Disney’s Pete’s Dragon stars enjoy New Zealand's Waiheke Island

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley made the most of their down-time while filming in New Zealand.

“Let’s just say I left Waiheke Island and immediately was looking up real estate! It’s a fantastic island with really cool shops, great food and beautiful restaurants. The food is like out of this world sensational!” Bryce Dallas Howard 

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley made the most of their down-time while filming in New Zealand, becoming friends and choosing to take their families on an island escape together.

While filming forest scenes near Rotorua, Bryce and Wes took a 40-minute flight north to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city - also known as the ‘city of sails’. From here they jumped on a ferry over to Waiheke Island, a picturesque island paradise that’s only 35 minutes across the water from the bustling city. 

Jewel in Auckland’s crown

Surrounded by the waters of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Waiheke Island has been a long-time haven for Auckland families on beach holidays. 

The island getaway has earned international acclaim for its beautiful white sandy beaches, most recently named one of the world’s top 10 regions for 2016 in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ publication.

Waiheke boasts a thriving food scene, an eclectic mix of artists, New Zealand’s most coveted vineyards and an extensive list of boutique and luxury accommodation. 

Bryce and Wes explore Waiheke Island

The Pah - one of Waiheke’s top lodges - was home to Wes, Bryce and their respective families during their island stay. Perfectly balanced between landscaped gardens and a seaside cliff, the lodge appears to be hovering above the sea. 

From The Pah Bryce was able to enjoy relaxation and play time with her children on the beach. 

“Waiheke Island I would definitely recommend because the beaches are gorgeous! You also feel like you have gone on an adventure with the ferry ride outside of Auckland and like you have had a break away,” Bryce Dallas Howard said. "I mean it was just epic.” 

While Bryce and her family were soaking up the sun on the beach, Wes went on the hunt for something a little more adventurous. A short drive across the island, Ecozip is a series of ziplines with big sea views and out across vineyards down into lush native Waiheke bush forest. 

Wes says he will remember Waiheke as “a beautiful place, with various landscapes, wonderful people and a very interesting history. It was exactly what I was hoping for and dreaming of.” 

Just up the hill from Ecozip Adventures, Mudbrick Vineyard is often praised as one of the best restaurant settings in the world for its lovely gardens with views beyond the vineyards to the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour and across to Auckland city. 

At Mudbrick, Bryce and Wes were served a platter style lunch of fresh local produce including olives, cheese and honey from local island producers. 

“The food is like out of this world sensational!” Bryce Dallas Howard said.

About Disney’s Pete’s Dragon

A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. Disney’s Pete’s Dragon stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) from a screenplay by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on 12 August, 2016. The film will be released in New Zealand on 15 September, 2016.