It was a nice day when we arrived in Wellington and we decided to drive straight to the Weta Caves for some more Lord of the Rings sightseeing. What is Weta? A Giant Weta is a large insect similar to a grasshopper or cricket that can grow up to 10 cm excluding their legs and antennae. The Weta Cave or Weta Workshop on the other hand is a special effects and prop company based in Wellington’s suburb Miramar, producing effects for television and film. They consider the Weta “a very cool, prickly little monster, unique to New Zealand” 🙂 And to make things even more confusing the Weta Workshop is located in Weka Street … named after the chicken sized bird we encountered on so many camp grounds in the South Island. But most importantly these are the guys and girls who created all the incredible outfits, weapons, models, costumes and gimmicks for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy. We spontaneously joined a tour through the workshop and our guide Matthew Hopkins turned it into one of the funniest and most entertaining tours we’ve ever been to 🙂
“I’ll use this samurai sword to point at stuff during the tour, but also to whack people on the hand when they try to touch things! And if zombies invade the workshop – you DO know that zombies exist and will definitely rise some day – I’ll be the only one who is prepared and armed here!”
From the Weta cave we took a VERY small and windy road up to Mount Victoria (and almost lost our front bumper to an oncoming bus who couldn’t care less about who else is on the road). Up there it was quite impressive to watch the rain clouds race towards the city and turn a sunny blue afternoon sky into pitch black rain clouds!
Woah, we still had not found the “get off the road” filming location where the four hobbits were hiding from the black rider in the first LotR movie! So we rushed back down Mount Victoria and frantically looked for the right spot before the clouds reached Mount Victoria. When we finally found the unobtrusive little signpost somewhere along the road it already started to rain and we were drenched by the time we were back at the car! But it didn’t matter, because we had found the right spot 🙂
The next morning it was back to bright blue sky and sunshine when we walked into the city for breakfast and passed the New Zealand parliament with its iconic “Beehive” building.
In the evening Cookie (alias Birgit, who at last, after over 15 years of knowing her, got a nickname due to her last name being similar to a very famous German cookie brand), Cristian, Krümel aka Mini-Cookie (Sophia) and us were invited by Maurizio, their former boss, to a nice barbecue in the Hutt valley for our last evening in Wellington. But Bea had only eyes (and the camera) for Sophia that evening: