pinnacles for the best views from above.

3. Hobbiton Woods

Mount Victoria in Wellington is another easily recognizable filming location. In the Lord of the Rings movies, it is depicted as Hobbiton Woods where the hobbits hide from black riders. There are many other filming locations in Wellington including River Anduin (Hutt River), the Gardens of Isengard (Harcourt Park), Rivendell (Kaitoke Regional Park) and Pelennor Fields (Queen Elizabeth Park).

4. Edoras

In the movies, Edoras is the capital of Rohan. In the movies, the scenery is nothing short of epic. A wide lush valley is dotted with snow capped peaks. The scenery is exactly the same in real life. The set itself was built on Mount Sunday, just two hours from Christchurch. There is a nice lodge where you can stay overnight.

Once you arrive at the parking lot, you will find a well-marked trail that leads upwards to the peak of Mount Sunday. Hiking to the top is a 30-minute journey with big scenery rewards once you reach the pinnacle. You can even enjoy a picnic while taking in the breathtaking landscape unfolding in front of you.

Bus tours to Middle Earth

To make your trip to Middle Earth a success, we recommend you take advantage of Kapiti Coach Tours services. We provide coach tours around Wellington to various popular locations used in filming The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

Visit our website at www.kapiticoachtours.co.nz to see all our bus services in Kapiti and beyond. You can also get a free quote to help you plan your tour ahead of time.

Exploring the Greater Wellington Region

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Whether you are a first time visitor to the Wellington region of New Zealand or are a local, there is much to explore. There are many opportunities for day trips around the region. Wildlife, scenery, history and culture are all easily accessible within a short drive in the Greater Wellington region.

Top 10 places to visit in Wellington

Of course there are many more than 10 places to visit in Wellington! If you love the architecture of religious buildings or just want to visit for some quiet reflection there is St Mary of the Angels church or the Sacred Heart Cathedral that are well worth stopping by. The New Zealand National War Memorial is set in a park and is a place to visit to reflect on the sacrifices of the fallen in conflict. The memorial is close to the New Zealand Dominion Museum building.

Love walking? Princess Bay beach, south of the airport, is a lovely spot for a walk by the sea and you can watch the Cook Strait ferries go by. To experience fabulous panoramic views of Wellington City, the harbour, the Hutt Valley, the Tararua Range, Porirua and across the Cook Strait to the South Island take the one hour walk up Mount Kaukau.

The walk is steep in places, but is a well-worn track with seats for resting and enjoying the views along the route. The summit at Mount Kaukau is actually part of the Northern Walkway, a 16km walk that takes approximately four hours to complete. The Northern Walkway goes from Johnsonville to the Botanic Gardens and the top of the Cable Car in Kelburn.

A day trip on the Dominion Post Ferry operated by East by West Ferries will take you over to Matiu/Somes Island, a predator-free island. This scientific reserve is also rich in multicultural history. Four short walks will take you to the main points of interest: 10 minutes to the centre of the island through forest, 30 minutes to the gun emplacements on a hill with 360 degree views, 30 minutes along the only road to the visitor centre and finally you can walk the island loop track in just 40 minutes. All four tracks are rated easy!

The Rimutaka Forest Park includes the Rimutaka Range and is easily accessible from Wellington, giving you access to 15 different walks. These walks vary in duration from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Whilst some are suitable for day walks with families, the longer walks are for experienced trampers only. Always check the Department of Conservation website for the latest alerts and weather reports when attempting any walks in New Zealand www.doc.govt.nz.

If you are without transport to get around you should look at the Wellington bus services provided by Kapiti Coach Tours. As well as regular bus services between the Kapiti coast and Wellington they also operate coach tours Wellington-wide. Contact the team at www.kapiticoachtours.co.nz to book your next excursion around the Greater Wellington region.

The Top 5 Tourist Spots in Wellington

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If you have ever flown into New Zealand’s capital city when the wind is blowing across the Cook Strait you will know why Wellington is commonly referred to as the windy city! It can get a little bumpy on approach! Wellington has much to offer visitors to the area interested in learning more about New Zealand history, culture and wildlife.

Top 5 tourist spots in Wellington

  • Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand)
  • Cable Car and Botanic Garden
  • Zealandia
  • Wellington Zoo
  • Wellington Museum

Te Papa is a must-see for anyone visiting Wellington. The museum boasts a stunning selection of permanent displays along with visiting exhibitions. Te Papa museum is free to enter, although some visiting exhibits may charge a fee. Highlights include the natural disaster section with lots of information about earthquakes and the impact of other natural disasters in New Zealand. Try out the earthquake simulator if you are brave enough!

The museum has its very own earthquake damage preventative measures, including giant shock absorbers that you can view. Long-term exhibits include the Treaty of Waitangi, a national art collection, and bush city – a living, growing exhibition exploring native bush and volcanic landscapes. Visit Te Marae and Manu Whenua for insight into the rich culture of the Maori, the original people of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The base of the Wellington Cable Car is about 15 minutes walk from Te Papa and is next on the list of must-see places to visit in Wellington. The Cable Car is New Zealand’s only running funicular (cliff railway with the ascending and descending cars counterbalancing each other) railway and in 5 minutes it takes you from Lambton Quay to Kelburn Hill at the top. At 119m above the city you are rewarded with stunning views across Wellington and have easy access to the Cable Car Museum, the Botanic Garden, and the Carter Observatory and Zealandia.

Zealandia is a short 25 minute walk from the Cable Car or you can hop on the free shuttle which takes only 5 minutes. Zealandia is an eco-restoration project and education facility set in 225 hectares of natural bush. Wheelchair friendly paths are available, as are walks for day trampers. Zealandia is providing a safe haven for many of New Zealand’s wildlife species that are under threat in their natural habitat; made possible by a specially designed fence to keep out mammalian pests, including domestic cats.

