Luckily my first night in Windy Wellington was markedly calm and fair; perfect weather for watching the belated Guy Fawkes fireworks show. In the morning there was a sprawling farmer's market where you could buy fresh veggies for cheap and listen to buskers croon mellow hits. Between the sights, food, and public art, I think Wellington really is the "coolest little capital in the world."
If you're wandering around the suburbs of Wellington and happen upon three larger-than-life-size trolls, you've found the Weta Cave -- the Weta Workshop's mini-museum and handmade souvenir shop. Behind glass displays are LOTR movie props such as prosthetic hobbit feet (below), Sting, and various Middle-earth warriors' helmets.
The souvenirs are all crafted in the workshop and are authentic, one of a kind, absolutely unaffordable treasures. If you have a spare $1799 NZD, for example, you can buy your own 10K precious gold (seewhatIdidthere?) replica of the One Ring (below).
Sir Peter Jackson was in Wellington at the same time for a special screening of the third Hobbit movie to superfans, but alas! was not at the Weta Cave when I went. However, during a screening about Weta's origins, I did get to hold Thorin's actual axe from the movie! Talk about cool.
What could top a visit to the Weta Cave? How about a tour of the Hobbiton movie set... pure magic. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
|A Hobbit Hole|
|The Shire; The Waterwheel;|
Sam and Rosie's hobbit hole, complete with blooming roses.
|Bag End; The Green Dragon (a real cider and alehouse);|
And a note from Sir Peter Jackson.
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