Meander through Middle-Earth
Chase elves, follow in Gandalf 's footsteps and buy your very own Elven Cloak all in the Hutt Valley
Most know it as New Zealand or Aotearoa, but to some it’s called Middle-earth. Sir Peter Jackson’s much-loved Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed entirely in our fair nation, with many iconic scenes taking place in spots around the Wellington region.
While a huge amount of effort went into leaving the pristine environments untouched after filming was completed, there are still plenty of ways to follow in the footsteps of the Fellowship of the Ring in the Hutt Valley.
Kaitoke Regional Park is known for a few things - its ancient rainforest ripe for hiking and mountain biking, its hidden swimming spots in the river, and its Lord of the Rings filming locations. This park was transformed into the city of Rivendell, the refuge for the Elves and the place where the fellowship was formed, and a replica Elven archway still stands among the bush, making for the perfect photo op.
Rivendell is definitely a magical elf forest. A must-go place for LOTR fans. An area surrounded by huge big trees.
In a peaceful, pretty suburban park, eagle-eyed film buffs will spot the location where Gandalf the Grey rode to meet Saruman to discuss the predicament the ring posed. Upper Hutt’s Harcourt Park is a popular spot for family days out, bushwalks and discgolf, but it became the Gardens of Isengard for the trilogy’s first film. The films also transformed the Hutt River into the Great River Anduin, where the Fellowship set off to meet their destiny. Head to the area between Moonshine Bridge and Poet’s Park to recreate this moment for yourself.
Stansborough woollen mills
If you’ve ever admired the finely woven yet cosy-looking Elven cloaks donned by members of the Fellowship, it’s time to get your own. Renowned for their camouflaging colour, lightweight warmth and ability to hide hobbits in plain sight, creating the real-life versions of these mystical garments was no mean feat. Luckily Stansborough woollen mills were up to the task, and produced the exquisite capes from their home in Petone, a seaside town in Lower Hutt with an industrial history. This artisan producer boasts its own flock of rare-breed gray sheep, whose fine wool has made Stansborough famous among movie-makers and textile connoisseurs. You can now visit to tour the mills and pick up your own Tolkien-esque textiles, from modern accessories and homewares to those exquisite Fellowship cloaks.