Road to Auckland - Part 1!

Day 136 - Drive to Kaikoura

We awoke to frost on the inside of our windows but when the sun came up the scenery was stunning. Not a very exciting day, 6 hours driving up to Kaikoura where we treated ourselves to fish and chips. Kaikoura fish and chips had been recommended to us but they don’t live up to a chippy back home, in fact none of NZ’s chips live up to our chippys! 

We tried to play mini-golf but the course was closed for renovations so we just bought a 2 litre bottle of the mini-golfs home brew and drove to the campsite for a night cap!

Day 137 - Early Ferry and Tepapa

A 5am rise so we could begin our drive up to Picton for the 9am ferry across the pond (to the north island….). The stars were still out when we left and the drive was along the coast so some of the scenery at sunrise was beautiful.

The weather was glorious again and after the ferry arrived in Wellington we drove along the coast and got some golden kiwi ice cream by the beach. The bay was packed with all the weekend revelers, people on bikes, electric scooters and pedal cars, there was a lovely atmosphere. We then made our second trip of the holiday to the Tepapa museum, this time giving ourselves more time to see the World War and Mouri sections. Some unbelievably lifelike and huge figures in the World War section which we’re so realistic it felt like they were going to come to life!

Once we’d had enough culture we visited our Wellington harbour car park once more for the night!

Day 138 - Weta Cave and drive to National Park

We had wanted to go to Hobbiton on our way back up the country to check out the Shire! With tickets at nearly £50 each we decided to look for alternatives, enter Weta Cave. Weta Cave is a workshop where designs, prosthetics, props and sculptures are made for many movies. It evolved from a couple making puppets for a satirical New Zealand show to working on Lord of the Rings (LOTR), The Hobbit, King Kong and many more - checkout the full list of their projects here!

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos during the tour due to copyright laws but we saw lots of amazing movie props, like swords, helmets and armour used in LOTR and The Hobbit. We saw some awesome animatronics and also the head from the robot in ‘I am mother’ - a new film on Netflix. The scope of work for films was truly mind blowing, LOTR took around 7 years to create all the props and prosthetics. They designed the whole world in Avatar, which also took years, one designer worked on alien kitchen cutlery for over a month. The attention to detail was amazing and really made you appreciate the effort that goes into making films. One good story was the guys a Weta made a sword for a LOTR character, it took around 150 hours to craft and was only going to be used in one scene for 15 seconds…. The scene was then cut from the film! 

After being inspired and feeling creative we thought it was best to checkout the Mountain in LOTR (Mordor!). A short 4.5 hours drive and we were there! A walk up to a ridge gave us a better view of the snow-covered mountain which destroyed the ring, there was no sign of the historic battles though.

We drove to a holiday park which is to be our final paid and powered site, this site gave us a complimentary 30 minute spot in their hot tub! 

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