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Deal of the Week: Hobbit Tour

January 13, 2002

Air-hotel packages to Australia and New Zealand can often be had for little more than the air fare alone. Putting a Hollywood twist on the deal, Los Angeles-based Newmans South Pacific Vacations is offering a package called "Journeys to Middle-Earth" featuring New Zealand sites where the movie "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was filmed. For prices starting at $1,199 per person, double occupancy, during the winter low season (May 1 to Sept. 2), you get round-trip air fare on Air New Zealand between LAX and Auckland; seven nights' lodging; and a compact, manual- transmission rental car for eight days. Airport taxes and car insurance are extra. By comparison, the regular round-trip air fare in that period is $1,118, according to Newmans. You can use vouchers to reserve hotels as you go, or book in advance, a spokeswoman said. The company provides suggested itineraries with sites such as Matamata (a set location for Hobbiton) and Wellington, home to the studios of "The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson. (800) 416-0667, www.newmansvacations.com/middleearth.

For more deals, see our Web site, www.latimes.com/travel.

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