Vivid Sydney is one of the top Australian Festivals and one of the world largest outdoor festival of this kind. In my opinion the most exciting arts festivals I have ever seen. It’s a celebration of art, creativity, music, and innovation with lighting and filming projections and highly educational and engaging performances. It’s about urban areas transformed and re-interpreted through the eyes of local and international artists from various industries and environments.
This year, Vivid 2022 starts on 27th May and will last for 23 days. And again the rich calendar of outdoor performances and events scattered around various areas of Sydney will not disappoint.
Among the array of performances and events, don’t miss out on the homage to the city’s party scene: the Temple of Joy (free) with 3D walk-through visuals and sound experiences. And Celestial (free) with inspiring ideas of unity and interconnectedness.
Another great event on 5th June, The Business of Baz, (ticket) from award-winning filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, who will present his ambitious film, Elvis. To mention one more pick: The Mavericks of Stage and Screen (ticket) on 10th June.
If you plan to go to Vivid, you should book in advance cause hotels are fully sold out, especially over weekends. During weekdays you may be lucky to find some places to stay if you decide to visit now.
On my visit I stayed at the Pier One Hotel in Sydney, a waterfront beautiful hotel close to Harbour Bridge.
You can also use this widget to search, compare and book your hotel in Sydney:
The best way to get to the Vivid Festival is to use public transportation. Train, metro and buses. If you come by car, make sure you arrange your parking space before arriving, if you don’t want to spend a fortune. Once you are in Sydney, walk, walk and more walk.
Walking is the way to explore Sydney during the festival. However, while some of the vivid locations are concentrated around Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge and the surrounding areas, if you want to go to Darling Harbour, the best way to get there is catching a ferry from Circular Quay.
Buses are a no-go as most streets and roads in the city are closed to traffic. If you drive into Sydney, do it early before the light shows start at night.
I visited Vivid Sydney in 2015, and all pictures here are from that year. It’s only a small taste of it, an introduction to the wealth of inspirational performances.
If you think you can see Vivid in one day, think again because this will not happen. With so many festival highlights to see, you will need at least 2 full days. If you can plan 3 days, that would be ideal.
Circular Quay with the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are the main locations where the bulk performances occur, and one day is not enough to explore this area alone.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay are the areas I liked most. However, I must say that the light projections on the Sydney Opera House were a bit disappointing and far from what you see on the web. The Harbour Bridge is illuminated with various colours along the edges.
The main activities occur in the area around the bridge, with varied interactive platforms that can entertain you for hours.
I loved strolling along Circular Quay, raising my eyes to the sky and marvelling at the illuminated buildings’ bright colours. The effect is truly stunning because it shows you the majestic of the surrounding buildings that you wouldn’t otherwise take any notice of by normal daylight.
I loved watching a fairy tale or a short film projected in bright colours on the MOMA façade (Museum of Modern Art).
Hyde Park and St. Martin Place is a Vivid Sydney best spot with live music, food stalls and quirky interactive platforms. You can spend hours browsing through the stalls and checking out the various light panels.
There were few stalls with lighting panels where you could take a picture, share it on Twitter and FB and maybe be the lucky winner and be picked for the best Vivid photo!
Among all the top Vivid locations, Darling Harbour was my favourite, although I am not a big fan of this area. Here Lighting Sydney is at its best. Performances take place on the water while excellent music enlivens the scenery.
All restaurants and dining venues are packed with a cheerful and unique atmosphere. On a balmy autumn evening, it’s such a pleasure to stroll around Darling Harbour, sit down for dinner and enjoy the magic going on. The fireworks on the water with the light reflections are the cherry on the cake. All in all, a wonderful sensorial experience, really worthwhile!
Another idea for experiencing Vivid Sydney, painted in colours at night, is to take a Sydney Skywalk on the Sydney Tower and enjoy the view from over 300 meters of height.
I did that on the first evening and can recommend it. However, you will not be allowed to take your camera when you go on the Skywalk, so be sure you shoot some good photos from inside. This is one of the photos I took from Sydney Tower.
With an array of Vivid Events, I’m sure you will feel overwhelmed. To help you with that, click and head over to the official site for Sydney Light Festival, where you can find anything you need to get your trip organized and book yourself into workshops and events. Etc.
The best way to visit Sydney during the Vivid Festival is on foot. Or get an Opal Card. You can also go on day trips by public transport from Sydney to see more of its beautiful surroundings.
Like this post, PIn it for later!
First written in 2016, last updated in May 2022
If you find this article helpful for your trip, I’d appreciate it if you could support Rocky Travel and book your tours, accommodation, rental car, or purchase my book using the links in the box below. Thank you!
GET HELP WITH YOUR AUSTRALIA TRIP