BERKELEY, CALIF."” On several New Zealand tours offered by Backroads, a company that offers hiking and biking tours around the world, travelers can enter the classic book of childhood fantasies, The Hobbit, for their own adventure. With sweeping vistas, mountain ranges, enormous waterfalls and glacial valleys at every turn, travelers can step into the big screen of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey past places filmed in the movie and traverse the magical land of Gondor.
Backroads offers five tours to New Zealand, including biking, hiking and multisport tours, as well as some geared specifically for families and single travelers. The movie, filmed in New Zealand and the prequel to the popular Lord of the Rings series also filmed in the country, is set for release in U.S. theaters Dec. 14.
On the New Zealand Biking and Hiking tours on the country's South Island, travelers cycle and hike along Mount Aspiring National Park, in which lies "Dan's Paddock," or "Isengard" in the movie. Additionally, they'll enjoy views of Westland National Park shown in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which serves as the mountains that run between Gondor and Rohan.
Additionally, guests on the New Zealand Multisport Tour, which travels on the North Island, come close to Tongariro National Park, a land of volcanoes, which fills in for the evil region of Mordor in both movies.
"Basically any where you travel in New Zealand, especially on the South Island, you enjoy the dramatic vistas found throughout both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies," says Christian Chumbley, regional director of Asia, Pacific and Africa for Backroads.
Other highlights of the Multisport North Island tour include a walk to Cathedral Cove with its bright blue waters, discovering an old gold mine, feeding an emu, crossing suspension bridges, kayaking to a small hot spring, a dip in hot pools and more. The New Zealand Multisport Tour is available in classic form, as well as special tours designed for bothfamilies and singles and solos. These trips range from 8 days and 7 nights to 7 days and 6 nights.
Highlights of the South Island Hiking Tour and Biking Tour include exploring blowholes spewing water at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, a jungle trek, a hike around Lake Matheson, discovering the Haast World Heritage area and a search for the island's native jade. These trips are both 10 days and 9 nights.
Trips are available starting Dec. 22 and run throughout 2013. Pricing starts at $4398/person double occupancy depending on the specific trip and dates. Airfare is not included. For more information or to book a tour, please visit www.Backroads.com
If you want to go it on your own, whether it be backpacking or staying in luxury accommodations, there are plenty of hotel alternatives in New Zealand.
Read more: New Zealand readies for Hobbit celebration