There’s good news for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans everywhere: Weta Cave, the museum arm of special effects production house Weta Workshop, will double in size so even more people can experience the Middle Earth magic, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Ever since Peter Jackson filmed the LOTR trilogy in his native New Zealand, fans of the films and the prequel The Hobbit trilogy have been making the pilgrimage to the far-flung island nation to see the real fields of Rohan, Gardens of Isengard and of course the Shire. The boost in tourism to New Zealand has been so significant that the government and NZ’s biggest companies actively play on their Middle Earth credentials.
The Weta Cave is an integral stop on any LOTR tour, with the Wellington-based experience the only place to see authentic weaponry and costumes from the films as well as life-size statures of orcs and Gollum. Weta Cave also houses key props and artifacts from other films Weta has worked on, including King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar, District 9, The Adventures of Tintin and Elysium.
The cramped Weta Cave has seen a surge of visitors in recent years. Weta said that although 70,000 people visited the Weta Cave each year, the facility could only cater to 20 people at a time. The new facility, the Weta Cave Experience, is double the size of the existing incarnation and will be able to deal with tour groups of 55 people.