Film Attractions Around Wellington
Wellington is the place to be in New Zealand for any movie fan! With filming locations, movie sculptures, theatres that have hosted world premieres and more, Wellington rightfully takes the title of the “Movie Capital of New Zealand” Of course, everyone knows that The Lord of the Rings was largely filmed and created in Wellington, but even if you’re not a fan, there’s more to the Wellington movie scene! Take a look at the list below for some of the best film locations in Wellington and film attractions you have to visit if you are crazy about cinema.
By the way, did you know these movies were made in Wellington too? For more things to do while finding all the movie locations in Wellington, see 10 Wellington Must-Dos. Plus, find a place to stay in The 50 Best Accommodations in Wellington.
1. Weta Cave
Weta Cave is the front shop of the Oscar-winning special effects and props studio, Weta. The studio is behind huge blockbusters from King Kong to The Avengers to (unsurprisingly) The Lord of the Rings. The Weta Cave is packed with props, artwork and replicas to check out. See them in the Weta Cave mini-museum or watch a free screening about the work by Weta. Plus, you can also grab tickets to multiple behind-the-scenes tours of their studios and workshops. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Corner of Weka Street and Camperdown Road, Miramar.
2. Mt Victoria
Not only does the summit of Mt Victoria offer some of the best panoramic views of Wellington, but it’s also a filming location in The Lord of the Rings! In fact, the footage shot here was the very first footage for The Lord of the Rings, filmed 11 October 1999. They were the scenes where the Hobbits were hiding from the Nazgul. For more specific Lord of the Rings locations around Wellington (and some locations that aren’t on this list) head to our Guide to The Lord of the Rings in Wellington.
3. Park Road Post Production
This production studio set up by Sir Peter Jackson (director for The Lord of the Rings among many other movies) is a state-of-the-art facility built in 2005. Among its impressive filmography includes The Hobbit, The Lovely Bones, The Lord of the Rings, The Adventures of Tintin, Boy and Two Little Boys.
Location: 141 Park Road, Miramar
4. Embassy Theatre
The Embassy Theatre is famous for hosting world premieres, including that of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which boasted having the longest red carpet ever at the end (421m/460 yards if you’re interested in that fact). The historic theatre also hosted the premiers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, King Kong and The Lovely Bones.
Location: 10 Kent Terrace.
5. Tripod Sculpture
This futuristic robotic sculpture by the Weta Workshop celebrates Wellington’s film and TV industry. The sculpture is said to mimic a film camera and tripod, made with recycled materials, to show Kiwi can-do attitude and the ability to create with whatever is available!
Location: Corner of Courtenay Place and Cambridge Terrace.
6. Frank Kitts Lagoon
Frank Kitts Lagoon features in the hit Bollywood movie, Players – a remake of The Italian Job. The Wellington Waterfront around Kitts Lagoon was used in car chase scenes. Filming also took place for the film on Featherston Street and on the City to Sea Bridge.
Location: Wellington Waterfront.
7. Te Papa Museum
To see more works of the Wellington film community, head to the popular (and free) Te Papa Museum! Izzat Design, who created props for films like Avatar, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, have contributed many pieces to the exhibitions in Te Papa. Look out for the seven extinct birds in the “Blood, Earth and Fire” exhibition or the typical World War 2 New Zealand family scene in “Slice of Heaven”. Finally, the eerily lifelike sculptures in “Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War” were created by the Weta Workshop. See this article for more free museums in Wellington.
Location: 55 Cable Street.
8. St James Theatre
The historic theatre built in 1912 not only hosts a great deal of award-winning plays and events, but it’s also said to be haunted! Look out for ghostly regulars like a Russian dancer called Yuri, a wailing woman and a boys’ choir. Sir Peter Jackson himself has said to have sighted the wailing woman on occasions. For more spooky locations in New Zealand, see 10 Seriously Spooky and Haunted Places in New Zealand.
Location: 77-87 Courtenay Place.
9. Westpac Stadium
The sounds of the sports crowds at the Westpac Stadium have literally been used in movie-making in Wellington! Most famously, 30,000 cricket fans chanted during the lunch break of a New Zealand cricket match to help create the sound for an army of Uruk-hai during the battle scenes for The Lord of the Rings.
Location: Waterloo Quay.
10. Wellington Zoo
This popular zoo was not only used during the filming of Peter Jackson’s comedy horror, Braindead, it was also used for filming a children’s television show called the WotWots.
Location: 200 Daniell Street.
11. Roxy Cinema
Movie buffs can’t miss the Roxy Cinema experience with Art Deco architecture, cafe and boutique-style cinema experience. The Roxy Cinema was brought back to life by a collective of Oscar-winning Wellington moviemakers. Have a bite to eat at the cafe and look out for the Weta Workshop artwork decorated the theatres.
Location: 5 Park Road.
12. Lyall Bay
One of Wellington’s popular surf beaches, Lyall Bay, or at least the cliff face nearby, is a filming location for Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings. It is said that Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragon) learned to surf on this beach. Plus, scenes for King Kong’s Skull Island were also filmed here. Find out more about this beach and other Wellington beaches in 10 Beaches in Wellington You Can’t Miss.
13. Cook Strait
The Cook Strait is the body of water between the North Island and South Island. It’s the water crossed when taking the ferry between the islands. The ocean scenes for King Kong were filmed on the Cook Strait
14. Red Rocks
Along the Red Rocks Coastal Walk is the filming location for The Lord of the Rings where Frodo, Sam and Gollum reach the Black Gate to Mordor. As well as the filming location, seeing New Zealand fur seals between May and August is another reason to take this 2-3 hour walk. Find out more in our 10 Best Walks in Wellington.
The city suburb of Seatoun was a filming for The Lord of the Rings. The Prancing Pony and the village of Bree were built around Fort Dorset (which is, unfortunately not open to the public). The upscale Wellington suburb has also been the home of Sir Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom.