A Trip to Middle Earth

Wednesday I enjoyed a day in Wellington, New Zealand. Cool, cloudy, misty — but still a very enjoyable day. I had booked a tour called “In the Footsteps of the Lord of the Rings,” which promised a small-group visit to locations near Wellington where Peter Jackson filmed some of the sequences for the Lord of the Rings movies. Unlike most tours booked through the cruise line, there were only four of us on this journey to Middle Earth.

Our first stop was the Dry Creek Quarry in the Hutt Valley, used first as Helm’s Deep then later as Minas Tirith. Seeing the site it hardly seems possible that this humble location could be transformed so majestically, but such is the nature of movie magic. Next we travelled to nearby Harcourt Park used for various scenes at Isengard, home to fallen wizard Saruman.

A quick stop along the Hutt River brought us to the location for a scene in which hero Aragorn, having fallen from a cliff into a river, is aided by his faithful horse. The horse kneels by his master allowing an exhausted Aragorn to mount his steed and rejoin his comrades.

Finally we went to Kaitoke Park for a quick picnic lunch and a visit to rather small area that was used for filming scenes at the elven home of Rivendell. Each of these locations is very much smaller than I would have thought. The folks who bring us movies with stunning visuals are wizards indeed.

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