Inside James Cameron's immersive, cinematic exhibition Challenging the Deep in Dunedin

Film director James Cameron is known for his Hollywood blockbusters like Titanic, Aliens and Avatar.

But it's his passion for deep-sea explorations that are the focus of a blockbuster exhibition opening in Dunedin. 

The oceans haven't just been a film set for James Cameron, they've been a place of fascination his entire life.

Some details will remain a mystery but now the moviemaker's sharing some of the secrets from inside his expeditions with an immersive and cinematic show, Challenging the Deep.

"It really talks about his passion for exploration, and it sort of illustrates how he's used his moviemaking projects to do some of the things he really loves doing," Otago Museum director Ian Griffin told Newshub. 

Inside is a model of the revolutionary submersible Cameron spent eight hours squeezed into during his historic solo dive in 2012, travelling 11 kilometres down to the deepest point on Earth - the seafloor of the Mariana Trench.

"Working together with a lot of people to make some pretty cool things happen, to go down into the deep sea," Otago Museum exhibition designer Shanaya Allan said. 

"There is a lot of James Cameron fans out there, and we hope that they'll make the trip down."

Cameron's passion has influenced his choices as a film director from 1989's The Abyss through to the blockbuster hit Titanic. 

Along with a scale model of the wreck, visitors will recognise costumes from the classic movie and props like Rose's 'Heart of the Ocean' necklace.

Challenging the Deep premiered in Sydney but Dunedin is its only stopover here.

"Otago Museum is the ideal place to engage the public in the big issues of our future," Cameron said. 

The show is open from Sunday, July 21 and runs through until February.