I drive towards the capital Wellington in the southern part of the northern island. On my way I make a detour to the place used to film the Elven town Rivendell in LOTR (I know, it’s getting a bit much with these movies and references). Google Maps has probably chosen the shortest ride, and I’m also surprised to see signs with max 50km/h. In the countryside, it’s normal to have 100km/h as speed limit – almost no-matter how narrow and winding the roads are. It’s then up to people to drive according to the conditions (it’s ‘not a target’ as several signs tell) – a really nice liberal approach. In Denmark, such roads would some places probably not be ranked for more than 60km/t. Now with the limit of 50km/t it must be something special coming up – and yes. These roads are so narrow that I hardly doubt we can pass two cars, and with so many blind corners. On top of this with a camper (and not Swedish Saab) in the left side of the road, forces me down to 30km/h to drive according to the conditions. In the second part of the passage, I meet passing cars but here there is also better room and now the speed limit is 70km/h, but I’m doing roughly 50km/h. I finish the drive ready to sign up for a rally championship, although a bit displeased of the much lowered speed.
At Rivendell I’m disappointedly not welcomed by Elves. Rivendell is inside a small forest with a river next to. It’s not looking anything like the magical place from the movies with waterfalls, houses and elves – but it’s still nice to have been here at some of the characteristic locations described on the surrounding maps and posters. I make a selfie at the gate where The Fellowship is leaving for their adventure to destroy The One Ring.
In Wellington I stay at a Freedom site next to the marina. It leaves an uphill walk to the viewpoint Mount Victory, from where I can look over the city and harbor in all directions. I’m a bit late so I hurry down to the museum Te Papa Tongarewa. It’s free and very professional with the displays, light, high resolution screens and interactive stands. I only have 1½ hours before it closes, so it’s a quick tour through to get an idea of the place. I’m especially impressed of a war display where they have made several very large soldiers, probably 3-4 times normal person size. The details are so high that I’m very impressed, and I have also not seen such displays anywhere else. I think it’s Waza Cave, a studio established by Peter Jackson who is the one behind these displays. There are also nice buildings and displays of Māoriitems, but no photos allowed. Another fun and different display is a box of approximately 12m x 8m x 6m (l x w x h) – with a lot of colored carton in vertical strings, forming a 3D space of colors. I try to find patterns in the display, and it seems like some horizontal layers are made with same color but else looks rather random. For sure a museum where more time can easily be used. I continue to Cuba street where several shops and pubs are located. I get a very good beer at the local brewery Heyday Beer – Game Day – which has won several prices. I order the ferry for going to the South tomorrow for the next 4 weeks. I have now driven 1200km.