If you’re a movie fan and an avid globetrotter, New Zealand must be at the top of your travel bucket list. The country has been called the “Hollywood of the Pacific” because it is home to visionary filmmakers like Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi. Countless blockbusters and indie productions have been shot on-site. So, are you in on walking in the footsteps of iconic characters like Frodo Baggins and Wolverine? Here are five places in New Zealand where you can get your wanderlust fix and reenact your favorite movie scenes.
You’ve seen the rolling green hills full of cheerful Hobbits on the big screen. But when Peter Jackson and his crew wrapped up the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, they left behind an enchanting true-to-life village. The story of Hobbiton began in 1998, as Jackson and a team of location scouts scoured New Zealand. During an aerial search in rural Waikato, they spotted an untouched area overlooked by a majestic pine tree. Soon enough, 39 temporary Hobbit Holes would be scattered around, with Bilbo’s Bag End sitting atop the hill. 44 holes were permanently reconstructed in 2009, following the shooting of The Hobbit trilogy. While visitors may not enter the holes, this one-of-a-kind movie set is a fascinating journey into The Shire. And as listed on https://www.hobbitontours.com/, several events bring The Shire to life throughout the year, from the International Hobbit Day to the Beer Festival at Green Dragon Inn.
Tongariro National Park
Picture the barren wastelands of Mordor, towered by the sinister volcano of Mount Doom. Save for armies of orcs and trolls guarding the gate, visitors may feel like entering actual Sauron’s territory in northern New Zealand. Tongariro might be the oldest national park in the country, but tourists now associate this UNESCO-protected area with the Lord of the Rings movies. Some hikers even push the experience to the max by blasting Howard Shore’s soundtrack in their headphones as they trek along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Besides Mount Doom, the Tongariro National Park was used extensively throughout Jackson’s first trilogy. The Whakapapa ski field provided the backdrop for The Fellowship of the Ring’s opening sequence, while the Gollum’s Pool featured in The Two Towers.
Another big-budget fantasy production visited NZ not long after the LotR trilogy. The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian was shot in multiple locations across the country. And while many are inaccessible, the Coromandel Peninsula can easily fit into a northern island tour. Movie buffs may recognize the sandy beach and rocky arches of Cathedral’s Cove, where the London tube station morphs into Narnia at the beginning of the film. The peninsula also inspired the showrunners of Rings of Power. So, fans may log in to https://www.primevideo.com/ to discover its dramatic cliffs on the small screen.
In Wellington, too many movies were produced to keep count. The capital of New Zealand was even named a UNESCO City of Film because it has such a strong film industry. Wellington is where the headquarters of Weta Digital are, and it was an important part of making movies like Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, which were big hits all over the world. Visitors may even get a behind-the-scenes peek at the Weta Cave. But many filmmakers also drew inspiration from the city’s natural environment. Kong: Skull Island features Shell Bay and the surging beach of Lyall Bay. Wellington also served as the backdrop for several Bollywood flicks.
Renowned for its picturesque landscapes and historical buildings, Otago Peninsula plays center stage in the Netflix rom-com The Royal Treatment, shot at Dunedin’s Larnach Castle. The filming of X-Men Origins: Wolverine also rolled in the city. While the latter felt lackluster for long-time fans, it laid the groundwork for the critically-acclaimed Logan movie as well as many video games. Wolverine even spawned machine slots. But if you can’t spare time to visit Dunedin’s Grand Casino, sites like https://www.casinoreviews.net.nz/ have got you covered. Such platforms help first-timers and seasoned players pick a reliable online casino thanks to expert reviews. They rate every casino independently to provide unbiased tips. Thus, players may find advice on the best bonuses and most extensive game catalogs all in one place.
New Zealand has long shone on the silver screen. Peter Jackson put the country on the map with his epic take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classics. Thus, tourists may feel like they are traveling to Middle-earth across both islands. But there are many more locations to discover for movie fans touring New Zealand.