Footsteps of the Stars: 3 Movie Towns

Fancy climbing mountains conquered by larger-than-life characters before you? Here’s a few movie locations in Australia and New Zealand where you can walk in the footsteps of the stars.

1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (NSW)
The first person to see the Silverton area was explorer Charles Sturt who in 1844, declared it was among the most barren and desolate lands that he had ever seen. So rural, that Silverton was one of the perfect movie locations for the 1994 Australian blockbuster The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp). The scene in the Broken Hill bar where Old Shirl comes over and slaps her right hand down on Bernadette’s (Terence Stamp) was filmed not far from Best Western Broken Hill Oasis, just 800 metres from the town centre.

Silverton, half an hour’s drive into the outback from Broken Hill, is one of the most eccentric outback towns with a few camels and a donkey. It is home to three noble art galleries: John Dynon Galleries, Peter Browne Galleries and The Horizon Gallery. These days it’s regarded as a ghost town, and has been famously recognised for appearing in Mad Max II and Mission Impossible II. Consider visiting Singleton in September, when husbands and wives compete in the annual Australian Wife Carrying Competition during Countryfest.


2. Wolf Creek (WA)
Are you game? Take no prisoners, Wolf Creek has definitely sparked worldwide intrigue in the rural northern end of Western Australia. Aussie actor John Jarratt’s infamous cult Aussie horror films Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2 have definitely left their mark, helping Jarratt earn supporting roles in films including Quentin Tarantino’s western classic, Django Unchained. (The ‘D’ is silent.)

When speaking of beautiful natural landscapes, the Wolf Creek crater is definitely worth visiting. On the way there, you’ll be awestruck by the vast wild outback spaces and natural gorges lined with wildflowers just coming into bloom in spring. Close to China Wall, Caroline Pool, Old Halls Creek, Palm Springs and Sawpit Gorge, Halls Creek is a good base to explore the Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles), beautiful Marella Gorge and finally, the mystical Wolf Creek crater.

But you don’t have to hitchhike to get there. Set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens with unique water features, the Best Western Halls Creek Motel offers 30 comfortable, newly decorated rooms with modern facilities. Twenty-four hour free airport shuttle service, free parking and 24-hour security is also set up, just in case a Crocodile Dundee-styled man named Mick Taylor comes knocking in the night.


3. Lord of the Rings (NZ)
Hobbit-lovers must make plans to these locations where Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. First up: Tongariro National Park, the land of Mordor. Located in the central North Island, it’s easy to get to by road, and is only a four-five hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington. The highlight of the area has to be Mount Ngauruhoe, which was used as the stand in for Mount Doom – the place where the one ring was forged and finally destroyed by the hobbits. It’s hard not to be impressed by this incredibly conical 2,000 year old mountain peak.

People come from all around the world to do the Tongariro Crossing, but there are many other wonderful walks from 10 minutes to six hours which are just as good. The Skyline, Crater Lake and meads wall are all spectacular hikes starting high up at the Whakapapa ski field on Mt Ruapehu, the highest Mountain in the north island.

Make your last stop Hobbiton. Essentially a farm in the middle of nowhere, we recommend all LOTR fans pay for the two-hour tour to discover the real middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s hard to recommend just one tour, but do your homework to find an all-inclusive package including transport and a drink in ‘The Green Dragon’ (here you even get to dress up like a hobbit if you wish).


Can you think of any other great Australian or New Zealand movie locations?


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