Pete's Dragon: McLaren Falls

New Zealand: Pete's DragonMcLaren Falls: Pete's Playground

Location

The McLaren Falls feature only briefly at the beginning of Pete's Dragon when Pete is confronted by a grizzly bear and his big friend Elliot comes to the rescue. Of course, there are no grizzlies in New Zealand, which make the location popular for a swim on a hot summer day.

View of the falls from the road bridge.

View of the falls from the road bridge.

The actual film location which is a couple of hundred metres above the falls.

The actual film location which is a couple of hundred metres above the falls.

The other attraction in the area is an evening glowworm kayak tour which starts just before dusk from the shore of nearby Lake McLaren. Before you climb aboard, you are treated to a cheese platter and a glass of red wine. What a way to start a tour. Fully recommended!

Then, it's an easy 45 minute paddle along the lake into a narrow canyon which we reached when dusk was upon us. It was already quite dark in the canyon and when our guides told us to switch our torches off, we were treated to the most amazing spectacle: Thousands of glowworms came to life and turned on their starry lights. It was truly magical.

Thanks to Waimarino Kayak Tours for hosting Stefan on a trip in January 2018.

Key Scenes

Pete and Elliot on location.

Videos

Map

Travel Tips

If you have some spare time in the area, we highly recommend the walk up Mount Maunganui. The 231 metre lava dome overlooks the stunning coastline of the Pacific and the town of the same name. For Maori, the mountain is of great significance so please treat it with respect.

Under no circumstances should you underestimate the 45-minute climb: the track has lots and lots of steps and hardly any shade. But it's definitely worth it!

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