Wellington is known as the windy capital of New Zealand (it’s on the south coast of North Island) but it was really nice weather when we were there. It’s a neat little city, and better than Auckland. I’m glad that everyone is flocking to Auckland to live rather than Wellington because it’s good the way it is.

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If you know us then you know we like food (bit of an understatement). We found the local food alley and managed to pop along to a food market!

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I tried a new Vietnamese dish, Com Suon Nuong – grilled pork with rice. It was tasty marinated pork.

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Always love a good food market. This one was quite small but everything looked tasty.

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Buns!

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There was a MASSIVE queue at this stall (about 20-25 minutes) for his wraps so we joined in and picked falafal. It was pretty tasty, I think the meat would have been even better.100

So there’s some really good stuff in Wellington like the Te Papa museum with the world’s biggest specimen of squid (interesting bit of info – I didn’t realise that the suckers with hooks on the tentacles could rotate independently, which is a bit freaky). As it was the 100 year anniversary of Gallipoli, there was an exhibition on Gallipoli, which was really interesting and had some fantastic exhibits – see below. Sorry for the grainy photos but they were really good exhibits, there’s even hair on their arms! We were told the flies in the 2nd picture below took 24 hours to make, which leads me to the next thing – Weta Workshop who made these exhibits.

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Weta Workshop are the design and effects company behind Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy (and other films like The Frighteners, King Kong, Chappie) based in Wellington. We went for a 45 minute tour in a part of their workshop and it was simply amazing! I don’t have any photos of the inside as the props are copyrighted to the various studios. Here are some pictures of the outside and inside the shop but the workshop is simply awesome and I won’t spoil it because you MUST go.

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Strictly speaking, the above photo of the orc is from the tourism office.

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Hobbit feet! You can actually buy a pair of elf or hobbit ears in the shop including replica weapons etc. Chris bought a cheap t-shirt instead.

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So an interesting fact, the prosthetics you see like the nose would be replaced everyday because the chemicals they used to get it off would ruin it! Chainmail was made from plastic but Viggo Mortensen would insist on wearing the real stuff all the time.

So, Hobbiton. This is actually based further up north in North Island and we only went there a couple of days ago. This is why I’ve been holding back on this post so I could include Hobbiton!

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Simply amazing.

Bag End! The oak tree on top of the hill is fake. It was put together with fake leaves attached for the Hobbit trilogy because the Hobbit took place 60 years earlier and of couse it had to be smaller. It was a lot of effort for 5 seconds of footage.

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There’s nothing behind the doors, a little space and then a wall. Hobbiton was just used for exterior shots, all the interiors were done in a studio in Wellington.

Pictures of Hobbit holes! There’s about 40 of them.

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So some of the Hobbit holes are bigger and others are 40% or so to allow actors appear smaller or bigger. Here are a couple of examples below:

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We were told by the guide that if you were 5’4 and under, then you’ll be perfect as a Hobbit extra!I reckon they could have done with a Chinese Hobbit.

So, notice anything interesting about this fence?

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  1. The moss is fake!
  2. Bilbo jumped over this fence in the Hobbit to have an adventure!

We come now to the party scene. Apparently the farm owner almost chopped down this tree because the green in front of it used to be a swamp and all the sheep would find shade in the shadow of the tree but come to a sticky end in the swamp… Luckily Peter Jackson thought it was such a perfect ‘Party tree’ that it was saved and the swamp was filled in with the dirt dug from the Hobbit holes and became a beautiful meadow.

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After some exploration on a hot day, it’s time for a drink at the local pub – the Green Dragon of course!

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Past a watermill and notice board on the way to the pub. Anyone notice a missing green cloak?img_9294

Some Amber ale for Chris!img_9288img_9296

Green Dragon, this particular pub wasn’t in the film because it got accidentally burnt down to the ground during filming and so this one is a replica.img_9301

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Let’s not forget Rivendell, the location is near Wellington. Can’t believe Chris is taller than Gandalf!

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Anyone which scene this tree was in? (Clue: Rivendell)031-2

It’s been awesome visiting all this. Le’s not forget Mt Doom, which we saw in an earlier post and of course there’ll be more LoTR when we get to South Island as quite a few scenes were filmed there!

I end now with a picture of a sloth astronaut as it’s pretty cool. Who wouldn’t want a sloth to be an astronaut? I’d trust him.

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The next post will be about the Northland of North Island. Catchy eh?

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