New Zealand: The Light Between OceansStay in Tom and Isabel's Cottage
Finding the perfect location to represent Janus, the remote Western Australian island portrayed in M.L.Stedman's The Light Between Oceans was always going to be a big ask. What was required was an iconic lighthouse, a period cottage and a windswept beach. The location scouts hit the jackpot with Cape Campbell, a remote peninsula in the Marlborough region on New Zealand's South Island.
The film crew set up here in October 2014, taking over the run of the coastal section of this private farm for 5 weeks of shooting. Yes, there is public access to the Cape Campbell beach and the lighthouse via a walking track from Marfells Beach, but beware that this route is tide dependent.
The best way to travel to the fictional island of Janus is not by boat - you can drive to the door of Tom and Isabel's cottage and spend the night if you book a stay with Experience Cape Campbell.
Pennie stayed two nights in the LBO cottage at Cape Campbell in June 2017.
You can read all about my experience of this trip in my blog entry The Road to Janus. Needless to say the location certainly lived up to my expectations and in fact, exceeded them. It fulfils all the criteria that are important to us at FilmQuest: the locations are accessible, iconic and recognisable.
The experience of staying in the butter-coloured cottage used in the film is worth the cost (as of the time of writing a reasonable $150 per night). Many of the film props are still on site including the bed, the wardrobe and much of the kitchen. And the chance to catch the sun rise and set over the wild coastline is out of this world amazing.
I took some of the following scene framing shots with me, and found them all with ease. For any you can't find, just ask host Thomas Peter who was an on-site location manager during the course of the filming and has some great stories to share.
Let's start with the cottage...
The cottage is fully equipped with a kitchen, living room, modern bathroom and the bedroom is almost exactly as you saw it in the film. The bed is an original prop from the movie!
From the cottage you can explore the surrounding coastline, take a day walk or just do some beachcombing.
But of course the truly iconic feature of the film is the lighthouse. And this stunning tower on the hill doesn't disappoint.
The location is truly a hidden gem in New Zealand, one that deserved the stunning cinematic treatment it got in The Light Between Oceans. My only regret? That I couldn't stay longer.
For further questions, or to book a stay at the cottage, talk to Thomas Peter at Experience Cape Campbell.
Cape Campbell is known for its strong winds. Make sure you take:
- warm clothing
- a beanie/hat
- sturdy shoes for climbing, walking, hiking
And if you're staying at the cottage you are literally miles away from the nearest shop, so make sure you take a good supply of food with you.