They tell about the adventures of four children, who during the Second World War are sent from London to the village, to a family friend. In his house, the guys come across an old wardrobe, which turns out to be a portal to the magical land of Narnia, where there are evil sorcerers, great magicians, talking trees and animals. The series of short stories are very popular – they were translated into 41 languages and sold in the amount of 100 million copies, and 3 full-length films of the film adaptation collected 1.58 billion dollars at the box office. We suggest you go on a trip to New Zealand and the Czech Republic – to the places where films about the magical land of Narnia were made.
New Zealand is a country with amazing nature: there are mountains and huge fjords, glaciers, geysers, glacial lakes and sandy beaches, as well as unique animals. The country has 35 reserves and national parks, and about 3,000 reserves. Due to the amazing nature of New Zealand is often chosen for the shooting of science fiction films. Here they filmed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and in 2004, director Andrew Adamson arrived in the country to film the first book, The Chronicles of Narnia. It was decided to shoot scenes from the life of children in England here: in the hangar of the old Hobsonville Air Base, not far from Auckland (Auckland), the scenery of London Paddington Station and the rooms of the professor’s house were built.
1. Cathedral Bay (Cathedral Cove) on the Coromandel Peninsula – Cor-Paravel Ruins
On the Coromandel Peninsula, scenes were filmed where Pevensey’s children end up in Narnia in the first and second films. The magic tunnel takes them to the Cathedral Cave, which was so named because of the arch, in the form resembling the arch of a Gothic cathedral. Coming out of the cave, the guys find themselves on the Hahei beach, on the eastern coast of the peninsula, and on the rocks surrounding the beach, children discover the ruins of Ker-Paravel castle, the ancient capital of Narnia.
Hahei Beach is one of the best beaches on the peninsula, it is famous for its bright turquoise water, fine white sand and pohutukawa – evergreen trees with beautiful red flowers. In addition, Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve (Te Whanganui-A-Hei) is located next to the Cathedral Cave, where you can see rare inhabitants of the underwater world, sinking to the bottom with an instructor or going for a boat ride with a transparent bottom.
2. Woodhill Forest – White Witch Camp
The camp of the main villain of Narnia – the White Witch – was filmed in Woodhill Forest, located an hour north-west of Auckland. This is a huge pine forest occupying an area of 12,500 hectares, along which there are many hiking trails of varying difficulty levels and mountain bike trails. Not far from the forest, there is Meriva Beach (Muriwai Beach) with black volcanic sand and a colony of booby seabirds living on the rocks near the beach.
3. Elephant Rocks in the Waitaki Valley – the camp of the lion Aslan
Millions of years ago, on the site of the Waitaki Valley, there was a sea, at the bottom of which a layer of limestone was formed from the bones of dead sea animals. Later, the waters receded, and from smooth limestone, water and wind carved huge smooth figures, many of which resemble animals. These mountains are called elephant because of the fact that the tribes living in this territory believed that they were huge elephants turned into stone by evil sorcerers. It was here that they shot the camp of the lion Aslan, the son of the creator of Narnia.
Not far from the Elephant Mountains is the city of Oamaru (Oamaru), with a well-preserved historic centre, built up with Victorian houses. But this city is not known for its architecture, but for the fact that in its harbour there is a colony of yellow-eyed penguins Hoiho, which are found only here.
4. Perakauni Bay (Purakaunui Bay) – the place of the coronation of four children of Pevensey in the castle of Para Paravel
The scene of the coronation of Pevensey children to the kings and queens of Narnia after defeating the White Witch was starred in the Perakauni Bay in the Catlins region (Catlins). And it is precisely walking along the sand of the bay beach that the lion Aslan will disappear.
There are dozens of waterfalls and lakes in Katelin’s and untouched nature. The most beautiful waterfalls in the region are the three-tiered McLean Falls, and the two-tiered Perakauni falls. There are observation platforms near both waterfalls.
And if you go along the coast of Kathlins from the bay of Peraquani to the city of Invercargill, you can see rain forests with rare birds and beaches inhabited by fur seals and lions.
5. Paradise Valley on the South Island – Narnia, where spring returned
Paradise Valley, located near the city of Queenstown (Queenstown), more than once appears in all three films of The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as in dozens of other films. This is one of the most beautiful valleys in New Zealand with emerald meadows, where alpacas graze and parrots fly, rivers full of trout and huge mountains surrounding the valley from all sides. Director Mark Johnson, who shot the third film, said in an interview that Paradise Valley is the best place in the world to shoot a magical country.
6. Flock Hill – The Great Battle for Narnia
The Great Battle was filmed in Flock Hill, one of the main battles in which the troops of Narnia, led by Aslan, fought with the army of the White Witch. Flock Hill is a mountain valley located in the Southern Alps, near the city of Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand. There are many hiking trails here: on mountain slopes and caves, on hills and river banks through waterfalls and canyons. And in winter, ski stations operate on the slopes of the mountains.
In the story of the first book of Narnia, a blooming wizarding country was frozen by the White Witch, so many scenes and battles take place in the valleys, mountains and forests covered with snow. In the warm climate of New Zealand, there is neither snowfall nor winter, so the director was forced to look for a country with a cold winter, beautiful nature and high mountains, where there are few tourists in the winter. The mountain region of Czech Switzerland (České Švýcarsko) in Northern Bohemia ideally suited in all respects.
1. Tisky walls (Tiské Steny) in Czech Switzerland – Lucy meets Mr Tumnus
The stern walls are sandstone cliffs that derive their name from the adjacent village of Tisá. The rocks consist of fragile sandstone, from which time, water, wind and erosion have created sheer columns, canyons with sheer walls and caves. There are many tales and legends associated with this place – many say that a long time ago there was a city of gnomes who hid treasures in caves and left to live in an underground city. In the Tisky walls, the walls were removed, where children are led to Lev Aslan and where Lucy, having first entered the world of Narnia, walks through a snowy forest to the house of Mr Tumnus.
There are several hiking trails along the canyons and mountain passes of the Tysky rocks. Some of them are available only in summer, due to the fact that in winter the steps cut in the stone are covered with a layer of ice and become dangerous.
2. Pravcicka Gate (Pravcicka Brana) in the Elbe Mountains – beavers lead children to Leo
The Pravcice Gate is the largest rock arch of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, its dimensions reach 16 meters in height and 26 meters in width. This arch, which, like the Tisky walls, pierced rain and wind in stone, is located on the very top of the mountain, not far from the town of Hrensko and the village of Mezna, from where the arch can be reached on foot. Here was filmed a scene where beavers leading Pevensey’s children to a lion show them Narnia snowbound from a great height. Unfortunately, it is forbidden for tourists to walk along the arch, but there are several viewing platforms on the rocks nearest to it, offering panoramic views of hundreds of kilometres.
3. Pavilions of the Barrandov Studio (Barrandov studios) in Prague – Miraz Castle
Czech film studio Barrandov – one of the largest in Europe. Films such as Mission Impossible, Born’s Identification, Alien vs. Predator and many others were filmed here. For the filming of The Chronicles of Narnia, huge sets of Miraz Castle were erected here, which took 4 months to build, as well as the decorations of Truffelow’s house and the premises of the Hill of the Stone Table. In the castle, many scenes of the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were filmed, with the participation of Miraz, the main villain of the second film who killed Prince Caspian’s father, in order to seize the throne.