Vivid Sydney is an annual festival, that takes place between the months of May and June and as the name suggests it’s only held in Sydney. It’s a festival of lights, music, entertainment and more. This year it is coming to town from the 27th of May till the 17th of June. All along Sydney’s City you will find magnificent displays of light reflected off the high risers. The best ones by far are the ones reflected off the Sydney Opera House. I’m going to try and put together a quick handy guide, which will help you plan your Vivid outing and hopefully you’ll get to enjoy all of it. Please note there will be lots and lots of walking involved.
Vivid Sydney is now partly a ticketed event and partly free. The displays in the city are absolutely free and can be enjoyed on any of the nights. However there are more displays at Taronga Zoo and there is an entry fee associated with this. Furthermore there are a lot of small concerts that are put together by the organising team and these concerts are ticketed events. There are also specific cruises available that take you around the harbour and allow ample time to enjoy the various displays.
If you work in the city, you must most definitely make use of this. One, you’re already there, and two if your office provides you with parking in the city that is an added bonus as during the weekends the car parks can get full. However I wouldn’t recommend that you try and do both Circular Quay and (the walk up to) Darling Harbour in the same night. You will exhaust your self. To manage the crowds better at Circular Quay, the security forces people in and out of the wharf area rather than letting the traffic walk through as you would normally. This takes up a lot more time and in addition because of the crowds and the amount you have to walk, your legs tire easily. I would say to walk up to The Rocks where there is a smaller crowd and see all there is to see there and get some shots of the Opera House from there as you’ll most likely have an uninterrupted view of it.
Following this you slowly and steadily start walking towards the Opera House and the Royal Botanical Gardens. First you’ll come across the Museum of Contemporary Art and the fantastic motion graphics that tell a story. You’ll end up spending a bit of time here as it does a splendid job of capturing your interest and you really have to break yourself from it and move on to the next stop. There’s another motion graphics story that is told across the buildings across the wharf. You wouldn’t really be going out of your way to see this as this is the way the security set up would force you to go any way.
From here on you can choose to keep going back into the wharf and getting a glimpse of the harbour bridge or to look out towards the Rocks or simply to take more pictures. Alternatively you can walk straight towards the Opera House which is sure to cast a spell on you. I personally would recommend the latter because it will take you sometime to go right up to the building any way. Unfortunately last year, which was the first time I attended Vivid, I didn’t get the opportunity to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens and hence I can’t say much about what there is to see and do there. But needless to say doing both these places in the one night will be more than enough. Special mention – if you took the train into the city, I recommend forcing yourself towalk to Town Hallstation that way you’ll at least get to see the displays at Martin Place.
On another night, you should venture out to Darling Harbour. There is a completely different set up here. The organisers use the small wharf here to put together a display of light reflected off the water and in addition a light and water show which takes place every 30 minutes or so. In the interim there’s always light that’s reflected off the water to create magnificent displays. Darling Harbour also puts on their fireworks display every alternate day (if not everyday) during Vivid. The duration of these fireworks last longer and are slightly different to their round the year Saturday night fireworks.
As these places are the main spots of Vivid, I’ve only highlighted them. But there are a lot more things that go on during this festival and for more information visit their website (link to website).
Until next time,