Celebrated New Zealand actor and director, Taika Waititi, has teamed up with Tourism New Zealand to deliver a new promotional film – despite a packed schedule filming HBO Max series Our Flag Means Death Season 2 in Aotearoa New Zealand.
With Taika busy on set filming Our Flag Means Death Season 2 – for which Aotearoa New Zealand is the official shoot location – Taika and Tourism New Zealand enlisted real-life stunt double, Jade Daniels, to help undertake the epic task of presenting New Zealand to the world.
Directed by Jackie van Beek, the playful short film ‘No Place Like It On Earth’ showcases the thrilling sights and experiences travelers can find in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a line-up of landscapes so mesmerizing, it’s possible no one will notice the star of the show may or may not be who he seems. From whitewater rafting in Rotorua and a scenic flight over Mount Tarawera, to dolphin watching in Kaikōura and wine tasting in Auckland, Waititi and Daniels’ jaw-dropping travels leave both convinced that there’s no place like New Zealand on earth.
“I always tell people you can go surfing in the morning and then drive a couple of hours and be skiing in the evening [in New Zealand]. I don’t think there’s anywhere else on earth where you can do that. It has everything,” says Waititi.
Follow in the footsteps of New Zealand director and actor Taika Waititi (Captain Blackbeard)
This itinerary is your guide to a world of adventure, intrigue, and self-discovery that mirrors the essence of the show.
Be captivated by Auckland’s wild west coast beaches, where nature’s raw beauty reigns supreme. Venture to Piha, where the iconic Lion Rock stands guard over pristine black sands. A key filming location for Our Flag Means Death Season 2, here you can watch the ocean beat against the sea cliffs, or on calmer days, explore the rocky tide pools against your rugged backdrop. Alternatively, visit nearby Bethell’s Beach to scale the sand dunes and take in sweeping vistas. Before visiting, always make sure you check weather conditions and potential closures, and always follow the instructions of lifeguards.
Experience indulgence at Westbrook Winery, where Taika Waititi, stunt double Jade Daniels, and director Jackie van Beek conclude their epic journey through New Zealand in the 100% Pure New Zealand film ‘No Place Like It On Earth’. Uncover the secrets of New Zealand’s finest wines, savour each sip, and delight in artisanal cheeses and local delicacies. Established as one of New Zealand’s oldest and most esteemed boutique wineries, Westbrook is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts.
Alternatively, enjoy dinner at Prego, a personally favored choice of Taika Waititi in Auckland. The menu orchestrates Italian-inspired dishes using prime local ingredients. With a sophisticated yet welcoming atmosphere and outstanding service, each visit becomes a lasting memory. Opt for the courtyard beneath the robinia tree or the cozy indoor setting, both ensuring an enjoyable time.
“Prego is great. Prego is an institution.” – Taika Waititi
Venture to the Coromandel Peninsula for a geothermal spa in nature at Hot Water Beach, mentioned as a favorite spot of Taika’s in ‘No Place Like It On Earth’. With a spade in hand, carve out your own private paradise in the sands and create a natural hot pool, letting the warm embrace of the earth soothe your senses. This is relaxation, adventure, and a connection with nature in its purest form.
Explore the geothermal marvels that make this destination unique, from bubbling mud pools to steaming geysers, each offering a glimpse into the earth’s fiery heart. Swim, sail, or jetboat on one of the 18 surrounding lakes, or immerse yourself in Māori traditions at Te Puia, where the Pohutu geyser dances and ancient arts thrive.
Like Taika’s stunt double Jade Daniels, take a scenic flight with Volcanic Air to Mount Tarawera, where a gourmet picnic amidst stunning vistas awaits. As you relish each bite, let the panoramic views etch themselves into your memory.
Or, make like Jade and ride the rapids with Kaitiaki Adventures. Navigate the iconic Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, and enjoy an adrenaline rush that perfectly complements the untamed beauty surrounding you.
