Narnia Movie Tours to Be Available

Operator gets Narnia tour deal
14 June 2005

A South Island tour operator reckons it is on to a winner, having gained exclusive access to land used to film The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

For more than two years Wanaka Sightseeing has offered tourists five Lord Of The Rings tours and is planning to diversify through trading arm Canterbury Sightseeing when the Chronicles of Narnia films hit the big screen.

Director Melissa Heath said yesterday that it took months of negotiating with the owners of Flock Hill before she clinched a deal allowing her to be the sole tour firm with access the property.

The Canterbury location was used for filming the climactic battle scene from the C. S. Lewis classic and featured on the BBC’s The Lost World in 2001.

Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are being brought to the big screen by Disney and Heath said she was sure the studio would make them blockbuster successes.

“Disney had their fingers burned by turning down Lord Of The Rings so they are throwing their financial weight behind these movies,” she said. “Lord Of The Rings, it’s mainly a blokes thing … The Chronicles of Narnia series, they’ve already sold 85 million copies. They appeal to the younger market and there’s nostalgic value for parents.”

Heath had no fears that the market for film-related tours would dry up, saying the industry was growing in New Zealand and the company’s business plan was based on changing to meet the needs of any particular movie fan group.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tours will begin next year, after the film’s release in December. The story centres on four London children and their adventures in a world beyond a magic wardrobe.

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