The Great Gatsby: Get away to the settings of Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film

Visit art deco attractions in New York and Australia – the cities that influenced Baz Luhrmann’s latest flick


Set in New York, but directed by Baz Luhrmann – it’s no surprise that much of the new Great Gatsby movie was inspired by and shot in his native Australia.


To celebrate the launch of the eagerly anticipated adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel (starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton) we’ve tracked down some of the original shooting locations from the movie, plus other 1920s-style attractions in both cities – so you can experience lavish mansions, extravagant parties and prohibition-style speakeasies for real…



Gatsby’s mansion

It’s believed that New York’s Long Island mansions inspired the Gatsby’s mega-pad in the book. The mansion from the film, however, was shot near Manly Beach, Sydney at the International College of Management. This grand, detailed stone building has stood in this spot since 1885 and covers an impressive 60,000 square feet and 20 hectares of land. Visitors can drive up there today and sneak a peek.

Valley of the Ashes

The historic industrial areas of Rozelle Power Station, Balmain Power House and the White Bay Power Station in New South Wales were transformed into Fitzgerald’s ‘Valley of the Ashes’, where Tom’s lover Myrtle Wilson lives. In the tale this run-down district depicts the decaying American dream and immoral pursuit of wealth and pleasure.

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Centennial Park

Gatsby’s garden was filmed just outside Sydney’s centre, at the 220 hectare Centennial Park. Here visitors can stroll around fittingly doused in Tiffany or dressed in linen suits, while gazing at the decadent flower arrangements and tranquil lakes. The park also houses a cricket oval, a superb running, rollerblading and cycling track and the Federation Pavilion, containing the Commonwealth Stone – which marks the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Astral Towers

No, it’s not strictly in the film, but this is the place Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly bedded down during shooting of The Great Gatsby. He also frequented trendy Tokyo-inspired hangout Sokyo, which serves intriguing dishes like maple miso and tuna sashimi with plum wine jelly. The A-lister was also supposedly spotted at Black by Ezard, a decent spot for gourmet American eats like grain-fed dry aged beef cooked on a wood fire grill.


Waverley Cemetery

The funeral scenes from Gatsby were created at this beautiful spot in Bronte. Filled with Edwardian and Victorian tombs, we’ll admit it has a view to die for. Famous figures buried in this peaceful field include Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton and poet Henry Lawson. Their graves look out onto the cliffs, ocean and town in the distance.

Palmer & Co speakeasy

Find this popular underground haunt, with bricked arches, art deco-tiled floors and flapper-dressed waitresses, down a narrow Sydney alleyway. Just the place for a punchbowl cocktail, bitter lemon and some renegade jazz from the 1920s.

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Oheka Castle 

F Scott Fitzgerald drew inspiration for the Gatsby residence from this French-style mansion on the Gold Coast. Built by financier Otto Kahn in 1914, it remains the second largest private home in the United States. Of the 127 rooms, 32 are part of a hotel within the building, and giant Gatsby parties are held here every June.

Plaza Hotel

Fitzgerald and his wife were regulars at the Plaza Hotel on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue. Nick Caraway visits twice in the novel and it’s believed the writer penned some of his work here. In his honour, the hotel has created a Fitzgerald suite, which includes photos of the novelist, his entire works and lots of memorabilia. The furniture is deco throughout and has little touches like mint juleps in cut crystal, a panelled library and a gin mini-bar. The Gatsby theme runs throughout the hotel: there’s a ‘Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages’ available at the Palm Court and a Gatsby-inspired menu with such delights as Deviled Quail Egg Salad and Smoked Salmon with Wild Sturgeon Caviar begging to be tried.

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Backroom Bar

Open the gate that reads Lower East Side Toy Company on 102 Norfolk Street and go through the alley, where you’ll find a door opening into a dimly lit, prohibition-style bar with velvety walls, chandeliers and nudey frescos. Drinks like The Bee’s Knees (gin, honey syrup and fresh lemon juice) and Gatsby Manhattan (with homemade cherry bourbon) come in teacups. Meanwhile, beer is served in brown paper bags. Look out for the spinning globe, which opens into a bar, and try and find the secret VIP room (it’s behind a trick bookcase).


If you’re prepared to travel a little further out, not far from Gatsby’s Rhode Island, you’ll have a proper modern day playboy experience. Nantucket Island, off the coast of Cape Cod, has become a hang-out for the rich and famous, including the movie’s lead Leonardo DiCaprio, who allegedly stayed at the White Elephant. This is where the Kennedy’s holidayed, and celebrities like Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld) Tommy Hilfiger, Bill Gates and Ralph Lauren have bought houses here.

Images courtesy of J Bar, Wiki Commons, Alamy, Stephen Kelly, Oheka Castle


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