It’s been a blockbuster year for Vivid, with visitors descending on Sydney CBD from across the city, state, country and even the world. Bedtimes be damned – the city’s been heaving almost every night with crowds heading to see iconic spaces transformed by the lights, catch gigs and live performances, and enjoy restaurant pop-ups.
If you haven’t experienced any of that yet, don’t fret – there’s plenty left to do before all the lights go off on Saturday. Here are our top picks.
Written in the Stars
Written in the Stars is the southern hemisphere’s biggest drone show to date, with more than 1000 machines taking to the sky. The illuminated drones have been forming words and shapes over Circular Quay, from a rotating Earth and planets across the solar system to an awe-inspiring whale. The last date is Wednesday June 14 – don’t miss it.
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Lasers, rainbow tunnels, dancing robots and an electronic soundtrack – you’ll find these (and more) in the disused railway tunnels underneath Wynyard Station. Eight rooms have been transformed into an underground labyrinth of different experiences – and thankfully, it’s sticking around for another month after Vivid ends.
Vivid Fire Kitchen
Part of the first-ever Vivid Food, Vivid Fire Kitchen at The Cutaway is home to a delicious line-up of street food, trailblazing restaurant pop-ups, and fire-inspired cocktails. There are Filipino skewers from Hoy Pinoy, Louisiana-inspired barbeque from Nola Smokehouse, Turkish fare care of Baharat, and Italian snacks from Bar Positano, plus demonstrations by Nour’s Paul Farag, Lauren Eldridge of Berowra Waters Inn and Merivale chef Jordan Toft, among others.
There are free concerts at Darling Harbour’s Tumbalong Park every weekend. Acts like Yothu Yindi, Dan Sultan, Hatchie, Ziggy Ramo and Kutcha Edwards have already graced the stage. And still to come: Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Cornelius, Nice Biscuit, Setwun and the Soultranauts, and more.
A 2.1-kilometre stretch of the Royal Botanic Garden has been transformed with larger-than-life installations. There are towering glowing flowers (with Miley Cyrus’s Flowers playing in the background – really), a whale emerging out of a sea of light, a giant tunnel of fairy lights, flames rising from a dragon’s mouth and plenty more. Just like Dark Spectrum, it’s thankfully sticking around until July 16.
DJs at the Goods Line
The Goods Line in Ultimo has been illuminated every night as part of the Light Walk. It’s also become a hub for free DJ sets spanning a multitude of genres. You can still catch tunes from Terpia Chicos, Pea Oh Ma, Jason de Cox and DJ Klasik before they pack it all up.
This nine-minute extravaganza sees water and flames shoot 80 metres into the sky from Darling Harbour, using water shooters, pyrotechnics and projections in a celebration of the natural world. It takes place every half hour while the lights are on, so you’ve got plenty of chances to catch it before the festival ends.
The Opera House sails
Is there anything more iconically Vivid than Sydney’s most famous landmark lit up by projections? This year it’s illuminated with artwork by venerated Australian artist John Olsen, who passed away in April. The pieces – animated by creative technologists Curiious – were chosen to show Olsen’s passion for Australian landscapes.
Chynna Santos travelled to Sydney as a guest of Destination NSW.