In the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings, there are more than a handful of mysterious places which are either sinister, dark, or foreboding. On the other hand, there are also places which are so peaceful and magical that you wish they could only be real. One of these places—Rivendell—is the home forest of the immortal elves who lead a life of peace and tranquility. The lush forest provides a welcoming enclave, and all who enter are immediately enraptured in a refreshing sense of calm.
While Rivendell might be fictional, however, the place where the scenes for the movie were filmed couldn’t possibly be more real. At Kaitoke Regional Park, about 50 minutes north of Wellington, the peaceful surroundings and ancient forest make it the perfect hideout for elves. While you’re unlikely to find any pointy-eared characters enjoying a moment in the forest, you will find a spot where the sun filters through treetops to create a welcoming setting.
Kaitoke Regional Park is a popular stop on Lord of the Rings tours from Wellington, and it’s in close proximity to the Hutt Valley which was used in scenes for the films. Within the park, bubbling streams weave their way through the forest, and there a couple of pools where you can even jump in for a refreshing and rejuvenating swim. Even if you aren’t a fan of the trilogy, this is still a great stop for anyone who appreciates the beauty of the rural outdoors.