Whether you're a die-hard LOTR geek or just a Significant Other tagging along, you will absolutely love this tour: You get to see some of the best places from the films (and it is beyond words to describe how great it is to be standing where your favourite characters were!), you will enjoy the glorious scenery of NZ, you will take more photos than you ever thought possible, you have a great choice of extra activities (from helicopter rides to bungee jumping), you will be staying at great hotels, you will be looked after lovingly by Raewyn and Vic, you will make great friends and you will not want this tour ever to end.
Can't recommend this highly enough!
I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with Vic , Raewyn and Julie of Red Carpet Tours as part of my New Zealand experience. Their rich knowledge and deep love for this magical country is mixed with a sense of loving kindness towards their tour-ees. They are Hobbitologists and Lord of the Rings experts, but Red Carpet Tours offers more than facts and photo ops. If you want to fully experience the spiritual magic of this beautiful country, do it with the best- Red Carpet Tours. Carol Adams, USA
Nothing but superlatives for Vic, Raewyn, & all of the other RCT staff. My at-the-time-eight-year-old daughter & I took the full two-week tour of "Middle-earth" & it was an unforgettable experience. Raewyn patiently answered my many ahead-of-time questions as to whether I should bring my daughter. Vic's quiet sense of humor kept me chuckling all through the North Island. And Derek, our South Island guide, was a fountain of information on any subject. We saw so many places that we never would have found on our own, both LOTR-related & "just plain NZ"—although there's nothing "plain" about NZ! The people we met along the way were also wonderful...in fact, Daniel Reeve "calligraphied" my wedding invitation. The entire experience was unforgettable & my daughter & I left our hearts in NZ. Now my daughter wants to spend half a year of high school in NZ. I'm thinking that that would be a good time for another Red Carpet Tour! Thank you to Vic, Raewyn, & all involved for a stellar time in our lives. : )
Q: When is a tour not a tour?
A: When it is run by Vic and Raewyn James.
This is the highest compliment I could pay Red Carpet Tours. It was like an adventure with a group of lifelong mates and is highly recommended whether you are LOTR fans or not. Both 'belleferret' and 'biinfc' have captured the experience with their postings. For those on the April 2011 adventure...Thanks for the memories!!
I recently took the 12-day Lord of the Rings tour, something I had been planning for almost 2 years. A friend of mine told me the anticipation of such a trip is the best part--he was wrong.
The experience exceeded my expectations in every way. The tour was carefully planned but casual, relaxed and flexible; the scenery was beyond breathtakingly beautiful; the company was fun and friendly; our hosts, Raewyn and Vic James were warm, knowledgeable and enthusiastic; the adventures and activities were thrilling both for the soul and the body.
Before the tour was half over, I knew I wanted to do it again. I can't wait! :-D
I just returned from the Red Carpet Tours 12 day 'Lord of the Rings' tour, and it was the best vacation I've had in my life. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the movies, or even to those who want to see some of the most glorious scenery in the world. You don't have to be a LOTR fan to enjoy this tour! Vic and Raewyn James are welcoming, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and it's clear the high level of care, thought, and detailed planning that goes into running each tour. They take care of everything so that you can simply enjoy the experience to the fullest. It feels more like traveling with good friends or family than a tour group.
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I enjoyed a tour with Red Carpet Tours in November 2004. This tour was a life changing event for me and Vic and Reawyn where amazing. I meet Friends I will have all my life and experienced New Zealand in a comfortable and relaxed group. Everything was top notch from the accommodations to the restaurants to the sites we visited. I do not think I would have had the experiences I had if not for Red Carpet Tours incites into the Lord of the Rings community in New Zealand.
The only bad part about these tours is that sadly they have to end. I hope to return to a Red Carpet tour in 2012. They take you there and you can not wait to go back again!
Our Lord of the Rings tour with Red Carpet is one of the high points of our lives. My wife and I traveled with my mother, celebrating her 79th birthday on the trip, plus our 17 year old daughter and all of us had a marvelous time. Vic and Raewyn go out of their way to tailor the experience for the specific interests of the individuals on each tour and that made the tour even more special. We highly recommend Red Carpet and hope to return and see more of New Zealand with them in the years to come.
I went on the Red Carpet LOTR Tour four months ago and cannot wait to go back to New Zealand for another tour with Red Carpet. Vic and Julie James are knowledgeable about Tolkien writings and films and created the experience of a lifetime for me. We stayed at great hotels, enjoyed wonderful food, and of course visiting the sites of the films was fantastic. All I can think about is "How soon can I go back?!!!"
