Molesworth Station - Jared Connon
Wairau Lagoons - Jared Connon
Titirangi Bay - Jared Connon
Rainbow Valley
Onamalutu Reserve - Jared Connon
Pelorus River
Monkey Bay - Jared Connon
Seymour Square Blenheim - Jared Connon
Wairau Valley - Jared Connon
Cape Campbell - Jared Connon

On Screen

Marlborough offers a uniquely diverse scope of landscapes, versatile urban locations, rural splendour and spectacular vistas that stretch from the mountains to the sea.

With alpine wonderlands, the extensive network of turquoise waterways, hidden coves and deserted beaches of the Marlborough Sounds, rolling tussock-clad hills interrupted by deep river valleys, extensive vineyards, native bush and Podocarp forests, there are rich pickings for location scouts.

A short 20 minute flight from screen hub Wellington, NZ, and with support services, an easy location permitting system and infrastructure in place for any scale of production, Marlborough is the perfect place to shoot your next screen production.

Screen Marlborough

Screen Wellington Partnership

About Marlborough

Top 5 reasons to film in Marlborough

Top Marlborough locations

How to get here

Permitting

Funding/Incentives

Case Studies

Made in Marlborough: The Light Between Oceans

Filmed in Marlborough

Image gallery

Screen Marlborough

Screen Wellington Partnership

Screen Wellington Partnership

Screen Wellington and the Marlborough District Council have formed a partnership to help develop film-friendly policies that will enhance and promote the choice, availability and use of locations and local resources for any film project.

There are many benefits to combining the wealth of offerings that our two regions bring, from Marlborough’s natural beauty to Wellington’s big city options. Through our partnership, and with support from the New Zealand Film Commission, we aim to ensure the process of securing locations is made as easy and cost-effective as possible.

 

About Marlborough

About Marlborough

Marlborough is located on the top northeastern tip of the South Island of New Zealand. Known predominantly as home of the country’s largest wine industry and for the natural playground of the Marlborough Sounds, this is a region of incredible and varied natural beauty.

Marlborough’s largest town and retail centre is Blenheim. The seaside town of Picton/Waitohi, where ferries from Wellington arrive and depart, forms the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds. Other settlements include seaside Havelock at the head of Pelorus/Te Hoiere Sound, the farming communities of Seddon and Ward, and Renwick, in the heart of Marlborough wine country.

Our wild Pacific east coast forms a striking contrast to the tranquil blue coves, inlets and bays of the Marlborough Sounds, and the still Wairau Lagoons. Sweeping valleys that narrow to limestone gorges lead to untouched alpine environments, including New Zealand’s highest peak outside of the Southern Alps, Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku, discover the scenic landscape of Molesworth Station, while rivers sourced within the rugged Richmond Range form crystal-clear pools and rapids.

All these choices are quickly and easily reached by state highway and local roads within an hour or two (or in minutes by helicopter) creating the perfect blend of versatile location choice and ease of access.

 

 

Top 5 reasons to film in Marlborough

Top 5 reasons to film in Marlborough

Reliable infrastructure

Marlborough has all the infrastructure and support in place that a production of any size would need.

The Screen Marlborough office can organise office space, and advise on Marlborough's many shooting spaces and warehousing facilities as needed.

Our location options are complemented by a huge range of accommodation options, support services such as transport - including water taxis and other boat options in the Marlborough Sounds, as well as experienced helicopter operators - freight logistics, catering and everything else a film production needs to operate smoothly and within any budget and schedule.

Diverse

Marlborough is so diverse and versatile that within just one day, you could be filming on a windswept beach, an ancient forest, a ski field and a gritty downtown alleyway, all of which could easily be portrayed as anywhere in the world.

From the alpine peaks and beech forests of Rainbow Ski Area to the vast high country landscapes of the Molesworth, the tranquil blue waters of the Marlborough Sounds to bluffs and beaches of the Pacific coast, the options are many.

Our diversity is not only limited to nature: The architecture of our main townships span the decades, from art deco to ‘70s industrial, arts and crafts to ultra-modern homes, European-style vineyard cellar doors to 19th century ghost towns and classic country pubs.

Accessible

The ease of accessibility to a wide range of landscapes and urban settings makes Marlborough a very cost and time-effective location choice.

Most of the Marlborough region – even some of our most remote, untouched natural areas - is within an hours’ drive from Marlborough Airport, or an hour and a half from Picton/Waitohi’s ferry terminal.
Most key locations are accessible by state highway, which are suitable for vehicles of all sizes, so moving large amounts of equipment is easy and practical.

Marlborough itself is a short half hour flight from Wellington’s international airport, or a three-hour ferry journey across Cook Strait which takes passengers, vehicles and freight directly to central Picton/Waitohi.
The region is also located on the main rail trunkline that links Christchurch and Wellington, with rail freight depots located near Blenheim, so there are many options available for transferring your equipment.

Affordable and easy

Marlborough has all the natural beauty, resources and versatility of some of New Zealand’s most celebrated landscapes, but without the associated costs often experienced at our largest tourist resorts.

