Welcome to part 1 of our guide, outlining famous filming locations from cinematic history. If you’re a film fanatic then you will love this little collection, and maybe even take some inspiration for your next trip! Be it from the depths of Middle-Earth to a galaxy far, far away, you’ll be able to visit where your favourite films were produced and even relive your favourite scenes!
Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand as seen in The Lord of the Rings (2001-03) – Peter Jackson
Where better to begin than one of the most beautiful filming locales ever to grace the silver screen, located in the heart of New Zealand’s Waikato region. The gloriously picturesque rural village of Matamata serves as the perfect setting of Hobbit-life from Tolkien’s literary classic trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
Acres of gorgeous countryside stretch out of the city, allowing for visitors to take in the vast yet serene meadows and placid countryside. And after, why not enjoy a specialised tour of ‘the shire’ itself? There you can imagine the quiet, peaceful life as a Took, Brandybuck or Baggins!
(Images courtesy of Hobbiton™ Movie Set)
Matmâta, Tunisia, as seen in Star Wars (1977) – George Lucas
From a modern classic to the greatest sci-fi epic of all-time, we again visit the home-life of a protagonist. Situated and filmed in the Berber-speaking desert village of Matmâta, Tunisia; The Hotel Sidi Driss remains both a Star Wars fan favourite and novelty stop-off for its variety of guests. It is an absolute must-see day-trip, if not an overnight stopover.
The hotel, just one amongst a multitude of storied structures, consists of five inter-connected pits linked via a series of underground tunnels and stairways. It served as the childhood home of Luke Skywalker in the film series, when he wasn’t out bullsyeing womp-rats in his T16 of course!
Wadi Rum, Jordan as seen in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – David Lean
We have the fantastic working relations and support offered by King Hussein of Jordan to thank for David Lean’s masterpiece. It was his logistical assistance that allowed for the extensive use of the vast Jordanian deserts to help illustrate T.E. Lawrence’s life justly. While not the only film to utilise the rusted and flamed valleys of Wadi Rum, Arabia certainly made the best use.
The scorched rocky sands are as much a character as Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence. Further exploration includes trekking, rock-climbing and a dive into the land’s history with petroglyphs, graffiti, temples and more from Nabatean and other ancient cultures.
Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand as seen in The Beach (2000) – Danny Boyle
Astoundingly exquisite, Ko Phi Phi Leh has the perfect cocktail of ingredients to bring The Beach to life. White golden sands stretching as far as the eye can see and crystal clear ocean gently lapping at the edges are punctuated by the tremendous mountain views. This getaway island provided exactly the bewitching backdrop that Alex Garland’s novel described.
Tourism here expanded exponentially since the release of the film and has since become Thailand’s most popular destination for scuba-diving, snorkelling and other marine activities. With barely a few thousand residents, this tranquil resort, in all its exotic beauty is an elegant paradise that will take your breath away… and if not, maybe you’ll bump into a young Leonardo DiCaprio wandering the shores.
Part 2 to come…!