Skyline Drive-in previously known as Blacktown Drive-in is the only remaining drive-in in Sydney. First opened in 1960's, the drive-in has just undergone a massive $1 million revamp and is now open to the public. The revamp is American 1950's style, Happy Days themed. The movies are the box office hits currently showing not some 'B' grade, low budget, strange movie that no one has ever heard of. I saw the latest Tom Hanks film here and the other field was showing Thor. They recently announced that they will also show the popular oldies from time to time.
Image source: caradvice.com.au also appeared on Blacktown local newspapers
Located in Sydney's west this redone movie theatre has staff wearing old school candy striped uniforms in a setting straight from a 1950's movie. The entrance to the drive-in hasn't really changed, except for the sign. It's still cheap compared to going to the normal cinemas and you don't need to sit next to someone you don't know. The diner has been repainted in dusty pink and light green and features high, bright blue and red shiny booths. The walls are decorated with signs from the era like number plates, hub caps and steering wheels.
The drive-in still has two screens, Field 1 and Field 2 and now has a brand new sound system. The old one was a bit crackly. Even the food sticks to the 1950's American theme with candy striped containers holding a brand new menu featuring yummy beef burgers, hot dogs of various combinations and buffalo chicken wings and of course fries. Drinks include frozen sodas and milkshakes. The diner has lit up neon signs that add to the nostalgia. It really is unique and makes for such a pleasurable experience.
Directly in front and behind the diner is a new section known as the 'Gold Grass' area. This has comfy lawn chairs that you can sit on or bring your own, whilst enjoying the movie as an alternative from sitting in your car. This is perfect for hot nights as sitting in the car all that time can be unpleasant.
As a fan of the original drive-in I am very impressed by its much needed upgrade. It's the first upgrade in over 50 years. Unfortunately the toilets have not received an update but they are still clean and there is a lot of them so even though both fields were packed, field 2 was at full capacity, I still didn't line up for long.
The diner was incredibly packed, each line up was out the door but this maybe due to the fact that I went in only its second week of re-opening. The queue of cars went right around the corner of the street just to get in. This line did move quickly though and a man greeted each car as they arrived to tell us all that field 2 was at full capacity, luckily the movie we were seeing was in the other field. I felt sorry for others who made the trip unnecessarily but it shows the advantage of buying the tickets online. This ensures you will get in but unfortunately doesn't reserve any particular spot.
At the moment getting there early is a must to ensure you can get in at all and to allow time to get that perfect spot to park your car, ute, van or 4 x4. It's a great place for anyone from 3 years and over. Their are family groups, couples, grandparents, teenagers, young adults, every age sitting in the back of utes or boots, or inside their cars. It does get very packed we drove around for quite a while to find that perfect spot, up the back near the middle and it was hard to find! If your car is small then you might want to avoid parking behind a big car as this could totally interfere with your viewing. It's nice to know that if you are stuck in a bad spot you can always watch from the 'Gold Grass' area.
The Skyline Cinema is owned and operated by Event Cinemas (formally known as Greater Union). If you have never been here before then here is a quick run down of what happens and what to expect. It's really simple arrive at the drive-in early and don't worry too much if the line up of cars is all the way up the street, it moves quickly with two lanes of booths where you pay or collect your pre-paid tickets.
I would advise that you book online to ensure you aren't sent home disappointed. As it's Sydney's last remaining drive-in its very popular and the field could be full when you arrive. If you plan to buy food or drink you really do need to get there early as that too is extremely popular. Alternatively you can bring your own food, drink, a blanket, a pillow. You could even wear a onesie or pj's if you want! If you do BYO don't forget about making the food not too messy and in easy to eat pieces. Once you get into the gates you will drive up to a pay booth and people politely welcome you, by speaking to you through your car window. Simply tell them which movie you would like to see and how many you have in the car. Your looking at paying $10 per person only. Cheaper than the normal cinemas.
Once you have paid or collected your ticket you will be handed a ticket and a sheet of paper with the FM radio station that the sound will be played through. They will then point you in the right direction and you just drive into a spot that suits you. All the spots are on a hump so each car can see well. Watch out for the old school sound tuners beside your vehicle, they are lit up red but you won't actually need to use it as the sound is perfect through the FM station that is listed on the sheet. Once you are parked in a spot simply tune your radio to the station listed and you are ready to go. The night I was there there was no ads before the movie only previews which is great.
Forget the uncomfortable squishy, normal cinema seats, the kids chatting next to you through the entire movie, the person who thinks its funny to throw their popcorn on people, having to hold your legs and bag in the air whilst someone walks past or even worse the people that kick the back of your chair or sit in the wrong seats. No longer do we have to suffer, no longer do we have to be uncomfortable, no longer do you need to stand in a line to buy tickets. The retro past has made a comeback. The old school fun Saturday night place is back in business. I personally want to keep it that way, so please come along and enjoy the ride.
Image source: eventcinemas.com.au
The gates open early so come on in, step back in time have some dinner and watch a movie. Whether it's for a date, a fun family adventure time, a girlie or bloke night this is a unique experience that you must try. What a fantastic night out under the stars. If you live far away but want to experience this cool drive-in then you can always stay overnight at the new Atura Hotel located next door to the drive-in.