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Pete's Dragon South Island Filming Locations

Follow in Pete’s Dragon’s New Zealand footsteps to spectacular filming locations in New Zealand's South Island!

With the release of the Disney film ‘Pete’s Dragon,’ a New Zealand holiday has never looked so good. Showcasing some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country, Pete’s Dragon filming locations include many recognisable places originally celebrated for their appearance in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies.

If you are visiting Queenstown for a Ski Holiday, why not throw in a bit of movie magic. The snow capped mountains of Queenstown, provide the ultimate backdrop for this endearing family tale. So immerse yourself in the making of the film, and be sure to visit these key locations while you're here.

Queenstown and Paradise, Lower South Island

Known as New Zealand’s adventure capital, alpine resort - Queenstown - is a lively tourist destination renowned for its picture perfect snow capped mountains. The scene where Pete watches as Elliot the Dragon appears from beneath a cliff top to fly over him was filmed just below the Remarkables Mountains. Further shooting occurred at Deer Park Heights, a private farm 20 minutes from central Queenstown.

Most of the aerial sequences were also filmed here with local helicopter company Glacier Southern Lakes. Visitors can take their own aerial adventure with the same company offering daily scenic rides and private charters.

Other things to do while you're in Queenstown. A 30 minute drive from Queenstown, on the ‘most beautiful stretch of road’ in the world is Glenorchy - gateway to the small hamlet of Paradise. Well worth a visit, there are many opportunities to jetboat, horse ride or visit some of the Lord of the Rings film locations.  Spend time on the Gibbston Valley wine trail or catch a ride on the 100 year old steamship the ‘TSS Earnslaw.’ For an adrenaline rush head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis bungy or canyon swing, or Zip Line the Gondola.  

Tapanui, Lower South Island

Just two and a half hour drive from Queenstown is the rural area of Tapanui. This picturesque location was transformed into Millhaven, a small logging town in America’s Pacific Northwest. Filming also took place at nearby Conical Hill, the site of a disused sawmill.  While much of the set has been taken down, the main street is instantly recognisable as being from the movie.

Tapanui is surrounded by gently rolling farmland and is known for its world class fishing. Most of its rivers are brimming with brown trout and salmon, including the Pomahaka River - thought to have some of the biggest brown trout in the world.

Other things to do in Tapanui.
Tapanui is near the Otago Rail Trail - one of New Zealand’s great rides. A 73 km cycling trail tracking New Zealand’s gold mining history. The ride takes you through spectacular scenery and over 20 of New Zealand’s rural mining towns.  The Otago Coastline is another must do while you're here . Visit Nugget Point-  home to various native wildlife, including New Zealand fur seals, sea lions and yellow eyed penguins. And if you're really lucky, you might even spot a dolphin or two.

- South Island Touring

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