The Chronicles of New Zealand

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Narnia was created in the early 1950s by English author CS Lewis as the mythical land for his books 'The Chronicles of Narnia'.

Narnia was created in the early 1950s by English author CS Lewis as the mythical land for his books 'The Chronicles of Narnia'. Loved by children of all ages, this world of fauns, satyrs and centaurs will soon become real, and you won't need a wardrobe to find it. New Zealand provided the backdrop for new Chroniclles of Narnia production which will enchant film audience’s world wide. Here we uncover the secret locations which you may want to explore if you choose to visit the magical place that is New Zealand.

The White Witch's Camp - Woodhill Forest
An hour north-west of Auckland, the dark trees of Woodhill Forest were transformed into the dreaded camp of the White Witch of Narnia. The general area can be found by turning left onto Rimmer Road (signposted off State Highway 16 before Helensville) and travelling into the forest. The forest also has a network of mountain bike trails for riders of all levels.

Whilst in the area, a visit to Muriwai Beach is well worth the 30 minute diversion. The black sand and waves from the Tasman Sea are a favourite with surfers and holidaymakers. Otakamiro Point, at the southern end of the beach, is home to one of New Zealand's few mainland gannet breeding colonies.

The Great Battle - Flock Hill
High in the Southern Alps of the South Island is an area of tortured rocks and dramatic valleys known as Flock Hill. It was here that director Andrew Adamson created the scenes for the great battle for Narnia. The actual area where filming was undertaken is on private land, but tours will be available from January 2006.
 
Flock Hill is situated 90 minutes from Christchurch on the Arthur's Pass Highway to Greymouth. Leaving Christchurch, the South Island's largest city, the road crosses the flat expanse of the Canterbury Plains through the small towns of Darfield and Sheffield. At Springfield the mountain peaks tower over the village and the road climbs dramatically to Porters Pass (942m). One of the highest passes in New Zealand, the road can be affected by snow in winter. Lake Lyndon, surrounded by brown tussock hills, is well worth a stop before continuing past Castle Hill to Flock Hill.

Aslan's Camp - Elephant Rocks
The ancient Elephant Rocks that sprout from the rolling hills in the Waitaki district of the South Island were transformed in 2004 into Aslan's Camp.

The historic town of Oamaru is the ideal base for exploring the area. Here Victorian buildings crafted from the local white limestone still stand as a reminder of times gone by. Originally built as warehouses and storage areas for the nearby port, the Harbour/Tyne area is now home to antique shops, gift stores, restaurants and craftsmen.

Close by is the Oamaru blue penguin colony. The smallest of their kind in the world, the blue penguins nest beside Oamaru Harbour and can be viewed in their natural habitat.

Elephant Rocks are situated near Duntroon, a 40 minute driv from Oamaru on State Highway 83. Over 24 million years ago this whole area was under the sea. Whales and other marine life sunk into the soft sand which then rose to the surface during the last few million years. The result is an intriguing area of fossils and dramatic limestone outcrops. The Vanished World visitor centre in Duntroon houses interpretive displays on the area's geological past. Trail maps are available with directions to Elephant Rocks.

Cair Paravel - Purakaunui Bay
The great castle of Cair Paravel on the Eastern Sea of Narnia was created by computer generated imagery onto the cliff tops of Purakaunui Bay in the Catlins, an area of spectacular coastal scenery.

South of Dunedin, the Catlins coast road from Balclutha towards Invercargill is a journey through dense rain forest and dramatic seascapes. Although the entire trip only takes a few hours, spreading the journey over a few days allows for a leisurely exploration of an area abundant in native flora and fauna. Backpacker, motel and farmstay accommodation is available, so relax and enjoy this unspoilt part of New Zealand.

For more information try the New Zealand Tourist Board at www.newzealand.com or www.tourism.net.nz.
 

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