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Calling all Film and TV Junkies, the South Pacific is waiting for its close-up

Published 28th Feb 2024

Have you ever watched a movie and thought WOW I wonder where that was filmed? Or how nice would it be to holiday there? Well, look no further than the South Pacific. Due to stunning landscapes to picturesque islands and turquoise waters, the South Pacific Islands have been a popular location for many film productions and reality TV shows.


Cast Away (2000): Starring Tom Hanks, probably the most well-known of all films filmed in Fiji, used Monuriki Island, part of the Mamanuca Islands.  Even though it has been a while since Tom and Wilson left the island, you can still head out to Monuriki Island for the day.  This tiny island, only 1km long and 600mtrs wide is uninhabited and surrounded by coral reef.  Spend your day snorkelling or wander through the forest where you might catch a glimpse of the endangered Fiji Crested Iguana. Just remember - don’t miss the boat home as you don’t want to get shipwrecked!!

The Blue Lagoon (1980): A classic romance film (and provocative for its time) featuring Brooke Shields, was partially filmed in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji.  You may not find Brooke Shields here today but the island and stunning waters can still be seen in all its glory.

Anaconda (1997): Parts of this adventure horror film, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube, were shot in the Navua River in Fiji.  Never fear because today as you venture out through some of the country’s most formidable and beautiful terrain you don’t need to worry about Anaconda’s.  Instead, enjoy the adrenaline rush as you raft or River Tube through the river canyons of Viti Lev.

The Bounty (1984): This historical drama film, featuring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, used the waters around Fiji as one of its filming locations.


Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) starring Marlon Brando and The Bounty (1984) with Mel Gibson, were both partially filmed in Tahiti. The island's lush and tropical scenery provided a beautiful backdrop for the movie.

Rapa Nui (1994): This movie showcases the ancient Polynesian culture and was shot in various South Pacific locations, including Tahiti. When visiting The Islands of Tahiti, a cultural show or tour of a local village is a must.

Avatar (2009):  Whilst Avatar is not a live-action film it was inspired by the stunning location of Bora Bora. Director James Cameron was on a tour in Bora Bora’s Valley of the Kings when he heard about the legends of Tahitians growing their hair long and connecting it to the roots of banyan trees.  This of course became the basis for the film.  Today visitors can join hiking tours in the valley to see ancient temples and sit beside some of the oldest banyan trees on the island.

Couples Retreat (2009): A rom-com staring Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell was filmed in and around Bora Bora with most of the resort scenes at St Regis Bora Bora

Reality TV

Reality TV has brought us many interesting characters and has been filmed in some of the most stunning and remote areas in the South Pacific.  The most famous of these is Survivor.  The best part of visiting today is that you don’t have to find or cook your own food, fight for survival or rough it on the ground, as you stay in 3-5 star properties, eat at restaurants that offer amazing local foods cooked by international chefs, all whilst enjoying the surrounds of your favourite shows.

Marquesas Islands - French Polynesia. Nuku Hiva presented contestants with a challenging, remote setting and was the first time it was shot outside of the USA.

Shefa – Vanuatu.  This season was made more interesting when they experienced an earthquake during filming

Aitutaki – Cook Islands. The tribal camps were based on motus in the Aitutaki Lagoon with most of the challenges filmed on One Foot Island.

Vanua Levu – Fiji.  Many remote islands and villages were used in this season with the reward getaways being held at Namale Resort and Jean Michel Cousteau Resort.

Mamanuca Islands – Fiji.  It’s easy to see why these islands were used in the filming of so many seasons, offering so much variety in the volcanic islands, lush rainforest, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters. Mana Island is where most of the challenges took place and is a great spot for Survivor geeks to visit.

Upolo – Samoa.  If you stay at Return to Paradise and you have a sense of de-ja vu, then maybe you’ve seen some of the stunning beaches used for the challenges.


If you would like to follow in the footsteps of your favourite movie or TV star, then contact our team today at Spacifica Travel on 1800 800 722.

Photos courtesy of Fiji Tourism, Brook Sabin, 

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We know the South Pacific like the frond of every palm