It’s no secret the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed in New Zealand, but did you know many other famous and critically acclaimed films were shot and produced here too? In fact, as well as being an adventure’s playground, Aotearoa is proving a popular movie buff’s scene, with film fans flocking the country to check out the must-see movie locations.
Keen to know where they’re heading? Read on for top breath-taking locations to visit:
- Wellington – The capital city is a movie-lovers dream. Nicknamed ‘Wellywood’, it’s home to top production company Weta Workshop, who’s studio you can explore, as well as a number of filming locations, including Lyall Bay and Shelly Bay, where King Kong was filmed, and Kaitoke Regional Park, where Middle Earth’s Rivendell was brought to life. While the sets are gone, the natural beauty of these areas is still well worth a look.
- Cathedral Cove – The iconic cove is a holiday hotspot accessed from Hahei Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, and during the filming of the Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian, was overlooked by the set of the ruins of Cair Paravel on nearby Hereherataura Peninsula.
- Flock Hill – Another Chronicle’s film, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, featured an equally impressive location for the climactic final battle between Aslan’s forces and the powerful army of the White Witch. With its vast and unique landscape Flock Hill Station, near Arthur’s Pass in Canterbury was the perfect backdrop.
- Oreti Beach – On this beach, which is just a stone’s throw from New Zealand’s most southern city, Invercargill , Burt Munro created incredible speed records on his modified Indian Scout motorcycle. His story was later turned into biopic, The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. As well as a great film location, Oreti Beach is renowned for good surfing breaks.
- Karekare Beach – While The Piano’s story is set on the West Coast, it was Karekare in Auckland where the film’s famous beach scene was played out. The incredible beach in the Waitakere Ranges offers good swimming, walking and picnicking and is a photographer’s dream.
- Matamata – Matamata in the lush Waikato region is home to Hobbiton Movie Set which was used for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. You can tour the shire, exploring Hobbit Hole, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn.
- Mount Taranaki – Tom Cruise’s period drama war film, The Last Samurai was filmed in the Taranaki region. A Japanese village was built on the hillside of the Uruti Valley for filming, and Mount Taranaki acted as Mount Fuji. You can explore the mountain and if you’re a keen hiker, can reach the summit in about 6 hours.
Ready to go?
With over 30 locations across the country, we make it easy to drive out and explore these amazing film locations. Find your nearest here.