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Wellington film itinerary

Wellington is a city where the magic of movie-making comes to life. Our film itinerary will help you get the best out of your visit to Wellington, the Middle of Middle-earth.

Some of the world's most spectacular movies are made right here in the coolest little capital. Think The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Avatar, King Kong, and The Adventures of Tin Tin.

We've also hosted to two world premieres - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - and as Sir Peter Jackson put it: “nowhere else in the world does a premiere quite like Wellington."

While much of Wellington’s role lies in production studios and digital effects, there are a number of ways visitors can experience the city’s world class film industry. 

Day One

  • Hop on one of Wellington's The Lord of the Rings filming location tours for a taste of Middle-earth. You might even find yourself being guided by an extra in one of the films. 
  • Most of these tours visit the Weta Cave, a mini museum featuring movie props, collectables, artwork, and a behind-the-scenes video from Weta Workshop. 
  • Lunch – while you’re in Miramar pop into La Boca Loca, Café Polo, or The Larder and you may even rub shoulders with the stars, given its proximity to Weta Workshop.
  • Pop into the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre to pick up a Middle of Middle-earth Film Map.
  • Dinner – Green Parrot was popular with Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) who also launched one of his books there. Otherwise check out Matterhorn, the Hobbits’ hangout and a Wellington institution.
  • After dinner, check out Wellington’s vibrant nightlife. Make a stop at Motel, where Liv Tyler (Arwen) was reportedly turned away, and Havana which was a favourite of James Nesbitt (Bofur).

Day Two

  • Explore Te Papa - the first world venue for The Lord of the Rings exhibition, and New Zealand’s national museum.
  • Lunch – why not take James Nesbitt’s advice and follow his guide to wining and dining in the capital.
  • Head out and do a bit of shopping. Check out Zambesi, Robyn Mathieson and Voon, as well as Hema facial products, which were all popular with Liv Tyler.
  • Dinner - Treat yourself to some fine dining at Logan Brown, popular with Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Liv Tyler. Waterfront restaurant, Foxglove, hosted the post-premiere party for The Lovely Bones in 2009, and is another great choice.
  • Then catch a movie at The Embassy Theatre, the venue of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King world premieres.

If you have more time, be sure to:

  • Take a drive to Mount Victoria where numerous scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot. It also has fantastic views of Wellington city and harbour.
  • Catch the East by West Ferry to Eastbourne. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) reportedly enjoyed the ferry ride to the city. Enjoy one of the many boutique cafés or a picturesque walk by the beach.
  • Drive along the South Coast of Wellington to Seatoun. Many cast and crew have called this part of Wellington their home while filming, including Sir Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom (Legolas).
  • Continuing along the South Coast, you'll get to Lyall Bay. Here Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen learned to surf and it also happens to be home to one of Wellington’s best cafes – Maranui Café.
  • Head north of Wellington to Kaitoke Regional Park and explore the ancient rainforest setting that was transformed into Rivendell for The Lord of the Rings. Discover the Elvish Archway replica amid the home of the elves.
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