Vivid Festival Sydney

Making Sydney a Vivid wonderland

The wonderfully creative 23-day Vivid Festival Sydney is the city's best-loved winter festival with dazzling light shows like this one on the Sydney Opera House.

Vivid 2016 will start on Friday, May 27 and run until Saturday, June 18. It promises to again bring the city to life in a beautiful way, with many new light displays - even one embracing the Zoo.

If you've never experienced the Festival, don't be put off should it be rainy - Vivid doesn't miss a beat if the weather's foul. It's still great viewing from under an umbrella!

The Vivid Festival Sydney first burst upon the city in 2009 and in 2015 it drew more than 1.7 million people to amazing light shows, musical events, talks and debates. It is the largest festival of light, music and ideas on the planet.

Innovation brings tourists

Some of the world's most creative leaders and innovative thinkers are involved in this year's Festival. 

Tens of thousands of tourists time their Sydney stay to coincide with Vivid - especially the spectacular light shows. Hopefully you will too. The light shows are free!

These transform parts of the city - like the Sydney Opera House - with dazzling displays. At the Opera House the lights are played onto its sails as a sequence of video-mapped projections. Truly stunning. 

A few tips:

It can get very chilly near the harbour - so rug up to see the light shows!

There's a lot of walking. Wear comfortable footwear. There are big crowds and catching a taxi isn't always possible.

Don't be tempted to take your car. Parking is a major hassle and public transport is much easier. If you are leaving the city when the light show ends, the escape is better by train.

Try a mid-week night to avoid the big crowds. It's easier moving between the light exhibits and getting public transport. 

Download the Accessibility Map of where Vivid Sydney Festival activities are. It will help you plan ahead.

Below is a taste of what Vivid can offer. In 2013, the Sydney Customs House building was used as a giant screen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr Who. With action scenes like these the dazzling lights delighted children and adults alike.

A magical Vivid Festival Sydney journey

Vivid has been likened to a magical journey. There's wonderful colour and music and it's staged every night from 6pm to midnight - family-friendly and free!

In 2014, Vivid Festival Sydney extended their light show out onto Sydney Harbour for the first time - to great effect.

Many cruise ships, ferries and water taxis were decorated with brilliant LED lights which changed colour as the vessels motored through different Vivid zones on the harbour.

LED tape is 10-times brighter than normal rope lighting, giving a beaut splash of colours over the harbour - a dazzling sight either when viewed from the foreshore or from small boats, ferries or cruise ships.

Four major light shows were set up around the Circular Quay area - within an easy walk. One hundred and forty artists from 15 countries brought to life 56 light installations.

Musical sculpture in 3D

Budding musicians have been able to show off "musical sculptures" - set up with 3D-mapped projections at Customs House. When some onlooker touches a screen it brings the sculpture to life in colour, light and sound.

A series of interactive and immersive light installations and art sculptures led crowds to Vivid Light Walk.

At Darling Harbour the Aquatique Show lit up the whole area offering fun family entertainment with giant fountains, plus more screens and shows.

Jets of water created a "magic wall" of light and water - a recreation of the Versailles Fountain. Spectacular laser shows and site-specific installations added to the offering. 

Learn more about the Vivid Sydney Festival at Vivid's website. It has all the 2016 event details.

Another grand view of Sydney's Vivid beauty ...

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Vivid Sydney 2016 lights up Taronga Zoo

Giant luminous animal sculptures are featured as for the first time Vivid Sydney turns its spotlight on Taronga Zoo.

The special light show has a trail of spectacular installations and thousands of lanterns.

The lights celebrate Taronga's centenary. As visitors arrive they will experience a grand light projection onto the facade of the Zoo entrance.

This begins a journey filled with thousands of lanterns and larger than life animal sculptures - highlighting the 10 critically endangered species Taronga helps protect.

Included are the Asian elephant and the corroboree frog ... with Vivid lighting, sound effects and moving parts. Wonderful ...!

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House - one of the world's great buildings.

When given World Heritage listing in 2007, the Sydney Opera House was described as . . . "standing by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th Century but in the history of humankind."