Moonlight Cinema, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne – Film Related Review

Melbourne’s Moonlight Cinema is Australia’s first, largest and longest running outdoor cinema. Initially established in 1996 and located at the Royal Botanical Gardens, the outdoor cinema has not only become a treasured Melbourne icon, but it is also an essential summer experience, whether traditionally for locals who have been going for years, or for first timers and tourists.

My relationship (so to speak) with Moonlight Cinema first began on my first date with my now fiancé almost ten years ago. We brought with us a picnic rug, packed food, but since it was our first time at an outdoor cinema, we weren’t prepared for how cold it would be in the evening. With chivalry not dead, my date gave me his jacket to wear, so I wouldn’t freeze.

Now well experienced with outdoor cinemas, I can share that we are more prepared with attending by bringing a picnic rug, food, blankets, bug spray, sunscreen, warm clothes to wear later in the evening and great company. Moonlight Cinema is designed in a way that allows for friends to join you, as nothing is allocated, unlike the typical cinema. So, provided you all arrive together, you can bring as many people as possible, whether it be friends or family. While you can go to this cinema on a date, I find that experience is much fuller with a group of people, simply because Moonlight Cinema is large and has the space to allow this.

While you can BYO alcohol (unlike any other outdoor cinema in Melbourne) and food, if you forget, there are food trucks available to purchase gourmet food and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Also, these days if you’re cold, blankets are readily available for you to purchase (yes, you can keep them), as well as beanbags to rent if you wanted to make your experience extra comfy. If you do not want to bring your own things and wish to have everything ready for you, there are also various packages available like ‘Gold Grass’. I personally have never tried these packages though, as I have always been happy with general admission. It’s entirely up to you.

As Moonlight Cinema is the largest outdoor cinema in Australia, the screen is also bigger to suit and given that everyone plants themselves on the grass, there is no bad spot at this cinema. Once you’ve found the perfect spot and have parked yourself on the grass, it’s time for food, drinks, mingling and waiting for the sun to set to watch your chosen movie under the light of the moon.

Admittedly, it has been a couple of years since I last visited Moonlight Cinema, but we at Lilithia Reviews went as a team for our Christmas ‘party’, and it was such a fun experience, I went again with friends that weekend to see another film at the iconic outdoor cinema venue.

I don’t know how I have been away from Moonlight Cinema for so long, but will strive to go every year from now on. After all, it’s not only Australia’s favourite outdoor cinema experience, but the very place where I had my first date with my fiancé.

Moonlight Cinema is special, it’s iconic, it’s beloved and located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. If you have ever wanted to go to an outdoor cinema in Melbourne at least once in your life, go to this one.

Melbourne’s season of Moonlight Cinema is currently screening films until March 2020 and is also available in other Australian cities; Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. For more information on Moonlight Cinema and ticketing, visit:

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