The beautiful gardens of Harcourt Park, and the contrasting scenery of the Hutt River, will be a period of the trip I’m sure to miss, as the next section of my journey soon enters the mountains to the East, heading South to the Coast soon after. The next film location is a short distance upriver, in the Kaitoke Regional Park, which was used for many of the Rivendell shots and where the temporary Rivendell set was constructed.
Rivendell, or ‘Imladris’ in Sindarin, was founded by Elrond during the Second Age after a devastating attack by Sauron on the Elvish realm of Eregion. Here Elrond built what many have called ‘The Last Homely House’, which is an allusion to elvish cities of old. Rivendell is located at the edge of a narrow gorge of the river Bruinen and the landscape helped keep its location mostly hidden and secure for thousands of years.
Rivendell was temporarily built for Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Ring’s in a section of the Kaitoke Regional Park east of Upper Hutt and north of the town of Pakuratahi. The upper sections of the Hutt River, along with the surrounding forest, was used to portray many parts of Rivendell where large set pieces were constructed. The area is a short walk from the Kaitoke Regional Park Campground and many of the sites are signposted making for easy spotting.
After only a few hours walking from Harcourt Park along the main road I will turn left heading north. Here the Kaitoke Regional Park Campground will be a good spot to setup camp before I explore Rivendell, giving me ample opportunity to photograph the pleasant scenery before staying the night.
A mystical realm inhabited by a large host of elves, located just east of the Misty Mountains. Lothlórien was visited by the Fellowship of the Ring shortly after leaving the Mines of Moria, where they stopped for a short time period before heading down the Anduin river. Lothlórien was home to one of the most powerful elves in Middle Earth, Galadriel, and was also where many elves were sent from to aid Rohan, at the Battle of Helms Deep.
In Peter Jackson’s Interpretation of The Lord of the Rings, Lothlórien is represented by Fernside Gardens, which is just east of the town of Featherston. Fernside, created by Ella and Charles Elgar in the early 20th century, is a beautiful homestead with immaculately cared for and designed gardens. The area contains many function and garden rooms, as well as a library, dining and drawing rooms. Although accommodation is no longer available in the house, a nearby cottage may be available for use at the time.
Heading back south from Rivendell to the main road, I’ll continue East, eventually crossing the mountains in the Pakuratahi Forest. This section of the trek will take between 4-5 hours and immediately upon exiting the mountain area I will be confronted with the town of Featherston.
Fernside is about an hours walk outside of Featherston. Here there are many beautiful gardens, buildings and a man-made lake to explore. It is unsurprising that this site was chosen to represent one of the most beautiful locations in Middle Earth.
The Dimholt Road
Leaving the lush gardens and forests of Isengard, Rivendell and Lothlórien behind, the next stage of my journey leads me a sizable distance south towards the coast, and the bottom of the North Island.
The Dimholt Road, portrayed by the Putangirua Pinnacles, is traversed by the trio of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, as they head towards the Halls of the Dead.
The Journey south from Fernside will take a number of days, trekking the lowlands between the forests and mountains of the East and West. After a few days of walking I’ll hit the South Coast for the very first time.
The Pinnacles are not too far past the town of Lake Ferry, and there is a camping area nearby to make the most of the location.
The next part of the Journey will be interesting, traversing the coastal tracks west around the mountains opposite Wellington before heading back up to Lower Hutt.