Vivid Sydney

One iconic view of Sydney, Australia is of the harbour (Aussie spelling) which includes the Sydney skyline, Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, and the docks where the ships and ferries arrive and depart at all hours of the day.  It’s spectacular.  I once heard it is the largest natural harbour in the world, in part because of the dozens of coves and bays curving in and out creating the longer waterfront. As a former resident of the city, I came to know it well and never grew tired of riding a ferry across the harbour to get to work each day.


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A newer addition to this beauty is the extravagant light and music festival, Vivid Sydney.  Each June,  Sydney produces this music, lights and ideas festival for all to see.  Lights of varying colors, shapes, and sizes combine with music to create entertaining and interesting shows to light up the city.  Sides of buildings and ships act as the backdrops (think movie screens) on to which the digitized light shows are projected.  My favorite shows reflect off the architectural white sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Recently visiting Sydney for the first time in a long time, I felt nothing but familiar excitement while reminiscing my way in and around Circular Quay.  Circular Quay (pronounced “key”) is the area that includes the docks, ships’ terminal, restaurants, Sydney Opera House and more.  I think of it as the  gateway to the city, at least to the central business district, because that is where I so often arrived (on ferries, trains or busses)  in Sydney.

Definitely Vivid Sydney

And so it was on cold, rainy and windy nights that I alighted (Aussie speak for disembarked) the train at the Quay and wandered out to the Opera House on Bennelong Point.  The light show was fabulous and changed themes every few minutes.  Some portions of the show were geometric, where squares, lines, circles and other shapes danced and moved in rhythm.  Another part used all Aboriginal style shapes and colors for an indigenous historical perspective.   The gorgeous Cathedral of Lights must have had tens of thousands of LED lights, and along the pedestrian walkway, a laser light installation intrigued kids and adults alike.

A particularly touching scene was that of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, illuminated beautifully against the dark sky.  The horrific massacre in Orlando, FL had just occurred, and the lighting of the bridge in rainbow colors was in memory of the victims and in recognition of the LGTBQ community in Orlando and around the world.

When I first heard of Vivid Sydney, I thought , “oh, just another light festival – been there, done that.”  However, I was definitely impressed and more than pleasantly surprised with the quality and quantity of the shows.  There were dozens to see, and thousands of Sydneysiders and tourists braved the winter nights for several weeks to enjoy Vivid.  I was happy to twice be amongst them.


PS.  Sorry for my blurry pictures.  I was under-prepared with my camera equipment 🙂


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