Movies | August 22, 2016 5:00 am

Get New Zealand Travel Tips From Director James Cameron

James Cameron
(Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
(Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

You are going to be seeing a heck of a lot of director James Cameron—the brains behind mega-blockbusters such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, and Avatar—over the next several years.

Starting in 2018 and continuing through 2023, Cameron will be dropping sequels to his ’09 blockbuster Avatar, which made use of then-brand-new, groundbreaking digital filmmaking techniques, in particular blowing minds with its utilization of 3D. It went on to garner $2 billion worldwide ($760.5 million in the U.S. alone).

While shooting the first of the string of sequels in his second home in New Zealand, Cameron and his wife, Suzy, recently partnered with Tourism New Zealand to produce a video series covering the country’s highlights. RealClearLife has curated them into a list.

Walking and Hiking

Says Cameron: “There’s an incredible trail system in this country; so much has been geared toward the visitor, getting to have a hands-on, feet-on exploration[.]”

James Cameron New Zealand Tour
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Place: Kahurangi National Park, Tasman (1 hour from Takaka)
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Time Commitment: 4-6 days

Place: Zealandia, The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (15 minutes from Wellington City)
Difficulty Level: Easy Walking
Time Commitment: 1-2 hours

Learn more from Cameron here.

Mountain Adventures

Says Cameron: “There’s just something different about life here. It’s a one-hour flight from Wellington to Queenstown. From Queenstown, in a matter of minutes, you can be at some spectacularly scenic place in the mountains.”

James Cameron New Zealand Tour
The Tasman Glacier (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)


Must-Visit Spot: Tasman Glacier, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park – hire a guide to take you inside an ice cave (see above).

Learn more from Cameron here.

Roads and Bridges

Says Cameron: “I rented a car and just started driving around….you can see 10 of the most stunning places you’ll see in your lifetime in a day.”

James Cameron New Zealand Tour
The tail of a giant sperm whale shot while on a whale watch near Kaikoura, New Zealand (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


Places You Should Consider Stopping:
Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Bay of Islands (20 minutes from Kerikeri)
Whale Watch at Kaikoura, Canterbury (2 hours and 25 minutes from Christchurch)

Learn more from Cameron here and here.

The Arts

Says Cameron: “This is a great place to be a writer, because you’re going to hear a lot of stories every single day.”

James Cameron New Zealand Tour
A view of the ‘Shire’ at the Hobbiton movie set, where ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies were filmed. (Alex Livesey – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


Top Destination: Hobbiton Movie Set – Matamata, Waikato (26 miles from Hamilton Airport)

Learn more from Cameron here.

Wine Regions

Says Cameron: “There’s some really world class wines [here]. There’s a vigor, there’s experimentation, people are excited about it, they’re passionate about it, they want to talk about it.”

James Cameron New Zealand Tour
Rows of vines in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, North island, New Zealand (DeAgostini/Getty Images)


Where to Find the Best Wines: Hawke’s Bay (see above), Martinborough, Marlborough, Central Otago, Auckland, Gisborne, Waipara (New Zealand has 650 vineyards in all)

Learn more from Cameron here.