Chris Tham's Travel Diary - 11-22 April 2004

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14 April 2004

Day 3 (Wed 14 April) Ohakune to Wellington

We left Ohakune on SH 49 and stopped by at the Mokai Gravity Canyon. In the afternoon we stopped by at Wellington, and visited the "Get off the road!" scene in Mt. Victoria. We even had time to watch a screening of The Return Of The King at the Embassy Theatre where the film was premiered. The picture quality and sound was fantastic and even better than the local cinema at Chatswood!

Leaving Ohakune

We left Ohakune on SH 49. The skies were clear today, and we managed to get a good view of Mt. Ruapehu.

[Tip: clicking on the image allows you to view it in Live Spaces and download it in high resolution (1280x800)]

We also got a good view of Mt. Ngauruhoe ("Mt. Doom").

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"The Mountain crept up ever nearer, until, if they lifted their heavy heads, it filled all their sight, looming vast before them: a huge mass of ash and slag and burned stone, out of which a sheer-sided cone was raised into the clouds." (LOTR, Book VI, Chapter III, page 975)

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"He looked back, and then he looked up; and he was amazed to see how far his last effort had brought him. The Mountain standing ominous and alone had looked taller than it was. Sam saw now that it was less lofty than the high passes of the Ephel Dúath which he and Frodo had scaled. The confused and tumbled shoulders of its great base rose for maybe three thousand feet above the plain, and above them was reared half as high again its tall central cone, like a vast oast or chimney capped with a jagged crater." (LOTR, Book VI, Chapter III, page 976)

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Mokai Gravity Canyon (River Anduin)

The Rangitikei River runs through a really deep gorge with sheer cliff walls, which explains why it was chosen to portray the River Anduin in the movie.

"Only a few yards ahead dark shapes loomed up in the stream and he heard the swirl of racing water. There was a swift current which swung left, towards the eastern shore where the channel was clear. As they were swept aside the travellers could see, now very close, the pale foam of the River lashing against sharp rocks that were thrust out far into the stream like a ridge of teeth." (LOTR, Book II, Chapter IX, page 406)

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This is the scene when the Fellowship is travelling on elven boats along the River Anduin.

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At the Mokai Gravity Canyon, you can do bungy jumps from the bridge down to the floor of the canyon.

You can also ride a "flying fox" down the canyon at speeds up to 160km/h.

Jamie, Nick and Niek decide to go for the flying fox.

Nick showing off his harness.

The boys getting ready to fly.

The old suspension bridge collapsed in 1960. This is one of the suspension pylons.

On the way to Wellington

An interesting "café".

Peter Jackson grew up here, in Pukerua.

This is Westpac Stadium, where Peter Jackson asked a 100,000+ crowd to yell as Orcs and recorded them for the film.

Wellington City, as seen from Mt. Victoria.

The Embassy Theatre, where we all saw a screening of The Return Of The King.

Mt. Victoria ("Get Off The Road")

Mt. Victoria is the outskirts of the city, where shooting commenced in 1999. This is the spot where Frodo and Sam first heard the sound of the approaching Nazgûl when leaving the Shire.

"The sun was beginning to get low and the light of afternoon was on the land as they went down the hill. So far they had not met a soul on the road. This way was not much used, being hardly fit for carts, and there was little traffic to the Woody End. They had been jogging along again for an hour or more when Sam stopped a moment as if listening. They were now on level ground, and the road after much winding lay staight ahead through grass-land sprinkled with tall trees, outliers of the approaching woods." (LOTR, Book I, Chapter III, page 87)

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Kristine sitting on the steep bank where the Hobbits slid down to discover a feast of mushrooms.

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