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Explore film locations, visit bars and restaurants popular with international stars, & check out exhibits & sculpture crafted by artisans who have worked on some of the world’s biggest movies!

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1. Weta Cave

The Weta Cave shop is a must-see for film buffs and lovers of cool stuff. See authentic Weta Workshop designed collectibles, prop replicas, books, jewellery, art prints, gifts, apparel and movie memorabilia.

Join our guided tours to learn about the making of movie effects; from armour to weapons, creatures to costumes, make-up to miniatures, and more!

Book a guided tour

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2. Embassy Theatre

This historic theatre built in 1926 was restored to host The Lord of the Rings premieres, including the world premiere of The Return of the King in December 2003. At over 421 metres, The Return of the King boasted the world’s longest red carpet ever at the time. The host of the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has seats in the name of a number of The Lord of the Rings stars, including Sir Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood. The Embassy has also hosted New Zealand premieres for Sir Peter Jackson’s King Kong in 2005 and The Lovely Bones in 2009.

roxy art deco cinema at night

3. Roxy Cinema

This beautiful art deco cinema was brought back to life by a collective of Wellington’s Oscar-winning moviemakers and hospitality stars, including Weta Workshop’s Sir Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, Jamie & Ann Selkirk, Valentina Dias and Jonny McKenzie. As well as two state-of-the-art theatres, Roxy Cinema is home to CoCo restaurant and bar. A number of the cinema’s fittings and hero artworks were created by Weta Workshop artists.

 

4. Tripod Sculpture, Cnr Courtenay Place and Cambridge Terrace

Academy® Award-winning Weta Workshop was commissioned by Wellington City Council to create this sculpture celebrating Wellington’s film and television industry in 2005. Comprising a film camera and tripod that appear to be composed of a collection of recycled goods, Tripod pays tribute to the New Zealand screen industry’s Kiwi can-do attitude and ability to create with whatever is at hand.

roxy art deco cinema at night
Personal Tour Park Road Post Production

5. Park Road Post Production

Developed by Sir Peter Jackson for filmmakers, Park Road Post Production prides itself on the highest standard of technical infrastructure. The facility’s select filmography includes Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Lovely Bones and The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin; and popular New Zealand films Boy and Two Little Boys. The state-of-the-art facility was built in 2005, with its architecture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the arts and crafts movement of the 1860s–1900s.

Personal Tour Park Road Post Production

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6. Stone Street Studios

Stone Street Studios includes four purpose-built stages, including the massive 24,500 square foot ‘Kong’ sound stage.

Co-owned by the Oscar-winning trio of Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk, Stone Street Studios’ facilities were extensively used by New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers for the production of The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and The Hobbit movies. Scenes for Avatar were also filmed here.

Weta Workshops Sir Richard Taylor with the machine gunners trio ScaleWidthWzM4MF0

7. Te Papa Museum

Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibition

Developed by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, in collaboration with Weta Workshop, Gallipoli: The scale of our war is a fascinating and sobering journey through the eight-month World War One Gallipoli campaign, in which 2,779 New Zealanders lost their lives. Weta Workshop spent 24,000 hours of labour on the project, creating eight hyper-realistic, 2.4 size human figures.

Weta Workshops Sir Richard Taylor with the machine gunners trio ScaleWidthWzM4MF0

8. St James Theatre

Like all the grand theatrical venues, St James Theatre – built in 1912 - has its ghost stories. While a former Russian dancer called Yuri is the most regularly sighted, a boys’ choir and wailing woman have also made occasional appearances. When promoting his 2010 film The Lovely Bones, director Sir Peter Jackson revealed he had seen the wailing woman at the foot of his bed in his old apartment across from the theatre about 20 years ago.

EV019 Westpac Stadium Wellington Tourism New Zealand

9. Westpac Stadium

During the innings break of a one-day international cricket match between England and New Zealand at Westpac Stadium, LOTR technicians recorded 20,000 New Zealand cricket fans for the sound of the Uruk-hai army in The Two Towers.


10. Wellington Zoo

The ‘best little zoo in the world’ was used as a location for Sir Peter Jackson’s 1992 comedy horror film, Braindead. It was also used for filming for the popular WotWots series, an animated children’s television show produced by Academy® Award-winning Weta Workshop.

EV019 Westpac Stadium Wellington Tourism New Zealand

11. Lyall Bay

A cliff face by this popular surf beach along Wellington’s rugged south coast was used for Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) learned to surf here, with Mortensen famously having to be shot as a right-to-left profile for some scenes after a run-in with his surfboard. Filming for King Kong’s Skull Island also took place here. Lyall Bay’s Maranui Café is one of Wellington’s most popular eateries and was a favourite with cast and crew from The Hobbit movies.

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12. Frank Kitts Lagoon

Downtown Wellington was used in the filming of the Indian remake of The Italian Job called Players, in 2011. India’s top Bollywood filmmakers used the area around Frank Kitts Lagoon for the legendary car chase scenes. Filming also took place in the popular Featherston St shopping precinct and on the City to Sea Bridge that connects Civic Square to the waterfront.

 

13. Shelly Bay

Scenes for most of Sir Peter Jackson’s movies have been filmed in Shelly Bay, including pick-ups for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A large-scale version of King Kong’s Skull Island was built near the Massey Memorial on Mount Crawford for Jackson’s 2005 version of the film. See King Kong Filming Locations in New Zealand.

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14. Mount Victoria

Mount Victoria Lookout is one of the city’s most popular visitor sites, offering panoramic views across the city. The very first footage for The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed here on 11 October 1999, with areas of the capital city’s green belt also used twice as a location for the famous ‘Get off the road’ and ‘Escape from the Nazgûl’ scenes.

15. Red Rocks

This popular walking spot is where Frodo, Sam and Gollum reached the Black Gate in The Lord of the Rings. The full Red Rocks Coastal Walk takes 2-3 hours, but can also be completed in parts. New Zealand fur seals can be seen in the area in winter, from May-August.

View original article and Film Locations map at Wellingtonnz.com

 

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Plan your visit

Weta Workshop is your gateway to filmmaking creativity. Join our guided tours to learn about the making of movie effects; from armour to weapons, creatures to costumes, make-up to miniatures, and more!