Catriona I wondered if visitors to TORN would be interested in a brief note on my recent visit to New Zealand courtesy of Red Carpet Tours?
The first and unexpected event was at the first night dinner when Tehanu turned up with her husband and regailed us with stories of her ‘spying’ etc. It was great to finally meet her as I had been reading all about her escapades online for a long time!
The tour was fantastically well organised and our tour guides, Vic James and Anwen Carver were amazing at balancing great facts about New Zealand with juicy details about LOTR and locations etc. The locations were all instantly recognisable which really impressed me and this was combined so well with jaw dropping scenery around New Zealand. It is an amazing land, it really is.
Our accomodation was always terrific and it was exciting to dine out at the cafes and restuarants used by the actors and crew and hear terrific stories from the staff who often had parts as extras in the films. We got to meet the horses used in the films and rider doubles who have just set up the website you featured recently. It brought tears to my eyes to meet them all as they were so generous with their time and the horses were stunningly beautiful and clever too.
As part of the tour we met Daniel Reeve and I cannot get over adequately how fantastic it was to see samples of his work and hear him talk about his time on LOTR. Again he was incredibly generous but I won’t give too much away here as you all need to get booked on Red Carpet Tours and experience the journey for yourself. But that meeting holds a very dear place in my heart.
We climbed Edoras. We reinacted scenes all over the North and South Island and many action figures joined us. But don’t worry if that is not your thing (and why not I ask?) because there was plently for the adventurous as Vic and Anwen helped us plan helicopter flights across incredible scenery, 4 wheel drives, bungy jumps, horse riding, rafting, handgliding etc etc – there was so much to do. Those wanting to simply admire the scenery were spoiled for choice. I think we were lucky and had access to some if the most incredible land on planet earth.
Lastly, and quite miraculously we got to meet Richard Taylor. This was purely by chance as we had pulled up outside Weta Workshop on our tour of Wellington to take a few photos of the studios from our bus. Amazingly enough Richard was in the carpark (having just come from a meeting with PJ he later told us). Well you can imagine that we all started waving frantically and he took notice (how could he not!) and came onto our bus. Cut a long story very short, we got invited into Weta to the boardroom which is full of Weta models, photos and of course gazillions of awards including the Oscars. Richard had a chat with us about a variety if things Weta are currently involved in and then brought out the Oscars for us to hold and pose with! He truly was an incredible guy, I don’t think any of us have got over it yet!
The Red Carpet Tour was astounding from start to finish and we have all stayed friends, keeping in touch via email. There really are no words to describe adequately what a place New Zealand is and what a terrific job Vic and Anwen did. The people of New Zealand are so proud of their country and I can see why, what a friendly, generous bunch they all are.
Get saving and get over to experience it for yourselves and let Red Carpet Tours take you – they really will help you have the time of your life and yes, I am going back.