Thursday, October 11

Top 3 Adventure Movie Sets You Can Visit

Come into the light. By Jonathan Kos-Read (Flickr)
The glamorous celebrity lifestyles, the opulent movie sets, and the heart-stopping dramas and action-packed films have captured the imaginations of thousands. For the majority of us, visiting Los Angeles and attempting to gain access to Hollywood’s movie sets is a far-off dream, and one unlikely to be fulfilled without you eventually being hauled off site by beefy security guards.

You could go to Universal Studios in Florida and wander through the re-created streets, but that’s not quite as authentic as seeing the actual places. The good news is that there are three movie sets around the world that avid adventure fans, or tourists, can visit.

1. Hobbiton – New Zealand

One of the hobbit homes in Hobbiton. By j0055 (Flickr)

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films were an amazing blend of CGI graphics and beautiful landscapes –set throughout New Zealand. The village that Frodo departs from, Hobbiton, is actually a transformed 1,250 acre working sheep farm on North Island, Matamata. If you’re interested in visiting it, then book one of the five tours that depart daily from Rotorua. The itinerary for the day includes crossing the Kaimai Ranges, stopping off at The Shires Rest Café (which you can also drive to directly yourself), and indulge in a caffeine fix before starting your tour. You’ll discover some fascinating behind-the-scenes facts from your guide before being allowed to wander the miniature shire, with its well-appointed signs. Don’t forget to visit the hobbit homes of Sam and Frodo, as well as the Green Dragon Inn.

Cost: Currently priced at $NZ66 for adults and $NZ5 for children.

2. Tatooine – Tunisia Desert

Annakin Skywalkers home village in Tunisian desert. By Hicham Souilmi (Flickr)

If you’ve ever dreamed of following Luke Skywalker’s footsteps, then visiting the Tunisia Desert is likely the closest you will get to a galaxy far, far away, while viewing some iconic Star Wars buildings and places. The Sidi Driss Hotel served as the interior of Luke Skywalkers home and for a tidy sum you can spend a night in the same quarters as the Lar’s family. For the exterior view of Luke’s home, you’ll need to visit the city of Tozeur. While in Tozeur you’ll also be able to visit Mos Espa and the Star wars canyon – which has appeared in several movies. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the Pod-racing arena and Watto's shop, as well as Sebulba’s Café.

Cost: Excluding flights, a ten-day trip in Tunisia will cost around $1500.

3. Ancient Temples from Lara Croft -  Cambodia


A section of the Ta Prohm temple. By EyeofJ (Flickr)

The gun-toting English aristocrat, Lara Croft, has been the role model for many young women in the 21st century. If you’ve ever wanted to follow her trail of adventure, ala Angelina Jolie in the movies, then book a trip to Cambodia. Three temples here should be on your sightseeing list – The Bayon temple, Ta Prohm, and Phnom Bakheng. The Bayon temple in Angkor Thom has 54 towers, each with its own intricately carved face, and it is here that Lara Croft disembarks from her Land Rover. The unforgettable scene of Lara walking across a courtyard, with twisted trees embedded in temple ruins, can be seen exactly as depicted at Ta Prohm. The last temple to be featured is in the Siem Reap region, where Lara retrieved the second half of the mysterious triangle. The temple seen here is Phnom Bakheng, which was once a Hindu temple, but is presently a Buddhist centre. The Angkor Wat temple was also featured in the movies.

Cost: Excluding flights and transport. A visit to the Angkor temples is done with a pass. It will cost around $20 for a one-day pass, and $40 for a three-day pass.

Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround. She has a deep-seated love of adventure, travel, exploration, and learning about other cultures.