Day 3 - Friday 27 April - Lord of the Rings Tour

Didn't sleep all that well. Every time I woke up for the first couple of hours Stu was still awake. Woke up later with an aching spine from a too soft bed and a too thick pillow.

Had breakfast in our room from the supplies we bought last night.

At about 8:40 we got picked up by Rover Rings Tours for a Lord of the Rings tour in and around Wellington. There was another lady in the bus - Jin - from Seoul who was living in Auckland studying english. We went to pick up another four people but they'd misjudged or something and weren't even in Wellington. So we had a whole midi bus for three people which was great.

Our first stop was up Mt Victoria (the northern lookout which doesn't have as good a view). And it was cloudy and windy - not nearly as nice as yesterday.

Wellington from the northern lookout on Mount Victoria
Wellington from the northern lookout on Mount Victoria

Headed down the hill a little bit to see two places in one. The first was where the hobbits were running from the farmer and tumbled down into a ravine. The second was just a few metres away where the hobbits hide under the tree stump from the Black Rider. Also just nearby was where the Black Rider appears at night with the light behind him.

Sign for Lord of the Rings filming location
Sign for Lord of the Rings filming location

Alien abduction zone warning sign
Alien abduction zone warning sign

Right here is where the Hobbits tumble down the hill while escaping from the farmer
Right here is where the Hobbits tumble down the hill while escaping from the farmer

Here is where Frodo tells the others they should get off the road
Here is where Frodo tells the others they should get off the road

Immediately next to that is where the Hobbits hide from the black rider
Immediately next to that is where the Hobbits hide from the black rider

Kazza as a hobbit looking at a black rider
Kazza as a hobbit looking at a black rider

Then it was over to the Miramar peninsula. Had a drive around the Stone Street Studios and saw the big outdoor green screen.

Stone Street Studios
Stone Street Studios

World's largest outdoor green screen
World's largest outdoor green screen

Then to the Weta Cave for the video followed by a tour of the Weta Workshops. That was pretty cool, although you don't really get to see much of the actual workshops, it's just stuff setup for the tour.

Weta Cave sign
Weta Cave sign

Sculpture in the Weta Cave
Sculpture in the Weta Cave

This guy was making guinea pig houses
This guy was making guinea pig houses

Stu with a sword in the Weta Cave
Stu with a sword in the Weta Cave

Ape sculptures in Weta Cave
Ape sculptures in Weta Cave

Ghost in the Shell costume and animatronics
Ghost in the Shell costume and animatronics

From there we drove around the eastern side of the peninsula (apparently past Peter Jackson's house, but they wouldn't say which one it was) to lunch at Scorch-o-rama.

Raquel Welch poster in one of the toilets at Scorch O Rama
Raquel Welch poster in one of the toilets at Scorch O Rama

The Raquel Welch poster swung aside to see the hole behind
The Raquel Welch poster swung aside to see the hole behind

Continued north all the way around the peninsula which was really nice.

Mahanga Bay from Massey Road on the Miramar peninsula
Mahanga Bay from Massey Road on the Miramar peninsula

Looking towards Wellington from Massey Road on the Miramar peninsula
Looking towards Wellington from Massey Road on the Miramar peninsula

Windy Wellington sign near the airport
Windy Wellington sign near the airport

Then we headed out of Wellington.

We drove past a quarry which was used for filming scenes from Minis Tirith and Helms Deep.

Quarry used to film Helms Deep and Minis Tirith
Quarry used to film Helms Deep and Minis Tirith

Stopped at a spot on the Hutt River which was used for some shots of the Great River Anduin.

Hutt River - where scenes for the River Anduin were shot
Hutt River - where scenes for the River Anduin were shot

Stu and Kaz at the Hutt River
Stu and Kaz at the Hutt River

Then to a pretty park that was used for Isengard. The scene where Gandalf rides in along the path under a gate was there, as well as where Gandalf talks to Saruman outside.

Pretty trees in Harcourt Park
Pretty trees in Harcourt Park

Grassy area where Gandalf rides into Isengard (they flipped the film horizontally)
Grassy area where Gandalf rides into Isengard (they flipped the film horizontally)

Kaz and Stu walking where Gandalf and Saruman walked together in Isengard
Kaz and Stu walking where Gandalf and Saruman walked together in Isengard

David our tour guide and our little midi bus
David our tour guide and our little midi bus

Had a brief stop at Stuart Macaskill Lakes (water reservoirs for Wellington).

Stu at Stuart Macaskill Lakes
Stu at Stuart Macaskill Lakes

Stuart Macaskill Lakes
Stuart Macaskill Lakes

And finally ended up at Rivendell. There's nothing left there now except a replica gate they put in afterwards. But I was amazed that they actually built all the sets out there, rather than in a studio.

Stu really didn't like this rope bridge over the Eastern Hutt River which swayed alarmingly
Stu really didn't like this rope bridge over the Eastern Hutt River which swayed alarmingly

Eastern Hutt River
Eastern Hutt River

Tree ferns on the little forest walk across the river
Tree ferns on the little forest walk across the river

Jin at Rivendell
Jin at Rivendell

Kaz at Rivendell.  This gate was not in the movie, they recreated one to put there for tourists
Kaz at Rivendell. This gate was not in the movie, they recreated one to put there for tourists

Stu standing where Legolas stood for publicity stills
Stu standing where Legolas stood for publicity stills

Stu is a bit taller than Gandalf and a bit shorter than Aragorn
Stu is a bit taller than Gandalf and a bit shorter than Aragorn

Kazza is a bit taller than Gimli and a bit shorter than Gandalf
Kazza is a bit taller than Gimli and a bit shorter than Gandalf

Then headed back into Wellington.

Hung out in the hotel for a little while before heading out again.

Wandered down to Whistling Sister to try some of their beers.

Then back to El Matador for dinner. Stu had been wanting to get their tasting platter for two to four, but I saw the size of it and thought we'd be pretty miserable after, so instead we got some thing off the tapas menu (smoked lamb, smoked pork belly, bone marrow, and broadbean salad). It was all pretty delicious.

House-smoked lamb with traditional chimichurri
House-smoked lamb with traditional chimichurri

House-smoked pork belly with black bean and chicharron
House-smoked pork belly with black bean and chicharron

Roasted bone marrow with bacon marmalade and house-made bread
Roasted bone marrow with bacon marmalade and house-made bread

Broad beans with bacon, cream and cos lettuce
Broad beans with bacon, cream and cos lettuce

Then back to the hotel to crash.