The Queenstown region is a filmmaker’s paradise. Its stunning scenery and experienced pool of local talent have made it a highly sought-after destination for film productions and commercials for over forty years.
Queenstown and the Southern Lakes region have provided an unforgettable setting for movies, TV shows, commercials and promotional activity. We work closely with Film Queenstown Lakes and Film Otago Southland, the regional film offices, to support filming that showcases our destination and encourages visitation to Queenstown.
Below you will find some important information along with key contacts to get you started.
Why film in Queenstown?
- Diverse filming locations within a stone’s throw of each other – mountains, lakes, forests, rivers and small towns
- High-calibre crew and equipment base with international experience
- An international airport with flights to Australia and key New Zealand cities
- World-class accommodation, dining and entertainment options for visiting cast and crew
- Opposite seasons to the Northern Hemisphere – snow in July and flowers in February
- A film-friendly Council and local community
Film and television projects filmed here
- Jane Campion's award-winning The Power of The Dog featured Queenstown Hill as the moody backdrop for a picnic between two leads
- Mission Impossible - Fallout: Thrilling helicopter chase scenes in Queenstown, Glenorchy and surrounds
- Three seasons of NZ crime drama One Lane Bridge have been written, set, and filmed entirely in Queenstown Lakes District
- Comedy-drama series Under the Vines showcases the region's wineries and vineyards
- Top of the Lake: Saw Glenorchy double for the moody fictitious town of Laketop
- The legendary The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies turned Queenstown locations into the epic landscapes of Middle-earth
- Netflix's Sweet Tooth and The Letter for the King used the region's otherworldly landscapes to create their post-apocalyptic and fantasy worlds.
- Other past productions include Disney's A Wrinkle in Time and Pete's Dragon, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Bollywood super-hit I hate Luv Storys
- Plus, television commercials for big brands like Samsung, Lloyds Bank, KitKat, Pedigree, the International Olympic Committee and more
Dart River, Glenorchy
Film Queenstown Lakes
Film Queenstown Lakes is the Queenstown Lakes District Council's (QLDC) in-house film office. It acts as a point of coordination for screen activity in the district. The office can help provide advice and information about filming in the region, including obtaining film permits, access to locations, and finding local crew, equipment and suppliers. It also helps to develop and promote the local industry.
Film Otago Southland
Film Otago Southland is a not-for-profit Trust that supports and promotes screen production in the wider region in collaboration with the Queenstown Lakes and Dunedin film offices. Their role is to smooth the road for your next production no matter where you're filming in the Otago and Southland region.
Local Crew and Suppliers
From location scouts to production assistants, cameras to caterers, there’s a wealth of filmmaking talent and expertise available right here in the region. Visit the Film Otago Southland Industry Directory and filter by Region > Queenstown Lakes to see all local listings.
Below is a quick guide to the permits required when filming in the Queenstown Lakes District.
Noting that these requirements are subject to change, so always get in touch with the relevant authority beforehand. You can also find more information about film permits on the Film Otago Southland Permits and Access page.
Queenstown Lake District Council land
Any filming of a commercial nature (i.e you’re set to make a commercial gain from using the footage) on Queenstown Lake District Council (QLDC) land requires a film permit, regardless of the size of the crew, or the equipment used. QLDC land includes footpaths, roads, parks, facilities, public places and reserves.
Along with your film permit form, you will need to supply a copy of your public liability insurance certificate, maps and site specific H&S documents when you submit your application, so make sure you have this ready. You may also require a Traffic Management Plan, Waterways Safety Plan and/or a Part 102 Drone Certification if you're filming on a road, waterway or with a drone. Permits can take up to a week to be approved after submission so it’s best to start working on this as soon as possible.
Any filming using a drone on QLDC land is only permitted if you have engaged the services of a licenced operator (they must hold a permit called a Part 102), and have obtained a permit. You can find licenced operators listed in the Industry Directory.
Department of Conservation Land
Any filming of a commercial nature (i.e you’re set to make a commercial gain from using the footage) on Department of Conservation land requires a filming concession, regardless of the size of the crew, or the equipment used. You will need to supply a copy of your public liability insurance certificate when you submit your application, so make sure you have this ready.
Basic concession applications can be turned around in a reasonable timeframe, but for larger and more complex projects, the process from submission to approved can take up to three months, So it’s best to start working on this as soon as possible - pre-application meetings with DOC are available.
If you are considering using a drone on Department of Conservation land, you must contact the DOC office and they will advise how to include this in your permit application (see more on drones below).
Concession forms and other relevant material such as information about fees can be found on DOC’s website: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/apply-for-permits/business-or-activity/filming/
LINZ Unalienated Crown Land (includes lakebeds and riverbeds)
Many New Zealand lakebeds and riverbeds are Crown property and are managed by LINZ on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands. A recreation permit is required prior to filming on these.
LINZ Pastoral Land (includes stations or farms)
If you are filming on Pastoral lease land with the permission of the leaseholder (farmer) you will also need a LINZ Pastoral recreation permit from LINZ Pastoral.
For filming that involves the following location types:
- In and around Statutory Acknowledgement areas
- In and around Nohoanga sites
- In and around Topuni sites
- Where Māori cultural, historical or spiritual information/narrative will be used
- In and around significant landscapes
- In and around ‘major’ waterways
Please be aware of the drone use rules in New Zealand, by familiarising yourself with the Airshare website.
The Queenstown aerodrome is surrounded with "controlled airspace" which extends much further than a 4km radius and goes right down to the ground. Please see the maps from controlled airspace in the Queenstown region.
When flying in controlled airspace, you must obtain an air traffic control clearance issued by Airways New Zealand (via Airshare). Please also visit the Queenstown Airport’s information page.
Any filming using a drone on QLDC land is only permitted if you have engaged the services of a licenced operator (Part 102). A copy of their Part 102 must be included in the film permit application when this is submitted to the QLDC.
If you are considering using a drone on Department of Conservation land, you must contact the DOC office and they will advise how to include this in your permit application.
Flying drones over private land requires consent from the landowner.
Filming at Queenstown Airport
Queenstown Airport requires a permit from the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC).
For more information visit the Queenstown Airport website here: https://www.queenstownairport.co.nz/corporate/media/filming-requests
*These regulations are subject to change, please contact the relevant body for the most up-to-date information on film permits or reach out to Destination Queenstown for assistance.
Credit: Cameron Wood, reelnz.com
Filming in the wider Otago and Southland region: Film Otago Southland
Filming in New Zealand: New Zealand Film Commission