Moonlight Cinema, Brisbane

Cinema1As the big screen spluttered to life, a hush fell over the gathered audience.

The air smelt of hot buttery popcorn mixed with insect repellent and bats in the nearby fig trees competed with the rustling of bean bags as we settled in for a three-hour adventure to Middle Earth.

This was summer in Brisbane at its very best.

Set in New Farm Park, with the Brisbane Powerhouse as backdrop, the Opel Moonlight Cinema is once again edging closer to the end of its season and this year I was determined not to miss out.

Attending an outdoor cinema has been on my bucket list since before there was an actual list to tick off.

I’ve made numerous attempts to attend outdoor cinemas but most were rained out or plans were cast aside in favour of another event.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across an outdoor cinema in Valencia, Spain, which was showing the Ben Stiller action comedy Tropic Thunder in English—but given we discovered it after the movie started, we had to make do with watching it while propped up on a retaining wall, outside the official area.

On Saturday night—a balmy summer eve in Brisbane—Rish, Liam and I made our way to New Farm Park armed with a picnic blanket, cheese and nibbles and a packet of Killer Pythons to watch The Hobbit.

Because outdoor movies and bean bags seem to go hand in hand, we splurged the extra $7 each (tickets were $16 for adults) to rent a super comfortable ‘Grass Class’ outdoor bean bag chair.

And then it was on with the show!

There was the occasional slap of hand on skin as the mozzies indulged on their captive audience, but that’s what it made it so enjoyable.

And—in true Queensland style—a cane toad even bounced past our feet at one stage.

Halfway through the movie I looked up and discovered that the clouds had parted and we were sitting under the real stars. Then, as the temperature cooled down, blankets came out of picnic baskets and couples cosied down on their bean bags and pillows.

Although The Hobbit wasn’t my first choice of movie (our viewing of Silver Linings Playbook over the Australia Day long weekend had been cancelled due to the wild weather), I enjoyed it none the less.

For those who haven’t yet experienced the outdoor cinema, there are still a few sessions remaining in the season, including a preview screening of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, new releases Pitch Perfect and Hitchcock and classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (being screened on Valentine’s Day for all the hopeless romantics) and Pulp Fiction.

If packing a picnic isn’t your style, the on site catering van has a variety of street food to choose from including Salt & Pepper Squid with Kewpie Mayonnaise, Classic Hot Dog with Grilled Onions Ketchup & Mustard, Pulled Pork & Southwest Slaw’ Sandwich with Pickles or a box of Dumplings.

For me, no movie screening is complete without a trip to the Candy Bar and with sweets treats such as Churros w/ Cinnamon Sugar, Magnums, Malteasers and popcorn on offer, there is something for everyone!

While it’s BYO picnic baskets, it’s not BYO booze but those after an alcoholic drink can indulge in a section of beer, wine and ciders.

Opel Moonlight Cinema also run summer sessions in Adelaide, Perth, Port Douglas, Melbourne and Sydney.

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