Movies and travel are a great mix

Travel Destinations — By on November 6, 2009 at 7:20 am

You’ve seen The Lord of the Rings and dreamed of traveling to New Zealand, where many of the amazingly beautiful scenes were filmed. You’ve sung along with Meryl Streep during Mamma Mia and wondered what achingly beautiful Greek island was the setting for that movie. Yes, movies can be a great boost to a region’s tourist industry, and a chance to visit the site of one of your favorite films can be a fun activity while traveling. Victoria Brewood recently put together a great article for BootsnAll about seven of the best movie locations around the world:

New Zealand: ‘The Lord of the Rings’  – The stunning scenery in the Lord of The Rings trilogy really put New Zealand on the map as a backpacker location – perhaps it should really be called Land Of The Rings. Kiwi director Peter Jackson didn’t have to look far to find the perfect location for the magical ‘middle earth’ in the three movies.

The Lord of the Rings was filmed over 274 days, using 350 purpose-built sets in more than 150 locations over both islands. It is the first time an entire feature film trilogy has been filmed all at once, making it one of biggest productions in movie history. The rolling hills of Matamata were chosen to house the hobbit holes of Hobbiton and the village now presents itself to visitors with a sign saying ‘Welcome to Hobbiton’.

Tongariro National Park is home to three volcanoes; one of these, Mt Ruapehu, was transformed into the dark and fiery realm of Mt. Doom where the ring was forged. Visitors can also ski on Whakapapa Ski Field on Mt Ruapehu, which was used for Middle Earth’s snowy slopes. Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital, was the setting for numerous scenes including the Eregion Hills, and the Pillars of Argonath. Tourists can also 4X4 across the Ford of Bruinen, which was filmed at the Shotover River near Arrowtown or walk the serene forest of Rivendell which is in Kaitoke Regional Park.

Greece: ‘Mamma Mia’ – The most uplifting things about Mamma Mia apart from the classic Abba tunes and all-star cast dancing around to big show stopping numbers, are the beautiful blue waters, narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses of Greece.

Mamma Mia was filmed on the islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, two of the Sporades Islands. Skopelos is about a half-hour hydrofoil from Skiathos, and you can either fly to Skiathos airport or take a ferry from Athens. Skopelos is where most of the locations can be found; that beautiful church where the wedding takes place is Agios Ioannis Prodromos Monastery, which is perched on top of a 100-metre promontory.

Kastani Bay and beach is where the song Does Your Mother Know was performed and it’s at Glysteri, on the northern coast of Skopelos, that Amanda reads the diary to her friends. It’s also where Sophie, Bill, Harry and Sam leap from rocks into the sea during Our Last Summer.

What about The Sound of Music in Austria? The Beach in Thailand? Those are included in the full article, along with several others. Read it and dream.

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