After a few days of miserable weather the sun finally appeared for our day out with friends Robin and Jenny. We had heard about the Weta Cave in Miramar which is the shop window shall we say of Weta, Kiwi movie makers extraordinaire. Set up by Richard Taylor and his partner along with Peter Jackson some twenty years ago, what started as a back room cottage industry blossomed into a huge company after their success with Lord of the Rings.
Tours around the facilities are not available due to confidentiality on current projects but there is a small theatrette where you can get a glimpse of what they do and how they do it. You get to meet the people involved and see what they do individually which, when all put together gives you the final result. There are too many movies to mention that they have been involved with but if you follow the link you can read all about them. Several of these movies took 7 – 8 years in the making from costume design and production,computer graphics and animation to final editing and release.
In the shop are souvenir's for the avid collectors of miniatures made by the same people that made the original movie sets, designs or props. These can all be bought on line Worldwide. There is also a small display of how radio controlled animation is achieved. Our visit only lasted just over an hour but it was a very interesting experience.
As it was such a lovely day we had both bought a picnic lunch with us so we headed off around the bays to find a sunny sheltered spot.
This we found at Worser Bay where a local diving school were running a diver training session. We saw them enter the water and then disappear for about 30 minutes. I can imagining the reaction of other visitors to the beach, who were not aware of the divers presence when 8 divers suddenly appeared out of the water and came walking up the beach. Like something out of a James Bond movie, saboteurs or spies.
While enjoying lunch we saw three interisland ferries heading in and out of Wellington Harbour. Two were from the Bluebridge company and the other was the “Arahura” of the Interislander fleet. Some ships in the latter fleet also carry railway wagons between the two Islands. It was one of the Bluebridge ships which caught our interest because the whole of the open vehicle deck was full of motorhomes presumably following the Rugby World Cup matches around the country.
After lunch we carried on around the bays to Seatoun, site of the old Army base of Fort Dorset and the site of the 1968 sinking of the Interisland ferry “Wahine”. A memorial park has been opened opposite Steeple Rock where the ferry finally foundered after striking Barretts Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour during one of the worst Southerly storms in living memory. Since this disaster the ferries no longer sail come rain, hail or shine. If conditions get too bad there are no sailings.
The next port of call was Lyall Bay where the surf was up and surfies were out in their dozens. We had no sooner pulled over and stopped to watch the surfing when we were surrounded by Police Motorcyclists with their red and blue lights flashing. What the hell is going on here was our first reaction. One Officer quickly closed the road off to traffic as another rode up to the next intersection and did likewise. Shortly after an entourage of 6 cars, a van and bus came into view and were whisked away to the airport where military and VIP aircraft are normally dealt with away from the commercial side of the airport which is on the other side of the runway. Talking to a passer-by it transpired that the entourage was for the King of Tonga who had been over here to support his country’s team in the Rugby World Cup. Nice one if you can get it!