Vivid Sydney, 2014

Some of you may remember my 2013 Vivid Sydney experience.  As I wandered home last year I vowed and declared that never again would I put myself through this festival that last year attracted over 800,000 visitors.

The show continues on the water as well

The show continues on the water as well

Fast forward 12 months and here I am again.  Again, the reason for attending Vivid was because it was a Scou’ts outing and Alfie, well aware of this term’s events, had been counting the days.

Now there's a familiar site

Now there’s a familiar site

With fear and trepidation and with Carl conveniently away at an interstate conference, Alfie and I met up with the other scouts and their parents at Taronga Wharf and caught the ferry over to Circular Quay.  The night started well with fine weather and mild temperatures and a good ratio of parents to scouts (unlike last year!)  An added bonus is that there was an industrial dispute going on at Sydney Ferries with staff refusing to collect tickets so transport was free.

The sails all lit up

The sails all lit up

We arrived at Circular Quay just before 6pm which is when the light show begins.  By arriving early we were able to avoid the horror of the crowds that build as the night goes on.  We managed to walk to the International Terminal before the light show started and so we were in good position as the sails of the Opera House lit up the night.  We stayed and watched the light show for quite a while and I have to admit, it’s a very impressive show.  The show has been created by 59 Productions who take the iconic building on a dramatic journey through time – from the birth of architecture and civilisation through to the pinnacle of human and technological achievement.

Pretty patterns

Pretty patterns

From there we took a walk over to the the large installations and the boys really enjoyed the rabbits that are on the harbour foreshore as you head from the International Terminal to the Harbour Bridge.

The projector is enormous and about 500mtrs away

The projector is enormous and about 500mtrs away

But then the scout leader announced it was time to head back to the terminal as we had just 10 minutes before our scheduled ferry departed.  We had been at Vivid for less than an hour.  Poor Alfie was gutted.  There were lots of interactive things Alfie wanted to investigate and music he wanted to experience and different parts of the city he wanted to explore.  When Alfie attends an event he likes to be the last man standing.

Buildings that front Circular Quay

Buildings that front Circular Quay

Trying to walk quickly in a large group, at night, through the Vivid Festival while making sure no one gets lost is quite challenging.  Vivid is crowded!  Especially on weekends.  It’s impossible to hurry.  And in the hour we were there the number of people milling around Circular Quay grew significantly until you felt like you were in a swaying mob that was almost making it impossible to navigate your way towards your destination.   Especially as unexpectedly you came across public access-ways that had been blocked off to all pedestrian traffic.

The view from the International Terminal

The view from the International Terminal

If you do go to Vivid, there is no way you can appreciate all that there is to see and experience in just 60 minutes.  I would think triple that figure would be more like it.

A walk-through installation

A walk-through installation

Walking through one of the installations but at this point I've lost Alfie

Walking through one of the installations but at this point I’ve lost Alfie

White Rabbit

White Rabbit

As we took the ferry ride back to Taronga Wharf Alfie was very sad.  I said, ‘Cheer up; you can go again just with your father.  Maybe on a week-night one day after school.  How about that?’

No time to work out what this is

No time to work out what this is

And Alfie’s face lit up and he thought that was a terrific idea.

I’m yet to run it by his father.

Just slightly crowded

Just slightly crowded



Vivid Sydney opened on May 23 and will end on June 9.

Farewelling Vivid from the ferry

Farewelling Vivid from the ferry

Sorry the photos are dodgy but every time I took an image I was at risk of losing a scout!  Do you like crowds?

One for all to enjoy – for free.


  1. Its so good! I’ve now missed it 2 years in a row 🙁 I hope to get to it next year and have a stay in Sydney!

  2. It looks like an amazing visual experience and there are interactive parts too. You’re right that only planning on one hour wasn’t enough. I hope his dad gets on board with a second visit.

    Thank you for the glimpses of Vivid.

  3. I don’t like crowds but I’d fight them to see Vivid. 🙂

  4. Haha – hope you run it by his father and Alfie gets to revisit Vivid – it sounds like such a fun and exciting visual feast – inspite of the crowds!

