Day 7 – Rings & Helicopters

It’s just a whiff of cloud.

First stop today was at Jens Hansen in Nelson, the jewellers who made the One Rings for the films. Jens had sadly passed away just before the films were released, so his son Halfdan Hansen took over the business. He gave a presentation describing the work they did for the films, the different types/sizes of rings they made, and showed us some of their hero rings from the films. We then had some time to take photos and buy some rings (I managed to hold off).

We then dropped off the few people who weren’t doing the helicopter tour at the World of Wearable Arts exhibition (where our coach clipped a huge light-post and knocked it over), before continuing on to our departure point.

We drove through farmland and up hills to get to where the helicopters were up top. We had three choppers to fit all 17 of us, and after signing away our lives and going through the safety briefing, we climbed aboard and took off!

We had a short flight to our first mountain destination, Mt. Owen, which was used as the exit from Moria (though there was more snow since we’re still in October). The flight there was really cool, and we got to see the extensive farmland, mountains, valleys, forests, and lakes in the surrounding area.

We landed nearby and had a bit of time to look around and take photos. There were incredible 360 degree views, and it was very peaceful up there, though a little cold (not too windy though which helped).

We then saddled back into the choppers and flew to our next location, Mt. Olympus, which was used for the Spies of Saruman scene. The journey there was equally as stunning.

The whole surrounding area looked a lot like the above photos; lots of green forest and little lakes running between. But then we rounded a corner and suddenly saw the unique and distinct rocks of our destination. Strange, interesting formations, scattered along the mountainside.

We landed in small spaces between the rocks and fortunately had a decent amount of time to walk around and take photos. The pilots explained the places where things were shot, though I’m sure everyone already knew.

I would’ve loved to have stayed much longer and just walk up and down the mountain-side, finding new rocks and different angles. It wasn’t even that cold up there.

Eventually we had to wrap things up and get going.

We set off to Nelson airport, where we were going to get picked up from (much closer to our hotel than where we departed). We ended up having to do a few laps just outside of controlled airspace while we waited for a plane to land, so we got some extra flight time which was nice.

Finally we landed, gave our thanks, and headed back to the hotel. I did some much needed laundry and smashed out these photos before dinner, so I could go eat and not worry.

Tomorrow is a travel day mostly, so might not be too many photos. We are making our way to Christchurch, though I think we are stopping to see some kind of seals, so we’ll wait and see.

PS: We went out for Thai this evening. I had the Stir Fry.