With a total regional population of just 49,000, finding a place to film in Marlborough uninterrupted is easy, which saves the time and cost associated with public management.

Even in Marlborough’s most populated areas, setting aside a street, property or reserve is a simple process with the help of  Screen Marlborough.

Unique

Marlborough has landscapes, seascapes and other features that are unique in New Zealand, yet versatile and timeless as location options.

From the distinct red English telephone box on the jetty in Queen Charlotte Sound/Totaranui, the heritage-listed Blenheim Court House, the Cape Campbell lighthouse, rustic seaside communities of the Marlborough Sounds; to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre with pieces from Sir Peter Jackson’s private collection, the Grovetown Tavern where a Hollywood romance was sparked, all the elements of our burgeoning wine industry and the vast, isolated Molesworth, the options are endless and quite unlike anywhere else.

 

Top Marlborough locations

Top Marlborough locations

Marlborough landscapes have already had starring roles in blockbuster films: the barrel scene in The Hobbit at the Pelorus River Bridge, and Cape Campbell’s starring role in The Light Between Oceans are good examples.

But there’s far more to exquisite locations than meets the eye here in Marlborough, and it doesn’t take too much digging around to find them.

To help, here are our top Marlborough locations.

Ure Valley

The spectacularly steep limestone bluffs, rolling tussock hills, farm houses and meandering river of the Ure Valley make this an incredibly versatile location. Located just an hour south of Blenheim, and near the town of Ward, the Ure Valley is accessible directly off State Highway 1.

Canvastown

With plenty of rich stories to tell, Canvastown and the Wakamarina River are an authentic remainder of Marlborough’s goldrush era. Location options within easy access of State Highway 6 include old goldmining relics and equipment, the classic country pub and community hall, the beautiful Wakamarina River, and its crystal-clear pools set among spectacular gorges, lush farmland and native bush.

Central Blenheim

Blenheim has a wide array of buildings, features and streets that cover a wide spectrum of periods – all within about 1 square kilometer. From the meandering Taylor River and downtown park to several heritage-listed buildings including the court house, to generic alleyways, multi-storey parking building and public outdoor table tennis, there’s plenty of scope for creating any number of scenes.

Bordering southern Blenheim, the rolling Wither Hills are home to a public farm park overseen by the Marlborough District Council. This park features a mixture of grasslands, forest and valleys, with panoramic views over Blenheim, the Cook Strait and the Wairau Valley.

Marshlands

Formerly a thriving flaxmill but now almost a ghost town, Marshlands’ crumbling sheds, weatherboard shacks and lowland coastal setting will provide inspiration for a wide range of film location requirements. Marshlands is a 15-minute drive from central Blenheim, and five minutes from the main rail and freight depot and shops at Spring Creek.

Monkey Bay/Rarangi Beach

A small cove underneath towering cliffs, complete with a dark and mysterious sea cave, Monkey Bay is accessed by stairs and a track less than five minutes’ walk from the car park.

Just behind the car park itself are a number of shallow caves, lush native bush and rocky slopes. Rarangi is a wild, sweeping Pacific Ocean pebble beach bordered by pine forest. Views over Cloudy Bay include the towering peak of Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku.

Located just 20 minutes by road from Blenheim and 30 minutes from Picton/Waitohi, this location is popular with locals and visitors and has Department of Conservation toilets nearby.

Molesworth Station

New Zealand’s largest high country farm, Molesworth Station is accessible to the public by road from October to March/April, and by permit for the rest of the year.

Its vast, bare landscapes of tussock and scree slopes, river valleys, still lakes and rocky mountain tops offer locations both spectacular and highly versatile.

A historic route for both Maori and European settlers, the Acheron Road passes a number of old and restored huts and sheds, modern farm operations, and toilet facilities.

Rainbow Ski Area/Rainbow Valley

Located high in the alpine region of the Nelson Lakes National Park, Rainbow Ski Area is part of the Marlborough District, and offers a hugely diverse range of location options. The small but popular club field is accessible by road and offers a natural alpine scenes in winter, or a bare, rugged rocky mountaintop vista in summer. The ski area has visitor facilities that are open during the winter ski season, or by arrangement with Rainbow management in summer.

Below the mountains, the Rainbow Valley Road winds among rough paddocks, pristine native beech forest and beside the rushing Wairau River, all easily accessed just a few metres from the road.

Rainbow Valley Rd is located an hour from Blenheim, off State Highway 63. From the turn-off, Rainbow Ski Area is approximately another 45-minutes to 1 hour depending on the seasonal conditions. The closest village to Rainbow is St Arnaud, about 15 minutes from the turn-off, located at stunning Lake Rotoiti.

* Note: The southern extreme of Marlborough also borders with Mt Lyford Ski Area.

Wairau Valley and Richmond Forest Park

To Blenheim’s west, the wide, vineyard-rich Wairau Valley and its offshoots present many different types of locations, very close to town.

With the braided Wairau River at its heart, the valley features sweeping wine and farmland on its southern banks, easily accessed by the long, panoramic straights of State Highway 63. The valley is overlooked by the Richmond Range, including the unique scree slopes of Mt Fishtail and the tallest peak, Mt Richmond.

