Today was our last day on the North Island 🙁
We sped our way down to Wellington to make our reservation for the Weta Workshop tour while taking in as much of the remaining North Island scenery as possible. You can tell when you begin approaching Wellington. The number of lanes on the highway increase as do the number of cars on it. Ahhh… back to city life. (Now was that an “ahh” of relief or “ahh” of apprehension? I don’t know myself. Maybe both.)
Weta Workshop is the design company that conceptualizes and produces basically everything under the sun related to movie production. They’re responsible for props, makeup, weapons, artwork, monsters, special effects, and probably a lot more than I can imagine. Of course, they are the geniuses behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as other movies and TV shows like Hercules, Planet of the Apes, Mad Max, Avatar, King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia, and much much more.
When we arrived, we had some trouble finding parking. The workshop is located in a primarily residential area. I don’t know if there were so many cars on the street because of residents or because of all the people visiting Weta Workshop. Either way, just circle around a bit and you’ll find something.
After checking in for our tour, we had some time to explore. Naturally we took tons of silly pictures with the three troll statues outside. They had amazing detail. Every hair, teardrop, and trail of snot on their faces looked so real. Imagine stumbling into these guys late at night!
The shop inside was much smaller than I expected. But they had some pretty cool stuff like the Uruk-Hai statue KT is posing with below. Looks just like it does in the movie!
There were also a lot of beautifully detailed figures of things like Barad-dur, Rivendell, and Minas Tirith. If they weren’t so extremely pricey I would definitely have bought a miniature Rivendell for my desk. Sigh….
FYI, the filming location of Rivendell is just a short drive outside of Wellington. Of course the set is removed now but a few structures were put up that looks somewhat Rivendell-ish. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop there on our drive down.
Also, the filming location for the Dimholt Road or Paths of the Dead where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go in search of the undead is about a two hour drive outside of Wellington. I REALLY wanted to go there not just because of the LOTR factor but because the landscape is so unique looking there. But alas, we didn’t have the time for the 2 hour drive, 2 hour hike, and 2 hour return trip. Another time!
When it was time for our tour to begin, we were all brought to the side entrance guarded by the troll seen below. Sadly, photography was not allowed beyond this point. During the hour long tour, we were shown everything from the conceptualization to the finished product of various props.
It was pretty cool seeing creatures and props from all our favorite movies. It’s kind of my dream job to work in a place like this creating whatever my crazy imagination comes up with. Sigh…. I consoled myself by treating myself to a Hobbit t-shirt afterwards..
Address: Corner of Camperdown Rd & Weka St, Miramar, Wellington
GPS Coordinates: -41.306555, 174.824407
Contact: +64 4 909 4000
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9am to 5:30pm
Last tour is at 5pm
Cost: $25 NZD per person
Duration: 1 hour tour. Stay however long you want to explore the shop