What's On

Auckland’s Best Outdoor Cinemas

By Rachel Pool
22nd Jan 2016

Auckland's Best Outdoor Cinemas

There’s something quite romantic about watching a film under the stars on a balmy summer eve. Let’s take advantage of this sunshine and get our butts outside onto a patch of grass (or a beanbag if you’re fancy) and out of those dark, dusty theatres. There’s food, and sometimes the odd tipple on offer to keep you entertained if the movie is a flop. But really it’s more about the special atmos at these events than what your watching anyway. Just sayin’. Read on and see which outdoor cinemas you’ll be hitting over the next couple of months.

American Express Open Air Cinemas

Housed at Western Springs Quarry, these events are markedly different from the others in this list, mainly because it’s largely new movies currently showing in cinemas, giving them a serious and well-deserved run for their money. We're talking A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody Sing-Along, Aquaman, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Mary Poppins and other Oscar contenders. Take bae along on Valentine’s for a special showing of The Breaker Upperers—the hilarious kiwi rom-com. You can BYO food, purchase whole bots of wine and wood-fired pizzas from Stumpy's and enjoy live entertainment pre-film. Book a beanbag or bucket chair for the sake of your behind. Book tickets here.

Movies in Parks

Brought to us by Auckland City Council, Movies in Parks promises 24 free movies to enjoy en plein air before the end of March. With the weather heating up, now in the perfect time to squeeze as much as possible out of these balmy nights and extra hours. The series will bring us cinematic classics to enjoy under the stars and promises a serious family-friendly affair. BYO rugrats to enjoy Shrek, Minions, The Lion King and other family faves at Auckland’s best green spaces. Yes, despite the fact that Auckland can sometimes feel like one giant traffic jam/roadwork site/concrete jungle, we do have some pretty solid greenery that deserves to be far better utilised for public events.  There’s some classic goodies in the mix too with Grease and Ghostbusters. All events are free.


Technically it’s undercover, but it still counts as the outdoors in our book. Avoid the toll road which no one ever remembers to pay and take the old road to Waiwera Resort and Spa and check out their Movie Pool. Take a load off after hitting the water slides and wallow in the shallows and watch a film. You might end up like a serious prune but it’s all about the novelty right? The upcoming schedule includes a mix between relatively crappy family “fun” like Blinky Bill and Cinderella, and far higher brow arty films like Boychoir, Mr Holmes and Inside Out. Even if watching the films yourself doesn’t exactly appeal, with three movie showings per day it may just be the perfect distraction for the little ones while you sneak off for a spa treatment. See more information and the schedule here.

Smales Farm

Smales Farm on the North Shore is finally being utilised to its (almost) full potential with lunchtime food trucks, outdoor yoga classes and other public events. One of those is the Smales Farm Outdoor Movies Season this February. Get your vocal chords or possibly ear plugs ready for a screening of Frozen on Saturday 20th Feb at 5.30pm. you’ll want to get in early for that one as we can only imagine that half of Auckland’s population under 13 may be in attendance. They’re also showing firm family favourites Finding Nemo on the 13th and Despicable Me on the 27th. Turn up at 3pm for food trucks brought to you by Food Space.  See more info here.

Silo Cinemas

Thought we’d missed it? No chance. Presenting what is probably Auckland’s best known outdoor cinemas – Silo Cinemas. Plus, this one gets some serious brownie points for us for being free. The Silo Park Bar is in full swing before and during every session and is a great way to enjoy the sunset overlooking the Viaduct. Shaka down to The Endless Summer and The Endless Summer II showing back-to-back on Friday 22nd January. These classic surf docos make for perfect chilled summer evening viewing. Later in the month, kicking off Auckland Anniversary weekend, Len Brown has shown some surprisingly good taste and chosen The Secret Garden as his film of choice to celebrate 176 years of AK city. This nostalgic choice is visually stunning and a heartfelt story of a young orphan with a rich imagination. Both film sessions will be preceded by the Silo Markets at 5pm to grab a bite and chill before the films start at 9pm. For full info check out their website here.

Movies under the Stars

If you’re an Eastern dweller you’ll be happy to hear that you’ve got a Saturday schedule full of outdoor cinema events right in the middle of Howick. Uxbridge Arts & Culture centre might be under redevelopment but they’re still taking one for the team and organizing a whole host of activities in the meantime. Every Saturday between 20th Feb and 12th March will bring days of family fun activities followed by a movie to be enjoyed as the sun turns to stars. What movie could be more fitting to watch in this setting than everyone’s favourite extra-terrestrial mate ET? See him on the big screen on the 20th of February and come back on the following weekend for other family films The LEGO movies, The Goonies, and Night at the Museum. BYO bean bags and blankets and get snuggly. For more info see here.

Takapuna Beach Summer Days Festival

To celebrate the arrival of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival at Takapuna’s Berkley Cinema, we are being treated to an afternoon French Market on Hurstmere Green followed by a screening of The Intouchables at 8.45pm on the 5th of Feb. So grab some cheese, a baguette and some other French goodies to enjoy while you watch. This film is one of those rare gems that will make you both laugh and cry with its poignant story of an unlikely friendship. For more information see the event website here.

Looking for more things to do in Auckland? Here are 50 Things To Do In Auckland Before The End Of Summer

Image credit: American Express Openair Cinemas 

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.