To see more of New Zealand’s wildlife and exotic species from around the world, then Wellington Zoo should be on your list of top spots to visit in Wellington as a tourist. With daily keeper talks and feeding times there is much to see and learn about at the zoo. For a close-up encounter you can pay a little extra and get friendly with the giraffes, lions, cheetahs, lemurs, red pandas and meerkats.

Te Papa is not the only museum in Wellington. If you go up the Cable Car you can visit the Cable Car Museum and the Carter Observatory at the top but there is also the Wellington Museum to visit on the waterfront as well as Nairn Street Cottage. Wellington Museum is free to enter but there is a small charge to enter Wellington’s oldest original cottage.

An easy way to take in all that the region has to offer visitors is to book a coach hire from Wellington and explore further afield. To easily explore Wellington by coach tours contact Kapiti Coach Tours. Visit www.kapiticoachtours.co.nz for more information about bus companies servicing Kapiti and the wider Wellington region.

Handy Hints for Choosing a New Zealand Coach Tour

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One of the most relaxing ways to explore New Zealand is on a coach tour. Many people travel New Zealand by campervan or car, but perhaps you are not confident about driving yourself. A coach tour with a dedicated and knowledgeable driver can really add something special to a tour of New Zealand. Imagine a coach tour in an air-conditioned luxury coach with comfortable seats, large windows and an on-board liquor licence as you are driven safely around New Zealand’s world famous scenery!

Coach tours can be organised with a set itinerary visiting specific destinations. You can cover a small area such as the Kapiti Coast and Wellington region or cover the whole of the North or South Islands of New Zealand. Whether you are young and single or a couple who wish to join an organised tour, there are many options available throughout New Zealand. An option for a large group is to charter your very own coach and driver and plan your own trip.

Maybe you and a few friends would like to take in a few wineries or check out the historical sites? Kapiti Coach Tours is a company based in Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti Coast who specialise in coach tours for small and large groups. They have a fleet of coaches that can cater for 10 to 53 people per coach.

When researching coach tour companies check for feedback from previous customers. The coach driver can really make a huge difference to how well your tour goes. Safe driving, knowledgeable about the sights and a good sense of humour are essential characteristics of a great coach driver. When planning your sightseeing tour of New Zealand, have an idea of where you might like to go, although a good company will have suggestions and organised tours that may well suit your interests.

Often large group tours have tight schedules to meet and you may feel hurried from one site to another. Small group tours with a more flexible itinerary can be a lot more relaxed and a great way to see the stunning scenery and sights around New Zealand. When looking at options try and view photos of the coaches; you want modern, comfortable seats and large picture windows for the best views and travel experience.

You will be more comfortable on your trip if the coaches are air conditioned to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Tinted windows will protect you from the sun’s rays whilst allowing great viewing.

What do you want to see?

  • wineries
  • beaches
  • cheese factories
  • chocolate factories
  • museums
  • historical sites
  • wildlife centres
  • stunning landscapes
  • nature reserves
  • lakes
  • mountains
  • geothermal activity
  • glow worms

New Zealand has all this and more!

Contact your local coach tour operator to find the best coach tour for your needs. Kapiti Coach Tours are your number one choice for coach and bus services in Wellington; whether you need them for a day trip, a school trip, an organised tour, a sports tour or other special event. They can even help you out with transport for your wedding party so your guests can enjoy the champagne!

Visit www.kapiticoachtours.co.nz for Wellington coach tour information and don’t forget Kapiti Coach Tours run regular commuter bus services from the Kapiti coast into Wellington.

Tour New Zealand with Kapiti Coach Tours

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Kapiti Coach Tours has been in operation since 2004. At Kapiti Coach Tours we offer seven luxury buses for hire. You can hire buses starting from 11 seats to a 53 seater. We have buses of different sizes and styles so that we can easily accommodate people who want to hire a bus for sightseeing, business or personal reasons throughout Wellington and Kapiti. Our drivers are very friendly and informative and we offer a sightseeing commentary should our clients request it. All our buses have been well maintained to make your bus travel comfortable, relaxing and enjoyable.

If you would like to travel within the North Island, especially with a sports group, school or wedding party, Kapiti Coach Tours has large buses available for that very purpose. Travelling in a group together makes the the trip more enjoyable, but even if your team is very big we will still fit as many members in a single bus as possible. We also offer quality commuter services from Wellington to Kapiti and beyond and all our trips come with the best service so that you will want to recommend us to your family and friends.

If you need to hire a bus for day trips, our company has highly qualified drivers for this very purpose. We know all the best spots in Wellington, Kapiti and the Wairarapa so can recommend the best tourist attractions and routes through these areas. Our bus services come with air conditioning, leather seats and safety features to keep you safe and comfortable over long distances.

Kapiti Coach Tours makes it easy to tour different parts of New Zealand, including Wellington and Kapiti. Our informative bus drivers will take you to whatever place you would like to visit. If there is a certain attraction you want to see, our drivers will always wait for you to explore that area before continuing on with your journey. We have been able to satisfy many people who were looking for the best bus hire in Wellington. We are always dedicated to offering our customers the best services and the majority of our customers have used us time and time again.

If you want to book the best coach hire in Wellington, just visit the Kapiti Coach Tours website at www.kapiticoachtours.co.nz for more information about our vehicles, where we travel to and how much we charge. We know what it takes for you to arrange a trip and we have several buses ready and waiting to take your friends, family and team-mates wherever you need to go.