NZ travel for movie buffs: The Power of the Dog set locations

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Amazing Aotearoa mountain ranges provide the backdrop to the Burbank Ranch scenes. Photo / 123rf

As the Power of the Dog movie continues to enjoy box office and Golden Globes success, writer Alexia Santamaria reveals its Central Otago set locations.

It’s no secret that many important films have been shot in Aotearoa: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Wolverine, the Last Samurai, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and many more. And of course, the latest on this list is highly-acclaimed The Power of the Dog. Set in Montana, a lot of the big sky, barren countryside in Jane Campion’s latest masterpiece was filmed in the lower South Island; and if you happen to be thinking about trying out the Central Otago Touring Route this summer, you can experience some of those stunning landscapes yourself.

The Power of the Dog is set in the wilds of America and the sparsely populated, grassy plains and rocky mountains of Central Otago – especially around the Maniatoto – were an uncanny match for Montana in the 1920s. In times where the US feels a little further away you can definitely get that wide-open feel as you follow the new(ish) route launched at the end of 2020. Although you can’t actually enter the custom-made barn on Home Hills Station at the foot of the Hawkdun Ranges, where Benedict, Jesse and Kirstin lived, you can definitely see some things that appear in the movie as well as visit other locations with a similar historical vibe.

The Power of the Dog is set in the wilds of America and the sparsely populated, grassy plains and rocky mountains of Central Otago Photo / Griffin/Netflix © 2021
The Power of the Dog is set in the wilds of America and the sparsely populated, grassy plains and rocky mountains of Central Otago Photo / Griffin/Netflix © 2021

Here are some scenes from the movie you can marvel over next time you’re tackling the Central Otago Touring Route.

Magnificent mountain ranges

If you’re looking for the amazing mountain ranges that provide the backdrop to the Burbank Ranch scenes, you’ll find them between Ōtūrehua and Naseby. The sight of these peaks will take your breath away as you journey down the vast winding highway framed in varying golden hues.

Dunedin Railway Station

Whether you finish or start in Dunedin you’ll definitely recognise the distinct Railway Building from the parents’ arrival scene. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Saturday you can even go to the market and fill up on your Otago favourites such as stonefruit, pastries, cheese and charcuterie. Make sure you take that selfie so your overseas friends can see you hang out in places where the hottest new movies are filmed. Just another day in New Zealand, really.

You'll definitely recognise the distinct Railway Building from the parents' arrival scene in The Power of the Dog. Photo / Getty
You’ll definitely recognise the distinct Railway Building from the parents’ arrival scene in The Power of the Dog. Photo / Getty

Bannockburn Sluicings

The Bannockburn Sluicings also make an appearance in the movie. This spectacular landscape of cliffs and pinnacles is the remnants of large-scale water blasting during the 19th century. Put aside a minimum of half an hour to walk through and explore what is left of the dams,…



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