New Zealand was showcased on the big screen by Peter Jackson in the blockbuster film, King Kong.
King Kong fans can follow in the famous character's footsteps to many of the shooting locations. Wētā Workshop won Academy Awards behind the special effects of King Kong, as well as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit Trilogy, Avatar and many others. You can book your Wētā Workshop Experience(opens in new window) in Wellington, a 90 minute guided tour that gives you a behind the scenes look at the movie-magic that brought these incredible films to life.
Shelly Bay and Lyall Bay - Skull Island
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''.
Kāpiti Island and Cook Strait - Venture ocean scenes
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 and guests can explore this on the Interislander ferry.
Seaview, Lower Hutt - New York
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.
Auckland Civic Theatre - New York Theatre interior
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.