Fantasy and fiction in New Zealand

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iol travel feb 22 New Zealand tourism REUTERS Visitors pose next to a sculpture of the J. R. R. Tolkien character Gollum at the Weta Cave museum in Wellington.

Wellington - Whether a fan of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and The Hobbit trilogies or not, the movies are huge for New Zealand tourism. Following LOTR, Tourism NZ says 47 000 international visitors have visited a film location each year since 2004.

Contiki now offers The Hobbiton Movie Set And Farm Tour at Matamata from Rotorua.

“We continue to offer our youth travellers excellent New Zealand travel experiences and film tourism is one of those,” say Kelly Jackson, general manager for Contiki, “along with Maori culture, soft adventure and our other exclusive inclusions which make up our Backstage Pass to New Zealand.

“The film location tours are another way for 18-35s to experience the country's amazing scenery complementing the icons they can see when travelling with us to the likes of Milford Sound, the Bay of Islands and West Coast Glaciers.”

The film location tours themselves have all been operating for a number of years since the movies became famous. Hobbiton has been majorly upgraded as a tourist attraction with the set rebuilt in 2011 for the new films and it is now permanent. All Contiki tours overnighting in Rotorua, Wellington and Queenstown offer the film tourism optional excursions.

Capture your own take of the country made famous in the Peter Jackson-directed fantasy films during a 19-day Contiki Holidays' The Big Tiki adventure taking in New Zealand's North and South Islands.

iol travel feb 22 New Zealand tourism2 New Zealand surprise: Alex von Tunzelmann .

Enjoy the beaches, glaciers and mountains as the 18-35's travel specialist delivers a Backstage Pass to New Zealand including a traditional Maori Hangi and dance performance in Rotorua, a thrilling Shotover jetboat ride in Queenstown and a tour and tasting at Dunedin's Speights Brewery.

Starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch, the tour is priced from R21 725 per person sharing with departure dates available from now until September. Includes 18 nights' accommodation, sightseeing, several meals, coach transport and the services of a Contiki tour manager and driver.

For more information about Contiki, visit or call (011) 280 8400. Find us on Facebook at or twitter @contikisa

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