ABC International Studios’
Reef Break, Queensland

Reef Break is an action adventure crime series starring Poppy Montgomery. With its roots in Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum P.I., it was filmed in Queensland for ABC International Studios. Guy Louthan executive produced.

Having shot Time Traveller on the Gold Coast in Queensland in 2010, Louthan was keen to return: making Reef Break in the state was a no-brainer, he says.
“Ultimately our story, set in an unnamed Pacific Island paradise, would fit anywhere but while we were developing the series we knew that what we needed was readily available on the Gold Coast.

“We had a familiarity with Queensland as I had worked there and [star and Co-producer] Poppy Montgomery is Australian. With a show like Reef Break, we knew Queensland would provide us with everything we needed,” says Louthan, adding he loved the locations and had a great experience at Village Roadshow Studios.

“We briefly considered Hawaii but it’s technically difficult. Locations within the islands are difficult and more remote and there were restrictions about where we could shoot on private land. We can get the same look and feel here more cost effectively.

“The nature of series TV is that it’s months and months of continuous shooting. We had two units running all the time. You have to all get along, as it’s very hard work and a lot of work to achieve in a short frame. The people we had on set were great and I can’t say enough about the quality and experience of the Australian crews. They are brilliant.”

While Reef Break is able to showcase the beach scene and surf culture that Queensland is known for, Australia is not all golden sands and clear tropical waters.

“What’s great about Queensland is that there are a lot of choices as far as locations go and everything is there within a short space physically and in terms of time,” says Louthan. “We used built-up urban downtown areas, with the Gold Coast having a unique urban look which is a great counterpoint to the holiday feel of the beaches, which are right there as well.

“Then you can be up in the mountains and the rainforest in 40 minutes so it’s all incredibly convenient. The experience of the crews and the film-friendly local government make a hard job that much easier.”

For Location support please speak to Screen Queensland