New Zealand enjoys worldwide popularity as a top film-making destination full of picture-perfect sceneries. Many award-wining movies including the Lord of the Rings and Avatar have been filmed here. No doubt, many of these hidden treasures in New Zealand shot to fame after being filmed and are now iconic tourist attractions. Here is our list of the 7 best film locations in the New Zealand.
Karekare Beach & Waitakere Ranges
Visit the picturesque Karekare beach and the Waitakere Ranges, where Jane Campion shot the 1993 movie The Piano. These two fantastic locations are located around 15 miles west of Auckland in North Island, New Zealand. Karekare beach is a black-sand beach which became famous after the movie released and the area is an excellent place for surfing, walking and picnicking. The vampire movie 30 Days of Night was also shot at the Waitakere Ranges.
Visit the stunning rural region of Paradise, which is located at Otago in South Island. Several famous movies have been filmed here including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Wolverine, The Chronicles of Narnia and Pete’s Dragon. The region’s breathtaking beauty is complemented by the numerous adventure opportunities that abound this place. The Paradise-Glenorchy region offers plenty of opportunities for travellers to indulge in jet boating, kayaking, horse-trekking and hiking.
Explore the iconic Cathedral Cove, which is located in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. This is probably one of the most scenic places in the country and its beauty was captured in different movies including Chronicles of Narnia- Prince Caspian. The ruins of the castle Cair Paravel in the movie were built at the Hereherataura Peninsula overlooking the spectacular Cathedral Cove. The Cathedral Cove is most popular for its impressive natural rock arch and white sand beach. You can enjoy a peaceful and scenic stroll from the Hahei Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula to the Cathedral Cove.
One of the most popular film locations in New Zealand is the charming Hobbinton Movie Set from the iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy. This movie set is located at the picture perfect Waikato countryside close to Matamata in New Zealand. The place has been made so popular by the movie series that there are guided tours of the site. This place is on the must-visit itineraries of international visitors, who yearn to have a first-hand experience of the ‘Middle‑Earth’ shown in the movie. This movie set was also used by The Hobbit trilogies.
The breathtaking Mount Taranaki, which is located in New Zealand’s North Island, is the location of the famous 2003 movie The Last Samurai. The movie, starring Tom Cruise, showed Mount Taranaki as ‘Mount Fuji’ and a Japanese village was built in the hillsides of the Uruti Valley to imitate Japanese rural life. Much of the shooting for the movie was carried out close to New Plymouth in Taranaki. Mount Taranaki is considered to be New Zealand’s most-climbed mountain. However, travellers should be aware that this region is prone to thunderstorms and extremely heavy rainfall, making it a dangerous location to visit when unprepared.
Aoraki/ Mount Cook
The 2000 thriller Vertical Limit was filmed at Aoraki/Mount Cook in New Zealand. The movie, which is about climbing and falling from mountains, was shot almost entirely at this location. Aoraki/Mount Cook, which is the highest mountain in the country, is a thrilling place to be for adventure enthusiasts. Travellers can explore the charming village of Mount Cook, which is located at the foot of the mountain, before venturing out in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. Climbing this mountain is certainly not for the faint-hearted, as weather conditions change almost suddenly and drastically here. Non-climbers can soak in the beauty of the stunning Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park by strolling through the alpine walks starting close to the village, by flight-seeing and by stargazing.
The sprawling Flock Hill Station was chosen by New Zealand director Andrew Adamson as the location to shoot the final battle between Aslan’s forces and the army of the White Witch in the movie Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. Flock Hill Station is located close to Arthur’s Pass in Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island. The destination is full of huge climbable limestone boulders, giving a perfect excuse to adventure lovers to frequent the place.