Light After Dark: 5 Ways To Soak In The Sights And Sounds Of Vivid Sydney 2019
Every year, from late May to mid-June, the sails of the world-famous Sydney Opera House is bathed in technicolour lights, rising like a beacon in the night sky from its spot at the head of the Sydney Harbour, and flooding tens of thousands of Instagram feeds with its vibrant looks. This year is no different with the return of Vivid Sydney, the largest annual festival of light, music and ideas on this side of the globe, presented by Destination NSW.
Thanks to its buzzing contemporary art scene, Sydney is fast carving out a name for itself as the next culture capital of Australia. The 11th edition of Vivid Sydney, which takes place from now till June 15, sees the city and its surrounds light up after dark with a nightly spectacle courtesy of light artists, music makers and brilliant minds across eight precincts, including The Rocks, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Chatswood and Luna Park Sydney.
If it has been a while since you were last in the city, then a trip is definitely in order, and may we suggest with the Tatlings in tow, for Vivid Sydney 2019 has something to find favour with everyone, both young and young at heart. Here are our picks from what the festival has to offer.
One of the the best ways to get quickly acquainted with Vivid Sydney is through the Light Walk, and this year’s edition features over 50 installations and projections created by more than 100 artists and collaborators.
With a route that stretches for more than 3km, we suggest you start at the iconic Argyle Cut in The Rocks, which is illuminated with Pixar characters including Woody and Buzz Lightyear, before making your way around Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House, where LA-based artist Andrew Thomas Huang presents a hypnotic tribute to Australia’s native plants and flowers with Austral Flora Ballet, using the opera house’s majestic silhouette as his canvas.
Then, make your way to the Royal Botanic Garden and embrace your inner child with the retro-futuristic contraption, KA3233, which reacts to sounds and space, and the mesmerising Firefly Field installation. Make sure to stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Customs House along the way.
2/5 Take a walk on the wild side at Taronga Zoo
While the residents of the Taronga Zoo may have retired for the day, their luminous counterparts come out to play at night. In a nod to the zoo’s commitment to wildlife conservation, the Lights for the Wild trail features interactive light sculptures of endangered species such the Sumatran rhino, Sumatran tiger and her cubs (to celebrate the birth of the zoo’s three new tiger cubs Mawar, Tengah Malam and Pemanah), a family of glowing Silverback gorillas, and even a swarm of buzzing bees. Walk along the Aussie Bush path to discover colourful Australian animals, including funnel web spider, bilby, goanna and saltwater crocodile.
3/5 Enter the space age at Darling Harbour
There’s nothing like the joy of discovery through the eyes of a child. Take your intrepid explorer to Darling Harbour for the space-inspired Tumbalong Lights, an inclusive play space accessible to all ages and abilities. Walk Under the Milky Sky, play with SpaceBalls, and share different perspectives with See What I See. Over at Cockle Bay, megabots, led by the 16m-high Ecobot, take over Robot SpaceLand to show that recyclable waste can be the building blocks of a greener, more sustainable tomorrow. Make a pitstop at the Blacklight Dessert Lab at Darling Square for an ultraviolet illuminated dessert experience like no other.
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4/5 Celebrate love, peace and harmony at Chatswood
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the installations and projections at lifestyle and retail precinct, Chatswood, explore the universal themes of love, peace and harmony. Co-Existence, a cutting-edge 3D projection mapping art by Hungarian artist collective Limelight at the Concourse looks at the suburb’s diverse culture and history. Meanwhile, Tibetan prayer flags provide the inspiration for the Cascading Harp, while Islamic architecture, textiles and music give meaning to the tessellating kaleidoscope of Light Bazaar at Chatswood Interchange.
5/5 Go on a thrill ride at Luna Park
Thrills, spills and lights combine at Luna Park to give you an adrenaline rush like no other. But first, get behind the soul of this Sydney institution and the characters that inhibit it through the Spirit of Fun projection on its exterior. The park’s newest ride, Volaré, which is described as a “magical wave swinger”, is a must for every thrill-seeker, but if you prefer something more sedate (but by no means boring), then the Ferris Wheel is your best bet. Illuminated with more than 3,000 LED lights, it is a sight to behold, even more so the fact that it looks out to spectacular views of the skyline with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House across the water, as well as the the Vivid Light show across the city.
Vivid Sydney 2019 takes place until June 15.