The American TV spotlight has shone on Wanaka with the latest show of outdoor survivalist Bear Grylls.
Grylls’ new show Get Out Alive – the number one reality show in the US – screened in primetime last week before more than 4.2 million viewers.
It was filmed in the Matukituki Valley and Mount Aspiring National Park in March and is the first time a major American network has made an entire TV show in New Zealand.
Lake Wanaka’s stunning and varied landscape was the location for two months of filming. This, combined with the town’s easy access to infrastructure, helicopters, jet boats and mountain guides, met the production company’s demand for accessible wilderness, technical expertise and backcountry knowledge.
The series is an adventure reality competition hosted by Grylls who pits 10 teams of two to venture into the unforgiving and dramatic Southern Alps to survive the wild journey and avoid elimination.
Each week a team will be sent home with the winning duo scooping the grand prize of US$500,000.
Lake Wanaka Tourism boss James Helmore says advertising couldn’t buy the exposure the series will deliver.
“This level of reach to our key visitor markets is invaluable and to have the series filmed around the Lake Wanaka region is an absolute bonus. For nine weeks our awesome scenery will be seen by millions of households. This will significantly raise Lake Wanaka and NZ’s profile as an international destination.”
The series as being rolled out to networks around the world later in the year.
Grylls’ production company contributed $10,000) to a major conservation project underway in the Matukituki Valley. The joint project between the Department of Conservation and Matukituki Charitable Trust aims to reduce pests in the West Matukituki valley to benefit native wildlife such as birds, bats and lizards and native plants.