Rivendell is the fictional Elven outpost in Middle-earth, created by J.R.R. Tolkien and brought to life by Peter Jackson in his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Peter Jackson filmed his Rivendell scenes in the picturesque Kaitoke Regional Park just 45 minute drive north of Wellington, New Zealand. It’s a popular site to visit in Wellington so I of course had to visit as well! I can see why Peter Jackson choice Kaitoke Regional Park for his Rivendell because it is incredibly peaceful and beautiful there. The lush green fields, vibrant rain forest, and rushing streams are the perfect home for Elves and a wonderful place to spend the day for us mere humans as well. 🙂
Nothing is left from the original Rivendell sets, but the park does provide signs describing which scenes were filmed where, and they reconstructed an Elven arch perfect for your Rivendell photo op (which I of course did). Rivendell was a surprisingly small area but that’s movie magic for you. It was still spectacular to see where scenes were filmed and imagine the sets and the actors existing in the same spots you are standing. If you are a lover of movies it’s not often a fan gets to visit exactly where a scene was filmed. I do wish I had brought a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful fields of Rivendell but I’ll have to save that for next time!
My favorite area in Kaitoke Regional Park was the Pakuratahi River Walk which was an easy 40 minute hike through forest along the trail there’s a bridge over the river and a trail that leads down to the river bed. Like a child I gleefully took off my shoes and waded in the water only to slightly regret my decision with all the sharp rocks but it was fun to walk the river in bare feet. Next time I am bringing my water shoes though!
I continued on the Pakuratahi River Walk which ends at a beautiful campground nestled next to the river. From there I took the trail back to Rivendell and then crossed the swing bridge that dangles over the Hutt River. The trail continues through the rain forest but I was ready for lunch since I didn’t bring that darn picnic haha, so the rest of the Swing Bridge Walk shall remain a mystery until my return to Kaitoke. 🙂