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Planning On Going To Vivid? Here's What You Should Know

Sydney is about to get lit with ideas, music and a fair few lights.

When you think of Vivid, what word springs to mind? Lights? Colour? ... Crowds?

With kick off only nights away, Vivid 2017 in Sydney is, on all accounts, huge. So huge in fact that it is chasing a whopping 2.31 million people who milled through the city last year.

But it can also be magical, eye-opening and a good time -- if you can navigate those weekend crowds and plan your visits. Here's what you need to know.

Catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo at sundown with the kids, and a feast of illuminated animal installations awaits.
Catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo at sundown with the kids, and a feast of illuminated animal installations awaits.


Vivid 2017 runs seven nights a week from Friday May 26 until Saturday June 17. Cue the lights (6pm in most city precincts, and 5:30pm at Chatswood and Taronga Zoo), and watch the people surface.


The program is its most ambitious yet, with more than 400 music events, 260 ideas sessions and 90 light installations stationed across Sydney's CBD, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo, Kings Cross and Chatswood.

This is clearly too much to take in in one sitting. We'd suggest travelling to different precincts on different days (two precincts per visit sounds manageable) for maximum enjoyment and minimal frustration.

And while quiet evenings are not exactly a thing, early strolls between Monday and Wednesday are your best bet.

Always a treat.
Destination NSW
Always a treat.

A few evenings strolls to get you started:

The Rocks to Dawes Point

Every year, the Vivid Light Walk is the event's piece de resistance. It's also the busiest stretch. Starting around First Fleet Park, near the Museum of Contemporary Art, you'll catch a stellar view of the Sydney Opera House, this year brought to life with 'Audio Creatures' by Sydney artist and director Ash Bolland.

Walk along the foreshore, into the backstreets of The Rocks, towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and onto Dawe's Point where 'Eora: Bennelong' created by Bangarra Dance Theatre will await you on the south pylon of the bridge.

Barangaroo to Darling Harbour

If you haven't yet strolled through the laneways of South Barangaroo, now is your perfect chance. From there, take the 15-minute walk around to Darling Harbour, where three water light shows await.

Through Kings Cross

2017 also spells a big push to light up the "grit and glitter" of Kings Cross. It even has its own program, Vivid KX, combining installations, theatre performances and pop up cinema screenings. That famous Coca-Cola billboard will also be lit up with the 'Characters of Kings Cross' photography series. Now that's something you don't see everyday.

Kings Cross like you've never quite seen it before.
Getty Images for Coca-Cola
Kings Cross like you've never quite seen it before.


Hailed as the biggest event in Sydney's social calendar, Vivid and public transport just go together.

Organisers are also facing a few setbacks this year, with tram works in the CBD set to cause disruption and construction leaving Customs House and Customs Square -- a favourite meeting point -- off limits. One more reason to leave your car at home and hop on a train to Wynyard or Circular Quay.

Real time transport options -- including extra bus and train services as well as road closures -- plus precinct and accessibility maps can be found here, or through the event's smartphone app.

And if you have your family in tow, make sure to get free ID wristbands for your kids from a Vivid Information Booth at Darling Harbour, Customs House and West Circular Quay.


Vivid 2017 is much more than a light show. With three programs featuring lights, a host of eye-opening speaker sessions through Vivid Ideas and a bunch of gigs and international headliners through Vivid Music, there is something for everyone.

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