A couple weeks ago, Andy and I set out to visit Kaitoke Regional Park. It’s about an hour’s drive from Wellington and some of the scenes from Rivendell were filmed there, which of course was all the more reason to visit.
One of these is not like the others…
This time of year, weather is always a gamble, and it started to pour as soon as we parked and set out.
We planned on doing an hour-long loop walk, so we decided to head back to the car and see if the rain would ease up before giving it another go. This gave me the perfect opportunity to get some Higgs headshots.
What a dapper dog.
Luckily, the rain dissipated just as fast as it had rolled in, so we headed back out.
I’ll never get tired of swing bridges.
Turns out, Higgs wasn’t a huge fan.
When he got to the middle, he realized he didn’t like this weird moving bridge one bit.
We were able to coax him to the other side, and he quickly forgot about his traumatic experience when he encountered all the smells the forest had to offer.
Just in case you thought I was done with this amazing swing bridge…
The trail through the forest took us by some incredible trees.
It’s amazing how you only have to take a few steps from a parking lot to be immersed in a forest like this in New Zealand. We had the place all to ourselves since it was a Monday, and I imagine the weather deterred people as well. We got very lucky with timing and hit the one perfect window of fair weather.
Higgs is a pro at posing for scale.
We crossed another (solid, luckily for Higgs) bridge with great views of the Hutt River. We also saw a sign that said “No Dogs Beyond This Point,” referring to the area we had just come through. Oops. Higgs didn’t chow down on any flightless native birds, so I think we’re OK.
It’s not hard to see why they chose to use this spot as Rivendell.
We also passed a hydroelectric power station, which gave Higgs another chance to show off.
The sun briefly made an appearance for a few minutes before light rain started up again.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a shot of this magnificent tree presiding over the rest of the forest…
and Higgs presiding over his domain.
At the tail end of the loop, we made it to Rivendell. Given that most of the movie scenes were extremely enhanced with CGI and miniatures, you have to use your imagination here.
The signs and maps helped a bit, too.
A replica archway was recently put up this past March to commemorate the role Kaitoke played in the filming of Lord of the Rings. It’s a smaller version of the archway the Fellowship passes through when they leave Rivendell.
Higgs is the king of photobombing, but he’s cute, so I’ll forgive him.
He strikes again!
He got in some good playing with Andy before we headed back to the car.
There’s a campground nearby, so I’d love to go back when the weather warms up. It was a great spot to visit, and who can complain while exploring this gorgeous setting with good company?
I’ll never get tired of living in Middle Earth.