With the upcoming movie, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", all things Lord of the Rings seem to be creeping back into view, and I am getting really excited about it all.
For those who don't know why I am excited, I will say now.... I am a writer, and my tutor was Robert Neale... who was a student of Tolkien. Being a Drama student at uni during the filming of the LOTR movies, I was so happy to be free enough to get involved in the films, it was amazing. Then this year I had the chance to meet Sir Ian McKellan and perform on stage with him... then I took my class to Hobbiton, and we were invited on set with the academy award winning set designer Ronald Hunter for "The Hobbit"... and we even went to Weta Workshops. It has been a total LOTR year. Basically, I keep thinking that there is a deep connection between me and Tolkien... there isn't. There is just a lot of coincidence.
ANYWAY.... After the LOTR films, a lot of the filming locations were packed up, or just mentioned in guidebooks. Now they are becoming more .... well.... interactive. Rivendell, where the Elves live in the books, was built at Kaitoke Regional Park, near Upper Hutt, in the Wellington area.
Recently, like, really really happening right now, are the signs going up in the area. Before this, people had to know it was there, and use the power of imagination to go into the movie.
|The Entrance to Rivendell|
The sign identifying the entrance to Rivendell is now up, filled with information. There are now pathways leading into the area, and labeling what is what. And these are beautiful signs, hand carved and everything. This whole area is free to enter, and completely accessible. With public toilets and a great car park, Rivendell even has wheelchair access!
|My friend Cole and I entering Rivendell|
|Measuring myself to discover I am a perfect height for a wizard|
Kaitoke Regional Park has excellent facilities for toilets and camping, and is very cheap, run by the Department of Conservation. Kitchen facilities (aka gas BBQ's) are available at a few dollars a pop. With a selection of rivers and inlets to swim at, it is a brilliant location. Large open areas are perfect for playing games, and dogs are permitted, as long as you keep them restrained in the bush, and clean up after them.
I cannot speak highly enough of the trip to Rivendell. Not only is it well thought out, beautiful, free and easily accessible, it is a real slice of movie history.