/News 27.06.24

Location Spotlight: Tropical Far North Queensland — a filmmaker’s dream

The stunning setting of Far North Queensland is a filmmaker’s dream, renowned for its spectacular coastlines, lush rainforests, arid desert and diverse built environments. Boasting a flourishing talent pool of local screen practitioners and further supported by the newly opened $12.6 million Screen Queensland Studios, Cairns facility, the region is emerging as an innovative screen hub.

Directors including David Michôd (Wizards!), Adam Wingard (Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire), and Lucy Gaffy (Irreverent) have favoured this region for its diverse and versatile locations, which can seamlessly double for international settings — offering filmmakers a treasure trove of hidden gems unique to this corner of Australia.

Cairns

The region’s largest city, Cairns, serves as a major urban hub for tourism and is the gateway to its famed natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef. Complementing the breathtaking landscapes, Screen Queensland Studios, Cairns offers a brand new state-of-the-art facility located just minutes from the city centre and international airport, equipped with an 11,517 sq ft (1,070m2) sound stage, production offices, editing suites and sound recording studio. Cairns is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and deep spiritual and cultural connection to the area, home of the the Djabugay; Yirrganydji; Buluwai, Gimuy Walubara Yidinji; Mandingalbay Yidinji; Gunggandji; Dulabed and Malanbara Yidinji; Bundabarra and Wadjanbarra Yidinji; Wanyurr Majay; Mamu and NgadjonJii peoples.

Screen Queensland Studios, Cairns sound stage
Gordonvale, just outside of Cairns, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
Aerial view of Cairns, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Port Douglas/Daintree

An hour north of Cairns is Port Douglas, home of the Kuku Yalanji people, a beach town at the intersection of the reef and the rainforest. Port Douglas is known for its famed Four Mile Beach, tropical high street and marina, which provides ready access to the Great Barrier Reef and nearby coral cays. A short drive north of Port Douglas is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, where some of the world’s oldest flora and fauna can be found. Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire filmed scenes in Cape Tribulation, a coastal area of the Daintree, turning this luscious forest into Hollow Earth.

This Little Love of Mine filming at Port Douglas, image courtesy of Jaggi Entertainment
St Mary’s by the Sea, Port Douglas
Aerial view of the Daintree Rainforest coastline, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Paronella Park

In the south of the region is the charming Paronella Park, a tropical castle complex featured in the 2018 feature film Celeste starring Radha Mitchell. Built in 1935, the mystical wonderland features a 15-metre single drop waterfall, tropical flora and fauna, and a mossy castle with a grand staircase. On the lands of the Mamu People, the complex has an old-world charm ideal for filming scenes set in a lost city or tropical kingdom.

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland, courtesy of Paronella Park
Paronella Park, Far North Queensland, courtesy of Paronella Park

Mission Beach

Mission Beach, home of the Djiru People, is famous for its small-town charm and unspoilt natural beauty, boasting more than eight miles (14 kilometers) of palm-lined beaches. Mission Beach was one of the principal filming locations for NBCUniversal and Matchbox Pictures’ Irreverent, making use of winding coastal roads, rainforest tracks and beachside buildings.

“The natural locations were exquisite and enabled the type of scope and world building unequalled in Australia…I would recommend shooting in Queensland without hesitation.”

Lucy Gaffy, Director—Irreverent
On set of Netflix series Irreverent at Mission Beach, image courtesy of NBCUniversal
Mission Beach Dive, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
Echo Village, Mission Beach, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Inland Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland’s inland locations offer versatile terrains for filmmakers seeking expansive barren spaces, vast arid landscapes and dry environments. Destinations like the Atherton Tablelands are characterised by a spectacular mix of habitats—from lush rainforests and volcanic lakes to wetlands, dramatic cliffs and savanna country. These contrasting settings within a single location not only showcase the stark beauty of remote Queensland but also provide perfect backdrops for westerns, war epics, action-adventure and science-fiction films.

Lake Eacham, Atherton Tableland, courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
Gadgarra National Park

About Screen Queensland

Screen Queensland is the state government-owned screen agency for one of Australia’s leading production destinations, offering bespoke location services and competitive incentives. The Production Attraction Incentive is available to productions with a minimum spend of AU$3.5 million in the state and can be used in conjunction with the federal government’s Location Offset. The 15% Post, Digital, Visual Effects (PDV) Incentive is available to projects spending a minimum AU$250,000 on qualifying PDV. Screen Queensland also offers location and scouting assistance.

For more information about Screen Queensland Studios, incentives, location services and Queensland-based post-production facilities, contact:

LOCATIONS AND INCENTIVES
Naomi Wenck – Head of Production Attraction 
[email protected]

SCREEN QUEENSLAND STUDIOS
Mark Melrose – Head of Studios and Physical Production
[email protected]
+61 401 965 083