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Brand Publishing Travel+ Summer Series

Rugged film locations make for exciting journeys

Three, two, one. Action! You're sprinting away from a velociraptor in a jungle canyon or playing a furious game of Quidditch with fellow Hogwarts students. Or perhaps you're navigating the narrow path of an icy, windswept highway in the dead of winter.

It's not just your imagination. You're actually visiting the places where your favorite movies and television shows were made. Call it the ultimate method acting — living the adventure and seeing the sights at legendary filming locations around the world.

Much of the original "Jurassic Park" and the upcoming sequel "Jurassic World" were filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. One of the iconic scenes from the first film is a helicopter touching down beside Manawaiopuna Falls as the scientists make their first landfall on the fictional Isla Nublar. Although the 360-foot-high cascade is on private land, you can fly by the falls via helicopter. After landing, hike or bike the easily accessible Lydgate path along the island's pristine western coast.

On the other side of the Pacific, New Zealand's North Island is rife with film locations from the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films. Foremost among these is Hobbiton, in the Matamata District about two hours' drive south of Auckland. The film set — including the double arched bridge, the Hobbit Holes, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn — has been meticulously preserved. While there, experience the beauty of the untamed countryside and endless verdant grazing land.

If that's not close enough to Middle-earth, consider a trek across the volcanic heights of Tongariro National Park, the country's oldest national park and a stand-in for Mordor in the films.

Alaska's filming locations often represent the ends of the Earth. From reality TV series "Ice Road Truckers" and the "Deadliest Catch" to wilderness epic "White Fang," the state's boundless landscape plays a starring role. Though not as rugged as the Aleutian island setting of "Deadliest Catch," Ketchikan offers a similar look at the state's fishing industry and a jumping-off point for glacial and wilderness adventure.

Britain provided outdoor filming locations for the "Harry Potter" movies, the most dramatic being in the Scottish Highlands. The Hogwarts Express is the stage name for the Jacobite, a historic steam train that crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct on a 41-mile round trip between Fort William and Mallaig. A nearby mountain, Aonach Mòr, offers hiking, biking, motorcycle journeys and skiing in winter.

-By Joe Yogerst, Brand Publishing Writer

For more great summer travel options, go to latimes.com/summertravelseries.

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