I had booked us in to a Lord of the Rings tour on our last full day. Well actually, it turns out I had booked us in the previous day. When they phoned to find out where we were I very apologetically asked if I could change our booking to the next day, as I'd originally planned! Whoops! They were very accommodating! So I'd better give them a plug - it was a tour by Wellington Rovers. Mum wasn't particularly excited about the tour, not being a LOTR fan, but as it turned out she loved the tour! We had a lovely guide who talked in general about NZ & Wellington as well as LOTR. And it was so good to get out of the city and see a bit of the countryside. It was so beautiful.
First he took us to Mount Victoria, right in the middle of Wellington. It's a really steep mountain with houses precariously balancing on the sides of it - or so it seemed. I would hate to manoeuvre out of their driveways! But wow, what fantastic views! We were SO HIGH!
So this forest was surrounded by houses and the scenes were filmed at about 3am, without the residents knowledge. They were pretty terrified when they saw really strong floodlights lighting up the forest. They thought aliens had landed!
If you know the scenes where the hobbits first leave the shire and encounter the Ring Wraith on the horse for the first time, you might recognise these locations.
The bit where the hobbits are hiding under the tree... we're hiding in the same spot. The tree was made of polystyrene so obviously isn't there any more! It doesn't look like it's very steep in the photo of us, but it was REALLY steep! It doesn't come across in the photo.
Then a tiny bit further along the path was the spot where the hobbits fell onto the road. In the movie that's just before the scene where they're hiding from the Ring Wraith. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then we went to a nice little park outside the city which was used for some of the scenes where Gandalf went to visit Saruman, before they became enemies.
Here we are walking in Saruman's garden.
Have you heard of frizbee golf? There's a 9 hole frisbee golf course in this park! I'd love to try it! This is one of the "holes".
What was really cool, was our guide is an actor and was in Lord of the Rings! All the movies were filmed together and his scenes were in the last movie... in the battle scene where Gimli and Legolas are tallying their kills and having a little competition. It's when Legolas takes down an elephant (our guide was on the elephant) and Gimli says "That still only counts as one!". Here tis!
He even has is own playing card.
We headed off to the third location.
Wow it was gorgeous.
This is the place where Frodo's elven bedroom was constructed, again mostly out of polystyrene apart from the timber frame.
This picture of Legolas didn't end up being used in the film, but was used for lots of promos. Can you tell which is Legolas and which is Dad? I think Dad's smile gives him away.
The tour was so good! Alicia watched Lord of the Rings on the plane on the way home and we looked out for all the scenes we recognised from the tour. There were lots more than I remembered! I haven't mentioned them all here.
We were dropped off in the shopping area (oh what a shame!) and went into the Old Bank arcade. This was the building that was built over Plimmers Ark, which I mentioned in my Day 5 post. In the basement you can (kind of) see through some glass floor tiles to some of the boat remains. Wow it was such a beautiful building.
I decided $50 was too much for a big bag of peanut butter M&Ms. :( But I do love them!
I took Dad into Kircaldie & Stains so he could see their fantastic Christmas shop. He even bought some things! Check it out - they have a doorman!
Here's how to make sewer access look attractive...
Have I mentioned they're proud of their tree ferns?
We had cocktails on our last afternoon.
For dinner we went to a Mediterranean restaurant that had been recommended to us by our friendly apartment owner. Osteria Del Toro. It had very cool decor and a pretty exciting menu. There were so many things I would love to have tried!
We had garlic bread in a terracotta pot and polenta fries for starters. Mum and I shared slow cooked goat for our meal. It was the first time I'd had goat and it was beautiful! The photo sure doesn't do it justice.
And that was our final evening!