Wellington and LOTR Giants!

Beautiful Wellington NZ! A central hub for the making of The Lord of the Rings and dubbed “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. It is the political capital of NZ, and a movie-making and cultural center.

It was wonderful to be welcomed by friends, who mapped “must do” items, including the Snickers milkshake at the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club and samosas at their neighborhood dairy.

We stayed in Lyall Bay

Welly’s most popular surf beach. A 10-minute walk from our AirBnB to our friend’s home, or in the opposite direction, a coast track for a stupendous walk. Daily heaven! Each evening, bundled up in our puffy coats, we followed barefooted footprints of surfers in wetsuits toting boards to and from the beach.

Weta Cave Workshop

Full-scale sculptures, props, artifacts, and apparel designed by Weta artists for hundreds of films, notably Lord of The Rings. Founded by Richard Taylor and Tonia Rogers.

Red Rocks Coastal Walk at Ōwhiro Bay

An 8km walk on gravelly, sandy rocky coastline (a tad hard on the feet) through Devil’s Gate. No elevation – unless you want to climb the hills beside you that ascend to the sky.

The Windy City

Wellington typically has 178 days a year gusting at, or often well above, 63 km/h (40 mph), (metservice.com). The average breeze is 22 km/h (13 mph).

Central Business District

Downtown was easily explored on foot: Parliament (The Beehive), Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa “Our Place”) and the waterfront promenade. Although NZ had moved from COVID lockdown to Level 1, the city’s art/ music, ballet theatre venues were closed. We might not have left if we’d had a taste of that.

TePapa – ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Forces: Te Papa and Weta Workshop joined forces to create an exhibit like no other. WWI war scenes from the battles in Gallipoli, Turkey were recreated with giant figures and amazing detail. The exhibit remains in place until 2022.


The world’s first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary conservation project (2.5 acres) reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife, some absent from mainland NZ for over 100 years. The tuatara, a living dinosaur, has outlived dinosaurs who became extinct about 60 million years ago

Kapiti Coast & Paraparaumu Beach

A day’s drive to Kapiti Island – a bird sanctuary (sadly, still closed after lockdown). The surrounds were magnificent with a glimpse of South Island’s Kaikoura Mountain Range, to an overabundance of beach, bush and coast walks. A twisting, curvy road back towards the city of Upper Hutt.

Click HERE for Next Post: Martinborough region, Lower North

Click HERE to read previous post: Cape Farewell

7 thoughts on “Wellington and LOTR Giants!

  1. Rhonda Sachs Albom July 21, 2020 — 4:20 pm

    Some really impressive shot of Wellington, one of my favourite New Zealand cities. I still haven’t been up the Kapiti Coast, but this is encouraging me.


  2. Cheryl Lippert July 19, 2020 — 6:07 pm

    Wellington looks fun for sure! Your blog is so amazingly professional! Good on ya!😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the Blog complement. I love yours! One trip that won’t make it into that blog is the East Cape…cancelled today because SR 35 is SIGNIFICANTLY closed due to flooding and slips. So much for climbing 750 steps to East Cape Lighthouse. Here’s to the 500-year storm. May you dry out soon.


  3. Love seeing your walking path around Wellington! And the bird video is hilarious. Thank you for taking us with you xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Hoping the Maria/Mary session was a success! We are swamped, literally, by rain. Had to cancel our trip to the East Cape because one of the two roads is closed due to flooding and slips.


  4. The pictures are amazing. Beautiful statues. What is the story behind the hand?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The Hand” is kind of creepy, isn’t it? It is a large sculpture on the roof of Wellington’s Public Library, and some people are NOT fans. I guess it was also unnerving when they installed it using helicopters.


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