Jun 15, 2018
Feel the magic of the Lord Of The Rings and other film and television series come to life in Queenstown, New Zealand and discover why this little corner of the world draws filmmakers from all around the globe.
The natural wonders of Queenstown, Paradise, Glenorchy, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, Skippers Canyon and Arrowtown have all been made famous with appearances in movies such as Wolverine, Lord Of The Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
Absolutely stunning scenery, secluded locations and the friendly locals have helped make Queenstown the sought after film destination it is today. Some of the more notable productions filmed in and around Queenstown are:
The Lord Of The Rings
Filmed entirely in New Zealand, visitors can see the actual locations where filming took place including the Fortress of Isengard, Forest of Lothlorien (natural beech forests on the way to Paradise), the Ithilien Camp (at Twelve Mile Delta just 10 minutes’ drive west of Queenstown) and the location for the Forest of Amon Hen and the Battle of Amon Hen.
You can’t miss Mount Earnslaw which featured in the opening sequence of The Two Towers, the second film in the trilogy. Hard core fans can make their way to the Ford of Bruinen in Skippers Canyon or for a much more accessible spot head over to the Wilcox Green in Arrowtown, where the Gladden Fields scenes were filmed.
See spectacular views of the actual setting for The Pillars of the Kings (The Gates of Argonath) and the river Anduin – actually Queenstown’s Kawarau River. Of course the actual pillars were computer generated and added in post-production.
Fans of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will find some key locations in Queenstown and its surrounds. The most challenging a 6-8 hour hike to the Earnslaw Burn glacier waterfalls near Glenorchy. Follow in Bilbo’s tracks as he and the dwarves continue on their quest after leaving Rivendell.
Officially titled ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ this movie is part of the Marvel Comics X-Men series starring Australian actor Hugh Jackman. The film was shot in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with Queenstown scenes shot at the now closed to the pubic – Deer Park Heights.
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Almost entirely filmed in New Zealand thanks to Kiwi film director Andrew Adamson this film was released in 2005. Some scenes were filmed on a privately owned horse farm roughly an hour’s drive from Queenstown.
The follow up to the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian was released in 2008 and was also directed by Andrew Adamson. While some parts were filmed in New Zealand, the majority of filming was completed in the UK.
While filming of Pete’s Dragon took place all over New Zealand, in Queenstown predominantly aerial footage was used, depicting Elliot the dragon’s flights. The nearby mountain ranges, the Shotover Canyon and Lake Wakatipu were utilised during filming, the film was released in 2016.
Filmed in 1988, The Rescue was a film about a group of kids who set out on a rescue attempt in North Korea. The “prison” for this film was constructed and still stands at Deer Park Heights in Queenstown.
An American survival thriller filmed in 2000 staring Chris O’Donnell. Some filming took place just out of Queenstown where mountain scenes from the film were used to depict the border between Pakistan and India. Aoraki – Mt Cook was also used during filming.
A film that follows the epic journey of a prehistoric mammoth hunter staring Steven Strait. Small parts of the film were filmed in and around Queenstown.
The Water Horse
A popular children’s film where a young boy discovers an egg which hatches into a “Water Horse”. Lake Wakatipu is the “star” of the show in this one and features as a Scottish Loch. Visual effects were completed by Wellington based computer graphics specialists Weta Digital.
30 Days Of Night
A 2007 vampire based horror film directed by David Slade. Although the film depicted an actual Alaskan town, parts of the film were shot here in New Zealand, including in Queenstown and Auckland.
Top Of The Lake
An Emmy Award winning TV show written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee. Filming for the first series took place entirely on location in Queenstown, with Glenorchy used to depict the series’ fictitious town of ‘Laketop’.
Legend Of The Seeker
A TV series based loosely around the series of books named The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. All filming was completed in New Zealand, with the majority of the series filmed in Auckland with parts filmed in Queenstown’s mountainous regions.
While you can make your way around some of these locations on your own, some are located on private land and some are just really hard to find! The best way to find specific locations easily and safely is with a local guided tour.