Speaking of New Zealand, as we were in the last post, here’s some cool news about Disney’s classic family film Pete’s Dragon. They’ve re-filmed it with spectacular, real-life locations in New Zealand serving as a backdrop. The film was shot over both of New Zealand’s main islands, the North and the South, showcasing the country’s diverse landscapes.
Hanging out on Rotorua’s Redwood Forest Treewalk (Photo Credit: Tourism Meda) and taking in a dragon’s eye view of Queenstown (Photo Credit: Destination Queenstown)
Disney’s Pete’s Dragon fans who want to transport themselves into the film by visiting the real movie locations can explore New Zealand and take off on their own adventure:
- The Rotorua Redwood Forest (North Island): Home of Elliot the Dragon and where Pete comes across his mysterious new friend, the 110-year-old trees of the Rotorua Redwood Forest tower above the forest floor and the numerous tracks and trails are popular with walkers and bikers. For a dragon’s-eye view of the forest floor below, the new Redwood Forest Treewalk takes you high above ground to stroll among giants. A grove of 22 majestic specimens are linked together 40-feet in the air without a single nail or screw connecting the structure to the trees;
- Wellington (North Island): Just 30 minutes out of Wellington is Battle Hill Farm Park, where Pete makes the leap off a cliff only to land on Elliot’s back. The Battle Hill Farm Park is home to cycle trails and mountain bike tracks. The park is a popular spot for walkers and there are designated camping areas so you can stay overnight right in the heart of the film location. Wellington is also home to Weta Workshops, which played an important role in bringing Disney’s Pete’s Dragon to life. Weta Workshop tours have been named one of the top 10 studio tours in the world. Film fans can meet members of the creative team and see first-hand how they create jaw-dropping special effects;
- Queenstown & Paradise (South Island): Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown’s beautiful lakes and snowy alps are picture-perfect for a flight on the back of a dragon. Take your own leap off the edge, much like Pete in the film, with AJ Hackett Bungy, home of the world’s first commercial bungy operation. Not far from Queenstown, on the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, sits Glenorchy and the gateway to Paradise. Paradise is true to its namesake and the picturesque location has to be seen to be believed. Travel along one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives, then zoom through the shallow river aboard a Dart River Jet Boat on your way to Paradise. You won’t believe your eyes;
- Tapanui (South Island): This small town with a population of 900 was transformed into the Millhaven, a small logging town in America’s Pacific Northwest, for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. Tapanui is renowned for its incredible fishing in rivers brimming with brown trout and salmon. The Pomahaka River offers world class fishing with some of the biggest brown trout to be found anywhere in the world. If fishing isn’t your thing, grab a bike and jump on the Clutha Gold Trail, one of the New Zealand Cycle Trail’s Great Rides. The trail is 45 miles long and follows one of the country’s longest rivers through a landscape rich with goldminers’ tales of bust and boom.
Discover how you can create your own Disney’s Pete’s Dragon itinerary through New Zealand by visiting http://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/petes-dragon/.
The story about an orphaned boy and his best friend Elliot the dragon is directed by David Lowery and stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, New Zealand’s own Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. And if you want to take a dragon’s eye view of the gorgeous scenery, here’s a cool video: