New South Wales has been chosen as a movie backdrop time and time again – for good reason. The landscape across the state ranges from the dramatic peaks of the Snowy Mountains to the ravishing red soil of the outback. And in between there is the rainforest of the North Coast hinterland, and the blissful beaches of the South Coast’s fishing villages. Here are just some of the spots where cameras have captured the action.
Close your eyes and picture the colours of Australia: the vast ochre deserts spiked with shrubs, endless blue horizons… and not much else. This is the frontier setting that greets you in Broken Hill and Silverton, creating the perfect backdrop for blockbusters including Mad Max 2, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mission Impossible and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia.
Broken Hill began its life as a mining town, and operators such as Silver City Tours offer outback excursions revealing just what lies beneath. Some 40 kilometres northwest, Silverton’s remarkably well-preserved 19th-century buildings also offer a glimpse into the region’s prosperous history. The Silverton Hotel, built circa 1880, has starred in all manner of flicks, and to commemorate its role on the big screen, the town is home to the Mad Max Museum.
A comedy about the contribution of the Parkes Radio Telescope to the 1969 Apollo Moon landing, The Dish was filmed in the country NSW town of Parkes. You can visit the CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory, which is 20 kilometres north of town, and discover the research this immense structure is contributing to.
The Snowy Mountains feature in 2006’s Jindabyne, a crime mystery starring Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney, as well as the classic Man from Snowy River, based on Banjo Patterson's epic poem of the same name. You, too, can jump on the back of a horse to explore the bucolic countryside.
In the Southern Highlands is the atmospheric town of Robertson, the location of the feel-good family flick Babe and sequel Babe: Pig in the City.
Most people come to Bermagui on the South Coast for its glorious beaches, scenic coastal walks and big-game fishing; others linger to see where The Man Who Sued God, starring Billy Connolly, was filmed. It’s a sparkling backdrop, as you’ll fast discover. Further north in Kiama, Ben Mendelson stole the show in the heartfelt 2001 drama Mullet.
From its harbour to its swathes of national parkland, Sydney is undeniably one of the world’s prettiest cities. It’s a natural film set, some might say. But don’t take our word for it – look at the long list of directors who have set up cameras around town. The Great Gatsby was filmed across the city and its surrounds – the Gatsby Mansion was part of the International College of Management in Manly – including Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains and Waverly Cemetery.
The Matrix trilogy, Muriel’s Wedding, Mission Impossible 2 and classic Baz Luhrmann comedy Strictly Ballroom were also shot at various locations across Sydney.
The city is also home to Fox Studios in Moore Park, where a number of blockbusters have been filmed, including Gods of Egypt, Star Wars Episode 2 and 3, Planet of the Apes, Moulin Rouge and Thor: Love and Thunder.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.