Lights, camera, plane ticket! If you're looking for cinematic travel inspiration then these real life Australian filming locations have real big screen appeal.
Read on to be inspired and to make travel plans so you can visit one of these scene-stealing destinations to have your very own celluloid encounter...
DARWIN, THE NT: AUSTRALIA
Baz Luhrmann's blockbuster, Australia, was shot in various NT locations including Darwin
Often cited as a homegrown, contemporary equivalent of Gone With the Wind, Australia is Baz Luhrmann’s homage to Hollywood’s golden age.
Set against a backdrop of World War II, the 2008 historical drama (starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman) showcases amazing Top End scenery with its capital city, Darwin, in particular getting a lead role. Fans should head to the historic Stokes Hill Wharf - the location of the infamous bombing of Darwin, which was portrayed in the movie. Afterwards relive the experience via the recently opened virtual reality Bombing of Darwin experience.
WHITSUNDAYS, QLD: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
A scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise showing the idyllic Whitsundays
For Caribbean-like tropical islands, execs behind the fifth instalment of the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise knew that the idyllic Whitsundays was the place to go.
The swashbuckling movie was filmed entirely in the Sunshine state (including the Gold Coast studios, The Spit and Moreton Bay) but its the beauty of the cluster of islands that are especially scene-stealing, in particular Whitehaven Beach.One of the world's most photographed beaches, the pure white sand here can clearly be seen in the pricey production.
Wannabe pirates can make like Johnny Depp and get ‘shipwrecked’ on the award-winning beach by jumping about one of the many boat tours that sail the mini archipelago. One of the best is the Lady Enid. Hosting up to 24 guests in barefoot luxury, the timber vessel offers island hopping and includes Whitehaven on most of her itineraries.
ALICE SPRINGS AND KINGS CREEK STATION, THE NT: TRACKS
The movie adaptation of memoir, Tracks, was shot partly in Alice Springs
Adapted for the screen in 2013, Tracks tells the real life story of Robyn Davidson who, in the late-70s trekked 2,700-kilometres from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean accompanied only by four camels and her dog. The movie retraced the adventurer’s steps and today fans of the flick can do the same by getting an introduction to cameleering at working cattle and camel station, Kings Creek Station. Or, for a quintessential NT Instagram snap, get into the saddle for a camel ride through the outback.
BROKEN HILL, NSW: PRICILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT
The stars of Pricilla Queen of the Desert in Broken Hill's mural-covered Palace Hotel
The beloved 1994 classic sees drag queens (Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp) set forth on a cross-country adventure from Sydney to Alice Springs in an old tour bus.
Much of the movie was shot 1,000-kilometres west of Sydney in the outback mining town of Broken Hill, including a memorable stopover at Mario’s Palace (now the Palace Hotel). Numerous scenes were filmed at the hotel and its mural-covered walls are instantly recognisable. Accommodation now ranges from dorms and family rooms through to the famous ‘Priscilla Suite.’
COCKATOO ISLAND, SYDNEY, NSW: X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Hugh Jackman in a scene from X-Men Origins: Wolverine shot at Sydney's Cockatoo Island
Only a short ferry ride from the city centre, Cockatoo Island is one of Australia's most fascinating historical sites. It’s also becoming a go-to for big screen productions. Indeed, visit and eagle eyed movie-goers might just recognise scenes from one blockbuster in particular: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Transformed into the ‘Three Mile Island’ abandoned nuclear power complex - where Hugh Jackman’s character memorably bursts naked from a tank of liquid and then makes his escape - the island is both the largest island in the famed harbour, and the only one where you can stay overnight.
KAKADU, THE NT: CROCODILE DUNDEE
The Crocodile Dundee movie put Australia's Kakadu national park on the tourism radar
With its vast deserts, crocodile-infested wetlands, geological wonders and sacred aboriginal sites, it’s little wonder that 1986’s Crocodile Dundee put the previously unknown Kakadu on the tourism radar. Another surprise global hit, the fish-out-of-water tale starring Paul Hogan as croc hunter, Mick Dundee, was shot between New York and the now World Heritage-listed National Park.
For travellers looking to retrace Mick’s steps and go walkabout in the country’s rugged heartland, there’s more than 20,000-square-kilometres of spectacular wilderness to explore, from parched red landscapes and rushing waterfalls, to towering gorges and (of course) crocodile encounters.
TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN AND BRISBANE, QLD: THOR: RAGNAROK
Thor: Ragnarok was shot in star, Chris Hemsworth's, native Australia
Chosen as a location by Marvel Studios because of its “diverse settings”, filming of the third Thor movie took place in southeast Queensland and one of the most identifiable locations is the lush green rainforest on Tamborine Mountain.
The beautiful area on the Scenic Rim is an easy hour’s drive away from Brisbane’s CBD, which stood in for downtown New York, while another nearby location, Oxenford Quarry, was turned into a sci-fi wasteland, doubling as the planet Sakaar.
DARLING HARBOUR, SYDNEY, NSW : MURIEL’S WEDDING
The wedding scene of iconic 90s flick, Muriel's Wedding, was filmed in Sydney
The 1994 AFI Award winning film made global stars of its leading ladies, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.
While the Goldie was a prominent filming location, after Muriel escaped her humdrum life in Porpoise Spit it was the bright lights of Sydney that became the setting for her transformation into ‘Mariel’ and her big white wedding. And St Mark’s Church in the harbourside suburb of Darling Point was where she walked up the aisle. Fictional nuptials aside, the venue was also where singer Elton John said ‘I do’ the first time round.
MANLY, SYDNEY, NSW: THE GREAT GATSBY
The majority of The Great Gatsby movie was shot in various locations across Sydney
Another big budget production from Baz, his adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel raked in more than $350 million at the box office. The production saw a cast of Hollywood heavyweights descend upon Sydney to transform it into 1920s New York. The focal point in the movie was the Disneyland-like mansion, where Gatsby - aka Leonardo DiCaprio - hosted his lavish bashes. In reality the grand pad is the International College of Management in Manly on Sydney’s North Shore. Also the the location of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s wedding, the structure was given a Tinseltown makeover to transform it into the Long Island Mansion with plenty of fake ivy and a temporary fountain in its courtyard.
The beach below Gatsby’s mansion was at Botany Bay; the fictional estate grounds scenes were shot at the pretty Centennial Park; while the funeral scenes were shot at the coastal Waverley Cemetery, near Bondi.