7 Epic Filming Locations You Need To Visit In New Zealand
Film buffs, this one is for you! We’re going to throw this out there: New Zealand is pretty much the Hollywood of the Southern Hemisphere. Although that’s not a proven fact, we’ve got some solid evidence to back up our statement.
With epic natural landscapes throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand, it should come as no surprise that some seriously awesome films have been shot here in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Adventuring to a remote location in New Zealand is not uncommon or even difficult to do – in fact, it’s usually the norm for anyone travelling in New Zealand. So finding a secluded spot to create movie magic is not a hard task.
New Zealand is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. In fact, the population is a fraction of that of the UK. Although land is sparse, the landscape is ridiculously awe-inspiring. When it comes to filming locations, this country is like a candy shop for film producers.
In this post, we’ve highlighted seven epic filming locations in New Zealand that you need to visit. Even if you aren’t a film buff, there’s room to appreciate the films which have been shot here. Plus, we’ve included information on the Wild Kiwi trips you’ll need to jump on to visit those filming locations in New Zealand and see the settings of your wildest movie dreams come to life before your eyes! What are you waiting for? Read on to get the lowdown on these seven filming locations New Zealand boasts…
Hobbiton & Mount Ngauruhoe – The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
Over 150 real-world places in New Zealand were used as Lord of the Rings filming locations. FACT. Some of which are easily recognisable and easily accessible. If you are a LOTR fan, a trip to New Zealand is sure to be more like a journey to Middle-Earth for you. In fact, you’ll most likely be frothing wherever you go in the country, but there are a few key places to note that you’ll certainly want to pull your camera out for and get the shot.
Tongiraro National park where you’ll see Mount Ngauruhoe become Mount Doom, Hobbiton to see the Shire in all its glory, and Huka Falls which you’ll recognise from various scenes in The Hobbit.
Whether you want to Photoshop Gandalf and a few Orcs in the background or not… We’ll leave that one up to you (but yes, we think it’s a great idea too!).
Cathedral Cove – The Chronicles Of Narnia
A 30-minute walk or leisurely kayak (we recommend taking the kayak instead of the hike for hard-out Narnia fans!) will see you navigate the beautiful coastline of the Coromandel Peninsular, past secluded bays and into the secluded bay of secluded bays, Cathedral Cove.
Made famous for its wave-carved arch which spans two small bays, crystal clear waters and huge rock protruding from the water. North of Hahei, on a cliff face overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is where the Pevensie children discover the ruins of Cair Paravel, defined by a deep river chasm and featuring cascading waterfalls that plunge 200 feet into the glassy waters.
As you set foot for the first time at Cathedral Cove, close your eyes and imagine yourself as the siblings when they take their first steps back into Narnia. If you’re a film buff, you’re sure to feel the magic.
Aoraki, Mount Cook – Vertical Limit
Deep in the Southern Alps of South Island New Zealand, lies the country’s highest mountain – Aoraki (Mount Cook). Aoraki, meaning ‘cloud piercer’ in Te Reo Maori language, provides some of the most dramatic natural scenery in South Island New Zealand; think mountain ridges, mirror lakes, pristine evergreen forest and cloud lingering amongst towering peaks.
Although the scenery alone can’t be nominated for a BAFTA, it was the setting for the film Vertical Limit. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood ventured to New Zealand to turn the Southern Alps into the Himalayas, and Aoraki into the world’s second highest peak, K2. Gaze in awe at the scenery as you replay scenes from the climbing thriller in your head.
Milford Sound – Alien: Covenant
In Fiordland no one can hear you scream; dense native forest clinging to towering cliffs, waterfalls crashing from high into the sounds below and mysterious alien activity. Ok so you are highly unlikely to experience the latter as you cruise Milford Sound, but this beautiful landscape does set the scene for some serious alien action. And all thanks to Ridley Scott for deciding to film his sixth Alien movie in Milford Sound, Alien: Covenant.
Apparently, Scott was drawn to the moody, low lying clouds, crashing waterfalls and dramatic cliffs which set the scene perfectly for his futuristic horror masterpiece. The Covenant ship was actually brought into Milford Sound, lit to mimic the eery beauty of this natural location. The actors even commented on how great and rare it is to react with an actual environment rather than predominantly green screen. That said, anyone up for an Alien movie night to inspire New Zealand adventures?
Wanaka – A Wrinkle In Time
When Oprah stars in a movie with Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, you might not get Oscar nomination material, but you do get an easy-watch flick with some banging shots of New Zealand thrown in.
A Wrinkle In Time, which was originally a children’s novel is a science fantasy that traverses space and time. So what better place to film than New Zealand? In fact, word on the street is that Oprah was swayed to star in the movie by the fact the crew would spend two weeks filming in the country. We’re proud kiwis, and we reckon that’s a pretty big deal.
Filming took place in South Island New Zealand close to Lake Hawea and Wanaka. If you want to frolic through tussock like Reese in her gigantic white frock, then you’ll need to head to South Island New Zealand. It might be sci-fantasy, but the stunning locations used in the movie are just as beautiful in real life (in fact, we think they are better).
The Remarkables & Paradise – Wolverine
There’s a reason that South Island New Zealand is the star of the show for Hollywood movies, and that’s because it’s just so darn beautiful. Cue another movie shot in the larger-than-life landscape of the region, Wolverine.
Shot in several locations including Otago and Queenstown, and featuring The Remarkables ranges. The remote cabin of James – now living as Logan – was built on the peak of Deer Park Heights, on the peninsula just south of Queenstown. And, the mountains overlooking it are the Remarkables at Otago.
If you’re an X-Men fan, chances are you’ll recognise some of the epic scenery straight out of the movie. Don’t worry, Hugh Jackman isn’t going to jump out of the mist with his wolfy claws out. Fun fact: when the disillusioned James walks away from the team and retreats to a home in the ‘Canadian Rockies’, the dramatic mountain range is actually in the South Island of New Zealand.
Taupo, Rotorua, Waikato – Without A Paddle
This one is a real easy-watch. You might have seen it while cruising through Netflix on a movie binge day. If you’re a 90s kid, you might have rented the DVD for an evening in with mates as a teenager. Although it’s not as much of a big deal as the likes of Lord of the Rings, Without a Paddle was filmed in some pretty epic New Zealand locations. We reckon the filming was just a pretty fun adventure in itself!
Visit Taupo, Rotorua and the Waikato and you’ll be sure to recognise some of the locations that Seth Green and Matthew Lillard find themselves in.