We were staying at the Intercontinental right in the middle of town, which was a great location. There was a big statue of Gandalf in the lobby, because, obviously. So we ran in and I had to basically head straight to the lobby to meet my tour. We headed first to WETA studios and got to take a tour. There were tons of props from movies they have worked on. They mostly started with Peter Jacksons early films and the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, but now work on just about every big budget film you hear about. We got to see their big 3D printer, and a guy who used to be the swords maker for the queen making a sword. It totally tickled the geeky parts of me!
The next part of the tour took us to the top of Mount Victoria to see some of the filming locations.
So you know the scene where the hobbits are running away from the farmer and they come to the edge of a hill and fall down it and on to a road and start picking mushrooms? Then Frodo tells them to get off the road? Well....THIS IS THE ROAD!
I know, right? Can you hardly contain your excitement or what? Anyway, this actually is the road and there are several other scenes that were filmed right around here too. I was in hobbit heaven and I really loved every minute of it.
We really ended up liking Wellington and wishing we had another day to spend there. There is a great museum there called the Te Papa that I wish we had had time to see it. They also have these cool houses that are all built up on the sides of the hills because that is what there is around there. But there are no roads that go up there, so everyone has their car ports on the side of the road and they park in them. And then they and their neighbors share these little cable cars that they take up to their houses. It is nuts! Think about trying to move and putting a couch in a tiny cable car to get it up to your house.
But alas, like many things I wanted to do, our itinerary didn't allow for more time here, so we had to move on to Queenstown the next day!