Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Filming Locations
Crack In The Earth
The text and photographs below were generously sent to me by David Seymour. David can be reached via the discussion forum. Enjoy!
The following photos of Marmaids Cave were taken in April 2004. First of all, how to get there. Unless you know where to look you will miss it. From Sydney you drive up the Great Western Highway into the Blue Mountains. Eventually you pass through Katoomba, then Medlow Bath (where the Hydro Majestic is) and then Blackheath. As you drive into town you come to a set of traffic lights where you turn left and drive over the railway tracks and turn left straight away. You follow this road down where a sign points you to turn right towards Megalong Valley & Shipley. Drive along here for a kilometre or so until you arrive at a cross road with big signs in front of you (you can't miss it!). turn left here to start snaking down into the Megalong Valley. This road is a sixty kph zone, is well sealed and does get a little tight in places. A couple of kilometres down you'll come to a sweeping right-hand bend. On the right-hand side you will see an open area (see photo below), this is where you need to park. Opposite this parking area (from where I took the photo) you will see a metal signpost (with no sign attached) and a track leading into the bush. It's only a short walk to Mermaid's Cave but can be quite steep walking down the steps carved out of the natural rock. There are hand rails in the steeper sections.
You then arrive at this point. You know straight away what it is and you know that you are in for something special. In the movie this is the tall gap in the rocks which you see from the bottom only. The sound of the waterfall is very pleasant. In Thunderdome this area is known as the "crack in the earth" but the only crack you'll see at Mermaids Cave is the rocks on either side of this path as you walk down.
When you get to the bottom and look back at where you came from you'll see this. It looks very different in the movie with all the wood scaffolding and kids running all over the place.
If you freeze the movie at 59 minutes 41 seconds you'll see this. If you look carefully at the movie you will see a wet area in the top left-hand corner of the screen as well as water trickling in front of Max into a pool. In real life the waterfall is there but you'd need some good runoff for it to reach where Max is sitting (where the water hits the ground it soaks straight into the ground without any runoff). However, for the pool to be that deep in real life the film-makers would have needed to constuct a small dam wall to get the water to that height.
1 hour and 25 seconds into the movie we see Slaker walking out of a small hut past what looks like a tree and large rock as one peice. Here it is ! Go forward a few more seconds and you'll see the steps in the ground next to the rock. These steps are everywhere and without them it would be a hard place to get around in.
50 minutes and 2 seconds into the movie. I took this photo from the rock ledge where Slake rides his flying fox over the heads of the kids and Max. Makes me wonder if they cleared out a lot of vegetation for filming.
The last two photos below were sent to me by Nick Frame, who also sent the pictures of the crashed 747 set. The photos were taken after filming was completed, but before the sets were dismantled. The first photo shows Max's hut, the second photo shows a fake wall which had been built at the site as part of the set.