For those in the film production business, the opportunity to shoot video in New Zealand can be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the backdrops to groundbreaking cinema like Avatar and the Lord of the Rings trilogy firsthand. In some cases, the number of potential filming sites can be almost overwhelming. You may need to narrow down your shooting locations by focusing on the areas that can provide the best logistics for the specific scenery you need to capture. Read on to learn more about some of the most scenic and video production-friendly locations in New Zealand.
Fans of Burt Munro's story in The World's Fastest Indian will immediately recognize the significance of this long span of flawless white sand. In 1957, this 26km beach allowed Munro the opportunity to break the New Zealand open beach speed record on an Indian Scout motorcycle he'd modified himself.
The versatility of this area -- featuring jungles, desert-like sand dunes, and wide open waters within just a few square miles -- can make it the perfect backdrop for a variety of movie scenes, and it has an accessible location at the southern tip of New Zealand. Oreti Beach also has a rich Maori history, helping create a timeless feel for your film.
For those who would prefer to begin their filming at one of New Zealand's most northernmost points, Cathedral Cove (backdrop to some scenes in The Chronicles of Narnia) provides a gorgeous, nearly formal-feeling cave that connects two secluded coves boasting white sand beaches and bright blue-green waters. Because of the privacy these coves afford, shooting video here can be a fairly hassle-free process.
This picturesque mountain in northern New Zealand, backdrop for The Last Samurai, also provides filmmakers with footage of marshy swamps, lush rainforests, and fast-flowing creeks with breathtaking waterfalls. Since the last time the volcano erupted was nearly 250 years ago, you shouldn't need to worry about your expensive video equipment being damaged by airborne ash or seismic rumblings, and can take advantage of this versatile area adjacent to a national park to film mountain, river, or jungle scenes.
Although your entire trip through New Zealand may feel like being in paradise, there is only one Paradise -- located about 45 minutes up the road from Queenstown in the southeastern part of the country and used to film scenes from Wolverine, The Hobbit Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Pete's Dragon. While getting to Paradise involves a nearly hour-long drive over narrow mountain roads, the snowcapped alpine views and jade-green rivers can more than make up for it, and the area's relative close proximity to Queenstown can allow you to get in and out fairly quickly.
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