For the very first time New Zealand has featured as the home of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, a fantasy film telling the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend – who just so happens to be a dragon.
Transport yourself to the world of Disney and discover some of the key New Zealand film locations as seen in Pete’s Dragon, hand-picked by Booking.com.
Pete’s Dragon opens in New Zealand cinemas on September 15th.
Redwood Forest, Rotorua
The orphaned boy, Pete, first meets Elliot the dragon among the towering Redwoods, forging a legendary friendship. Visitors searching for their own enchanted experience can explore the Redwood Forest, walking or cycling more than 70 trails. If you’re looking to stay a little longer, take refuge at B&B @ The Redwoods, a quiet retreat nestled among fern fronds.
Blue Mountain Lumber mill, Tapanui
Tapanui is now receiving international attention thanks to Pete and Elliot. The town of less than 800 residents and its neighbors welcomed 250 cast and crew for the filming. For visitors wanting a taste of Pete’s adopted hometown, stay in the nearby town of Gore at the Hokonui Bed & Breakfast just a 30 minute drive from Tapanui.
Image credit: Images supplied by Booking.com
Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, Porirua, Wellington
Battle Hill Farm Forest Park is another scenic filming location with over 500 acres of native bush and farm land. Here visitors will find the spot where Pete, in a breathtaking scene, launches himself off a cliff and onto the back of Elliot to glide across the sky. Moana Lodge sits on the shore of Karehana Bay, just a short drive to the park, allowing visitors to spend sunny days exploring the forest before heading south to the bustle of Wellington City.
Mount Victoria, Wellington
Pete and Elliot came to The Capital, with cast and crew filming in the bush on Mount Victoria and post-production taking place at Stone Street Studios and the well-known Weta Digital. Perched on the edge of Karaka Bay, Edgewater Lodge is fantastic for visitors wanting to explore a buzzing city. For a behind-the-scenes cinema experience, visitors should take a tour of the nearby Weta Workshop.
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
It’s no secret Queenstown is one of the most picturesque destinations in New Zealand, already attracting a large number of international visitors. What better place to take flight on the back of a dragon, than over the glistening waters of Lake Wakatipu and its snowy mountain surrounds? Filmed at Deer Park Heights, Pete watched as Elliot the dragon appeared from beneath a cliff top to fly over him. For a luxurious place to sit back and soak in the panorama, visitors should treat themselves to a night at The Spire.
McLaren Falls, Tauranga
Short but sweet, the crew from Pete’s Dragon visited McLaren Falls in Tauranga for two days of filming. The result is the opening scene of the film, introducing a playful Pete and Elliot. Visitors can clamber over the rocky cascades or swim in one of the pools at the base of the gentle waterfall. Lavender Lodge is a cosy place to get a little rest after a day exploring.
You won’t find Pete or Elliot hiding on Waiheke Island, although stunning, no filming took place on the island. Instead actors, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley took time out during the filming to enjoy the island. A magical place to finish up a tour, visitors can stay at The Pah, the accommodation of choice for the film stars. Not to be missed is a day spent unwinding at one of the beautiful vineyards or wineries.