One of the highlights of our summer vacation was the "expedition" to Kaitoke Regional Park. We had been invited to join in a group picnic and a bit of exploration around this area but I was thinking it was going to be just a simple stroll in the park, so to speak. I was delightfully mistaken.
And so we brought along our plate (which means we brought food to share basically) and were joined by the others at Upper Hutt for the quick ride to the park. My interest was piqued when I saw tents and camper vans claiming temporary stake on some choice areas where the trees an shrubbery have given way to green lawns. And we got even more excited when we saw road signs showing where Rivendell is!
After a very hearty lunch shared by at least 5 families, the prospect of exploring one of the trails came up. Soon enough we found ourselves walking on this rather looooong bridge that swayed ever so slightly, adding to the excitement.
The trail, which took us nearly an hour of leisurely stroll and the frequent taking of photos, was a very impressive display of New Zealand's natural heritage. The natural canopy provided a warm cover from the noon sun, and at the same time filtered the light into a greenish aura. It is not surprising that this forest park became the inspiration for Rivendell, the home of the elves in the epic movie Lord of the Rings.
There were quite a number of tall trees with trunks so thick that at it will take at least four people with hands outstretched to embrace it completely. Amazing things, these trees. It's not difficult to imagine that enchanted beings live in this area.
Lo and behold, at the end of the trail is a signpost pointing the way to Rivendell. I was half-expecting to see the corridors and houses interspersed with the trees but Peter Jackson's group did an amazing job at keeping the place immaculate and in its original state. The signage below is the only reminder that the area became host to one of the best movies ever made (next to Star Wars hahaha!).
When we finally arrived to where we originally started, Jo-Lo yearned to go to the river. He loves the water, and will seize any opportunity to be in one. So off to the river we went to relax and watch the kids play in the water before we departed for the city.
As we headed back to the city, talks of coming back and pitching tent were in the air. It was a truly wonderful place. Thank you Glen, Cory and kids for inviting us! And thanks to our friends who were there to share in the fun and the photos!
Related link: Greater Wellington Regional Council