They say it every year, but this year it is true…Vivid Sydney 2016 is bigger and better than ever. Not only have they extended the number of nights to 23 (27th May to 18th June), but they have also extended the number of precincts to 15 (Maritime Museum, Campbell’s Cove, Central Park, Chatswood, Circular Quay, CBD, Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour, Martin Place, The Opera House, Taronga Zoo, The Galleries, The Rocks, Royal Botanic Gardens and Walsh Bay)!

There is so much to see and do that it can be overwhelming. Here are our top 10 suggestions:

Lighting The Sails ‘Songlines‘: If you don’t have time to see or do anything else, this is a must! This is how Vivid Sydney started back in 2009, and for me, this is still the Number One Highlight. This year the visual content and animation was created by Artists in Motion, a creative project company based in Sydney. They will transform The Sydney Opera House into an animated canvas of Australian indigenous art. This is the first time that indigenous work has been commissioned exclusively for the sails of the Sydney Opera House, and it will celebrate Australia’s most influential contemporary First Nations artists. Free.

2. Taronga Zoo: For the first time ever, Vivid Sydney 2016 is lighting up Taronga Zoo, as part of the Zoo’s Centenary Celebrations. There will be an illuminated trail of 10 giant animal multimedia light sculptures, representing ten species (from the magnificent Asian Elephant to the vividly coloured Corroboree Frog) that Taronga is committed to protecting. There will be also be a supporting cast of creatures including an echidna, cicadas, chameleon and even a funnel-web spider. Food and beverage outlets will be open throughout the Zoo, as will Taronga’s retail outlets to purchase wildlife memorabilia. Taronga is a non-profit organisation, so every ticket helps to support the Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts. My tip: Buy the ANZ Blue Pass if it is available on your chosen date, as it is the same price as a normal ticket and includes a round trip on Taronga’s Sky Safari cable car experience. $11.95/$17.95 children/adults.

3. Bjork Digital: According to Vivid, “the visitor is invited to explore BJÖRK DIGITAL – the premiere of a new virtual reality project from the musician, alongside other collaborations with some of the finest filmmakers and programmers in the world”. Free. Carriageworks.

4. New Order:  New Order are in Sydney celebrating 35 years with a series of unique shows, featuring two classic band performances and two evenings with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. “The group from the UK have returned with a full-length tribute to the dance floor that recalls their mythic Hacienda period. Drawing on Movement’s early indie anthems through to the chart-topping highs of Technique and their record-breaking single ‘Blue Monday’, the group have been in catalogue-hopping spirit on stage, even surprising audiences with renditions of Joy Division favourites to overwhelming effect”. From $79. Sydney Opera House.

5. Margaret Zhang: “Margaret Zhang is one of Australia’s most influential new creatives. She has built a global fanbase for her work as a stylist, photographer, and creative director. Since her digital beginnings in the fashion industry in 2009, Margaret has worked with global brands including UNIQLO, Swarovski, Clinique, Louis Vuitton and more, in a wide range of content and consulting capacities. Margaret represents a new generation of creative producers: independent thinkers who refuse to fit into one easy categorisation, who work across disciplines, blur boundaries between creative and commercial work, and who build their own passionate audiences around the world. This event offers essential insights for creative practitioners who want to manage their own self-directed careers, and communicators who want to learn how to generate engaging content, and grow engaged communities. Margaret Zhang will appear as part of the Vivid Ideas Game-Changers Talk Series: conversations with global creative industries leaders. with Alyx Gorman, the Editor of TimeOut Sydney”. From $25. Sydney Town Hall.

6. Vivid Bridge Climb: Break out your best moves on an illuminated dance floor like no other – the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Wearing your flashing Vivid Climb Vest, you’ll climb the Bridge above the bright, bold and beautiful Vivid lights before dancing under the stars on our illuminated 70’s style multi-coloured flashing dance floor. From $163/$238 children/adults.

7. Fort Denison: Sydney’s only harbour island restaurant is hosting a unique weekend dining (Friday and Saturday evenings, plus Sunday of the long weekend) experience during Vivid. From here, you can enjoy stunning views of the Harbour Lights boat parade, city skyline, the Dress Circle installation and the first-time illumination of the eastern façade of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. $112.50 including 2 courses, private return water taxi transfers to the Opera House, National Park entry fee and a mini tour of the historic Martello Tower.

8. Opera Bar: This is the perfect spot to sit back and relax. Year-round it enjoys sweeping views over Sydney’s Harbour, Harbour Bridge, Opera House and city skyline. During Vivid, the views are even more stunning. From here, you can enjoy Lighting the Sails (see above), Harbour Lights, and The Dress Circle. Food and drinks prices vary; the views are priceless.

9. Also, at the Opera House…the pop-up Deep Purple Pool Hall is back (although strangely not for the full Vivid Festival, catch it from May 27th – June 5th, 6pm till late). Ran by the team from Tio’s and Cliff Dive, it is described as ‘part pool club and part Twin Peaks saloon’ and can be found inside the Concert Hall’s northern foyer. Whether you’re after a pre-show bite, late night drink or simply in it for the long haul, saddle up to the bar or lounge away in what we guarantee is the deepest, purplest pool hall Sydney has ever seen.

10. Intercontinental Sydney: Located near all the action, they have 4 amazing options for Vivid:

  1. Cafe Opera – Enjoy a sumptuous smorgasbord with seasonal seafood including mussels and prawns, a host of mains, garden-fresh salads, live cooking station showcasing the roast of the day and a theatrical display of dessert that will satisfy all palates. From $65.
  2. 117 Dining – Their award-winning Chefs have designed an innovative 3-course menu with seasonal and local ingredients. Matching wines are available for an additional cost. The icing on the cake? Travel to Supper Club on the 31st floor, to enjoy the spectacular Vivid Sydney light show dancing across the harbour. From $95.
  3. Or if you prefer, you can spend more time at The Supper Club, with their Lumière Package which includes 3 twisted cocktails and the signature 117 Dining dessert. Available exclusively for Vivid. $88.
  4. Vivid Laneway pop-up dining experience – For something completely different, lose yourself in a decadent 3-course feast, with free-flowing beverages, live music and a vibrant Vivid atmosphere. This truly immersive dining experience is perfect for couples, a group of friends or a unique corporate entertaining experience. $149.
  5. My tip: Quote VIVID SPECIAL for options 1, 2 and 3 to enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. CBD.


Contact us if you would like us to make bespoke suggestions for you and your family or friends. And watch this space for our Top 10 Vivid Cruise blog post coming soon.