Hidden Gems

Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009, 11:14 AM

Every so often, to waste time and go for a fun drive, Rob will call up and say "It's a nice day, let's go looking for possible locations we can film at". A few weeks ago we travelled out to Mt Buffalo, which when it's out of ski season is a fantastic mountain covered in uniquely beautiful rock formations and fresh waterfalls.

And yesterday we headed out to Heathcote, and a spot called Pink Cliffs. A previous film had been shot there, so Rob was familiar with it. It seemed like a great place to set something like a miniature Indiana Jones, with its low set clay hills. It's a unique look, but limited in its possibilities; most angles show distinctive Australian trees on the horizon.

One of the things we are constantly fighting against is finding places we can film that don't feel like Australia. If we want to set a movie in the past, in a different country, such as a generic mediaeval era, we are not exactly spoilt for choice, like those who live in Europe or even New Zealand. Instead we have gum trees and desert. The best we can hope for is Tasmania, not unlike NZ in many respects, but even that isn't enough and is severely limited.

We headed back home, but it was early in the day yet, so we took a random detour down a side road. As we turned the corner, I thought to myself "wouldn't it be weird if we happened to find exactly what we were looking for after this completely random decision?".

And, naturally, we did find exactly that.

Emu Flat is a rural area full of farmland that is peppered with amazing rolling hills topped by enormous exposed boulders. They look like weathered castle ruins, or a giant's teeth emerging from the ground. Weathered over millennia, they are left with the appearance of boulders precariously balanced on top of each other, as though a little tap will cause them to tip over and roll down the hill.

We looked around for public access to these fields, but there appeared to be none. They were all on farmland. We will probably have to seek permission of a Farmer to film in his paddocks, which I hope won't be a big problem, if we so choose.

When I visited a local Milk Bar to ask the owners if any of the rocky fields were accessible to the public, they looked at me funny. They didn't quite understand what it was I was talking about, because to them those rocks are what they see every day, and if anything are an inconvenience the Farmers have to avoid when they cultivate their fields.

What an amazing and beautiful discovery it was, and one that so many people manage to miss out on or, at least, don't appreciate when they do see it.

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