On 12th February 2001 I stepped onto Australian soil for the first time ready to spend a years working holiday travelling around the huge island. Over the years I’ve returned for a couple more visits but it was that original trip which gave me the travel bug and was actually where I visited my first filming locations. To commemorate that visit exactly 13 years on (everyone celebrates 13th anniversaries right!!) we here at Beyond The Movies present you with the Top 5……Australia filming locations.
1. Pin Oak Court, Melbourne: ‘Neighbours‘ (1985 – Present) – I’ve now racked up four visits to this famous soap opera street in South Melbourne and it has to be said there’s something exciting about going to a location which features so regularly on our screens. More details here
2. Palm Beach, Sydney: ‘Home & Away‘ (1988 – Present) – This northern beachside suburb has provided the backdrop for so many of this soap’s memorable moments and is a great place in its own right whether you’ve seen the show or not. More details here
3. Bare Island, La Peruse, Bottany Bay: ‘Mission: Impossible II‘ (2000) – The films most iconic image, with Cruise riding his motorcycle through balls of fire as he escapes from the fort, was shot here. More details here
4. Pitt Street Waterfall, Sydney: ‘The Matrix‘ (1999) and ‘Superman Returns‘ (2006) – A double-dose of movie action took place at this circular fountain. There was the distracting woman in the red dress as part of combat training in the former and Superman saves Lex Luthor’s henchwoman Kitty Kowalski in the latter. More detailshere & here.
5. Kings Canyon: ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert‘ (1994) – Yes, its a very famous landmark and I don’t usually go for them as such but given its isolated location in the middle of such a vast land I feel it justifies inclusion. More details here
Can’t say I ever cared too much for this 1999 film but it does have some great action scenes which in some ways compensate for the “as if!” moments. Even though it doesn’t reference Sydney that is where most of it was filmed as the city’s Central Business District portrayed a generic metropolis better than most of its world city counterparts due to the lack of highly recognisable skyscrapers.
Keanu Reeves plays Neo; the computer programmer who leads a double life and is chased down by Matrix agents on 12 mins at the Westpac Plaza (below left) on 273 George Street where he works. He does try to escape from them by climbing out on to the window ledge on 16 mins before admitting defeat and giving himself up for capture.
The combat training featuring the distracting woman in the red dress takes place at Martin Place (above right) on 57 mins where the street meets Pitt Street. This circular fountain is where Morpheus tries to explain something or another about the Matrix and six years later the very same fountain appeared in ‘Superman Returns‘. A screenshot and different photo from that film can be seen here.
Chifley Plaza at 2 Chifley Square is the tower (below left) holding the restaurant which comes on screen after 64 mins where Cypher switches sides over a juicy and delicious steak with Agent Smith whilst uttering some b*llocks about his steak not really existing.
The Westin Hotel at 1 Martin Place (above right) was used for interior shots involving the chase scenes and the ‘deja vu’ cat around the 78 min mark on the hotels grand staircase below.
Above left is the Colonial State Bank Centre which can be found at 52 Martin Place. Agent Smith holds Morpheus captive here on 91 mins after their slowly choreographed fight 27 mins earlier. On 106 mins the Aon Tower (above right) at 201 Kent Street can be seen behind the building rooftop where Neo and Trinity take part in one of the most ridiculous slow-mo shooting scenes in cinema history before they take a helicopter on 107 mins and fly in front of the aforementioned Bank Centre where they fire at the evil Smith and his fellow kidnapping pals. Morpheus leaps for freedom and is miraculously caught by Neo as tends to happen in films. The helicopter then flies over Sydney’s relatively anonymous skyscrapers with them dangling down from it. Having dropped off Morpheus, Neo lands safely on the Allianz Centre (below left) on 110 mins but the helicopter crashes into the British Telecom Tower (below right) opposite it. These two buildings are located at 2 Market Street and 1 Market Street respectively.
Much of the film was of course made in the studio with Fox Studios Australia (below left) in Moore Park being the ones used. ‘Star Wars Episode III‘ and ‘Moulin Rouge‘ among others were also shot here. The corner of Pitt Street and Hunter Street (below right) was the location for the fake phonebox where Neo makes a final phone call to the machines on 128 mins.