Sunday, January 17, 2016

Carlson Honeymoon! Volume II: New Zealand Cruise, Part IV: Akaroa and Wellington

The next morning (November 27th) we awoke when the ship was dropping anchor in Akaroa. Since the dock here is too small for the ship, the Noordam has to drop an anchor and then send us to shore by utilizing the lifeboats/tenders. The biggest problem with tendering is if the wind is bad or if the water is too rough then the Captain can cancel the port. Which is what he did.

We got up, got dressed, grabbed our backpacks, and headed to the Lido to get breakfast. While eating breakfast we saw three tender boats bobbing around in the waters below. The waves seemed really big and the tenders were being blown off course. I honestly wasn't worried though. I knew that we were about to go on our first LOTR tour ("Journey to Middle Earth: LOTR Hugh Country") and that we were going to see where they filmed Edoras! Even though I knew the set wasn't there anymore, I was still so excited! 

[Edoras as seen in LOTR]

[Edoras filming location]

After breakfast we headed to the Vista Lounge to meet up with the rest of our tour group. We received our stickers and were told to have a seat until our group was called. We sat down and then I heard the Cruise Director, Ross, come on over the loud speakers. This isn't abnormal. He usually came on in the mornings to tell us about the weather and the port and to remind us that if we attempt to take food off the boat the dogs will catch us and we will be fined. 

He told us about the weather and how it was too dangerous to put us ("our guest") in the tenders and send us to shore. "As a result, the Captain has canceled the port of Akaroa."

Ugh. No! For reals?! I was so mad! I was so sad! I actually cried. I'm not ashamed to admit it! The number one reason I came to New Zealand was because of Lord of the Rings! I could not believe that I came all this way and I wasn't going to be able to see Edoras!

We spent the rest of the day reading and going to various activities on the ship.

I did cheer up a bit when I remembered that tomorrow we were going to be in Wellington and we were scheduled to see the Weta Workshop and some LOTR filming locations :-)

The next morning (November 28th) we arrived in Windy Wellington the Capital of New Zealand!

We got off the boat and jumped on the tour bus where we met our tour guide/LOTR fanatic, "Chewy." 

They drove us through the city to the Weta Workshop/Cave.

They led us into the gift shop where we took pictures and looked at souvenirs. 

[I was striking a pose with Gandalf when Chewy came over and gave me my own staff! Can you tell how excited I was?!]

[Super creepy Gollum]

After looking around the gift shop we were greeted by our tour guide. She told us that after we go through the wooden doors (below), we CAN NOT take ANY pictures! Bummer. Apparently everything in the Workshop is under a copyright.

We went through the door and our tour guide took us around to different areas where we saw props from LOTRs, The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, King Kong, and tons of other movies that the Workshop was involved in. 

I had no idea how many movies Weta had done! Our tour guide told us about how they make the props and the sets. We also got to watch a short movie that showed all the movies that Weta had been involved in. Super cool! A lot of the things she showed us and told us I had seen and heard before in the Extra Features ("Appendices") from the LOTR movies (yes, I've watched all 50 hours of them!). But I did learn a lot and it was totally worth it!

After going through the Workshop, Chewy took us to Mt Victoria where he showed us where they filmed the "Get off the Road" scene from "Fellowship of the Ring."

We walked down the trail and into this super creepy forest! I knew immediately which scene we were looking at!

Chewy would show us pictures from the movie and then show us exactly where it was filmed! 

Here is the scene where the four Hobbits are falling down the hill after running away from Farmer Maggot. 

Chewy would hold up the picture and then say, "Here look at this tree! This is the same on in this picture!" It was so funny because he was so excited about it! I'm not going to lie, so was I!

[Josh doing his best impression of the Hobbits falling down the hill]

Then we turned down the path and Chewy showed us where Frodo stood during the Dolly Zoom (aka Hitchcock Effect) and said, "I think we should get off the road."

After that Chewy took us to the hole where the Hobbits hid when the Nazgul showed up.

The three that the hid under had to be built and is no longer there but the hole is! I sat where Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin sat!

Next, Chewy took us to the hill that the Hobbits ran down when they were running away from the Nazgul and towards Buckleberry Ferry.

Apparently Peter Jackson made the actors run up and down this hill 30 times before he got the shot he wanted! Super crazy!

At the top of the hill was where they got this shot:

[See that big tree on the left? That is the same one in the shot!]

Yes, I am a huge nerd! I love it all! And I would really like to thank Josh for putting up with me and my crazy obsessions!

After nerding out for a while, we headed to the top of Mt Victoria where we had a 360 panoramic view of the capital city!

Wellington is the windiest city in the world! The day we were there it was gorgeous! Chewy told us that they day before we got there they had winds up to 100 mph! He said that was pretty typical... insane!

After getting our pictures we got back on the bus and Chewy took us through downtown before taking us back to the ship.

[The Parliament Building]

[Towel animals!]

I was so mad about missing Edoras but this day in Wellington was AMAZING! We had so much fun running around the city and being nerdy! Chewy told us as we were going back to the ship that 14% of people who visited New Zealand last year did it because of LOTR. 14%? That's all?! I'm definitely one of the 14%!

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