Last year Lonely Planet called Wellington the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.

Now this cool capital is transforming itself into the ‘Middle of Middle-Earth’ while it plays host to the November 28th world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

Thousands of hobbit fans, many of which have already traipsed around New Zealand over the past couple of years on the trail of ‘Lord of the Rings’ filming locations, are expected to turn up for the premiere.

And as the Middle of Middle-Earth, Wellington (and New Zealand) is well and truly ready.

Even Air New Zealand has gotten into the act, with it’s latest in-flight safety video featuring hairy hobbits and pointed eared flight attendants.

Arriving at the Wellington International Airport, passengers are greeted with a sign on the outside of the terminal saying ‘Middle of Middle-Earth’.

Inside the terminal, a giant sculpture of an emaciated but gleeful fish-hunting Gollum hangs from the roof, complements of the Weta Workshop.

At the Embassy Theater, where the November 28th premiere takes place, a countdown clock has been installed and there are Hobbit stamps, Hobbit coins, and Hobbit artisan markets in the works. Even the local newspaper masthead will reflect the city’s new but temporary name.

In the days running up to the premiere, Waitangi Park on the Wellington’s waterfront, will play host to all things Hobbit with an artisan market featuring Hobbit-themed food stalls, demonstrations, competitions, arts and crafts, and a daily free nighttime screening of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

It’s a red carpet party guaranteed to please even non-Hobbit fans.

(images supplied by WellingtonNZ.com)