Film locations in Sydney & NSW

Lights, camera, action! From local movies to big budget blockbusters, Sydney and NSW have had a starring role in many films. Read our list of the top locations you might recognise on screen.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Apr 2024 -
min read

The Great Gatsby  

Famed Australian director Baz Luhrmann used a little movie magic to recreate 1920s New York in his hometown of Sydney for the 2013 movie The Great Gatsby. The St Patrick’s College building in Manly (now the International College of Management) served as the exterior of Jay Gatsby’s lavish mansion. The former White Bay Power Station was transformed into the desolate Valley of the Ashes and Nick Carraway’s bungalow was built in Centennial Park. Other locations featured include the Waverley Cemetery, Richmond Polo Club, Rivendell health facility in Concord, The King’s School in Parramatta and Breenhold Gardens in the Blue Mountains. 

Family enjoying a visit to the Breenhold Gardens in Mount Tomah, Blue Mountains

Breenhold Gardens in Mount Tomah, Blue Mountains

The Fall Guy 

In early 2023 Hollywood superstar Ryan Gosling shut down the Sydney Harbour Bridge to film scenes for The Fall Guy. A thrilling chase takes place across the bridge with Gosling (or his stunt double) hanging off the back of a speeding truck. Sydney Harbour and the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House feature prominently, there’s a boat chase through Rushcutters Bay, and more of the action also takes place in areas around Circular Quay, Elizabeth Street and Martin Place. Beach scenes were filmed in Kurnell in the Sutherland Shire. 

Friends enjoying a scenic drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Anyone But You 

You could almost think of Sydney as the third starring actor in 2023’s Anyone But You. The romantic comedy has the couple galivanting across the city, with major scenes filmed in front of the Sydney Opera House, on a yacht at Pittwater, outside the Queen Victoria Building, at Jones Bay Wharf and in Double Bay. Most of the glorious beach scenes were filmed at Palm Beach and the movie’s central wedding takes place in Marks Park in Tamarama. 

The Matrix Trilogy 

Released in 1999, The Matrix was one of the first major international movies to be filmed in Australia. Unfortunately, major landmarks were edited out to make the location feel more generic, but savvy viewers will be able to recognise the city skyline. Many scenes were filmed around the CBD, including the Colonial State Bank Building (where Morpheus was held captive) and the iconic Lloyd Rees fountain in Martin Place. The helicopter flight scenes give you the best overview of the city, with its sparkling skyscrapers unfurling below. 

People crossing the street at Martin Place, Sydney CBD

Martin Place, Sydney CBD

Mission: Impossible 2 

Sydney took centre stage in Mission: Impossible 2, also released in 1999, with the harbour and its icons featuring in multiple scenes. The historic Bare Island Fort in La Perouse serves as the villain’s fortified hideout and at one point Tom Cruise rides his motorbike across the footbridge through a ball of flame. The famous motorcycle duel on the rocks was filmed just up the coast at Boora Point in Malabar. Other recognisable locations include Randwick Racecourse and the lavish Boomerang mansion in Elizabeth Bay, one of Sydney’s most expensive houses. In a bit of movie trickery, Argyle Street in The Rocks stands in for Seville, Spain. 

Blak Markets on Bare Island, La Perouse

Blak Markets on Bare Island Fort, La Perouse

Strictly Ballroom 

Strictly Ballroom was Baz Luhrmann’s first movie – released in 1992, it was based on a short play he wrote and produced at NIDA in 1984. The film was almost entirely shot in Sydney, mainly around the Inner West. The striking art deco Petersham Town Hall served as the backdrop for the most flamboyant dance scenes and the fictional dance studio Kendall’s is on Marrickville Road, though the façade has now been redeveloped. 

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 

Credited with putting drag into the mainstream in Australia, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert became as famous for its spectacular filming locations as for its outrageous costumes when it was released in 1994. The movie begins and ends in Sydney. with scenes shot at The Imperial Hotel in Erskineville. The pub has hosted drag shows for more than 40 years and is still an icon of the LGBT community – the restaurant is even called Priscilla’s. Once the trio set off into the outback, many scenes were filmed around Broken Hill and the historic Palace Hotel gets a starring role. Movie buffs can spend the night in the Priscilla Suite where the characters stayed. 

Drag Queen at Priscillas, Erskineville

Priscillas at The Imperial, Erskineville


Another Baz Luhrmann epic, 2008’s Australia was filmed all over the country but there are a few Sydney spots you might recognise. The heritage-listed Strickland House in Vaucluse doubled for Darwin’s Government House as the setting for an elegant ball. Camelot is a grand home in the suburb of Camden on the outskirts of Sydney. It stood in for the English home of Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) at the start of the film. 

Exterior view and gardens of Strickland House, Vaucluse

Strickland House, Vaucluse

Peter Rabbit 

English author Beatrix Potter set her Peter Rabbit books in the Lake District, famous for its rolling green countryside and storybook villages. When it came time to film the movies (in 2018 and 2021), Sydney’s Centennial Park was chosen to stand in for this quintessential slice of English countryside. The houses featured in the movies were sets, so you won’t find them in the park, but you will recognise the lush leafy surrounds. Central Station also had a role, standing in for London’s Paddington Station, as did Mortuary Station, which served as a quiet country station in the Lakes District.  

Resident ducks waddling across the lawns in Centennial Parklands

Centennial Parklands, Moore Park

Superman Returns 

Watching Superman Returns is like taking a tour of Sydney on film. The 2006 superhero flick was filmed all over the city, including Wynyard Station, the Lloyd Rees fountain in Martin Place, the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian Museum. Rivendell health facility in Concord serves as Lex Luther’s mansion, Lois Lane lives on James Cook Island in Sylvania Waters, and Narrabeen Beach stands in for a tropical island. 

Muriel’s Wedding 

If you’d like to act out your own wedding fantasies in the spirit of Muriel from PJ Hogan’s iconic 1994 comedy, you can at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Darling Point. This is where Muriel married South African swimmer David Van Arkle. You can also walk down Oxford Street in Darlinghurst to see where Muriel and Rhonda got their first jobs in the big city, however, the facades look very different from their 90s heyday. 


The 2014 World War 2 drama Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, was filmed entirely in Australia. Cockatoo Island was transformed into a Japanese prisoner of war camp, with the striking concrete buildings and industrial docks creating an authentically chilling atmosphere. Scenes were also filmed at Blacktown International Sports Park and Camden’s Onslow Park. Outside of Sydney, the small town of Werris Park near Tamworth was reborn as a small town in 1920s California. 

Family enjoying a self-guided audio tour on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour

Mad Max 

The first Mad Max film was released in 1979 and is credited with catapulting the Australian film industry (as well as a young Mel Gibson) onto the global stage. There are now five movies in the franchise and two have been filmed in NSW. Mad Max 2: Beyond Thunderdome was filmed around the ghost town of Silverton, close to Broken Hill – visit the town’s Mad Max 2 Museum for a huge collection of memorabilia. For 2024’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the Riverina town of Hay stars as the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Some scenes were also filmed at an old sand mine in Kurnell in the south of Sydney. 

Exterior view of the Mad Max 2 Museum, Silverton

Mad Max 2 Museum, Silverton 


The bucolic countryside around Robertson in the Southern Highlands created the idyllic setting for Babe in 1995 and Babe 2: Pig in the City in 1998. While Hogget’s Farm was a set constructed for the movies, many scenes were filmed in the gardens of the historic Robertson Hotel and you can even spot the hotel itself in the background of the movie. The final scene, where Babe achieves his sheep-pig dreams, was filmed at the Moss Vale Showground. 

Scenic aerial of Robertson, Southern Highlands

Robertson, Southern Highlands

The Dish 

Telling the story of Parkes Observatory’s role in the moon landing, the 2000 film The Dish was mostly filmed on location in NSW where the real events took place. The observatory’s huge radio telescope is the star of the movie and you can visit today to learn the story behind the incredible feat. The town of Forbes, around 30km away, stood in for 1960s era Parkes thanks to its well-preserved heritage buildings. 

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