Combating Cancelled Travel Plans with Aussie Movies

Like many others my holiday plans for the year have been cancelled. None of us know when, or if, we will be able to resume interstate or overseas travel.

To combat my disappointment that all plans have ‘gone out the window’ I’ve become the consummate armchair traveller. With a pot of tea and a biscuit – or a wine and cheese platter – I have blended my love of different landscapes with my interest in movies, particularly Australian movies.

I was a teenager in the 1970s when the so-called Australian Film Renaissance became a big deal with a resurgence in popularity of Australian cinema around the world. This movie revival started in 1971 with movies such as Stork and Walkabout and lasted until the late-’80s.

I thought I would share my Top 5 favourite Australian movies that incorporate the beauty and the essence of the Australian landscape. That way we could all participate in some armchair travel during these troubling times. As AA Patawaran once said: “Every story is a ride to some place and time other than here and now. Buried in an armchair, reclined on a couch, prostrate on your bed, or glued to your desk, you can go places and travel through time”.

Red Dog (2011) and prequel, Blue Dog (2016)

In Dampier, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, there’s a statue of a dog, a red kelpie, that was much loved by locals for its hitch-hiking antics and other adventures during the 1970s. British novelist Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin sighted the statue during an Australian holiday, which led to Red’s story becoming the book, Red Dog. The red soil of the Pilbara and all its vastness is magnificent. I couldn’t live there though I’d love to visit — in winter. The Aussie soundtrack is a nostalgia buzz too.

The Man From Snowy River (1982)

Based on the poem of the same name by Banjo Paterson a grizzled yank in the form of Kirk Douglas performed alongside a young Sigrid Thornton, Tom Burlinson with Jack Thompson in the role of Clancy of the Overflow. It doesn’t matter how pretty Miss Thornton was as a lass, the spectacular views of the Victorian High Country remain the hero of this movie.

Top End Wedding (2019)

Starring Miranda Tapsell and Gwilym Lee this is a fun little movie highlighting tropical suburban Darwin, Katherine Gorge and Jabiru in the Northern Territory and the Tiwi Islands off the Darwin coastline. The Northern Territory Government actually used parts of this film as a tourism campaign because the scenery was just so spectacular. The Tiwi Islands are on my ‘Must Do’ travel list once coronavirus is off the shelf.

Tracks (2013)

Based on the true story of Australian Robyn Davidson who set out on a 2,700-kilometre trek across Western Australia, starting at Alice Springs and finishing at the Indian Ocean, with only four camels and a dog for company. The deserts of Western Australia were far too hot and inhospitable so the portrayal of the desert scenes were completed west of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Brutal.

The Sum of Us (1994)

A young Russell Crowe plays Jack Thompson’s son — a bizarre thought in itself. Young Russell is gay and Jack is a blue collar widower, and both are looking for love. Filmed primarily in Balmain, then considered working class Sydney (and now out of the realm of most of us) this movie has some great shots of the city, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour in its infancy, and the Harold Park Raceway. It’s a fun little story with locations I know well.

Honourable Mention:

Sunday Too Far Away. Flinders Rangers, South Australia


Can you add any movie titles to this list ?

*An excerpt from an article published by Starts At Sixty on 2/5/2020.

16 thoughts on “Combating Cancelled Travel Plans with Aussie Movies

  1. Totally agree about The Man from Snowy River. I have just finished reading the novelisation of the film which was written by Elyne Mitchell – the Snowy Mountains really are the main character. I loved the film when it first came out and am trying to track down a copy. What about “Australia” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman?

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    1. The camp scenes by night are very Aussie, aren’ they, even in their simplicity. I went on a tour of Darwin Harbour three years ago and was devastated to see the boat young Noah returned from Bathurst Island at the end of the movie – remember? – dilapidated and falling to bits in the mud.
      I picked up The Man From Snowy River Vol 1 and 2 recently for $10 from Woodys. They travel each week from shopping centre to shopping centre 🙂

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    1. Yes, nice little movie – never found the scenery special myself. Probably a bit too much like my backyard with all the bushland I guess, but yes, very Australian. The big building which is the school is actually in rural SA. Montaro from memory ? Fascinating place – a rich pom’s folly.

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  2. Only one of those that I have seen is “Man from Snowy River”. By the way, if you plan shorter trips, they do not get cancelled. By short I mean from your front yard to your backyard….the guest bathroom to the kitchen….the Garage to the tool shed. It is all a mask free zone.

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  3. Seen all these and love them. Sadly art retreat cancelled, again…. it was to be in NSW end of this month. But QLD is a big area to roam around…fortunately an art weekend here in GC in October, is, so far, still on….

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      1. We are fortunate here in QLD, good climate, large area to explore, if we want to do a road trip, and, so far, low covid figures. Sure is plenty to be positive about. Hope your daughter stays well.

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