There are two ways you can visit film locations with Wellington Rover, either on the half day or full day tour.
Full Day Tour (departs 8.30am, NZ$190 pp)
This tour is ideal for visitors who want to see more of Wellington and the surrounding countryside, and for the big time LOTR and Hobbit fans. You will see much more than on the half day tour. Those with little time in Wellington, or those with just a casual interest in The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit films may want to consider the Half Day tour.
Starting from downtown Wellington your guide takes you to the top of Mount Victoria for spectacular views across Wellington city and harbour (note: Wellington’s weather can get pretty rough sometimes, so you can’t always count on these views). From here you will enter the Wellington Town Belt, a park that has been around since the founding of the city in 1839. This is also where the very first days of location shooting were done for the Fellowship of the Ring, in October 1999. Scenes include: 4 Hobbits tumbling down a steep hill after escaping from Farmer Maggot- a “Shortcut to Mushrooms”; “Get Off the Road!”; Dunharrow Encampment; Flight to the Ford. There are no sets left anywhere on these locations, just the forest setting where the films were shot, but it is stil amazing how many people can pick each location before the guides get a chance to explain.
After Mount Victoria, you will be drive to the suburb of Miramar, home of the “Wellywood” film industry. You will drive by the sites of the Stone Street Studio, and Park Road Post Production, before arriving at the Weta Cave, where you spend the rest of the tour. Weta is the special effects company behind the physical and digital effects of many movies and here you get to explore behind the scenes with a 30 minute documentary showcasing the departments and learning the history of the company. After the documentary, you get to experience the Window into Workshop guided tour. This tour is hosted by Weta staff who have all sorts of amazing behind the scenes stories to share. Of course there is plenty of time to explore the Weta Cave itself, where you can stock up on film merchandise and memorabilia.
So far, this has been the same as the half day tour – this is where it changes:
Lunch is at Scorchorama Cafe, where a lot of stars would hang out for their breakfast and coffees while in town. Scorchorama (named after its location on Scorching Bay) has a great character and excellent food. The decor is very good for nerds too, with the back wall decorated in old Marvel comic book covers.
The rest of the afternoon is spent in the Hutt Valley, visiting parks and forests which were used as filming locations. You will see the locations of Isengard and Rivendell, and depending on your guide and how much time you have you may also see Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith, and the River Anduin. The tour is scheduled to end around 4.30, but can go longer if your group is “in the zone”.
- Departs 8.30am
- Duration approx 8 hours
- Price $190NZ per person (cheaper for kids)
- Bring good footwear and dress for the weather
- Some Walking on steep tracks required
Disclaimer time – I sometimes work for these guys. In fact it’s possible you are reading this because we met on tour and I nagged you to visit this site! With that little disclosure out of the way, let me say I’m very happy that I work for such a passionate and dedicated little company, which is filled with geeks and guides of the highest order.