The last 3 days (18th -20th Nov), I was lucky enough to experince a slice of what a LOTR Red Carpet Tour is like! I had been friends with a person online for 10yrs, never met. She was coming to NZ to do the tour, and so I contacted Raewyn and Vic and asked if they could tell me the free times the tour would have while in Wellington. These wonderful people not only told me what I needed, but invitied me to join them on the Wellington leg of the tour, so I could spend more time with said friend. This is what makes RCT different from other tours. Raewyn and Vic care about those taking the tour, you are not treated like a tourist, but family, and nothing is a problem for them, they will do all that is within their power to make the tour an amazing experince for you.
The hightlights,being with friend, meeting Daniel Reeve, visiting Weta Cave, a guided tour of Stansborough (wonderful elven cloaks), watching friend being tattooed by the same gentleman who did the hobbits, excellent meals at Green Parrot,Strawberry Fair,and Kaitoke Cafe, taking in the sites at Helms Deep, Rivendell,Vic's stories and meeting an excellent group of people in the November fellowship.
I live in Middle Earth,and some may think that it wouldn't be worth a kiwi going on the tour...I'm here to tell you it is. You will enjoy everything like it was new, and because RCT makes everyone feel like family, you'll hate leaving the tour at the end!
Raewyn and Vic went out of their way for me, and I cannot thank them enough for that! I have come away from my "mini" tour with a new love for my part of Middle Earth,and precious memories.
Thank you Raewyn and Vic, for bringing two friends together, in Middle Earth.
With apologies to my folks re: family trips growing up, Red Carpet was, bar none, the most enjoyable and enlightening group travel I've ever done.
The Jameses (proprietors and guides) provide an amazing mix of personal (knew us by name, asked and learned about our specific interests and quirks, literally "hung out" with us as part of the the tour community) and professional (handled everything, knew their stuff). Their genuine hospitality and encyclopedic knowledge of film, locations and culture made the (stunningly gorgeous) sights and LOTR stops only part of the trip's enjoyment.
And their approach attracts wonderful tour-goers to share the experience. I'm still in touch with everyone from my tour.
I can't recommend them enough; I'd repeat the same tour annually if I could.
I had the opportunity to go on a Red Carpet Tour way back in October 2005. It remains to this day the best thing I have ever done. I was only 19 at the time and travelling alone, but Vic and Raewyn the tour guides were so friendly my nerves about my journey to the other side of the world soon disappeared. The tour perfectly encorporates the brilliant LotR locations and the stunning New Zealand countryside. I would highly recommend this tour to everyone!
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
I did a north island tour with Vic and Raewyn and loved every minute of it. They made me feel so special and well cared for -it was wonderful to meet Daniel Reeve and to visit Stansborough. I can thoroughly recommend Red Carpet Tours and can't wait to have the full experience when time allows.
I've been on two Red Carpet tours and am considering a third.
The 12 day LOTR tour of both islands is a joy. Vic and Raewyn James have such an extensive knowledge of their country and the Lord of the Rings, and a fellowship forms very quickly with such wonderful leaders. The tour visits places that the ordinary traveller might never find, and which immerse you immediately in the world of Middle-earth. Along the way there seems to be a never ending queue of wonderful people eager to share their experiences and expertise...giving a rare insight into the making of the films.
The week I spent touring the north island on the Northern Escape Artists and Photography tour was fabulous. Vic and Raewyn again looked after us all the way, finding us fabulous places to paint or photograph, and Daniel Reeve provided expertise and inspiration for a crew of painters.
The various hotels are great - comfortable places often with a lot of character - the sort of place you want to go back and stay at again. Restaurants and snack stops provided a range of choice for all sorts of diets and preferences. The various recreational activities allowed some adventures along the way - all great fun.
There cannot be a better tour than the Red Carpet Tour of Middle Earth. Vic & Raewyn were super guides, and wonderful people. We were with them [from Canada] on the November 2009 tour of the north and south islands of New Zealand,seeing many of the fabulous film sites for LOTR movies. Everything ran smoothly, and everything was THRILLING each day. I cried after I got home, because I missed New Zealand and the tour itself. The James somehow brought all 11 of us together as a Fellowship - so much so that seven of us met up in England this past August at a Tolkien exhibition. We all want to return to Middle Earth Red Carpet Tours for 'The Hobbit' premier.
What a fantastic tour!!! The experience of Vic & Raewyn made sure we visited some great locations that you would never see on a normal bus tour, and together with their background of each beautiful spot made you feel like you were part of the movies. The special guests at some of the locations just raised it to a new level.
With the excellent choices of hotels, restaurants and shops along the way makes it a complete package tour, for the young & old.
A special mention to Daniel Reeve for his brilliant work and patience with some "beginners" just made it a once in a life time experience.
If you are thinking about booking a tour, don't think about it, just do it. You will not regret it.
The tour guides, Vic and Raewyn James, are the best I've encountered in my 45 years of touring. They make their tours the most memorable I've experienced.
