We visited Weta Studios, which is the group of companies producing effects for television and film and co-founded by Peter Jackson. Yes, the guy who directed The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit. Visiting Weta Studios is a way to penetrate into the universe of the Trilogies and discover some of the secrets. That is pretty cool, really !
Penetrate into Weta Studios and its secrets
When you visit New Zealand, you soon realize that The Lord Of The Rings is a national pride. Indeed, Peter Jackson comes from here and lives in Wellington and the movie was shot here. Added to that, the Weta Studios which created costumes, special effects, the decorations and managed the post-production of The Lord of The Rings trilogy and The Hobbit is based in Wellington. Given the huge success of the movies, you can imagine how proud the country is about it. Actually, when you speak with people in Wellington, you always hear about one person who was in the movies or worked for the movies. Time to time, you also come across some street musicians singing the Original soundtrack of The Hobbit.
No wonder that when you come to Wellington, you definitely have to head to Weta Studios. The studios are based in Miramar, which is a charming suburb of Wellington, and located 40-minutes far from the city center by bus. You have the choice between four tours at Weta. We recommend you to take the Weta Cave Workshop Tour, which is the one we chose. It costs $25NZD per person and you will have a 45 minutes tour into the Workshop place, surrounded by real pieces from movies they worked on (The Lord Of the Rings, The Hobbit, District 9 etc…). You feel a bit like a kid with all these patterned faces, those fake hands looking so real, the swords and miniature castles serving special effects. A girl working there gives you some details and secrets about their work, allows you to touch some precise objects and explains on the main lines how everything works.
You should also enjoy a free activity, which is to watch a behind-the-scenes documentary at Weta Cave. The documentary lasts 30 minutes and is really interesting. We were afraid to feel bored and were pleasantly surprised. You learn a lot about how Weta Studios were born, how they started to work on The Lord Of The Rings, how the employees work on the movies, the difference between Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Park Road Post, Stone Street Studios. It shows you the incredible work of the company. You obvisouly have no right to take any pictures inside the Workshop, but you can please yourself with the trolls outside and the Weta Cave as we did. Look at the Gollum face below, I love it !
As a last advice, we really recommend you to go there by your own means. The round trip by bus would only cost you $10 per person, whereas if you pay for the There and Back Again Guided Transfer they propose, it would cost you $65NZD per person.