Been there, Seen that. Movies shot here

So the 2014 film award season is upon us, and Huff Post Travel just did a cutesy piece on location settings for some of this year’s Oscar contenders.

Which got me thinking about films shot in our neck of the woods.

Rural view

Ballina beach view


So here’s a quick roll call;

Everyone’s favourite ABBA revival movie: Muriel’s Wedding (1994), had Rainbow Bay, Point Danger and Tugun standing in for Porpoise Spit.

And in 2009, local director Belinda Chayko, filmed Lou (2010), which starred one of the latest of the Doctors Who, John Hurt, entirely on location in the Tweed.

Although, apart from the promotional poster, you’d really need to be a local to realise it, as the director and editor/s did a great job of carefully avoiding including the most distinctive feature of the valley in any shot.

But sharp eyed locals would recognise the Surfside Buslines beach bus route scene being Clothiers Creek Road, as it trundled past the Nunderi turnoff, as well upteen shots with the McPherson Ranges, Springbrook National Park and The Cougals outlined in the background, in other scenes.

Coolangatta Gold (1984), which actually spawned the contest named after it, rather than the other way round, was shot at, funnily enough, Coolangatta and other locations on the Gold Coast.   >> Coolangatta Gold 2013.

And as far a TV goes, well, that list is getting a good work out, with the Brit “reality” favourite; “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here“, being shot on a property located a short drive from Murwillumbah since 2002.

Forays into the local wilds usually include Crams Farm, which also featured recently, along with the usual selection of local villages like Tyalgum, with Rachel Griffiths, who starred in the recent “Camp” TV series (2013 NBC), before she got called up to play in the current Tom Hanks hit “Saving Mr Banks“.

Speaking of Muriel alumni, PJ Hogan’s “Mental” (2012), with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, had location shooting in and around Ballina, not to mention a climb of Mt Warning.  PJ must like his old stomping ground.

But then, what’s not to like?

Great scenery and locations, oodles of local talent to call on, close to two international airports: Brisbane and Gold Coast, and of course, being less than 90 minutes drive south of Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, is a bit of help too.

And while local organisations and groups (below) are doing their best to raise the profile of the region, it also doesn’t hurt when celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fly into Byron for the day (January 2014), and enjoy some quality fun time with the kids at local attractions like Byron Circus Arts, and a meal in town later, before decamping back to Brissie.

And let’s not forget Lady O herself, with a group from Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, finding out about the pleasures of Byron Bay as part of their New South Wales itinerary.

Local Arts Organisations:

Byron Bay International Film Festival has morphed from an Australian to a truly international film festival.

Nothern Rivers ScreenWorks is the screen industry gateway for the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, serving creative practitioners in the film, television, video, and digital media sectors.

Arts Northern Rivers is the peak body for the arts and cultural sector in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Flickerfest International Short Film Festival is Australia’s only Academy Accredited Short Film Festival screening the best of new and cutting edge short films from Australia and the world.

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Introduction to Ballina, New South Wales

It’s no surprise that this region, with more than 250 days of sunshine each year on average, and its year round mild and subtropical climate, is one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations.

Bicycle paths, Ballina NSW

In Ballina, a wide variety of accomodation including apartments, resorts, caravan parks, motels, motor inns, B&Bs, and extensive walking and bicycling paths around the town, make it a great family holiday destination.  >> More info.

By road, Ballina is approximately 753 kilometres – about 10 hours drive north from Sydney, and approximately 197 kilometres – about 120 minutes drive south of Brisbane, via the Pacific Highway.

If you prefer flying, Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport is the southern gateway to Northern New South Wales, with domestic flights from all major Australian cities, while a number of international carriers servicing SE Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific fly directly into Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta, 60 minutes drive to the north.

Daily airport shuttle services operate between Ballina, Gold Coast Airport and Brisbane International Airport for domestic and international flights.

Intrastate flights are also available to Lismore Airport, with all airports having airport car hire or other car rental services available nearby.

Daily interstate coach services are available from Ballina to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with a daily or overnight train service from Sydney to Brisbane via coach transfer at Casino.

For more information visit the Big Volcano Visitor Guide: Ballina