Absolutely WONDERFUL!!! Vic and Raewyn have put together something very special that NO LOTR fan should pass up. Add to the unique movie locations and the wonderful production people you will meet just the sheer beauty of NZ and its warm and welcoming people and you have a tour that is world class and worth every cent! Thank you Vic and Raewyn for an experience Shane and I will never forget. Remember we are still booked for the second film premiere tour!
What an absolutely perfect way to get a good taste of New Zealand! Being able to see gorgeous country on both the North and South island was absolutely amazing. Vic and Raewyn were fantastic, so welcoming and helpful; if you needed anything they were there to assist and set up any excursion you might want to do. The trip ran so smoothly, the accommodations were marvellous, the food was incredible, and the way everything was planned out was unparallel. I cannot wait to go back! As soon as I have the money I will be on the first plane over because it is most certainly worth every dime spent! For all those LOTR fans out there RCT is an amazing way to see the country and to see all your favourite movie locations. Standing on top of Edoras surrounded by mountains, is just absolutely breathtaking. Not to mention all the fun adventurous things you can do like Zorbing and the Flying Fox! I would recommend this tour a hundred times over!
Vic & Raewyn created a wonderful tour! It included many of the sites that you see in the Lord of the Rings films and more. My wife and I truly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in seeing New Zealand and the Lord of the Rings sites!
I'll basically just re-iterate everything everyone has already said - RCT is THE best experience in New Zealand, even more so if you are a "Lord of the Rings" fan. Vic and Raewyn seem to be superhuman, but yet so friendly that you automatically feel like part of the family. They are really the ones who deserve all the credit. Red Carpet Tours hold a very special place in my heart, and, if I could afford it, I would go back again and again. Everything from the accommodation to the side trips to even the surprises along the way are handled brilliantly. When you embark on a Red Carpet Tour, you can rest assured that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible ride. And Red Carpet tourists are some of the most diverse, fun people I have ever met. You become like family on a Red Carpet Tour, and nothing is too crazy or too silly. I can't wait for my return journey!
A great holiday, whether you're a Lord Of The Rings fan or just want to see NZ outside the usual tourist routes. In our case we had one of each. We saw parts of NZ we would never have seen if we'd gone on our own, with all the hassle taken care of for us.
Unlike other tour groups we have gone round with it very quickly felt as if we were going round with a group of old friends, including Vic and Raewyn - our fantastic hosts.
All the provisions made for us couldn't be faulted, and the care taken of us was superb. Especially in my case. In my mid 60s, with bad knees and hips, I had been worried about how I would cope. Needn't have worried, everyone was very patient and there was always a hand there to help my husband get me up hills, down hills, through streams etc. And I loved it all.I would recommend it to anyone who loves the book, the movie, or just wants to see a fabulous country in a unique way, leap onto the Red Carpet as soon as you can.And get Vic and Raewyn to introduce you to Hokey Pokey icecream - I think I've got the name right.
And look for the place that seels Chilli Chocolate - sounds crazy, but is FANTASTIC! Just like the RC.
Simply the best.
With Red Carpet Tours middle earth is truly laid out before you in a vast tapestry of New Zealand landscapes. Be you a dyed in the wool LOTR fan or just want to throw yourself into the many primeval beauties of the country itself this is the only way to go. There is truly something for everyone at all times…all the way through the tour.
Vic and Raewyn are wonderful guides with a great and loving knowledge not only of their country but of all things LOTR and have some great behind the scenes stories that trickle through the tour. Needless to say they have thought of everything. First rate hotels, restaurants (the food along the tour is incredible – from the mom and pop bakeries to the vast array of restaurants through N and S Island) The days are full of adventure and discovery, the evenings are full of fabulous dinners and Vic will even point out the Southern Cross way up in the night sky. Needless to say it is thrilling to see the locations in all their natural glory but at times even more moving are the new discoveries you make along the way - the discovery of New Zealand itself. There is a magical progression from middle earth to New Zealand to Aotearoa, the Maori ‘land of the long white cloud’. Another wee bit of magic happens when the tour group transforms into a Fellowship. Lasting friendships and a feeling of family have grown and plans are already being made for that return trip. I’ve toured with Vic and Raewyn three times now and find there is always something new on the program
together with a very happy surprise or two…or three! When I see Vic at the airport to meet me I feel like I am coming home.
So whether you are looking for middle earth, or a unique way to really tour New Zealand, Vic and Raewyn and Red Carpet Tours are THE way to take you there…and back again!
Unfortunately there was no tour the time I visited NZ, but thanks to Vic & Raewyn I was well prepared for that wonderful country!!!
THANK YOU for every kind e-mail I received in advance!
THANK YOU for each recommendation you gave!
A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU for you extra warm welome at the airport and the "vulcano-special" on our way to Auckland central !!!
