I will begin with a very embarrassing confession, an admittance that will most likely have me deported from New Zealand – I have never, and I mean ever, watched Lord of the Rings. (Or as the cool kids say... LOTR). Before I arrived into Wellington, or as it's often called 'Wellywood' I had researched the ‘To Dos’ and had asked my friends at Base for suggestions and recommendations. The Wellington Movie Tour (regardless of my original hesitation and disinterest in the popular trilogy), continued to pop up as an experience not be missed.
However, as I am dedicated to providing ongoing travel tips to all Base fans, this morning I set off on the Wellington Movie Tour. From the get go – I was hooked and intrigued. If you have any interest in film, art or the movie industry at all, this day tour is a must.
Wellington Movie Tour
I jumped onboard the minibus as we made our way to Hutt Valley – where many of the LOTR scenes were filmed: Helms Deep, Gardens of Isengard & Minis Tirith just to name a few.
We visited the town of Rivendell (this meant nothing to me in the beginning) and also had the chance to take a walk along the swing bridge in Kaitoke National Park. We ventured to Mount Victoria, home of ‘Hobbiton Woods,’ and the location where the very first LOTR scene was filmed.
Our Kiwi guide Ted was hilarious and had once driven tours around the sights of Wellington. Soon he realised that most of his customers showed a particular interest in where LOTR was filmed. With a brother who had worked on the design aspect of the films, Ted now offers a small group and personalised Movie Tour.
Movie Clips were played onboard the bus or on site at the filming locations before we used props to recreate popular scenes – this was a laugh (as you can see by my photos).
Throughout the day our guide Ted wowed us with interesting facts about the making of the films. Did you know that the ‘Orc Chant’ was actually generated from a Cricket Crowd at Wellington’s Westpac stadium? Peter Jackson walked onto the ground mid game and had the entire crowd chant in unison. The sound was then used in the film.
My favourite part of the day was our visit to Weta Cave. Weta Digital have won Academy Awards for visual effects in LOTR, Avatar & King Kong. The ‘Window into Workshop’ tour guided us through statues, original props, costumes and weaponry from the films. We were given insights into the design aspect of the movie industry and well as ‘inside’ secrets.
No cameras were allowed inside the Weta Cave so you'll have to take photos outside!
We made our way back to Wellington via the south coast bays and beaches. Overall it was a fun, silly, interactive and informative day, a great way to see Wellington and its surrounds and a motivator to all those shameful and unfortunate individuals (such as myself) who have yet to watch the most successful trilogy ever created... I’m downloading as we speak.
Wellington is becoming very well known for its links to the move industry. The guys at the Weta Cave have not only produced props, statues and costumes for the Hobbit and LOTR movies but for many other films as well. Spiderman 2, Man of Steel (Superman), Bladerunner 2049 and Thor: Ragnarok being just some of them. Knowing this information it becomes clear why Windy Wellington is also referred to as Wellywood!