Sydney is an amazing city with world renowned monuments such as the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and The Rocks. You can check out the great markets in the area, sip on a cappuccino and enjoy the beautiful views of the harbour.
Every year from late May to mid June, Sydney takes it to the next level and lights up the whole city with beautiful light displays called Vivid Sydney. The Opera House comes to life with dynamic light shows that display anything from lizards to the great Outback regions of Australia.
Last year I had the pleasure of exploring the lights, and this is my guide to enjoying Vivid Sydney in a timely manner.
Starting Off At Martin Place
Martin Place is just a quick bus or train away from most stations around Sydney. Martin Place has a great open plaza where lights stretch for multiple blocks.
Walking down the stretch of events I saw interactive lights and companies looking to show off their cool toys. I found myself sucked in. From trying Microsoft’s Virtual Reality (VR), dancing on light patterns, to playing video games on a 10 meter high screen, it was well worth stopping by to see the lights up close.
Next Stop Circular Quay
After enjoying the lights of Martin Place, I hoped back on the train and headed a quick 5 minute train ride to Circular Quay.Getting off the train, I was immediately greeted by the lights. They were turning the water in a beautiful dancing display. From the Harbour Bridge, ferries, and the Opera House, the lights were bolstering great displays that made me stop and appreciate the beautiful night.
Not far from the station, The Rocks offered many of the most popular displays that are easy to visit in a short span of time.This year, just about 200 meters from the Circular Quay Station, the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), is putting on a major display called Organic Vibrations. Projecting vibrant colours onto the MCA, these transcendental lights warp and give the building life.
Next to the MCA Canon is offering a free printing booth where you can hand off your SD card and get Vivid Sydney pictures printed off on A3 paper. Canon is also offering a ticketed event, where they loan you a camera and take you for a walking tour designed to give you a great view of the lights.
Past the MCA, I ventured to the historic region of The Rocks, exploring the alleys and cobblestone paths where lights and displays hung from above, running into giant skeletons that looked like they belonged in the Dia de Muertos parade in Mexico.
This year The Rocks is hosting 25 displays to check out, so it’s a must stop on your Vivid Sydney venture.
Royal Botanic Garden & Opera House
After The Rocks, I headed back towards the Opera House to get an up close view. I then visited the Royal Botanic Garden.The paths full of lights in the Botanical Garden offered a unique tropical atmosphere. This area was a little less crowded than the Opera House itself, so it was nice to have a little quiet time.
This year there will be 12 displays, so be sure to walk around the Opera House and find the Vivid Sydney displays in the Gardens.
As the night started to come to a close, I hopped on a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour. Lounging in the front area of the ferry, I got to see all the magnificent lights of the harbour, all the lit up ferries and Luna Park bolstering its normal bright light display.
As the ferry got closer to Darling Harbour, fireworks started to erupt, illuminating the sky. This is a fairly common occurrence on the weekends at Darling Harbour, although so much better with the added Vivid Sydney experience.
Once I arrived I found a fire and laser show displayed out on the water. Accompanied by music, the show and fireworks were a great way to end the night.
If you’re in Sydney for longer than a quick trip, there are many one day events that are definitely worth checking out. You can find all the events listed on the Vivid Sydney page.