“This is a whole world we haven’t really seen before,” said Jason Momoa during a press event for the now-box-office-dominating Aquaman. “The ocean is such a mystery and it is magical.”
The actor already had a connection with the sea before taking on the role, as an avid surfer, and that made the decision to take on the role even easier when Zack Snyder approached him with the idea. “If you have ever snorkeled you can see the coral reefs and how amazing they are,” he says. “That is just what we see, but imagine how crazy it gets in the true depths of the ocean.”
The comic book hero’s connection with the marine world added a special dynamic to the locations that director James Wan needed for the standalone Aquaman picture, starting with the picturesque lighthouse that he grow up in the fictional coastal town of Amnesty Bay. On the hunt for coastline, Wan knew that he couldn’t do much better than his homeland of Australia, so production headed the Land Down Under.
Duncan Jones, a veteran location scout based in Queensland, was amongst those tasked with trying to find the right setting for Arthur Curry’s childhood. “The goal was to find places that matched the comics as closely as possible,” says Jones. The crew settled on the stunning surroundings of Hastings Point in the north of New South Wales. The lighthouse was constructed from scratch, without a foundation to keep from effecting the environment. The choice did not disappoint.
“Saw whales breaching in the distance,” said Wan in an Instagram post during their filming there. Not many Hollywood directors can boast about that kind of perk. From his social media posts it seems clear that Wan is one of those special breed of directors who prefer to get out into the real world whenever possible. His research trips included whirlwind visits to Italy, Australia, and Indonesia.
“If casting is half of your directing, then location is half your photography,” Wan explained in an early post. Due to the constraints of production though, the settings had to be faked using the diverse landscapes of Australia and New South Wales. These landscapes included Currumbin Beach, North Stradbroke Island and The Spit, the northern end of Queenland’s Gold Coast. In the end those beautiful locales were more than capable of playing host to Aquaman’s epic adventure to become King of the Seven Seas.
How to Have An Aquaman-Style Getaway In California
Places to Visit
Point Arena Lighthouse South Trail
The twenty-three acres of the lighthouse point are bordered by over sixteen-hundred acres of monument lands. These public lands are open to all, year-round, and are an amazing gateway to the lighthouse.
Things to Do
Rent A Boat
Get out on the water by renting a boat out of the San Francisco area. You may want to pad the rental by a few hours, as it is going to be hard to turn around. The rentals can come with a captain to drive for you, but if you have the skills, it is always more fun to do it on your own.
If you haven’t started the process of learning to scuba yet, now is the time so that you can appreciate the coral as much as possible. Check out this spot out of San Francisco that has all the gear you need and a school as well.
Places to Eat
The Pier Tap House
This spot can be your very own Terry’s Sunken Galleon, the bar that Aquaman likes to throw down Guinness with his father Tom Curry.
Everyone knows that Aquaman cares about the fish, so if you are going to have a seafood-based dinner you should do it somewhere eco-conscious like Wild Fish. They work closely with local purveyors and harvest provisions from right outside their door.
Places to Stay
Point Arena Lighthouse
Sleep out by the water like Arthur Curry before he became Aquaman. The Point Arena Lighthouse stands as an iconic figure on the landscape of the American Pacific Coast. No other lighthouse offers such a fully interactive experience in the exchange between history, science and natural beauty, whether looking out on a sunset or a blanket of fog. It is also one of the best whale watching spots on the North Coast, with the annual Gray Whale migration from late November through May, Humpbacks throughout the year, the occasional pod of transient Killer Whales and even Blue Whales.
Aquaman is now in theaters.