Okay, where were we? Ah yes, New Zealand, North Island.
Last two days on this island at and around Wellington, a city I would consider living in, and that’s saying a lot as I don’t like cities!
We visited a beautiful private estate which was the location for some of the Rivendell scenes, notably where Galadriel farewelled the Fellowship, and was also where Sméagol strangled Deagol!
Amongst other visits were:
The Elven Cloak factory, where all the LOTR textiles were produced on looms shipped to NZ from the UK over 100 years ago
The quarry that doubled for Helm’s Deep and yes, that slope to the right is the one the Rohirrim galloped down to win the battle!
The public park that doubled for Isengard
And Weta Workshop where all the effects were made, including Weta cave where you can indulge your geek side and buy props, models and clothing, after you’ve finished ogling the real things that featured in the films.
We also took the chance to check out The Hobbit again, at the Embassy Theatre, where the premiere was held just a month earlier.
Mount Victoria was our last stop, with fantastic views over the city and port
Then onward! A smooth and comfortable ferry journey over to South Island (or ‘The Mainland’ as the locals tell us it should be called!) and a road trip to Nelson City, to a hotel with yes! Free wifi (not easy to find out there) and a neat little swimming pool right outside our room.
En route we stopped by the Pelorous River, (if you’ve seen The Desolation of Smaug, it’s where the dwarves floated down in their barrels). It was a gloriously hot and sunny day, and everyone had turned out to paddle, sunbath and swim
Next up was a fabulous day (not that they weren’t all fabulous) – because with no other means of access, this was my first helicopter flight!
Up onto Mount Olympus, where the Fellowship camped, the hobbits wrestled with Boromir, and they all hid from the crows
Never knew you could park a helicopter in such a tricky place
Then on to Mount Owen, where the hobbit were overcome by grief after Gandalf fell
That day we also visited the goldsmith who made The One Ring – in all its different sizes and variations!
And then onward, to Kaikoura, home of whale watching and dolphin swimming, but I’ll come back to that later…
Enjoying the show?