When visiting Wellington, it’s possible to travel over the span of 30 minutes from the capital of New Zealand to the forests of Middle-earth. While the Hutt Valley is often considered as a distant suburb of Wellington, it’s also known as a filming location for the famous Lord of the Rings. Here, in this forested river valley to the north and east of Wellington, numerous scenes were shot for the movies which would capture the attention of the world.
Dry Creek Quarry, for example, was turned into Minas Tirith and the capital city of Gondor. The city makes a brief appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring, although most fans know it for its central role in the epic The Return of the King. This was also the site of Helm’s Deep, the massive fortress of the city of Gondor where armies famously clashed.
Nearby, at Harcourt Park, the area was used as the filming location for the legendary fortress of Isengard. Walking around the peaceful park, it’s funny to imagine that this forested area was the site of such on-screen carnage.
Finally, even the Hutt River itself was featured in parts of the movie. Known as the “Great River Anduin”, the fellowship spends a part of their journey floating on the fictional waterway. Today, when taking part in a Lord of the Rings tour from Wellington, you can stand on the banks, listen to the river, and envision hobbits floating through the valley as they continue on their epic quest.