Make the most of Vivid

Published on 08 June 2018 by Castle Towers

The Vivid festival is well underway and Sydney is literally glowing. Thinking of heading into the CBD? We’ve got a few handy hints to help you plan the night.

Vivid Sydney is a 23-night celebration of lights, music and ideas. Last year, the free event drew a record 2.3 million attendees and with over 100 light installations marking the event’s 10 year anniversary this year, even bigger crowds are expected.

The festival’s final night is Saturday 16 June so if you want to take the family out to experience some truly mesmerising light sculpture, it pays to make a plan. With so much to see, we’ve put together our top picks, plus how to get in and out with limited stress.

Vivid Essentials

Before we cover this year’s must-see installations, you’ll want to take note of a few recommendations. First, if you’re keen to bypass the biggest crowds, avoid going to the festival on weekends and stick to weeknights instead. Not sure what to see? To browse and filter events ahead of time and on the go, download the Vivid Sydney app. Traffic will be crazy and parking will be scant so be sure to strategise your transport approach for fewer headaches. Oh, and it’s Sydney, so be sure to carry an umbrella.

Getting There

With 11 precincts being transformed into luminous works of art right across Sydney, it definitely pays to plan your night before you get there. Given the unavoidable major road closures and clearways, public transport is definitely the way to go. Visit the Transport NSW website for further details and updates on congestion. The site also suggests walking routes so that getting from place to place isn’t too much of a mission.

CDC Hillsbus is running additional services on Thursdays and weekends on routes 607X, 610X, 620X or M61. One of these services will head to the city every 15 minutes and leave the city every 10 minutes. Check CDC Hillsbus for details.

What to See

Main event spaces like Circular Quay, The Rocks and Darling Harbour are where most of the action is, but Taronga Zoo, Chatswood and Luna Park are joining in this year so be sure to plot out your itinerary ahead of time.

After a year off, Customs House has returned as a venue and is getting its fair share of attention. To commemorate the 100-year anniversary of May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the building is being transformed into a fitting tribute to the popular children’s series. Each night, animations of the gumnut babies plays out across the facade of the heritage-listed building and is sure to be a hit with little ones.

Meanwhile, the southern pylon of the Harbour Bridge is showcasing a spectacular display of movement from Australia’s leading Indigenous dance group, Bangarra. The film, Eora – Dark Emu, is a massive projection which explores Aboriginal history, dance, art and architecture.

Not to be outshone (literally), the Sydney Opera House has been painted with moving digital sculptures by Australian artist Jonathan Zawada. The continuously moving composition is a personal reflection of Zawada’s interpretation of the Australian landscape, art and culture.

Keen to make a real night of it? Jump on a cruise for a fantastic view of the entire harbour, or catch a ferry over to Milson’s Point for a cheaper option that will drop you right outside Luna Park.

Don’t miss the Japanese influenced rainbow at The Rocks. The inflatable, musical rainbow is all about harmony, happiness and love – and it’s also interactive. The “rainbow of peace” lights up with sound and animation when people hold hands, forming a human chain around it.

With workshops, entertainment and more on offer, there’s a huge amount to see and experience at Vivid 2018. If you decide to take the captivating Vivid Light Walk – our recommendation for young families – you’ll be more than satisfied by lights out.