Ever heard of Sun Picture Garden? No, probably not, unless you’re a movie theater buff. Sun Picture Garden is the world’s oldest outdoor picture garden in Broome, Western Australia. Lucky for you and me, Sun Pictures Movies is still in operation.
Life in a self-contained campervan is amazing but not necessarily the most luxurious. So my boyfriend and I had plans to stop in Broome for a few days. These plans included relaxation, some beers, laundry and much needed showers. And of course there’s no way our travels would be complete without a visit to Sun Picture Garden.
So after a day well spent in the sun, we packed the cooler full of chips and pineapple juice, parked the van and stepped into history.
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Sun Pictures Movies – History of Sun Picture Garden
Built in 1916, I half expected to see women in below-the-knee dresses and men with cuffed, ankle-length trousers. However, upon entry, a man at a single, wooden ticket booth selling tickets for $17 greeted me with a smile.
Sun Pictures Movies – Watch Movies under the Stars
Unless you were specifically looking for the theater you might miss it as it sits on an unsuspecting street neighbored by cafes, shops and grocery stores. The exterior is marked with a sign that says ‘Sun Pictures’ in bright light bulbs. Wood makes up the entirety of the building and roughly 150 canvas lawn chairs sit on the floor facing the screen, half under cover and half under the stars. I highly recommend that if weather permits and the sky is clear to sit in the uncovered seating. Nothing beats watching a movie with someone you love and star gazing before the movie starts.
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Sun Pictures Movies – Beware of Mosquitos
It’s important that no matter where you sit you prepare for mosquitos, or mozzies as they’re commonly called in Australia. Repellant is necessary. After about 10 minutes of siting in our chairs, Mac, my partner, and I ran out to the van to cover ourselves in the magical spray that keeps them away.
Sun Pictures Movies – Movie Snacks
Realizing on the way back to our seats that chips and juice wouldn’t be sufficient for our movie experience, we made our way to concessions because 1) what kind of snacks are chips and juice and 2) can you go to a theater without indulging in a sweet treat? We opted for an ice cream called Choc Top. Other snacks are offered like popcorn, candy and pizza. However, if you’re feeling slightly hungrier there is a small café with a chalkboard menu. You are also free to bring in your own snacks and drinks, except alcohol.
I felt like a child again. I loved everything about this place. As I was sitting in my chair I kept thinking about how many people had sat in those chairs before me. How many generations has this theater seen? How has the clothing changed since it opened? How had film progressed since films in 1916 were made? A piece of history preserved in Western Australia.
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Sun Pictures Movies – Latest Movies
Even though we sat in history, we didn’t necessarily watch it. Meaning Sun Picture Garden shows new releases. It’s a win-win. Mac and I lucked out and were in Broome as they were showing Beauty and the Beast. I had been dying to see it since it came out, but life on the road makes it a little difficult to plan being in towns that not only have a theater but also have showings that we could make. And after seeing my friends rave about how amazing the movie was on Facebook, I couldn’t wait any longer. And I agree, it was amazing.
If you ever find yourself in Broome, whether you’re flying or driving, Sun Picture Garden should definitely be a stop. It’s enchanting and perfect for couples, families, friends, anyone.
This was my favorite memory of Broome. So visiting, passing through or living in Broome, go to Sun Picture Garden.
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About the Traveler
Chelsea is a 24-year-old Texas native currently living in Melbourne, Australia with her partner. After graduating from Texas State University with a double major in journalism and sociology, she worked as an event coordinator in Austin, Texas. It is there where she met her partner and fellow adventurer, Mac. Chelsea has traveled across three continents, and with her recent move to Australia, is changing that number to four. She and her partner are currently exploring the land down under in a 1985 Volkswagen van as they were both keen to experience van life.
You can follow Chelsea’s travels by following her on Instagram at @chelseaseifert
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