A Lord of the Rings tour of Wellington

I think one thing every one can generally agree on about New Zealand is that pretty much everywhere you look is stunning. You don’t have to visit a national park or the mountains to see scenic New Zealand, just look out your window. If the scenery you crave isn’t there, drive 20 minutes and I guarantee you’ll see something majestic.

For this reason and so many more, Peter Jackson chose New Zealand to be the setting for Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The Kiwi-born writer, producer and director spent years filming all around New Zealand, including Wellington.

Photo from Electro Smog

Photo from Electro Smog

After three weeks of living in Wellington spent mostly on Cuba Street working, Ric and I wanted explore the beauty that surrounds our new city a bit more. So we rented a car from Rent a Dent for a steep $62 a day (which turned out to be a lot more, but I’ll get to that later), planning to explore some natural wonders outside the city.

Two things happened, we realized we didn’t have to go far to see something spectacular and our natural wonders tour of the Wellington suburbs, quickly turned into a Lord of the Rings tour.

We picked up our car at the Interislander ferry terminal around 9 a.m. (This is why our rental turned out to be $92 instead of $62. Rent a Dent’s headquaters is only a short bus ride from the city center, so unless you actually arrive in the city by ferry, just pick it up there cause they charge a fortune to deliver it to you.)

Picking up the car at InterIslander.

Picking up the car at Interislander.

After a quick breakfast at Fidel’s on Cuba Street, where we looked through brochures for ideas of things to do. Our first stop was Weta Cave, a mini-museum attached to Weta Digital studios, which is where the special-effects were done for Lord of the Rings (LOTR), District 9, The Lovely Bones and many more films. Ric had his eyes set on this place since we boarded a ferry to Wellington. He’s a huge film junky. I’ve actually never seen him smile that much on our travels.

Ric visits Weta Cave.

Ric visits Weta Cave.

The free museum is a sci-fi film buffs dream. It’s only small, but has real props and costumes used in the films its helped produced as well as memorabilia. My favorite part was taking a photo next to the real Gollum holding a fish which can be seen in my banner photo.

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