Destination Sydney: Getting Vivid with It

Australia, City Travel, Lost Girls, Parties, Festivals & Events, Tours & Attractions — By on June 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

luminous sydney opera houseEarlier this summer, while friends were pulling out shorts and bikinis in preparation for Memorial Day barbecues, I was cramming tights and sweaters into a carry-on bag and preparing to go Down Under for the winter. Why head to Australia just as the chilly weather has arrived? I made the journey from New York to Sydney-a 26-hour marathon flight that included a three-hour layover in L.A.-in order to be one of the first to experience Vivid Sydney, a three-week sensory extravaganza that’s one of the city’s most extensive and anticipated celebrations since the 2000 Summer Olympics.

I wrote about my experiences Down Under in a five-part series for (the Today Show’s travel editor) and will be featuring snippets of that adventure here. Stay tuned!

Getting Vivid With it

Originally conceived to show off the city as one the major creative hubs in the Asian-Pacific region, the event organizers have called Vivid “the biggest international music and light festival in the Southern Hemisphere.” It’s aim was to transform Sydney’s harbor-front in to a living canvas of light and sound.

Art lover or not, I’d employ almost any excuse to get back to Australia, where I lived and backpacked with friends for several months in 2007 (as loyal as I am to the Big Apple, I actually had a few weak moments where I considered overstaying my visa and becoming an honorary Sydneysider). The locals here have perfected the balance between being laid back and hardworking, ultra-friendly and genuine. Since traveling is in their blood, they often extend themselves hand over foot to help out a visitor.

Sydney AustraliaAnd on May 26 the city began seeing plenty of new visitors, all arriving at time that’s typically considered the low season in New South Wales. Vivid Sydney, the first major festival held during Sydney’s winter, ran through June 14 and brought tens of thousands of additional tourists into the city (not to mention millions in revenue). Visitors attended four cornerstone events that took place across the city’s iconic sites and districts, including the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, Circular Quay, and the City Center. In an effort to make Vivid Sydney an inclusive event that’s available to everyone, the producers made of these offerings free of charge .

While I couldn’t spare all 19 days it would take to see Vivid Sydney program in its entirety, I decided to visit for the first week when the vast majority of the exhibits came to life…
To read more about my experiences at Vivid Sydney, view the original article at
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    1 Comment

  • Akila @ The Road Forks says:

    Oh wow! That first picture is amazing. Did you take it? Our first leg on our world trip (beginning in two months) is in Sydney. I can't wait!

    By the way, I've been reading your site for over a year as we have been planning our world trip and have linked to your site on ours ( It's one of my favorites! Thanks for all the inspiration — and I can't wait to read the book when it comes out.