Disney's Pete's Dragon Filming Locations

New Zealand is the home of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, take a sneak peek at the locations used in the film.

Disney Pete's Dragon Logo

Rotorua, Central North Island

The forest scenes for Disney's Pete’s Dragon were shot in Redwoods Forest in Rotorua; home to soaring Californian Redwoods, which made it the perfect double for America. 

Redwoods Forest is a popular destination for hikers. The track winds through the lush native forest and has spectacular views over the lakes and thermal wonders of Rotorua, making this a uniquely ‘Kiwi’ experience.

For a dragons-eye-view of the forest floor below, the new Redwoods Treewalk takes you high above ground to stroll amongst giants. The walk is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and consists of a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 majestic 110-year-old redwood trees, 12 metres (40ft) high above the ground. 

Rotorua is a tourism hub, and is known for its geothermal and cultural attractions.

Disney's Pete's Dragon , Rotorua

By Disney Studios New Zealand

The character Pete running though the Redwood Forest in Rotorua for filming of Disney's Pete's Dragon

McLaren Falls Park, Bay of Plenty

McLaren Falls Park was used for an early scene in the movie where Pete encounters a bear on the river’s edge, as Elliot pops up behind him and scares the bear away. The park is 10 minute drive out of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region – one of New Zealand’s sunniest regions which boasts many outdoor activities and scenic attractions alongside a rich culture and fresh local cuisine.  

Whilst visiting this location tourists can enjoy popular pursuits such as fishing, kayaking and bush walks including the Waterfall Track where glow worms light the way after dusk.  

Bay of Plenty
McLaren Falls, Bay of Plenty

By Disney Studios New Zealand

The character Pete jumping between rocks at the scenic McLaren Falls.

Queenstown & Paradise

The alpine resort town of Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island, is a lively year-round tourist destination that frequently rates among the world’s top holiday destinations. In this international adventure capital, the thrills start before arrival as your plane flies between mountain ranges to land in the narrow valley on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Filmed at Deer Park Heights, and just below The Remarkables mountains, Pete watches as Elliot the dragon appears from beneath a cliff top to fly over him.

Local helicopter company Glacier Southern Lakes filmed the aerial sequences for Disney's Pete’s Dragon. Visitors can soar like a dragon on their own aerial adventure around Queenstown, with the company offering daily scenic rides or private charters.

Not far from Queenstown, on the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, sits Glenorchy and the gateway to Paradise. Paradise is true to its namesake and the picturesque location has to be seen to be believed. Travel one of New Zealand’s most scenic driving routes, then journey up the river aboard a Dart River Jet Boat and, as you zoom through the shallow river on your way to Paradise, you won’t believe what you are seeing.

I had no idea that I’d ever see anything so beautiful in my life

Bryce Dallas Howard Actress
Disney's Pete's Dragon, Queenstown

By Disney Studios New Zealand

Filming of Disney's Pete's Dragon above Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown

Tapanui, Lower South Island

The small South Island town of Tapanui (Pop. 900), located in the Otago region of the lower South Island, was transformed into Millhaven, a small logging town in America’s Pacific Northwest, for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. Tapanui is renowned for its incredible fishing in rivers brimming with brown trout and salmon. The Pomahaka River offers world class fishing with some of the biggest brown trout to be found anywhere in the world. Tapanui, in the Otago region iof the lower South Island, was transformed into the main street of the film’s quiet American town.

The area is also close to the Clutha Gold Trail, one of New Zealand Cycle Trail's 'Great Rides'. Open year-round, this wide, well-formed trail stretches 73km offering a rural heartland experience enriched with rugged gold mining history.

Nearby, at Nugget Point on the Otago coastline, visitors can see a variety of native wildlife New Zealand fur seals, sea lions and yellow eyed peguins. Nugget Point was named in New Zealand's top 10 landmarks by travel website Trip Advisor in 2014 and 2015.

Disney's Pete's Dragon , Southland

By Disney Studios New Zealand

Tapanui's main street was turned into a set for the filming of Disney's Pete's Dragon

Wellington, Lower North Island

Production for Disney's Pete’s Dragon began at Stone Street Studios in Miramar, Wellington’s film industry hub

Nearby Weta Digital, the visual effects company founded by filmmaker Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor, has been responsible for the latest digital effects brining to life Elliot the dragon. 

Visitors can go on behind-the-scenes tour of Weta, to see artists at work, examine authentic movie props, try on prosthetics, create their own fake blood or realistic chainmaille. 

Mt Victoria, a 10 minute drive from Miramar - was used to film several of the forest scenes in Disney's Pete's Dragon. The prominent tree-covered city landmark offers sweeping views across Wellington and is a favourite picnic spot and leisure destination for locals and tourists. 

Lonely Planet has described Wellington as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’. The town is also known as the national centre of arts, coffee and craft beer.

Just 30 minutes out of Wellington is Battle Hill Farm Park, which is where Pete makes the leap off a cliff only to land on Elliot’s back. The Battle Hill Farm Park is home to cycle trails and mountain bike tracks. The park is a popular spot for walkers and there are designated camping areas so you can stay overnight right in the heart of the film location.

New Zealand
Weta Cave, New Zealand

By Weta Workshop

Experience the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.

Every location in New Zealand was different and amazing and beautiful.

Oakes Fegley Actor

Where to Next

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