Weta Workshop's Weta Cave and Studio Tours

Visit the home of movie-making magic in the heart of Wellywood

Visitors coming out of Weta Workshop

Where

Miramar Peninsula

Location

Cnr. Camperdown Road & Weka Street
Miramar

Details

Adults $28 - $189

Tucked away in Miramar, a short drive from Wellington’s city centre, Weta Workshop crafts physical effects for some of the world’s most renowned films and TV shows.

The design and manufacturing facility combines cutting-edge technology with hand-crafted artistry to serve up Oscar-winning props, costumes and creature effects. And, best of all, they open their doors to fans who want to see exactly how the magic is made.

Gandalf statue at Weta Cave - Weta Workshop
Orc statue at Weta Workshop
Weta Workshop Experience

The Workshop is best known for its Academy Award®-winning work on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, but you certainly will have seen plenty of movies and shows they’ve had a hand in. Weta Workshop has a constantly growing list of blockbuster credits to its name, applying its craftsmanship to Blade Runner 2049, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia and more.

All the Workshop’s craftspeople have jobs that would make kids jealous but we reckon Warren Beaton might take the cake. Having previously worked on projects from ads for tinned spaghetti to making eight tonnes of pink goo for The Matrix, he started at Weta Workshop in 1999 with the unusual first-day task of making Uruk-hai birthing sacks. If you’re curious, he drew on his chemistry background to create “a special 1200% stretch hot melt elastoma material” for them… whatever that means. This has been par for the course for his two decades as a craftsman of the bizarre and ambitious at the Workshop.

The team share the products of their labour on several Weta Workshop tours, ranging from 45-minute experiences to full-day tours for full-on enthusiasts. 

The Guardian named Weta Workshop one of the top 10 studio tours in the world

On the Weta Cave Workshop Tour, knowledgeable guides will take you on an odyssey through the Workshop’s incredible props and models, with plenty of recognisable pieces along the way, including items from Middle-earth and beyond. The tour usually culminates in watching an artist at work on the tour stage. This is Warren’s current role. He loves spending his days crafting and answering questions for those passing through. Warren seems to get as much energy from the fans as they get from him, saying that their passion makes his day. “When they go away thanking Weta Workshop for their experience, I don’t need coffee - it’s the biggest buzz ever!”

Weta Workshop Artists
Weta Workshop Movie Magic
Weta Cave
Special effects makeup workshop at Weta Workshop

Weta Workshop also offer a Miniatures Stage Tour: a 45-minute tour through a real television shooting stage for the contemporary reboot of the Thunderbirds Are Go! TV series. From an entire island to a pretty pink mansion, the detail and scale of the show’s “miniature” models are thrilling. The penny drops when you realise plenty of these models are built from repurposed everyday materials (you’ll never look at a lemon squeezer the same!)

All tours depart from the Weta Cave retail store: a cavern of creativity in its own right, featuring plenty of photo opportunities! Sneak past the giant trolls who guard the front door and don’t forget to check out the mini-museum where a particularly hairy pair of Hobbit feet are on display.

Warren believes that the magic of Weta Workshop is transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. “A lot of people coming through Weta Workshop feel quite changed by the experience… We’re opening up a new world that they never knew existed here .” The Workshop whiz explains that the tours set out to “ignite your creativity by serving up a huge big soup ladle full of inspiration.” If you want to get stuck in right away, the crew have recently launched a series of hands-on workshops, where you are taught to sculpt a character, craft chainmaille, carry out leatherwork or create alarmingly convincing fake scrapes, scars and blood. No experience necessary!

You might like