29th November - Wellington, NZ
Lonely Planet voted it the world's 'coolest little capital' last year, and within minutes it is easy to see why. With more vintage shops than Brick Lane, more quirky little cafes and bars than Manchester's Northern Quarter, it basically shits all over European cool spots. Creativity oozes our of every street corner, with countless art galleries and open studio spaces everywhere. And it's so pretty too - surrounded by tree topped hills with cute wooden houses perched on top, and a sea view never far away, it is metropolitan- meets- rural bliss. There is a mountain in the middle of the city which we climbed, called Mount Victoria, which rewards you with fantastic 360 degree views of the whole city.
We arrived in Wellington the day after The Hobbit worldwide premiere, and the buzz could still be felt all around. In fact, you could say everyone had gone Middle Earth mad. Every business had jumped on the opportunity, painting the outside of their shops as hobbit holes or using clever tag lines such as "You shall not pass this deal!" As a huge LOTR fan, I embraced all this and thought it made Wellington even more amazing. So of course we had to do a movie tour. Firstly we visited the Weta Cave museum, where all the special and digital effects for the films are created. It was fascinating to find out how Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor had started up the Weta Workshop from literally nothing. Now they have took on the digital effects for global Hollywood blockbusters such as LOTR, Planet of the Apes and Avatar, hence Wellington begin given the nickname 'Wellywood.' The following day, we did a movie set tour to see some of the filming locations situated in the countryside around Wellington. Highlights included Helms Deep and Minis Tirith, (which were actually built on top of one another) Aragorn washed ashore, and Rivendell. The sets have been destroyed but it was still interesting to see where they were, and our guide knew so much inside information from the cast and crew. Another highlight was getting to dress up as an elf, right next to the very tree Orlando Bloom posed in front of for his promotional photographs!