Watch the sunset from the tropical gardens, grab a meal and a drink, and enjoy a film under the Northern Territory stars.
What better way to enjoy views of a tropical harbour than in an outdoor cinema under the night sky? During the dry season in Darwin, outdoor films are screened every night after sunset. Enjoy the tropical gardens, pick up a meal before the movie starts and settle down in your beach chair.
Deckchair Cinema is run by the Darwin Film Society, and it is fully independent, so the films on offer are often not shown in mainstream cinemas. The movie theatre shows more Australian films than its commercial counterparts, so it’s a great place to immerse yourself in Australian cinema and support Australian filmmakers.
Films run from late April to November. During September, the Darwin International Film Festival brings a selection of international films to the Deckchair Cinema.
Outdoor cinemas have been a favourite gathering point for friends and families in Darwin since the 1920s. The first screenings took place in corrugated iron housing, with a piano accompaniment. This was succeeded by a purpose-built cinema, called The Star, where the audience would often join in sing-alongs during the intervals. This was a place where indigenous Australians, Chinese miners and Anglo-Saxon settlers could all enjoy the pictures together. The Star was sadly lost in the devastation of Cyclone Tracey in 1974.
Various restaurants and catering companies supply the cinema with a range of hot food every night. You can enjoy a meal and a drink before your movie starts, or you can eat while watching the big screen. Thursdays are Fundraising Nights, so support the local community by buying hot food and hot drinks with cakes from local groups on those evenings.
Deckchair Cinema is located on the edge of Darwin Harbour, just down from the War Memorial car park on the Esplanade. Parking in nearby lots is free. Tickets cost around the same as in regular Australian cinemas, and they can be bought online. The outdoor facility seats 400 people and is closed during the wet season (November to April).