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Saturday February 24th 2024

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader | 2010

The Chronicles Of Narnia : The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader film location: White Island, North Island, New Zealand
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader location: Eustace on the volcanic island: White Island, North Island, New Zealand | Photograph: wikimedia / Nick

Out goes Disney, out goes director Andrew Adamson, out goes Europe and out goes Prince Caspian’s Spanish accent. The third in the series allows more preachiness, with the addition of that lazy cliché of fantasy writers, the humourless rationalist whose sole function is to be constantly proved wrong.

The film was based at Warner Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, near Gold Coast on the coast of Queensland. although there seems to be a lot of travelling, all but one of the locations can be found within 30 miles. The studio itself is not open for tours, but it stands alongside the Warner Bros Movie World theme park.

Apart from ‘Dragon Island’ and the port at ‘Doorn’, the ‘Lone Islands’ visited by the Dawn Treader are no more than elaborate studio sets, augmented by digital effects.

Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley) are staying with their priggish cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) when a painting of the ship, The Dawn Treader, on the bedroom wall begins to gush water. Eustace’s bedroom was a set, but a waterproof copy (replacing the wood and plaster with fibreglass) was built on a platform above the studio’s water tank, into which it was dunked to give the effect of water rising to flood the room.

The Dawn Treader itself was assembled – from 60 individual pieces – on Stage 8, then dismantled and moved to Cleveland Point, at the end of Shore Street North, Cleveland, about 30 miles to the north.

Here, it was reconstructed on motion-control mechanism called a gimbal, able to provide the necessary pitching and rolling, against open skies and a real ocean horizon.

The opening scene, of Edmund trying to sign up at ‘Cambridge’ in England, was filmed using period vehicles against a greenscreen background in the studio car park, and rendering the ‘Kings College’ gatehouse digitally.

The interior is the cafeteria of The Southport School, 2 Winchester Street in Southport, north of Gold Coast.

‘Narrowhaven Wharf’, where the slave auction is held, was built just to the north at Doug Jennings Park on the Spit, on Surfers Paradise, a strip of land running along the coast.

The volcanic island on which Eustace discovers a horde of gold which turns out to have unexpected properties, is the only location outside Queensland. The steaming, smoking rocks are Whakaari / White Island, the most active volcano in New Zealand, 30 miles off the east coast of the North Island in the Bay of Plenty. There are only second unit shots of the location, though. Eustace and the rest of the cast filmed their scenes in Stapylton Quarry, 144 Rossmanns Road, Stapylton, about 15 miles northwest of Southport.

Privately owned, White Island was declared a private scenic reserve in 1953, which means that visitors cannot land without permission, remove or disturb wildlife and must leave nothing more than footprints. However, it is accessible by authorised tourist operators. The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga.

Weather permitting, there’s a motor launch daily from Whakatane daily. Helicopter and plane trips are also available from Whakatane, Tauranga and Rotorua.

After the Pevensies and King Caspian (Ben Barnes) complete their mission to find the seven swords and defeat the sea serpent, they inevitably meet up with Aslan (Liam Neeson) on the brilliant white and of South Stradbroke Island, a further stretch of the strand north of Surfers Paradise, where Reepicheep (Simon Pegg) surfs away to the the mysterious country to the east.