It might look like it’s set in a post-apocalyptic United States, but ‘Sweet Tooth’ was filmed entirely in Aotearoa New Zealand.
About Sweet Tooth
At its heart, the Netflix series ‘Sweet Tooth’ is about celebrating nature. The show follows the adventures of Gus (Christian Convery) – a part-deer, part-human boy – who leaves his home in the forest to find the outside world ravished by a mysterious disease. The central idea of the show is that nature is reclaiming the Earth in response to environmental damage caused by humans. Although aimed at children, the story resonates with a wide audience because of its universal themes – namely, hope and resilience, and the importance of nature.
Filming in New Zealand
The show’s executive producer Amanda Burrell says New Zealand was the perfect filming location. Its endless mountains and valleys naturally suggest a fantasy world, but it was fortuitous on a practical level, too. Because New Zealand was relatively free of Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic, filming was able to continue when most productions were shutting down.
Filming took place in Auckland, the Waikato, and Otago. Starting from the top of the North Island and working down to the lower South Island, here’s some of the show’s most iconic filming locations. (Locations that, in their own right, tell a little bit of the story of ‘Sweet Tooth’.)
Warkworth Cement Works, Auckland
Ruins are always fascinating, and the surroundings of the former Warkworth Cement Works are more picturesque than most. These disused buildings have been reclaimed by nature and now house trees instead of cement. Perhaps, it's for this reason that dilapidated buildings go from being an eyesore to being beautiful!
Adrenalin Forest, Auckland
Adrenalin Forest, a high-wire adventure park in the Bombay Hills, Auckland, was closed at the time of filming, so the film crew had free reign of the park. As you’d expect, an adventure park – with its treetop constructions and endless ropes – naturally lends itself to action sequences. Plus, the low-tech vibe of ropes and planks was the perfect aesthetic for an encampment belonging to The Animal Army.
Te Henga Bethall’s Beach, Auckland
Te Henga Bethall’s Beach, the location for the cabin scenes, is not known for its golden sand, lapping waves and gentle sea breezes, but for their opposite. It’s an area of outstanding wild beauty, with choppy waters, rugged hills and headlands, and dark volcanic sand. In fact, it’s the sand that gives the beach its name, Te Henga – which means ‘the sand’ in te reo Māori.
Tasman Glacier, Otago
Season two’s opening shots show Birdie, the woman Gus thinks is his mother, walking through an Artic blizzard. This scene was filmed on Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest glacier, which is roughly the size of Florence in Italy. The glacier is also notable for its intense blue colour, and beautiful surroundings – after all, Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, where Tasman Glacier is located, is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular national parks.