Visit some of the best movie locations

by Lia Holloway on 11 December 2013, 12:12PM

With the release of some epic blockbusters in recent weeks including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, showcasing some stunning sites across the world. Fancy recreating some of your favourite movie moments? We’ve put together some of the best film locations to visit.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- New Zealand
Follow in the footsteps of Bilbo Baggins with a journey to New Zealand and discover scenes from the latest release in The Hobbit Trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug.  Fans recently received a taste of Middle Earth with a giant pop-up book installation in the grounds of Beverly Hilton Hotel Los Angeles featuring four sets portraying new New Zealand locations from the movies including Hidden Bay (Turoa, Ohakune), Forest River (Pelorus River, Marlborough)  Lake-town (Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook), and Beorn’s House (Paradise, Queenstown).  Located in New Zealand’s North Island are the rocky hills and grassy knolls of Turoa, Ohakune. This is where the entrance to the Lonely Mountain is situated. The region is a popular hot spot for the active traveller with picturesque cycling and hiking trails through Tongariro National Park.

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Pelorus River in Marlborough is much better experienced with a guided kayak tour rather than floating in giant barrels like the dwarves did in the movie. Marlborough region is also famous for some of New Zealand’s very tasty award winning wine. The location of “Laketown” is the stunning Lake Pukaki, which is glacial-fed resulting in a vibrant blue colour. With the towering Mount Cook in the background this is the perfect spot for a spot of fishing, walking and cycling. What better way to end your Middle Earth journey in a town called Paradise? Based in Queenstown, it is the location of Beorn’s House in the film. The region offers a range of adrenaline-filled activities and boasts an excellent culinary scene.  Hit all the filming locations with a package including three nights Christchurch, three nights Queenstown, Milford Sound Nature Cruise, three nights Auckland and three nights in the Bay of Islands from £1,869 per person.

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - South Africa
Experience the rich history of South Africa and visit the iconic places of Nelson Mandela’s life as documented in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom which premiered last week. The Eastern Cape Province is steeped in cultural and historical significance, with stories of Xhosa kings, early settlers, cultural conflicts and frontier battles abound. As the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, the province is also noted for its role in fuelling the fight for African democracy.

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Cape Town can credit much of its charming mix of culture and heritage to its rich history. A city of contrasts: one that boasts a thriving creative economy, premier tourist destination status and incredible natural beauty, juxtaposed with poverty that are directly related to a colourful past. On one hand, it is the city of Robben Island, the notorious island prison where Nelson Mandela was jailed. On the other, it is the city in which Mandela was reunited with the world on 11 February 1990. Spend four nights in vibrant Cape Town to experience what this fantastic city has to offer. Following Cape Town is Addo National Park where you'll seek out local wildlife on your safari game drive. Finish your trip relaxing on one of the un-spoilt Eastern Cape beaches. Travelbag can tailor-make this package including flights, 4* accommodation & 6 days car hire from £999 per person.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Hawaii
Since 1913 Hawaii has been the backdrop of a variety of Hollywood productions, including Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbour and Pirates of the Caribbean. In November, Hawaii became the host of another blockbuster production; The Hunger Games, Catching Fire. Many of the film's jungle scenes were filmed in remote locations in Waimea Valley. Follow in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta escaping the blistering fog or hearing jabberjays (likely mynah birds) in this natural wonderland. Those wanting to try racing through the jungles can access Waimea Valley via the valley's visitor centre east of Haleiwa. Take a short hike through the reconstructed ancient village to spot endangered birds, archaeological sites, replicas of ancient sacred structures called heiaus and the 40 foot Waimea Falls, which you can swim under.

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Though the North Shore of Oahu might be known for its massive swells, location scouts needed a beach with clear, calm water to act as the saltwater lake in the Quell arena. Kawela Bay emerged as the perfect location for a crucial scene when the tributes appear on top of the lake, ready for battle. Kawela Bay is stunning crescent of crystal blue popular with green sea turtles and paddle boarders, a hobby cast members took up in between takes. Try stand-up paddle boarding around Kawela Bay, where the iconic beach shots were taken. Pretend to be a movie star and stay at Turtle Bay Resort which was home to the cast and crew during filming. Seven nights at 3* Turtle Bay Resort staying on a room-only basis including flights costs from £1,470 per person.

For more information or to book call 0845 543 6615 or visit www.travelbag.co.uk


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