What does a movie location tour guide do when he goes on vacation? Over the Christmas/New Year period, Nicole and I took a rare break and visited Oregon and Hawaii. This is the busiest time of year in New Zealand tourism and I’m usually working. Nicole hasn’t had Christmas with her family since 2005 so it was well overdue!

While in Oahu, we went looking for a location from Lost. We’re now re-watching the show (I know, lame!) and last night we found the location above! It was a small thrill to have that moment of recognition, and I realise I’ve actually done it a lot over the years. The shot above is from Season One of Lost, where some of the survivors are camped at the cave and the rest are living on the beach.

It seems that when I go on vacation I end up finding movie and TV locations too, whether on purpose or by accident. Here are a few of my favourites:

Vanishing Point (1971)

Vanishing PointMy first big find was during my first trip to the USA in 2004. I was driving through Nevada with friends when we stopped in a small desert town called Goldfields. I recognised a building and picked it without even knowing I was near a film location. That location was Super Soul’s Radio Station from Vanishing Point (1971). I couldn’t wait to see the movie again and piece it together. During the same trip we drove through Needles, CA which was also used in Vanishing Point.


The Goonies (1985)

We also spend a lot of time in Oregon and I’ve found a few Goonies locations in Cannon Beach and Astoria.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR.

Opening scene fromThe Goonies at Haystack Rock – from filminamerica.com

The best part of finding a place like this is when you get home and rewatch the movie and recognise the site, knowing that you’ve been there. Film in America have a pretty dated but good page of Goonies filming locations.

The Road (2009)

The Road


For such a bleak movie, there were some very pretty locations used, including Latourel Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, and Fort Stevens State Park, both in Oregon. It’s crazy that so much was shot in the Pacific Northwest – one of the greenest parts of the United States, and they used it to portray a dead planet.

The Road 2

As long as we’re being geeks, Aragorn was in The Road, and a ’90s remake of Vanishing Point (don’t watch it), and of course Samwise Gamgee played Mikey in The Goonies.


I’ve visited others, of course. ALL of Las Vegas is one big film set, as is the Los Angeles coastline. We’ve seen the boardwalk from Lost Boys where the security guard got snatched up (sadly the park itself was closed), driven the streets of San Francisco from the Bullitt car chase, and driven through Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock shot The Birds.

I want to see as many of these inspirational places as I can, and I really understand why the Tolkien fans want to visit New Zealand and be immersed in Middle-earth as seen in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy.

Have you been on a Middle-earth tour with me?

Have visited any other filming locations in your travels? Comment below.

Want to plan your own private Middle-earth adventure? Contact me and we can geek out together!