Following 'King Kong' in New Zealand
Oscar-winning Kiwi director Peter Jackson recreated New York in his home town of Wellington, New Zealand, for his 2005 remake of the film classic King Kong.
While many of the King Kong locations were created in studios, Jackson also managed to transform magnificent New Zealand landscapes into 'Skull Island', home of King Kong.
King Kong fans can follow in the famous character's footsteps to many of the shooting locations.
- Skull Island / Shelly Bay and Lyall Bay: Filming for Skull Island took place at Lyall Bay. A second large-scale version, including the giant wall which separated Kong from the rest of the island, was built above the Massey Memorial near Shelly Bay. Skull Island was a key location in the original 1933 movie, and Jackson's film follows the 1933 version faithfully, with a large portion of the film set on 'the island'.
- New York / Seaview, Lower Hutt: 1930s New York came alive in New Zealand at Seaview in Wellington's Hutt Valley as Jackson created a depression-era version of the Big Apple complete with Broadway, Times Square and Macy's department store, as well as vintage cars and extras clad in period costume.
- Venture ocean scenes / Kapiti Island and Cook Strait: Ocean scenes aboard the steamer Venture were filmed around Kapiti Island, a protected bird sanctuary off Wellington's Kapiti Coast. Incidentally, Jackson and his crew made an unscheduled visit to Kapiti Island in March 2005 when they had to abandon the Venture because the boat began to take on water during filming, flooding the engine room.
- Further ocean-going scenes were also shot on the Cook Strait, a stretch of water linking Wellington to Picton, at the tip of the South Island. The Strait is renowned for its rugged scenic beauty.
- Venture pier scenes were shot at Mirimar Wharf in Cobham Drive, Wellington.
- New York Theatre interior / Civic Theatre: Auckland's magnificent 1929 atmospheric theatre doubled for the interior of the New York theatre where Kong breaks free of his chains and escapes. A key arts venue, the theatre is still used for a range of performances from dance to theatre, and is one of the few of its type remaining in the world. It is designed to evoke the outdoors at night, and is decorated with motifs and romantic images of the East.
Set-jetting around New Zealand
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