Watch out everyone – a very realistic Gandolf’s here at the Weta Cave shop!
Wellington’s famous weta cave and it’s workshop have been around since the launch of the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films in 2001. In fact you could say for many Lord of the Rings – LOTR and Hobbit fans, the name ‘Weta Cave’ is something of a household name. This Wellington based special effects and prop company is where much of the magic began and today LOTR aficionados flock here along with fantasy genre fans in general and the simply curious looking for a fun way to spend an hour or two. The actual location of the Weta Workshop is in Miramar – a Wellington suburb – at the corner of Camperdown Road and Weka Street.
The workshop itself is not open to the public however the Weta Cave next door, complete with original props and models, is and what’s more it is free. Movie lovers will recognise much of what is here from the blockbuster LOTR trilogy and more recently ‘The Hobbit’ films including Gollum, Gandalf and a range of baddies which include orcs and trolls.
A behind-the-scenes video screening rolls on a 30 minute loop featuring exclusive interviews with founders and some of the biggest names associated with the whole creative world which is Weta Workshops. The Weta Cave Shop is crammed to the rafters with highly collectable merchandise and prop replicas among the more usual offerings of books, DVDs, prints and souvenirs. Beware though – the price tags here are often in the super-high category due to their specialised nature so if you have your heart set on a magical sword, elf pendant or Gandalf’s hat you might want to take out a small mortgage!
45 minute guided tours are also available and a real must-do for any movie fans who want a privileged behind-the-scenes peek at the machinations of Weta Workshops. The tour which kicks off from the Weta Cave includes creative process explanations and stories told by crew members using a range of props, models and weapons. Windows into the workshop of one of the world’s leading special effects operations gives the visitor a very special opportunity to watch actual work in progress.
In summer both Cave and Workshop Tours are mega-popular and, although it is possible to bag tour tickets on the day, it is highly recommended that you buy them at least a couple of days in advance, especially if you have limited time in Wellington.
The Weta Cave is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5.30 am and only closes for Christmas day. Please book in advance as individual tours and the Weta film do get booked up, especially during the Summer months. For reservations contact the team at New Zealand Vacations (part of the What to do in Wellington empire!)
The highly interesting Weta Cave Workshop Tour – a must-do for film fanatics!
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