Who hasn’t walked out of the cinema with stars in their eyes and a burning desire to fall right through the screen into the seemingly otherworldly locations in the latest movie?
Whilst we currently can’t do much for getting you to Mars (sorry fans of The Martian!) we can help with some of the other most iconic and beautiful set locations. And some of them are far more accessible than you might think!
Here are three scene-stealing travel spots, straight off the big screen.
Lord of the Rings – Hobbiton, New Zealand
In a bizarre, yet charming, case of art becoming reality, the sets and landscapes used in the creation of the film’s hobbit village are now a real visitable location in their own right in Hobbiton.
Part of a family run farm near Hinuera on New Zealand’s North Island, the fictional town can be experienced first-hand by taking a tour of the most notable set pieces including scaled and life-sized hobbit holes, Bag Row and the looming Party Tree from Bilbo’s birthday.
The onsite café, The Shires Rest Café, serves meals, wine, beer and, most importantly, second breakfast, for those interested in a truly immersive experience. Later in the day (after all appropriate breakfasts) you can head over to the Green Dragon Inn for a drink and some incredible atmosphere.
For adults, the price of a ticket to the set-tour will cost you around $84 AUD, students aged 9-16 cost $42AUD and anyone younger than that entering for free (but they still need a ticket!). Tours tend to fill up quickly so it’s best to book early to ensure your slice of Middle Earth Paradise.
Whilst it might all sound a bit twee, everyone who visits, comes back raving about their time at Hobbiton.
The Sound of Music – Salzberg, Austria
Released in 1965, The Sound of Music features a number of now iconic Austrian landscapes, most notable being the gorgeous hills (that were and are still alive). Often looking exactly like a postcard, but in real life.
The hills themselves can be found in Salzberg, the fourth largest city in Austria and the home of many of the movie’s filming locations. Salzburg (meaning ‘Salt Fortress’), is a feast for the eyes in its own right with its gothic churches and baroque influences.
You can take a self-guided walking tour of the area or get the complete ‘Maria experience’ by taking a full Sound of Music tour to see several other shooting locations for the films. These tour buses tend to include lots of sing-a-longs and trivia, great for fans and families alike.
And honestly, I dare anyone to visit the glorious Salzberg mountains and not be tempted to run up the nearest mountain ridge (starting right near the top of course), arms flung wide singing the much loved song.
Star Wars Episode IV; A New Hope – Tikal, Guatemala
A long time ago (aka 40 years) in a country about a 17-hour flight away, the planet of Yavin 4 was brought to life for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the first Star Wars movie – yes, it’s a bit confusing). In reality, Yavin 4 is the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. In the film, the iconic Tikal Temple is visible just over the trees as the Millennium Falcon lands before the assault on the Death Star.
In our reality, the Tikal Temple ruins are more than 2500 years old and were once a hub of Mayan society. With an estimated population of anywhere between 10,000 to 90,000 people, the ruins were more than just a temple, they were a city. It’s a strange thing to think of whole city empty and forgotten, but after the collapse of the Mayan empire and colonisation at the hands of Spanish Explorers, Tikal was left largely abandoned until 1848.
These days there are plenty of people around to enjoy Tikal. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s surrounded by a national park and features a museum for visitors. Tikal can be reached from Guatemala City via bus for around $60 per person.
If you’re ready to book your next show-stopping holiday, we’d be delighted to help you create something that perfectly suits you or your family. You can give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, visit the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our expert travel agents via the form below.
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