to film locations in New Zealand
$200 million Peter Jackson version of King Kong was shot
in Wellington, Jackson's hometown and headquarters for his Camperdown
Studios, which hold the sets for Skull Island and its jungle.
On a vacant lot in the Hutt Valley, just north of Wellington, Jackson
recreated the 1930s downtown New York set- complete with Broadway, Times
Square and Fifth Ave. Two of New Zealand's grandest theaters were also
used to film scenes; the 90-year-old Opera House in Wellington, and
the 75-year-old Civic Theater, in Queen St, the heart of downtown Auckland.
The Civic opened in the era in which King Kong is set, and
the scene shot there was based around the unveiling of the giant ape
to an incredulous New York audience.
River is New Zealands longest navigable waterway and is both the
stage and backdrop for Kiwi director Vincent Wards film of a young
woman's epic search for her lost son. The movie begins in the lower
parts of the river, then moves upstream to the remote region between
Pipiriki and Taumarunui, which is protected within the boundaries of
Whanganui National Park. The film depiction of this untouched wilderness
didnt require special effects or retouching and in the film and
in person you see is exactly how it is. The river that is also a road
. The Maori people traveled up and down the river for centuries before
the first Europeans began to explore the area. I50 years ago, the river
was the only trading and transport route for settlers trying to establish
homes and farms in the region; even today, most of the rivers
length is still inaccessible by road.
Whether you have a day or a week, a journey down the Wanganui River
offers a comfortable level of challenge, adventure and freedom. A kayak
or canoe is the vehicle of choice for many people; others opt for a
jet boat tour. Hiking is another way to immerse yourself in the river/forest
feature of the river journey, the 'Bridge to Nowhere' serves as a memorial
to the tenacity of World War One soldiers who tried to farm the remote
Mangapurua Valley. Completed in 1932, the bridge is the only remaining
evidence of the settlement. Cross the 'Bridge to Nowhere' in the Whanganui
tours to the Bridge to Nowhere run daily from Pipiriki, traveling upstream
to the middle reaches of the Wanganui River. The scenic bush walk to
the famous bridge begins at Mangapurua Landing.
World's Fastest Indian, another story from New Zealand's history
books, took the country's deep south by storm. The story of local motorcycle
legend Burt Munro was played by Sir Anthony Hopkins along with thousands
of locals in Invercargill who offered their services to the film. Invercargill
is at the southern tip of the South Island.
Producer Gary Hannam said although film-making was a new experience
in this corner of the world, Invercargill was a great base for a film.
"Having excellent industries there, like engineering, was just
as important as having the right scenery," he said.
"We could have filmed this movie anywhere, but we wanted to do
it in Invercargill, where Burt Munro was from. The locals were incredibly
co-operative and enthusiastic, and the quality of the extras was wonderful."
Even the colorful local mayor, Tim Shadbolt, took a role in the film.
The crew spent several weeks at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah (where
Munro set world speed records on his beloved Indian Scout bike) before
moving to New Zealand to film the rest of the movie over 11 weeks through
until Christmas 2004. Much of the filming was shot on Oreti Beach, a
wide arc of white sand where Munro would test-drive his motorbikes,
overlooking the waters of Foveaux Strait.
The wide streets of Invercargill, a city of 50,000, and the elegant
Victorian and Edwardian buildings which border them also played their
part in Munro's life story set in the 1960s.
Zealand's Main film locations by city
four best known cities, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin
provide a range of urban locations for the international film industry.
While smaller, Queenstown is widely known as a great adventure destination.
Auckland is situated at the northern end of the North Island, Wellington
at the southernmost end, while Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin
are in the South Island.
The location for Jane Campions Academy Award-winning film The
Piano, and TV series Xena, Warrior Princess. Known as the City of Sails,
Auckland is surrounded by water and dominated by dormant volcano Rangitoto
Island to the east. There are many other dormant volcanoes around the
city. Auckland has ready access to lush bush, beaches, vineyards and
flat farmland. The city has a sparkling harbour, and is also venue to
America's Cup racing. Auckland is a sprawling, large urban area that
features many different types of suburban looks.
New Zealands capital city received world attention as host to
the production of Peter Jacksons The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The rugged hillsides of Wellington surround a large harbour and have
resulted in a unique range of architectural styles. The high-rise city
centre is compact and based at the foot of the hills, and houses appear
to cling precariously to all manner of challenging terrain. Wellington
has ready access to rugged coastlines, farming valleys, vineyards, rivers,
beaches, old established stables and horse training areas. The Wairarapa
Valley, home to a flourishing wine industry, is also within convenient
reach. Located at the bottom of the North Island, Wellington is a convenient
mid-point in New Zealand, close to the South Island.
The leafy gentleness of this flat garden city edged by the
Port Hills is a fantastic introduction to the rugged and spectacular
landscape of the South Island. Christchurch has easy access to flat
plains, gentle rolling hills and many different types of harvests, including
wheat, oats, barley, and flower crops. Christchurch acts as a gateway
to mountains, river gorges, dramatic coastline and alpine plain locations
that make it a popular hub for South Island filming.
Dunedin and its nearby township of Oamaru possess beautiful working
harbours with wharf buildings still in their original condition, reminiscent
of 19th-century England or Scotland. Much of the rustic colonial city
is still intact, with stone and brick the most commonly used materials.
Dunedin is the gateway to the rolling green hills of Otago. The Catlins region
provides beautiful cliff-top vistas, moss covered bush and streams,
and spectacular untainted beaches.
The nirvana for adventure filmmakers. Known as the adventure capital
of New Zealand, the resort town of Queenstown is set amidst some of
the most breathtaking scenery in the world, nestled around Lake Wakatipu
with the snow-capped Remarkable mountain range in the background. There
are two ski-fields within 15 minutes of the town centre, and extreme
sports such as bungy jumping (the first commercial operation in the
world was launched here), white-water rafting, jet boating and hang
gliding are available. There are also stunning vineyards, producing
some of the country's top wines, orchards, spectacular bush and gorges.
Queenstown is also the nearest point to access the National Parks of