Gorgeous Lord Howe Island is the Setting for Blake Lively’s Terrifying 'The Shallows'
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
If you grew up in the 1970s, you're probably still a little bit panicky every time you step onto the sand. Thanks to "Jaws," you're not alone, many a childhood was spent fearing all things pertaining to the ocean. Now, Blake Lively is hoping she can make a whole new generation afraid of getting into the water, too.
Lively's new movie, "The Shallows," follows her character, Nancy Adams, a medical student who, after losing her mother, heads to the secluded surfing spot where her mother once shredded the waves. Not long after she takes to the water, she accidentally interrupts a Great White's dinner, making herself his next target. But, unlike "Jaws", Nancy is completely alone for most of the movie, stuck on a rock just a few hundred feet from shore as the tide is rising, with only a white bird — who she names Steven Seagull — as a companion, making it all the more terrifying.
The movie might be scary, but its location is anything but terrifying. Though set off the coast of Mexico, the movie was mostly filmed at Oxenford Studios, and on the gorgeous Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Australia. Like most other films, much of what you see in "The Shallows" is fake. The rock Blake's standing on was placed there, the shark was mechanical, the underwater scenes were filmed in a tank at the studio and, for most of the movie, the beautiful blonde on that surfboard was Blake's body double, Sarah Friend.
The one element of the movie they didn't have to fabricate was the island's seclusion. Lord Howe Island already has that down. There are less than 800 full-time residents who live on the Lord Howe Island Group, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and there are few motorized vehicles allowed. In an attempt to keep the island's natural vegetation, beaches, coral reef and marine environment pristine, they've even limited the number of tourists to just 400 at a time.
Just because there is a limit to the numbers of visitors allowed on the island, that doesn't mean it is difficult to reach. The flight from Sydney is just two hours and once you arrive there are several hotels and restaurants to choose from. Pinetrees Lodge has been ranked among the best hotels on the island thanks to its amazing beachfront location and spa services at a price that won't break the bank. The hotel was even voted the "Best Affordable Resort in Australia" by the readers of Australian Traveller Magazine in 2014.
Most tourists also find it easy to get around the small island by walking, renting a bicycle or joining a tour group. Themed tours include bird watching, scuba diving, history and hiking. Lord Howe Environmental Tours even has five or seven-day itineraries with snorkeling, hiking, walks on the beach, bike rides and paddle boarding.
Blake Lively's character might not have found the comfort she was looking for in the waves but, with so many outdoor activities and luxury accommodations, not to mention the peace and quiet, it is easy to see why most visitors to Lord Howe Island say it is "just paradise."
More by Christine Bord
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