Only a few minutes beyond Renwick, the Waihopai Valley and Waihopai River branch off to the south, taking in vineyards, green hills and mountains, riverscapes, a dam and high country sheep farms.

On the Wairau River’s northern side is the tall, steep and bushclad Richmond Range, accessed via the Northbank Road. This area has large forestry estates accessible by permit, the rustic Pine Valley Outdoor Centre with facilities perfect for basing larger groups, and native bush with clear rivers.

A short distance from State Highway 6, near Renwick, the Onamalutu Domain with an original stand of kahikatea forest, picturesque river and an expansive grassed area with toilets.

How to get here

How to get here

Air

Marlborough is linked to several New Zealand centres by daily flights.

Air New Zealand fly to Marlborough Airport direct from Wellington (15 minute flight) and Auckland (1.5 hour flight). Sounds Air fly to Marlborough Airport and Picton Airport from Christchurch, Wellington, Taupo, Paraparaumu, Nelson and Westport. Charter planes are available to cover your flight needs into the region.

Road

Marlborough has excellent major road links to all corners of our region as well as to Christchurch, Nelson and the West Coast.

Blenheim is located on the junction of State Highway 1, which connects Picton/Waitohi with all Marlborough’s east coast settlements and Kaikōura and Christchurch.

State Highway 6 from Blenheim links Renwick, Havelock and Pelorus/Te Hoiere Bridge, before reaching Nelson. From Renwick, State Highways 63 leads to the Wairau Valley township and St Arnaud/Lake Rotoiti, as well as Rainbow Ski Area.

For more information on distance and travel times on the road, look here

By Sea

Marlborough and Wellington are connected by the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries which both take passengers, vehicles and freight across Cook Strait and through the scenic Marlborough Sounds several times daily. The journey takes about 3-3.5 hours.

Rail

Marlborough is centrally placed on KiwiRail’s railway between Picton/Waitohi, Kaikōura and Christchurch.

The Coastal Pacific passenger train, well-known for being an incredibly scenic journey, passes through Marlborough in both directions each day from spring to autumn. Passengers can board at Picton/Waitohi or Blenheim’s railway station.

A number of freight companies have distribution depots based in Marlborough surrounding the railway, including Toll and Mainfreight.

Permitting

Permitting

With just one local authority overseeing the entire Marlborough region, sourcing permits for filming is a straightforward and user-friendly process.

For all film permits, apply to Screen Marlborough, located within the Economic Development Unit at Marlborough District Council.

Council also uses its established communication channels with Screen Wellington, Top of the South Film Society and Regional Film Offices of New Zealand to ensure a smooth permit process.

Apply for a film permit

Destination Marlborough

 

 

More information on applying for a permit

Contact: Neil Henry
Screen Marlborough 
Manager, Strategic Planning and Economic Development
Email: Neil.Henry@marlborough.govt.nz

Funding/Incentives

Funding/Incentives

To assist with funding and incentives for your Marlborough-based film project, or for further information and assistance, check out the following providers.

Marlborough District Council
Screen Wellington
New Zealand Film Commission 
Regional Film Offices
Top of the South Film Productions

Case Studies

Made in Marlborough: The Light Between Oceans

Made in Marlborough: The Light Between Oceans

The rugged coastal landscapes around Cape Campbell in Marlborough played a starring role in The Light Between Oceans, featuring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

The DreamWorks Studios film, an adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s bestselling 2012 novel, was shot in 2014 in the Marlborough and Otago regions and was released in 2016.

Although filming took place on the cape, cast and crew stayed in Blenheim accommodation and when not shooting, enjoyed sampling the local wine and cuisine.

The success of The Light Between Oceans demonstrated Marlborough’s versatility as a location, and its capability to support a production of large scale international production proportions.

Filmed in Marlborough

Filmed in Marlborough

Find out more about productions that have filmed in the Marlborough Region below.

Northspur

Northspur Movie Facebook Page

Post-apocalyptic movie to be filmed in Marlborough

Actors for post-apocalyptic movie filmed in Marlborough named

Northspur originated as an idea from director Aaron Falvey about the violent and lawless aftermath of an EMP attack where a husband and wife had managed to carve out a hidden idyllic existence for themselves up a remote valley. Aaron worked with writer Justin Eade to develop this into a first draft feature script in winter 2017. Now months, 32 drafts and countless messages later in the development process, Northspur has been filmed!

"Marlborough is the best location in New Zealand to film! It is such a diverse region as far as variety of landscape goes and it fully complimented the world of our film 'Northspur'. The long sunshine hours meant we could shoot for extended periods of time. The Marlborough community was very accommodating of our film and we received lots of support. Can't wait to shoot our next feature film here!'

Aaron Falvey
Northspur Director

Image: (Northspur Film - Visio Creative Studio)

Goodbye Pork Pie (the remake)

Image gallery

Image gallery

View and download imagery from across the region to discover the potential for filming in Marlborough.

Destination Marlborough

 

 

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