Journey Beyond the Screen

Port Chalmers

New Zealand: The Light Between OceansPort Chalmers: Partaguese

Location

Port Chalmers is a small port town popular, particularly in summer, when cruise ships dock at the harbour and dwarf the surroundings.

Locals did a double-take in 2014 when two Oscar-winning actresses - Rachel Weisz and Alicia Vikander - came to town to film The Light Between Oceans. 

Key Scenes

Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz, who plays the role of Hannah Roennfeldt, walked the purpose-gritted main street of town in the ‘book store’ scene, where Hannah meets her future husband Frank.  This was filmed at 25 George Street, Port Chalmers.

Rachel Weisz in the book store scene.

Rachel Weisz in the book store scene.

Perhaps one of the most emotionally charged scenes of the film is when Isabel (played by Alicia Vikander) encounters the daughter she has had to relinquish in the haberdashery store. A short stroll up Grey Street will take you to the site, which still sports the 1920’s-style gold lettering advertising ‘women’s undergarments’, among other specialities that was specially painted for the film.

Alicia Vikander in the haberdashery store scene.

Alicia Vikander in the haberdashery store scene.

The building is owned by Port Chalmers locals Keely McGlynn and Pete Cole, who remember looking down from the upstairs windows of their house on the filming taking place below. Vintage cars drove up and down the gritted street, extras were kitted out in 1920’s clothing.

Videos

Map

Tips

Local tip: For your own bird’s eye view of Port Chalmers and the Otago Harbour, don’t miss a trip up to the lookout at Aurora Terrace. The town has two good coffee shops and an excellent public library (with free WiFi).

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