And an EXTRA SPECIAL THANK YOU for my magic second day in NZ at MATAMATA with RCT - I´ll never forget that very first step into LotR-location experience you gave to me, Vic!
People around the world - choose RCT!!! It`s worth every second and every NZ dollar you spend!!!
I wholeheartedly agree with the other comments written here, about how wonderful Red Carpet Tours are. I would also add that the accommodation was fantastic, at some of the hotels you're almost treated as a movie star, the food was absolutely brilliant and you are taken to some of the best eateries around, and the organisation of the tour was unrivalled. I have done other group tours and there's normally some hitch in the tour planning, but my Red Carpet Tour ran so smoothly and it was never a problem to fit in any optional activity that you wanted to do, Vic and Raewyn took care of everything. The experience was just perfect!
I've been a fan of LoTR since I was a little girl - in fact, my father couldn't decide whether to name me after Arwen or Eowyn, and made up a hybrid of the two names as my middle name. When my husband and I went on this tour for our honeymoon, we had high expectations - and were braced for the inevitable disappointment that high expectations usually bring. Imagine our delight when our highest expectations were far exceeded by our experience! Vic and Raewyn were consumate hosts and made us feel like family from the moment they met us at the airport. All the others on the tour were excited, too, and by the second day we were all fast friends - it's been three years and we're all still in touch, visiting eachother when we can and feeling like your favorite relatives. Each night we would comment to eachother over dinner that that day had been the best experience ever, and each morning Vic and Raewyn topped the previous day! By the fifth day we absolutely could not believe it could possibly get better and yet each day it DID.
I'm sure this seems like very high praise indeed and quite improbable, but it's only the truth. We encountered other people on other tours and were able to compare notes with some of them. We found that Red Carpet Tours was the best - and I'm sad to say that many of those other people were a little disappointed in their experiences by contrast after what we shared about our tour. We have recommended RCT to everyone we know and can't sing their praises highly enough!
We shall never forget our first time with Red Carpet Tours, and we are eagerly awaiting our next journey into Middle Earth with them!
Like many others, my wife and I came to Red Carpet because we liked Lord of the Rings. You could spend months researching where all the locations are, and then driving yourself around New Zealand - but why bother when Red Carpet do it all for you? We're quite shy people and were apprehensive about joining a 'tour group', but we had nothing to worry about. By the second day everyone is like a big family out on a road trip.
You travel there not really sure of what you're going to see or do... and then you see and do wondrous things you never could have imagined. Make no mistake - even if you aren't into LotR, this is an incredible tour of NZ, taking in both islands and all their environments, from volcanic mudpools to lofty mountains.
Vic and Raewyn must be some of the best tour guides anywhere. They think of everything. They have every day planned out so that there's never a dull moment.
And much later, after you come home, you realise that this was no ordinary holiday, and that some part of yourself was left behind in New Zealand, calling you to return.
My wife and I took our honeymoon to New Zealand and chose Red Carper Tours for the experience - and it was our best trip EVER. Vic and Raewyn are wonderful, deeply knowledgeable about both New Zealand and the Lord of the Rings, and the nicest people you could ever expect to meet. The tour itself is a can't-miss for L.O.T.R. fans, especially as Vic and Raewyn will take you to see people and places you can't get to on ANY other tour.
Everything about Red Carpet was perfect, and we are headed back as soon as possible. We recommend Red Carpet to EVERYONE that asks, and to the reader of this review as well.
We have managed two Red Carpet Tours and on both occasions were left spellbound by the people and places.
Being able to visit the L.O.T.R sites with such knowledgeable guides made it an unforgettable experience.
It meant also being able to have an excellent overview of both North and South Islands and its people and places.
I have no hesitation to recommend it and even if you don't have a previous interest in L.O.T.R the experience of seeing the sites will leave an everlasting memory of spectacular scenery.
Vic & Raewyn make it so easy to unwind, I only wish we had found New Zealand earlier in our lives.
Vic & Raewyn who run the tour are wonderful and are the reason why this tour is such a great experience.
Yes it is a Lord of the Rings tour but it is also about seeing how beautiful NZ is...it really took our breath away.
I fell in love with the place and would love to go back..If you have any interest in LOTR please please do this tour..and don't worry if you are travelling with someone who is not that interested, they will enjoy every minute..
Vic & Raewyn, who own RCT, are the loveliest people in the world. The tour itself takes you to places no other tour can take you to; you meet people you wouldn't otherwise meet, and you experience things you wouldn't otherwise experience. During my Red Carpet Tour, I fell in love with New Zealand, and I never wanted to leave. It's not just about Lord of the Rings; it's about the beauty and culture of New Zealand. It's magical, and no matter how many words I say (and I know I say a lot!) there will never be the right ones to describe New Zealand, Red Carpet Tours, and Vic & Raewyn. Do yourself a favor and go on a Red Carpet Tour- you'll never regret it.