HALF DAY MIDDLE-EARTH TOUR:
CITY LOCATIONS AND WETA CAVE
CITY LOCATIONS AND WETA CAVE
This half day tour, run in conjunction with Rover Rings Tours, takes you to the best locations in Wellington City. Explore key sites in the film-making process with your specialist Lord of the Rings guide.
After we pick you up in the city, you see the Embassy Cinema, which hosted the world premieres of The Return of the King and An Unexpected Journey. You then visit the Mt Victoria lookout for stunning views across Wellington City and Harbour, before a short descent into a unique pine forest where Peter Jackson began the filming of his epic trilogy. You see such scenes as the “Dunharrow Encampment,” “Shortcut to Mushrooms,” “Race to the Buckleberry Ferry,” and the iconic “Get off the Road” scene, where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders.
Following this, you’ll take a short trip to Miramar, the home of the Wellington film industry, to visit Weta – the company who designed and fabricated almost everything Middle-earth. We show you the studios and post production facilities that helped bring these films to screen before settling at the Weta Cave. Here you have a chance to pose for photos with various characters and marvel at the craftsmanship of the sculptures, armour and weapons on display, and pick up those essential souvenirs and gifts.
Here you watch a behind the scenes documentary that details the history of the Weta company, from it’s origins through to present day, and enjoy the “Windows into Workshop” tour. Guided by an actual Weta technician, this tour delves into the creativity and ingenuity needed to create the physical effects for some of the biggest and best movies ever, not just Middle-earth. It will leave you amazed at the vast influence Weta has had on the film industry and in no doubt why we call the area “Wellywood.”
You then finish the tour with a scenic drive around the harbour back to the city.
HALF DAY MIDDLE-EARTH TOUR:
A small group tour operated by an expert Lord of the Rings guide, this half day tour explores the very best filming locations the Wellington Region has to offer. After your hotel pick-up, you leave the city behind and seek out the beautiful, natural settings that made New Zealand into Middle-earth. Although no sets remain on any of the locations, you will be astounded how these places were transformed into some of your favourite scenes from the films.
Starting at the Hutt River, see where the Fellowship voyaged down the Great River Anduin towards Amon Hen after leaving Lothlorien. Then the Gardens of Isengard where Gandalf sought advice from Saruman the White about the Ring and Saruman’s orc army destroy the gardens to fuel the fires to build weapons. Continuing up Highway 2, you then visit Kaitoke Regional Park, a stunning New Zealand rain forest that became Rivendell. Wander the paths walked by Elrond and Arwen, and the newly formed Fellowship of the Ring.
You then pause for a moment with a refreshing morning/afternoon tea before heading back to the city, passing by the quarry used for Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith on the way.
Making your way up Mt Victoria you stop to see the Outer Shire, where the four Hobbits find a “Shortcut to Mushrooms,” famously “Get off the road,” and “Race to the Buckleberry ferry.” You also see where Aragorn and Theoden overlook their troops at the “Dunharrow Encampment” before finishing the tour at the fantastic Mt Victoria lookout with breath-taking views of Wellington City, region, and “Wellywood,” the home of the Wellington Film Industry
FULL DAY MIDDLE-EARTH TOUR: EXTENDED EDITION
A full day of Middle-earth awaits! This small group tour starts with a pick up from your city centre hotel by a fellow Lord of the Rings enthusiast, before embarking on a comprehensive journey that incorporates the very best of Lord of the Rings in the Wellington region. From the gorgeous, serene countryside that became Middle-earth, to the films studios that brought this world to life, this tour has it all.
Leaving Wellington City, you head into the Hutt Valley and the first stop of the day – one section of the Great River Anduin. This is where the Fellowship journey to Amon Hen. You then move on to the Gardens of Isengard and see where Gandalf rode to seek Saruman for advice and where the two wizards discuss the Ring, before the orc army destroy the gardens. Continuing on to Rivendell, you explore the Last Homely House East of the Sea, where Elrond and Arwen lived and the Fellowship was formed.
Then you take an incredibly scenic drive over the Rimutaka mountains and into the Wairarapa, arriving at the majestic Fernside Country Gardens, which was transformed into part of Lothlorien. Flat Earth NZ Experiences has exclusive access to this private garden, the only company allowed to see Galadriel’s home and also where Smeagol and Deagol found the Ring in the Gladden Fields. Stopping at a leading nearby restaurant gives you time to absorb what you’ve seen and learned so far while enjoying a delicious lunch. Then sit back and relax as we take you back towards the city.
Passing by the quarry where Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith were filmed, you will continue to Mt Victoria in the centre of Wellington City and visit the very first filming locations used for Lord of the Rings. In the Outer Shire, see where the Hobbits run from Farmer Maggot and discover a “Shortcut to Mushrooms,” “Get off the Road” while hiding from the Black Rider, then “Race to the Buckleberry ferry” to escape across the river. Here, also, was the Dunharrow encampment where the Rohirrim mustered before marching to war.
You end the day with a visit to the famous Weta Workshop, set in the heart of “Wellywood.” Having driven past the studios and post production facilities that put your favourite films on screen, we send you on the “Windows into Workshop” tour. Operated by an actual Weta technician, delve deep into the magic of how props, armour, weapons, miniatures, and more are created. Of course, there is also time to search through the Weta Cave for those crucial souvenirs and photos with various Middle-earth characters.
The wonder of the film locations, the exhilaration of helicopter transport and the satisfaction of fine food in a great atmosphere all in one tour.
Experience the film locations of the Middle Earth Film Locations tour and take an exciting helicopter ride. The helicopter will take you over Wellington and the Hutt Valley and on into the Wairarapa to see the amazing and remote Putangirua limestone pinnacles. Putangirua is the film location for Dimholt Road, where it takes little imagination to feel the presence of the Army of the Dead. The helicopter will then bring you back via the South Coast of the Wairarapa and land at Cape Palliser, weather permitting.
The tour also includes all the locations from the Middle Earth Full Day tour with a visit to the locations used for the Shire where the hobbits raced to the ferry and hid from the Nazgul, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. Be spellbound at Fernside in 2000 Fernside’s lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien, and then to the Gladden Fields. Fernside’s white bridge remains as a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. Flat Earth is the only tour operator with access to Fernside. Explore Rivendell and the riverside spot where Aragorn was washed ashore. We also visit Miramar, home to the production studios and to many of the stars while they were filming and Weta Cave with souvenirs and a virtual tour of Weta Workshop.
Cost for this tour can vary depending on number of people. The helicopter ride lasts 45~60 mins.