Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' inspires several New Zealand tours

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Queenstown, on the South Island of New Zealand, has served as a film location for "The Lord of the Rings," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and most recently "Pete's Dragon."
Queenstown, on the South Island of New Zealand, has served as a film location for "The Lord of the Rings," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and most recently "Pete's Dragon." Photo Credit: Sarah Feldberg

Move over, Hobbits, Ents and Orcs. New Zealand just got a brand new dragon.

His name is Elliot, and he spent a good deal of time in New Zealand, which played the part of the U.S. Pacific Northwest in Disney's 2016 remake of the film "Pete's Dragon."

The film shot all over New Zealand, including setting scenes on the North Island at Redwoods Forest in Rotorua and on Mount Victoria in the capital of Wellington as well as in Queenstown and Tapanui on the South Island.

Now, tour companies are capitalizing on the land of the long white cloud's latest star turn with new itineraries focused on visiting the sites and spaces depicted in the movie.

• Goway's 10-night New Zealand Movie Magic tour visits the village of Hobbiton and the Shire in Matamata; Wellington's Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, a design, costume, prop and special effects company that worked on "Pete's Dragon" and The Lord of the Rings series; and Queenstown, where Elliot rockets up from below as Pete stands on the edge of a cliff.

• Travelscene takes guests to Elliot's home in Redwoods Forest and on a scenic helicopter flight above Lake Wakatipu on the South Island, where the movie also filmed, on its eight-night Disney's Pete's Dragon New Zealand Explorer itinerary.

• About New Zealand offers a eight-night Movie Buff package focused on the country's many film locations.

• Down Under Answers revels in New Zealand's big-screen appearances with its eight-night Imaginative New Zealand tour, which stops in Rotorua and Queenstown as well as visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Milford Sound.

New Zealand is also coming to a theater near you in the next installment of the Alien film series, "Alien: Covenant," which was shooting on the South Island earlier this year. The movie is scheduled for release in August 2017.

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