Oh sure there’s Hollywood or even Sydney’s Fox Studios, but there’s something inherently more exciting about being in real-world movie destinations that have featured in your fave film. Somewhere you can take a gander at without having to cough up for a studio tour. The best part is you don’t even have to take an international flight to get ‘on set’ of some of the biggest blockbusters. There’s plenty all around Australia and New Zealand.
12 Must-See Movie Destinations In Australia & New Zealand
1. Hobbiton Movie Set, NZ – The Lord Of The Rings
I mean, let’s just deal with the most obvious one first shall we? Not that it in any way lessens how amazing it would be to walk around the closest thing to an actual Hobbiton you’re ever going to get. And yeah sure, I’m a bit of a Lord Of The Rings fan – the books, not the movies, but still – but nerd or not, it CUTE! And yeah yeah it’s technically somewhere between a studio set and an IRL place but I’ll take that grey area and run with it.
2. Split Point Lighthouse, VIC – Round The Twist
Have you ever, ever felt like visiting the location for one of Australia’s most iconic kids shows? Well, you can. The kooky family lived in Split Point Lighthouse, which still stands and has been functioning as an unmanned, IRL lighthouse since 1919. This one’s for the 90s kids and hot damn if this still doesn’t get me the most excited of the whole list. If you want to go inside you’ll need to book a tour.
3. Cathedral Cove, NZ – The Chronicles Of Narnia
The naturally formed archway of Cathedral Cove was well worth of your Insta pics, even before it was made particularly famous by a feature in The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The cast obviously landed there by boat, which you can certainly do yourself by way of a range of boat tours, or even by hiring a kayak. Or you can take a 45-minute walk from Hahei Beach.
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4. Mount Diogenes, VIC – Picnic At Hanging Rock
Just a day trip from Melbourne away, Mount Diogenes aka. Hanging Rock is still a pretty big pull thanks to Peter Weir’s 1975 Aussie mystery flick, Picnic At Hanging Rock. Look, even without the film history, it’s a pretty area with its mix of wildflowers and 6-million-year-old volcanic rock.
5. Paradise, NZ – Lord Of The Rings & The Hobbit Trilogy
Yeah look, thanks to Tolkien’s world being brought t the big screen basically all of New Zealand could be on this list (NB. that’s a huge exaggeration on my part). Just outside of Glenorchy on the South Island, Paradise is another of these locations. In particular, it’s where the mythical towns of Lothlorien, Amon Hen, and Isengard were filmed.
6. Karekare Beach, NZ – The Piano
Ok so it’s not quite Hollywood levels, but The Piano is a fab film and Karekare Beach in West Auckland is probably one of the most beautiful spots you could hope for when landing on New Zealand. Beyond the black sand beach and cliff faces surrounding it, it’s worth a trek into Waitakere Waterfall.
7. Queenstown, NZ – X-Men Origins: The Wolverine
I love me some Hugh Jackman. He brought the backstory of comic book character Wolverine to life with this film in 2009, which was mostly filmed in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A lot of New Zealand scenes were in Dunedin, but plenty more were in Queenstown’s Deer Park Heights.
8. Broken Hill, NSW – Priscilla Queen Of The Dessert
Name a more iconic Aussie film, I’ll wait. There’s a few places made famous in this film, including Sydney’s Imperial Hotel, a place that still proudly proclaims it LGBTQI roots. But its fun to get out of town so I’ve picked Broken Hill. Remember that scene where the Drag trio walk into a bar and encounter the bigoted Aussie woman who made her gross opinions about gender norms be known and Bernadette sassed her right back into place? Yup, that was in Mario’s Palace in Broken Hill.
10. Kings Cross, NSW – Two Hands
Vintage Heath Ledger and a truly beautiful film that was shot in large part in Sydney’s iconic Kings Cross. There isn’t really anything that screams Sydney, but grungy, than the famous neon Coke sign.
11. Mundi Mundi Plains, NSW: Mad Max 2 & Priscilla Queen of the Desert
This desert expanse just outside of the already mentioned Broken Hill is basically your iconic Aussie desert shot. Which is probably why it was picked for a stunning backdrop in both Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the series that put Mel Gibson on the map, Mad Max 2.
12. Sydney, NSW – Mission Impossible 2
I’m just going to admit right now that I’m not an MI fan, or a Tom Cruise one for that matter, but I’m well aware it’s a classic and popular action film so yeah ok, I won’t let bias stop me from including it. Most of the film was shot around Sydney. We’re talking Randwick, Botany Bay (ok just outside Sydney but still), the 90s era high rise buildings Governor Macquarie Tower and Governor Phillip Tower. The list goes on.