Bored of the Rings? Here are NZ's other famous movie locations

Another daring stunt from Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout which filmed in Queenstown....
Another daring stunt from Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout which filmed in Queenstown. Photo: Supplied
Hobbits may be very small but they have a super-sized reputation when it comes to New Zealand's famous movie locations. Peter Jackson filmed six movies set on Middle Earth here, which means most of the country has some connection to the Lord of the Rings.

Not wanting to take anything away from these movies or locations - the films are great fun and the landscapes frequently stun - but there's more than the Rings if you want some star-powered scenery to look at these holidays.

Here's a brief look at some other famous spots. Lights, camera, action! Let's roll.

Raglan: For most of us our summers end when our leave runs out and we trudge back to the office in the early weeks of January. But the surfer's paradise in the Waikato became famous in the iconic 1966 surfing doco Endless Summer. Head to Manu Beach to hunt down the "perfect wave".

Hamilton: Local musical-drama Daffodils was filmed in Hamilton, with our critic calling it "a delightful romp". Its bittersweet love story was soundtracked with hits from the likes of Crowded House, Bic Runga and Darcy Clay.

Taupō: Don't blame us if your pic-a-nic basket goes missing while you're admiring the Aratiatia Rapids. The stunning stretch of the Waikato River doubled for Jellystone Park, home of the always peckish, renowned hamper-thief Yogi Bear, in his 2010 movie. Dax Shepard and Seth Green also braved its tumbling waters in the 2004 comedy Without a Paddle.

Hawke's Bay: Waipukurau was the setting for This Town, the amiable Kiwi character comedy with a questionably dark undercurrent that came out earlier this year. Robyn Malcolm and Rima Te Wiata were the stars and, like them you can enjoy a high tea at Oruawharo Homestead where a wedding scene was filmed.

Queenstown: So many movies have filmed here we could almost make an entire field guide based just on this incredibly scenic town. But we won't! Instead, we're going to highlight Tom Cruise's incredible - possibly insane - helicopter stunt-flying that saw him - yes, Cruise himself - piloting a chopper in 2018's Mission Impossible - Fallout with seat-clutching speed and eye-popping daring. Gaze into the sky in the zone known as the "triangle" between Milford Sound, Queenstown and Lake Wanaka and marvel at his piloting skill.

Still from Alien: Covenant which filmed in Fiordland. Photo: Supplied
Still from Alien: Covenant which filmed in Fiordland. Photo: Supplied
Auckland: The tranquil waters of Waitawa Regional Park, roughly 50-minutes east of the city, became home to 2016's nautical action flick The Meg. That's the one where action man Jason Statham punched a giant shark in the face. Recommended, obviously. Over summer gate access is between 6am to 9pm (daylight saving time) but you can also book a camping spot, bach or lodge. If you dare.

On a less deadly note the lovely, leafy, Waitākere Ranges provided a skux-as backdrop for Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople that same year.

Karekare: Jane Campion won two Oscars, Best Director and Best Screenplay, for The Piano, which she filmed on the beach.

Fiordland: In Milford Sound no one can hear you scream. No, wait. It's space where screams go unheard. But that didn't stop acclaimed director Ridley Scott from filming 2017s action-horror Alien: Covenant here. A gentle stroll along the Milford Sound foreshore will take you right to the spot where the ill-fated crew's spaceship blew up in front of Mitre Peak.

Thames: Netflix's syrupy rom-com Falling Inn Love was filmed in - or should that be inn? - and around Thames. As was the very funny, Kiwi indie-hit Mega Time Squad, which gained a cult following around the globe.

Taranaki: Billy T. James' 1985 comedy classic Came a Hot Friday was filmed in South Taranaki. The comedy caper became one of the biggest local hits of the 80s and featured the Waverley racecourse and the Bridge to Nowhere.

Invercargill: Anthony Hopkins suited up and zoomed off in 2005's biopic The World's Fastest Indian, which was filmed here. The movie - which is fantastic - is about local lad Burt Munro and his effort to break the land speed record.

Oamaru: Jane Campion returns to our guide with her upcoming film The Power of the Dog, filmed in Ōamaru's marvellous Victorian district, home to New Zealand's best-preserved Victorian buildings, and out next year on Netflix. The film saw its stars Kirsten Dunst and husband Jesse Plemons spending time in lockdown here.

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