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Vivid Sydney May 25 - June 16

Each year Sydney sets the stage for the world’s biggest festival of light, music and ideas.

By Ellie Schneider

See Sydney become a canvas for brilliant light installations and projections when Vivid Sydney celebrates 10 years in 2018. The annual event attracts more than 2.3 million visitors, and sees historic sights – including the Sydney Opera House, Customs House, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Taronga Zoo – illuminated in brilliant colour. The program also includes big-ticket music performances, creative conferences, talks and workshops. Here’s how to take it all in.

Fast facts

  • Where: Sydney
  • When: 25 May - 16 June 2018
  • Price: $
Video guide: Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney highlights

Things to do

See the city lights

The spectacle of Vivid Lights stretches from the city's Circular Quay, The Rocks, Royal Botanic Gardens, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour and over north of the harbour. to Lunar Park and Taronga Zoo. Grab a camera and wander around the harbourside. The World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House can be your first point of call, followed by a stroll through the adjacent Royal Botanical Gardens, followed by a 10 minute stroll round Circular Quay to the Rocks, taking in the spectacular light installations along the way. Carry on following the light trail round the harbour to Barangaroo and on to Darling Harbour. You will also see dancing water jets, full-colour lasers and fireworks during the festival. 

Be blown away by a performance at the Sydney Opera House

Each year the Sydney Opera House plays host to a stellar line-up of Australian and international artists as part of Vivid Live. This year’s hot-ticket performances include the likes of Cat Power, Solange, Ice Cube, a collaboration between Daniel Johns (Silverchair) and Luke Steel (Empire of the Sun). Multi-arts centre in Redfern, Carraigeworks will also host music events, including performances from St Vincent and the return of Curveball, a one day immersive dance festival featuring artists Vera Blue and Alison Wonderland.

Ride on an illuminating Ferris wheel at Luna Park

For the first time, Sydney’s favourite longstanding amusement park, Luna Park is joining Vivid’s list of precincts. Situated on the northside over the harbour, Luna Park will transform into a vibrant display of light instillations. ‘The Spirit of Fun’ moving instillations will be projected on the famous park face, while the iconic Ferris wheel will be fitted with a series of LEDs.

Unlock your imagination at Vivid Ideas

Vivid Ideas runs alongside the public light show and is an annual celebration of innovation and creativity, comprising more than 200 events and 400 speakers. The program is diverse, bringing together Australia’s creative industries – design, architecture, film, animation and advertising – to exchange ideas and mingle.  This year’s Ideas events include the likes famous director and underwater expeditioner, James Cameron, NASA visual strategist and creative director, Dan Goods, environmental activist, artist and iconic skateboarder, Peggy Oki.

Don't miss

Book well in advance for a table at Bennelong, the upmarket restaurant located within the Sydney Opera House sails. With celebrated Australian chef Peter Gilmore at the helm, expect quality Australian ingredients, amped up with a modern twist, in indulgent surrounds.

How to get there

The best way to see Vivid Sydney is by foot. Catch the train to Sydney's city stations, Town Hall or Martin Place, which are all a short walk to Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. It's a 25 minute taxi or bus ride from the city to Carriageworks, which is also a 10 minute walk from the University of Sydney.