Journey to Taupō and stand in awe before the majestic Huka Falls – a symphony of raw power and beauty, mentioned by Taika in a list of iconic New Zealand locations in ‘No Place Like It On Earth’. The roaring waters cascade with a force that defies description, leaving you humbled and captivated in its presence. A leisurely walk along the riverbanks offers an intimate connection with nature’s grandeur.
Wellington proudly stands as the film capital of New Zealand, famed for hosting the production of numerous blockbuster movies including The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, District 9 and The Chronicles of Narnia. With its stunning landscapes and state-of-the-art facilities, the city has attracted filmmakers worldwide, contributing to its vibrant cinematic culture. Explore Wellington’s streets and you might just find yourself amidst the magic of the big screen.
Enjoy an iconic ride on the Wellington Cable Car, taking in panoramic cityscape views as it glides up to the lush Botanic Garden. Connecting Lambton Quay to Kelburn, this charming cable car ride provides a memorable and picturesque experience of New Zealand’s capital. Explore the rugged south coast of Wellington by walking from Owhiro Bay to the Red Rocks (Pari- whero); an area of national significance with fascinating geology and Māori history. If you have more time, continue on to Sinclair Head, where a New Zealand fur seal colony resides from May to October, populated by bachelor males who were unsuccessful in their breeding rank attempts in the South Island colonies.
Dine at Hiaki, a restaurant renowned for presenting the flavors of Aotearoa with contemporary flair and mentioned by Taika Waititi as a personal favorite. Delight in authentic dishes that honor Māori heritage, inviting you to savor the essence of New Zealand’s indigenous gastronomy in every exquisite bite.
“Wellington, where I was raised, is always a special place to me. The south coast of Wellington was very dramatic, quite an intense place to go, very beautiful.” – Taika Waititi
Experience the thrill of a lifetime by getting up close and personal with New Zealand’s playful dusky dolphins. Just as Taika Waititi embarked on a quest to unveil New Zealand’s hidden treasures, you can embark on a journey with Dolphin Encounter to discover these graceful marine mammals in their natural habitat. Departing from the picturesque shores of Kaikōura, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the South Island’s coastline, a place where the majestic Southern Alps meet the ocean.
Described by Taika Waititi as a bit of a hidden gem, venture to Dunedin’s Tunnel Beach and be entranced by nature’s dramatic canvas. Over centuries, the Southern Ocean’s salt-laden winds have crafted a stunning sandstone coastline adorned with majestic cliffs, arches, and headlands, offering endless breathtaking viewpoints. Follow a fenced path downhill to unveil the hand-carved rock tunnel, which lends its name to the beach. Dating back to the 1870s, this passage guides you to a secluded, sheltered haven at the cliffs’ base.
“The little beach with the little secret tunnel with the steps that you go down [Tunnel Beach, Dunedin], that place is amazing. I like the little hidden-away places where you have to walk to get to them. So Tunnel Beach, south side of the needle is great itself.” – Taika Waititi
Travel to the Waitaki Coast and be amazed by the Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach, an iconic New Zealand destination mentioned by Taika in ‘No Place Like It On Earth’. These captivating ancient spherical formations are strewn along the shore, some towering over two metres and possessing an almost otherworldly appearance, shaped over millions of years.
Steeped in Māori legend, these natural wonders are believed to be remnants of a wrecked voyaging canoe. Their ethereal allure and cultural importance form a distinctive destination that entwines nature’s artistry and vibrant folklore.
Nestled in the heart of Central Otago, Clyde is a historic town that encapsulates the region’s gold rush legacy. Its charming streets, adorned with heritage buildings, exude an old-world allure that beautifully complements the surrounding natural beauty. Situated alongside the Clutha River, Clyde serves as a gateway to cycling adventures, nearby vineyards, and stone fruit orchards.
Notably, the esteemed Two Paddocks Vineyard, owned by actor Sam Neill and mentioned by Taika Waititi as a personal favorite, lies in proximity. Much like Clyde’s blend of history and nature, the wines of Two Paddocks reflect the intricate landscape, inviting enthusiasts to relish the very essence of Central Otago with each sip.