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 for over forty years.
Why film here?
• 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
Credit: Shotover Media
Recent films that have been filmed here
• Mission Impossible Fallout filmed thrilling helicopter chase scenes in Queenstown, Glenorchy and surrounds.
• A Wrinkle In Time found its ideal backdrop for a fantastical planet at Lake Hawea.
• The Hobbit trilogy built on the legacy of The Lord of the Rings, turning Queenstown locations into the epic landscapes of Middle-earth.
• Top of the Lake saw Glenorchy double for the moody fictitious town of Laketop.
• One Lane Bridge brought Queenstown to the New Zealand screen, featuring familiar central and rural locations.
• Plus, television commercials for big brands like Samsung, Lloyds Bank, KitKat, Pedigree, the International Olympic Committee and more have
featured the region’s stunning locations in their ad campaigns.
Credit: Cameron Wood, reelnz.com
The Queenstown Lakes film office
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has an in-Council film office that acts as a point of coordination for screen activity in the region. The office can help provide advice and information about filming in the region (including obtaining film permits, access to locations, finding local crew and suppliers). It also helps to develop and promote the local industry.
Find out more about the film office here.
Crew, Equipment and Services
From location scouts to production assistants, caterers to car rentals, there’s a wealth of filmmaking talent and expertise available right here in the region.
Head to the Film Otago Southland Industry Directory and filter by Region > Queenstown Lakes to see all local listings.
The local film office will help facilitate your permits by providing information and introductions to the relevant local authorities.
A quick guide to permits required in different location types around the region:
Queenstown Lakes District Council Land
Any filming of a commercial nature (i.e you’re set to make a commercial gain from using the footage) on council 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.
Any filming using a drone on QLDC land is only permitted if you have engaged the services of a Part 102 licenced operator and obtained a film permit (see more on drones below).
Find out more about QLDC permits here.
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 film permit, regardless of the size of the crew, or the equipment used.
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).
Find out more about DOC permits here.
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 here 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.
Flying drones over private land requires consent from the landowner.
QLDC currently only give consent to fly over council land when the operator has a Part 102 licence and a film permit has been obtained.
Filming in the wider Otago and Southland region: Film Otago Southland
Filming in New Zealand: New Zealand Film Commission