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Wellington, the 'Middle of Middle-earth', has had a starring role in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Tens of thousands lined the red carpet to welcome the cast and crew for the Wellington premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November 2012. Here's some more tips how you can get star struck on your visit to Wellywood.
The city is already excited for the release of the third movie in the Trilogy, due for release in late 2014, which will have its world premiere overseas.
Conservation and legal requirements mean no film sets from The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit trilogies remain in Wellington. However, there are many Wellington tour operators who know the secrets of the making of these movies, and can even take you into places the public does not have access to.
The Lord of the Rings tour operators to check out:
Follow in the footsteps of the stars and explore some of the film's locations yourself. Here's some tips:
Hop on one of the tours of Middle Earth.
Any The Lord of the Rings tour will include this, otherwise you should pay a visit to the ! Nearby, Roxy Cinema, is a labour of love for a group of the city’s most successful film and hospitality personalities.
This boutique theatre shows the latest movie releases and blasts from the past in a glamorous 1930's setting.
If you have some time for shopping, check out , and , as well as Hema facial products which was popular with Liv Tyler (Arwen).
Dinner – Matterhorn, a Wellington institution.was popular with Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) who also launched one of his books there. Otherwise check out the Hobbits’ hangout –
When you've finished exploring, treat yourself to some fine dining at or , popular with Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Liv Tyler. Otherwise check out the more laid-back Molly Malones, Wellington’s original Irish Pub, a favourite of Sean Bean’s (Boromir).
Then catch a movie at , the venue of the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Be sure to check out the name plates with the actors and characters’ names by the engulfing leather seats.
If you have more time, be sure to check out:
Head toon The Dominion Post Ferry. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) stayed there during the filming and he reportedly enjoyed the ferry ride to the city. Enjoy a nice meal at one of the many boutique cafés and a picturesque walk by the beach.
Drive along the South Coast of Wellington, where you will come to the quaint seaside suburb of Seatoun. Most of the cast and crew stayed there during filming. Seatoun is also home to Peter Jackson - you can sometimes catch him hanging out in his garden or on the beach.
Continuing on the South Coast past Breaker Bay and the Wellington Airport, you will get to Lyall Bay. This was where Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen learned to surf!
As for star spotting - well, keep an eye out on Wellington streets as there's movies being made here all the time.
If you're a LOTR or Hobbit fan, you may be interested in these blogs and articles:
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