  5. Well it seems not as bad as last time, maybe? But I do agree that Carl should have to take Alfie back. It’s only fair. 😛

  6. Nope, I don’t like crowds and I cannot imagine trying to keep track of kids in this mass in the dark.

    Beautiful event, though.

  7. UUuuumm, small crowds are okay, but large crowds make me very nervous. I break out in a cold sweat and get the shakes. Sometimes I can’t breath! I wouldn’t do well at Vivid Sydney, I’m afraid! It is very beautiful, though! 🙂

  8. wow! a beautiful place to visit

  9. Very beautiful….I love the crowds, and Mr hates it. So I often miss out on these kind of places.

  10. We were in Strathfield on the second night of Vivid and it was chaos there as the trains were down. It’s such a popular event and every year they make it so interesting.

  11. So cool! I’d love to go!

  12. Wow, very cool event!

  13. I hate crowds and more so as I get older. But, this looks like a very festive event.

  14. Hate hate hate crowds, hence why I take my wheelchair when we go somewhere like that – having a wheelchair sometimes has it’s bonuses 🙂

  15. Nice patterns, “vivid” colours! Great captures, Charlie!

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  16. I’m always in two minds about these things – I want to go but can’t be bothered with the hassle of getting home!!! But then I don’t want to miss out. I saw friends photos over the weekend and it did look amazing. I’m sure Alfie and Carl will have a great mid-week bonding experience:)

  17. I get SOOOOO overwhelmed in crowds. I avoid amusement parks and festivals largely for that reason!

  18. I don’t like crowds, I get frustrated and irritated and then it’s no fun. I don’t like to see movies on opening nights or weekends for the sale reason. I love all these adventures but wish other people wouldn’t come 🙂
    Your photos are great, I was just admiring them. The Sydney Opera House looks amazing all lit up. I think maybe, I could beat the crowds to visit Vivid, it looks like so much fun. Hope Alfie gets to go again.

  19. Oh I’m sure Carl won’t mind at all Charlie! After all, it would be selfish of you to keep all this excitement to yourself and think of how happy Alfie will be 🙂 You are such a good wife and mother that as you’ll understandably be upset at being left out, you had better console yourself with wine. Chocolate and wine! Xox

  20. I too was in two minds about this year’s Vivid after last year, but we went in on the first Tuesday after it started and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Were able to move freely and find good vantage points for photographs of the Opera House.

    If you do go in again, you should go to Martin Place where there is a beautiful display at the MLC building.

  21. I don’t like crowds at all and I think you were very brave to venture back again. It sounds a spectacular event though, and the projected images on the opera house sails are really impressive.

  22. Vivid is all over my social media, the white rabbit in particular. Reminds me of our Enlighten Festival. It looks really magical, but I think the pictures are good enough for me, you braved the grounds and people for me. 🙂 Thank You!

  23. What wonderful photos! It’s a shame you didn’t get longer than 60 minutes there.

  24. im going on Friday a bit later in the evening hoping the crowds have disippated

  25. Late in commenting as I have been fighting the crowds in a much more unpleasant way in the local hospital 🙁 !! Just home!!! So unhappy I have missed this again. As long as they are not drunken louts I absolutely love, love, love big crowds and seem to be energized by them! Besides the Quay and lower George Street, the Town Hall area also looked great on film. Think it is a little unfair to bring the boys over for just an hour – they were old enough to make it an exciting two, surely!!!!!!!

  26. I’m not crazy about crowds, but I’ll “do them” if there’s something I really want to see. But with children, that’s really harrowing, I agree. Vivid Sydney is really impressive, even just seeing it through photos. I can see why Alfie would be so interested, and I hope Carl finds that a good idea, too. 🙂

  27. Looks like a fantastic night out … I especially love the big rabbit!

  28. J hates crowds, so it’s tough for us to do anything like that for long. But it looks so wonderful!

  29. gorgeous.
    oh, those sails are breathtaking.
    & the white rabbit is so very cool! x

  30. Something similar like that, we had 2 years atop on Holiday in Berlin!

    Pretty cool event!

  31. Goodness, it wouldn’t be for me – far too many people – give me home comforts any day – but what a wonderful event it looks. Cool things to see in every direction, and in such an amazing location too. You’re lucky to live near such amazing landmarks!


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