Wellington City is arguably the film hub of New Zealand. Led by powerhouses like Weta Workshop, Weta Digital and Park Road Post Production some of the world’s biggest movies have been made in Wellington, so much so it has been given the nickname ‘Wellywood’.
As the official filming location for Ghost in the Shell, many cast members have spoken about the city’s laid-back atmosphere, close proximity to the great outdoors and wonderful café culture.
Actor Scarlett Johansson, who plays the role of “Major” in the film adaptation of the famous Japanese manga, said Wellington was one of the best cities she’d worked in. “It has an outdoorsy vibe and it is so nice on your days off to be able to walk by the harbour, drive to the mountains or go hiking in the bush.”
For many of the cast and crew living like a local was a major appeal. Members of Johansson’s elite taskforce ”Section 9” could often be found enjoying the city’s many cafés, and there is certainly no shortage of them. Wellington has more cafés per capita than New York.
Because of its location, Wellington is within easy reach of many spectacular landcapes and experiences. From wildlife sanctuaries and the beautiful Kapiti Coast, to the vineyards of the Wairarapa, there is so much to see and do, even if time is of the essence.
Ghost in the Shell producer Ari Arad said, “the nice thing about Wellington, was I felt plugged in to the heart of some really unspoiled natural landscape.”
Follow in their footsteps and check out the list of favourite spots of Ghost in the Shell cast and crew.
Weta Workshop gives you a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet some of the creative talent behind the world-famous film production companies. At Weta Workshop you will have the chance to try on prosthetics from The Hobbit Trilogy. Next door is Weta Cave, the free to visit museum and retail outlet, where you can see a key set piece from Ghost in the Shell, the red robed Geisha.
Just a few minutes by car from downtown Wellington and nestled in a forested valley, Zealandia is a world-leading eco-sanctuary that’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest native birds and wildlife. At Zealandia visitors will see New Zealand’s ‘living fossil’ the tuatara and threatened bird species such as the flightless kiwi, and which the supporting cast recommends as its number one Wellington must do.
Mt Victoria offers amazing 360-degree views of Wellington including the harbour and city centre, as well as the Miramar Peninsula where much of Ghost in the Shell has been filmed. Take a stroll through the trees all the way to the top, or do as the Ghost in the Shell crew did and enjoy a picnic at the lookout point.
Wellington is jam-packed full of cafés, speciality coffee shops and roasteries that are world famous for their ‘flat-whites’. You don’t need to go more than a few steps in downtown Wellington to encounter one of these cafés – Mojo Coffee, Zumo Coffee, and Flight Coffee Hanger are among the cast favourites. Whitebait Restaurant on Wellington’s waterfront was also a popular spot with its focus on locally caught seafood.
Seal Coast Safari Wellington Tours take visitors on tours to Wellington’s rugged coastline, offering sublime views right across to the South Island, and the chance of a close-up encounter with New Zealand fur seals. Five members of Section 9 went on the tour together and then stopped off on the way home at Garage Project for a cool refreshment.
Nothing beats the Wellington waterfront area on a glistening clear day – and there’s no better way to enjoy it that exploring on a croc bike. The Ghost in the Shell cast members raced each other around the waterfront, before stopping in at the Enormous Crocodile Company’s ice cream parlour for a scoop of New Zealand ice cream.