Australia 2019 Pt IX: The “Tokyo” Temple In The Wolverine Movie

Geography has rarely ever been a strong point in movies and ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013) definitely proves that point as it leaps and jumps between different parts of the capital without too much respect for distance or time. I even cycled this trail five years ago in the order of which it appears on screen.

A funeral takes place at Zojoji Temple (4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato-ku) but for some local residents it soon becomes apparent that the action scenes that follow were not shot at this Tokyo location as there are no ponds or water features there. That’s where the Chinese Garden of Friendship comes in. Scenes shot there were blended in with the Zojoji ones to make it seem like it was all at the same place. The reality though is that the two locales are about 7,800 kilometres (4850 miles) apart as the gardens are actually located in Sydney, Australia.


The Chinese Garden of Friendship ($6 entrance) is in Darling Harbour and I intended to visit them on my last trip in 2012 but sadly Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt VIII: To Sydney & Straight Up To Palm Beach For Some Filming!


Visiting the church where Scott and Charlene got married in ‘Neighbours‘ the day before had really got me in the mood for doing some more iconic Aussie filming locations albeit ones from a rival soap. When I first booked a short trip to Sydney, the idea of returning to Palm Beach never even entered my head as it really is quite far north of Sydney and I was on very limited time.

However, once I discovered my friend Ruth and her family were living up that way I thought I’d Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt VII: Fun & Games With The Family

Revisiting Australia was never really in my mind at all until last Autumn when my parents said they were going to visit my sister’s family in Melbourne. My mind then started to wonder if I could go too. Throw in the added bonus of attending the Grand Prix again, going to an A-League game, meeting up with some old friends and I was sold. I also had plenty of holidays to use up at work and so, having been given the green light by my boss, I booked my flight last December. My wife was going to come too albeit for a shorter stint but that sadly got canned due to her work commitments.

The plan was to have a week there before my parents arrived and then spend a few days with them. Sadly a mix-up with the correct dates meant I only had a day with them before I had to return to Tokyo but as they joked, that was more than long enough!!

Following my night flight from Tokyo I arrived in Australia early one Saturday morning in mid-March. After spending a few hours in the city (getting some food and looking round some arty and architectural sights) I headed south by train to Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt VI: At One Of The World’s Most Famous Cricket Grounds But For A Different Ball Game


One of the first things I did on my arrival in Melbourne back in 2001 was visit the iconic MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) for a tour of the ground and the various museums within it. Live cricket followed the day after that when a couple of friends and I were part of a measly crowd of about 200 to watch a state match between Victoria and Western Australia. When its packed to the rafters, the MCG can actually hold over 100,000 people and 10 months on from that first live match I was back in Melbourne and finally got to Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt V: Going Walkabout In The Wonderfully Named You Yangs


A couple of months before this trip I sent out mails to check the availability of the dozen or so people I know that live in Australia. The vast majority of them have emigrated from England with one of them being critically acclaimed dark fiction writer Mark who I used to work with in Hull (UK). I left that job in January 2001 to go backpacking in Australia for a year (plus extended travel in New Zealand, Fiji and California) so hadn’t seen him since my not-so-emotional departure.

The original idea had just been to meet up in a cafe or restaurant for a few hours but a week before my departure he asked if I was interested in going hiking in the You Yangs. Amazingly I had actually heard of them as I had recently been researching the filming locations for ‘Killer Elite‘ (2011). The action thriller, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, was filmed in Victoria with many parts of the state doubling up for Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt IV: The Art & Architecture Of Melbourne

Having stayed in Melbourne for a combined total of about five months over multiple visits, sightseeing was not too high on my list of priorities for this trip. There were of course some places I wanted to revisit as well as some “new” sights.


On my last trip to Melbourne seven years ago I wandered around various lanes and alleyways like AC/DC Lane, Hosier Lane and Duckboard Place as the latter portrayed “London” in the fairly awful film ‘Queen Of The Damned‘ (2002). There was hardly a soul in sight back then. Admittedly there was far less graffiti (sorry, I mean street art!) but these areas, particularly Hosier Lane, have since gone on to become highly Continue reading

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Australia 2019 Pt III: The Church Where Scott & Charlene Got Married In Neighbours!

It was the wedding that captured the hearts and minds of the UK when just under 20 million people watched Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue) tie the knot in the Australian soap ‘Neighbours‘. It originally aired in Australia on July 1st, 1987 but us Brits didn’t see it till November the following year as these were very different times. It would be hard to imagine such a scenario now in an era of YouTube, streaming and social media. What’s quite amazing is that the two UK episodes aired on BBC1 at 1:30 pm and 5:35 pm which are not exactly renowned peak viewing times.

The church where it was filmed is a little Continue reading

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