This was supposed to be a 'city day' but we really wanted to look at Rivendell. Things had been added since 2003: new signs, a height post you could stand against and measure yourself up to Legolas (2.1m), or Frodo down the bottom, who was the size of a child. There was replica stone archway, not full size, where we posed, pretending to be leaving Rivendell. Joe encouraged us to go on the Swingbridge Walk which was one hour long. Bang goes the itinerary but sometimes you have to go with the flow. Walking through native bush helped to rejuvinate us. A sign indicating the river with a swimming symbol on it had me racing down the slope like an eager child. I couldn't wait to get in there, the day was heating up already. A swimming hole provided a great place for skinny dipping - very refreshing.
Before we reached Wellington, a dump station stop was needed. This sort of necessary evil takes about half an hour with emptying grey water and refilling fresh water.
We had to save money somehow and my way of doing it was to make my family walk for half an hour to get into the city centre, just to avoid paying for parking. Still, we got to see Wellington close up, swept along with the busy crowd, glancing up at the skyscrapers reflecting the buildings opposite them.
Our first destination was the cable car. A reasonable price if you go one way. Renovation work had been done in 2009, and the tunnel had been jazzed up immeasurably with something to amuse you as passed through it: An array of lights that changed colour.
At the top we stopped for coffees and a dozen sparrows entertained us on the next table by descending on some left-over cake. The way back down into Wellington was via the Botanic Gardens where huge monarch butterflies danced over the flower beds. Our route was helped by following a mosaic pattern in the path.
This day in Wellington involved a huge amount of walking, not only that, it was speed walking, eating on the hoof some Subway rolls purchased on the way. The reason for the rush was that Joe and Henry were booked in for a tour of the Weta Cave, Wellington's famous special effects and model-making workshop, renowned for its involvement with the Lord of the Rings movies. Their guide began with a safety briefing. 'In the event of an earthquake, lie on the foor with your hands over your head then leave by the exit.' Well. Fortunately nothing happened. The latest project for Weta Workshops was the construction of models for the exhibition at Te Papa Museum, which centred around the battle at Gallipoli in 1915. Each eyebrow on the soldier's face took six hours to complete as the hairs lie in seven different ways. Hair on their heads was human in origin but not for the beards and moustaches, they came from goats.
Joe and Henry also learned about the armour used - metal for close-up shots and plastic for those more distant shots. During the filming of Lord of the Rings 10,000 arrows were fired from a cannon and only 700 retrieved so there are many arrows lying in fields for future generations to find and wonder at.
We crammed in a visit to Scorching Bay nearby (but accessed by hairpin bends) to find some changes. The Chocolate Fish Cafe seemed to go by a different name. The sea was fairly inviting for a quick swim though the sun had gone off the beach as it was now nearly 5pm.
Our motorhome was now moved to the Te Papa Car Park. It seemed smaller as there was a Jim Beam event going on with marquees and also construction work. You can park here overnight. Joe had to be dragged out into the city that evening, he was so tired. Cuba Street did not have buskers in it - maybe they are there in the daytime. It also had noisy groups of young people outside the bars which wasn't our scene so we found a quieter Irish bar round the corner.
The car park proved to be tolerable for noise, considering we were in the city centre.