Open Air Cinema
Outdoor Cinema Movies in Sydney Australia

Summer in Sydney Australia means open air cinema.   Whether in a park, or on the big screen which emerges from the harbour.   From latest releases to classics, see them under the stars.   Sydney's outdoor cinemas go from ticketed seats with champagne to picnic blankets and free films.

Sydney Harbour Cinema screen coming out of the water Can movie locations get better than this?


It's one for the romantics. Outdoor cinemas for magic movies. Add it to your Valentines ideas.

First catch the sunset. A glass of bubbles or cold white wine, something to eat, watch the stars come out, and then the film starts. Oh my!

Harbourside Open Air Cinemas

Sydney's jewel in the crown for open air cinemas is without doubt St George Open Air Cinema at the Fleet Steps Mrs Macquarie's Point, Sydney.

This is the most upmarket of all Sydney's outdoor cinemas. You'll enjoy very comfortable, ticketed seats, see previews, recent releases, classics and Australian movies. There's also a bar and restaurant on site.

The 2012 season runs from 11 January to 18 February.     Movies showtimes for 2012.

Audience at the outdoor cinema on Sydney harbour Cinema snob?   Come to Sydney's local cinema!

Advance bookings are recommended. These films sell out very quickly.

And yet . . .

. . . there are always a few tickets reserved for sale on the day.

So you might want to wait and see how the weather is.

Be prepared to miss out though.

You might get lucky, but if you really want to have this experience you'd be better off taking the risk on the weather rather than on getting last minute tickets.

Why not finish a happy Australia Day with an outdoor film?

They have a very strange seating allocation system in place here. People arrive early, write their name on a card and put the card on their choice of seat. Then they wander off to eat, drink and be merry. The seat stays reserved for them.

So if you get there just a little early you'll be faced with row on row of chairs with names but no people in them. Then it's a matter of finding what's left. So in one way it's good to get there early and do the card reservation dance. But don't feel you have to.

There are no bad seats and there are enough seats. It's just a little confusing when you first arrive. Grab an usher and she'll find you available spots. If you have a big group, though, you'd better get there early if you all want to sit together.

Moonlight Cinema, Centennial Park

This is one to put together a wine picnic basket for. Especially if you like the cult film genre.

Cult, classic and new release films are shown nightly (except Monday) at Centennial Park Paddington, a short bus ride from downtown Sydney. The season opens on 8 December and runs until 25 March.

Gates open at 1830 (6.30pm) and screenings start at sundown.

Tickets are available online and at the box office near the cinema's entry from 1900 (7pm). Very popular movies may have very limited availability on site, so it's best to check what's on and book online beforehand.

You can bring your own picnic, or there's a full bar and food to buy on site. Picnic hampers should be able to be booked online along with your ticket.

Girl with orange umbrella as a sunshade Outdoor cinema Sydney

Easy food ideas: olives, sundried tomatoes, goat's cheese and sourdough bread Take a picnic basket backpack

Trees against a sunset Enjoy the sunset images

Book Gold Grass tickets for a reserved bean bed in a premium viewing location on the lawn. Or you can just hire bean beds when you arrive (subject to rather limited availability) to keep you off the grass and allow you to lounge around in comfort.

The Moonlight Cinema has discount movie tickets on Wednesdays. All discount tickets are AUD$12 (except for previews, when tickets are normal price). Gold Grass tickets are discounted to AUD$25 on Wednesdays.

Bondi Beach Sydney Outdoor Cinema

A day at the beach doesn't have to end at sundown. Stay on to watch open air movies right on Bondi Beach Sydney.

Bondi Beach Pavillion Pavilion at Bondi beach - Open air cinema on the side.

Bondi Openair promises an eclectic line up of quirky comedies, retro classics, great Australian films, award winning films, new releases, premieres and sneak previews.

Dates are usually from late January till early March, so your February vacation is catered for too.

In 2012 it's from 29 January to 4 March.

Movie schedules are generally released late in the year.

Deck chairs, bean bags and picnic blankets can be hired.

There's a good selection of food and drink available on site and all along Campbell Parade: food and drink outlets cheek by jowl down the full length of the beach.

Starlight Cinema, North Sydney Oval

Just across the harbour, North Sydney Oval is always less crowded than the others.

It runs Wednesday to Sunday. In 2012 it goes from 18 January to 4 March.

Like the other open air cinemas it has food and drink to buy if you don't want to bring your own.

Most importantly, it offers shelter if it rains. No dripping under plastic macs or needing windscreen wipers on your glasses.

The film selection is fairly mainstream - Mel Gibson movies, true story movies, some of recent best comedy movies, family movies and even a few of the top 100 movies ever.

Tickets can be bought at the gate but they're cheaper online.

Choose from a smorgasbord of extras - hampers, bean beds, deck chairs, VIP service.

Short Film Festivals

The internationally acclaimed Tropfest heads the Sydney lineup of free short films over summer. Smaller and with a charm of its own is Flickerfest, beachside at Bondi every January.

And if the weather's inclement, or you just don't feel like a movie, don't forget all the other Festival of Sydney events on over January. You're spoilt for choice.