New Zealand – Wellington
Wellington is a coastal city and capital of New Zealand, located in the middle of the country between it’s industrial north and natural south islands. I took a brisk walk along the waterfront to the i-site office where I joined a tour through the wharf, Old Bank Shopping Arcade, Supreme Court, Victoria Law School, and ending at St Paul’s Cathedral where I was surprised to see US Marine Corps flags flown in honor of their WW2 service. With a little free time I crossed the street to the Parliament House to sign up for the afternoon tour then explored the Archives and surrounding area before walking through both the Parliament and iconic Beehive buildings. I then rushed to the massive Te Papa Tongarewa museum and was awestruck by the bigger than life and cinematically stunning interactive displays of war, history, art, culture, and everything you’d expect to find at a national level museum. Having learned about Mount Victoria and other Lord of the Rings sites earlier, when the museum closed, I set off on a urban hike which included incredibly steep hidden stairways. Once I reached the top, it began to rain, but a got a ride down the south side to Newtown district, a Tongan community. I explored the area then caught a bus back to the city center.
Movie shoot locations are anticlimactic because the real location contains peripheral sights which are omitted from the movie. Without post shoot enhancements, computer generated graphics (CGI), sound effects, and a master director, you will not experience the movie. Unless you’re achieving other goals like a hike or it’s along your way, don’t go out of your way.