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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

Vivid festival - Sydney

A Lighting Spectacular!

Sydney Opera House, the glistening water and the blue sky
Sydney Opera House

After being caught back in Australia for two years and living through the uncertainty of the pandemic, finally the countries began to re-open and it was time to begin my travels again.


Goodbye office, Hello life!

My first flight out was from Sydney and after a relaxing road trip down the east coast, I decided to spend a couple of days in the city before my flight abroad.

As luck would have it and unbeknown to me, my arrival date coincided with the much-anticipated yearly event of The Vivid Lighting Festival, which offers a unique and immersive experience. I had wanted to see the Vivid Festival in the past, so it was a very memorable experience for my last days in Australia.

Sydney bridge across the harbour on a sunny wonderful day.
Harbour Bridge

The festival typically takes place around May/June. Various landmarks and areas around Sydney are transformed into lively and illuminated works of art when the sun sets over the city.

You can enjoy some remarkable lighting displays such as 3D mapped projections and interactive art installations celebrating creativity and innovation. There are many musical performances and concerts located all around the city.

The parks and fields are illuminated by various light installations, some being interactive allowing visitors to engage and have some fun. Witness the main events of the festival which are the illumination of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Thousands of fairy lights make a tunnel to walk through and admire. Vivid Festival Sydney

I decided that the best view of the festival would be from out on the water. I took a small cruise that meandered around the harbour allowing me to witness the spectacular displays up close.

Tall city buildings, lit up in blue and pink light for the Vivid Festival

A night view of the city from the haourbour with its colourful lighting festival making the view magnificent.

Sydney Harbour Bridge lit  up in colour at night for the light festival

Cruise prices differ considerably depending on duration, route taken, and extras. The cruise I chose was short and sweet, normally for $40 for 90 minutes, with light refreshments supplied (I used Groupon online and paid only $25). Finding the departure wharf in Pyrmont is very simple.

Enjoy the spectacular liquid light show.

We drifted around the harbour, passing the famous Luna Park in Milsons Point, past under the illuminated Harbour Bridge, and made our way to the Iconic Opera House to experience its transformation. The landmark serves as a canvas for intricate light projections that are synchronized to music, creating an incredible mesmerizing experience.

I especially enjoyed having only 8 people on our cruise, making the experience on the water more peaceful and serene.

Cruise boats moored at Pyrmont whalf

The boat company I went with had a great crew

and they made the evening fun.

A View of the city at night from a boat on the harbour. With magnificant colours and lighting thoughout the city.

There are many different cruises on offer for any occasion from Christmas and birthday parties to live music events;

Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up at night with thousands of colourful light.

Opera house at night. Projections displayed on the structure making it colourful and the reflection on the water is breathtaking


If you're considering attending the Vivid festival,

Keep in mind that events and schedules change from year to year.

Check the official site for up-to-date information on the festival.

After finishing a remarkable cruise around the outstanding Sydney Harbour, I would suggest taking some time to visit the famous Circular Quay. It serves as a major transportation hub, connecting trains, buses, and ferries. It is the place to be when it comes to outdoor dining. The boardwalk is dotted with restaurants and bars. The view of the harbour is breathtaking, and remember to spoil yourself with a magnificent alfresco dining experience.

Then, head over to the historic precinct of The Rocks. It's a charming town with its rich colonial history and heritage buildings, yet also known as a vibrant entertainment precinct. Navigate your way around the little hidden streets and immerse yourself in some very quirky galleries and shops.

It was at The Rocks, in a small corner pub, that Prince Frederick of Denmark met, and fell in love with our Princess Mary.

A small historic town  in Sydney. Old and Quaint and no people about.
The Rocks
Illustration of a wheelbarrow and a plant.

Luck is what happens when preparation

meets opportunity

Colourful photo of the Sydney harbour with the Opera house alongside. The lighting show above in the sky are incredible


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