Why Hollywood Loves New Zealand – And So Should You!

travel to new zealand lord of the rings

New Zealand has developed a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places on earth. Thanks to its epic landscapes and general awesomeness, the location is loved by everyone from high-profile film and TV crews, to awe-inspired travellers.

Keep reading to learn more about this location, and which top films have been made there. By the end, you’ll be itching to add this country to your bucket-list, guaranteed!

About New Zealand

New Zealand is considered one of the more remote countries in the world, but luckily for Australians, it’s right on our doorstep. Located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, it’s made up of two main islands (called the North Island and South Island), as well as over 700 smaller islands.

It’s become well known for beautiful landscapes, such as the sharp mountain peaks of the Southern Alps, volcanoes, rolling hills, mirror-like waters (like Lake Gunn), rainforests and the likes of the Emerald Lakes at Mount Tongariro. It’s a truly unique place – many of these features have been created over time by shifting tectonic plates.

If you’ve decided to experience New Zealand for yourself, you’ll discover something right out of Lord of the Rings. The Oscar-winning trilogy was filmed here and propelled the country’s beauty onto the world stage.

New Zealand also has a varied climate, though it’s mainly temperate. Some parts of the country, such as the city of Christchurch, are drier than others. Other parts of the nation see regular snowfall, particularly in the mountainous areas on the South Island.

Another big draw for Hollywood and travellers alike is the incredible biodiversity on offer. Because of its isolated position in the Pacific Ocean, many animals, plants and fungi have evolved in unique ways, with many species, such as the flightless bird the Kiwi, found only in this geographical area.

Which films have been made in New Zealand?

There’s an impressive list of Hollywood films that have been made in New Zealand. It’s a fact that New Zealand has become synonymous with Lord of the Rings. Thousands of tourists travel every year to see for themselves what Middle-earth is like, visiting places like Waikato to see the village of Hobbiton.

Producers have been drawn by the impressive range of scenery and the financial incentives offered by the New Zealand government. Perhaps the most appealing of all of these incentives is the offer of a cash rebate of 20% of any production expenditure, provided certain criteria are met.

So, if filming a multimillion-dollar blockbuster, a 20% saving could represent a huge sum of money and may make the difference between a film being funded or not.

Some of the films that have been made in New Zealand include:

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • The Hobbit trilogy
  • King Kong
  • The Last Samurai
  • Wolverine
  • Avatar
  • The Chronicles of Narnia

Some of these films have received Oscars, and no doubt the impressive landscape and scenery have played a part in helping to elevate these movies to such levels.

Why should you visit New Zealand too?

New Zealand has blown many people away with its beauty, but is also renowned for its welcoming and friendly people. “Kiwis”, as they’re known, will always stop for a chat or to help with directions. And chances are they’ll ask about you too and are all too keen to show off their beautiful country.

This has made navigating its many islands and local cultures very easy and accessible. It’s also regarded as one of the safest places to visit and has some great food and local dishes.

If you’re a nature lover, New Zealand is a must-visit location, given the number of endemic species – plants and creatures you won’t see anywhere else in the world. You can go whale watching, swim with dolphins, check out the seals and penguins, and the national symbol of New Zealand, the Kiwi.

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