Hi guys, were now in the north island of New Zealand, which may be smaller but it is the most populated of the two islands.
Apparently the south is far more serene so we did it the right way round! As we only have three days in the north, one of which is purely a bus journey from Wellington all the way up to Auckland, we thought we had better get right down to business and book up a tour. Seeing as we had only done the horse trek with limited scenes from Lord of the rings we decided to do a full days tour from Wellington to see where all the scenes were set.
Our tour guide Jack was a complete Lord of the rings geek, well a complete movie geek which was actually pretty good for us because we were asking loads of questions. Our first stop was nothing to do with LOTR but we got an amazing view of Wellington city from the lookout, unfortunately it was slightly cloudy but at least it wasnt doing the "R" word. We headed to the first scene which was set in Hobbiton woods, the infamous "Get off the road" scene where frodo, sam, merry and Pippin all have to jump off the road whilst the black riders close in on them.
We took a few snaps here then we left for morning tea at the chocloate fish cafe at Bree. This was where all the stars such as Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, Orlando Bloom and Andy Circus all ate. We got to see some of the houses where they stayed, all of which weren't particularly luxurios or big. From here we had a short drive to the workshop where all of the 40,000 props were produced only 10,000 were actually used in the film! The workshop was absolutely tiny and they had to draft in people practically off the streets to cope with the demand. After a short journey northwards we found ourselves at a quarry where they filmed both Helms Deep and Minas Tirith. Both Helms Deep and Minas Tirith were actually built full scale, well up to the first level, then computer animation took over producing the additional levels to the castles.
Rivendell was next for both the lunch stop and a look at the elves homelands. The place is now actually called Rivendell too, pretty impressive for a movie to actually have an impact on real life names. Rivendell was about 90% computer driven as the actual place itself is tiny. They went to total extremes in the movie, they employed a "green team" to paint leaves golden and stapled them to the trees!! Madness!! This was because Rivendell was set in Autumn, but the setting for Rivendell was in a rainforest where trees are evergreen all year.
After this we headed to where some Isengard scenes were set, this was pretty much totally computer generated as it is just a park, they imported oak trees from other parts of NZ and then put hinges on them so they could be pulled down - dont want to be p*****g off the council! The final scene of the day was the river escape where the fellowhip - minus of course Gandalf who had just fallen to his death with a firey devil - escaped from the orks. Please note that Borimir is rowing the wrong way in the movie.
This was our lat stop in Middle earth before returning back to our hostel for a decent nights kip, before we head to Auckland on a 10 hour bus journey, great!
We will be posting our final New Zealand entry when we get to Auckland - speak to you soon guys - were almost into our last week! x x x Dan and Shell x x x