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Day 9/10 A Trip into Middle Earth!

Geeking out at some LOTR filming locations!


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Next day we had a bit of lie in... Yeah two days in a row but it is not something we have done too often on this trip! Yet we knew we would need it before our 6 hour drive. Today's mission was to head down towards Wellington with a stop at the Putangirua Pinnicles aka the LOTR filming for The Paths of the Dead!

With a midway stop to Pak n Save, our new favourite shop, for lunch eaten in a carpark we found the site. Driving through New Zealand really is magical and although we were heading for an exact LOTR filming location the whole country looks like you've stepped into middle earth. Every scenery you drive through feels like you have been sucked into a postcard. The views are just breathtaking and I'm so pleased we get to drink them in as we drive through at our own pace. It really is like nowhere else we have ever seen.

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Right by the sea front and with a bit of difficulty we found the pretty hidden entrance. It had taken us a little longer than planned to get there and it was already 6pm. But we, mainly me, really wanted to do this hike into the atmospheric rock pinnacles and saw we should be able to get back before the sun went down.

Although we found the start of the walk, finding the right path to where we were heading was it's own challenge as we stumbled over rocks following the river. But when we got to the right part it was unmistakable and easy to see why Peter Jackson chose this spot for this section of the film. It was eerie, especially as it was now getting to dusk and we hadn't seen one other person. Your voice even echoed off the unique pinnacles formed by years of water erosion.

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After completing a bit of role play with a staff and cloak (although yes I am aware Gandalf did not feature in these scenes) we thought it best to head back. After deciding to not stay at the campsite at the foot of the pinnacles we drove a little closer to Wellington and stopped at yet another beautiful and most importantly cheap campsite!

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I would hate to think what £8 camping for two would get you in England... Probably a drive way! Here it literally gets you the home of elves! Yes another LOTR filming location. However this was not one we planned or knew about it was just a happy coincidence that we had randomly selected a campsite in a national park where they shot the Rivendell scenes (Kaitoke Reginal Park). And proof Iz is only as tall as Gimli!

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Although none of the set remains and the scenery was heavily enhanced with CGI there was a short walk with photographic evidence of the park's involvement! In addition there was a sizeable swing bridge which we enjoyed replicating "I'm a Celebrity..." style poses. As you can see below Iz pretended she won the show while I did my best Ant & Dec impression. It must have been pretty convincing as mum believed it was the actual bridge... You know despite knowing we are in the wrong country!

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Next stop Wellington... We intended to hit the Weta Workshop (where a lot of the graphics and models for a number of films but most importantly LOTR were created and filmed!) but as we hadn't booked we couldn't get on a tour! This was slightly disappointing and showed the downside of being spontaneous and not booking ahead. However you could see a snippet of the models etc in the free museum which we made the most of before trying to locate an alternative activity to compete in Wellington for the few hours we had to spare before our ferry crossing! I think Iz makes a pretty convincing Lurtz... Jackson if you ever need a stunt double call her up!

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Posted by Bears on Tour 18:27 Archived in New Zealand

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