10 ways to see the lights
This five-course set menu will delight food fanatics. Kobe Jones’ chef de cuisine Seung Kyu Min is serving up fresh, modern Japanese dishes. Before you approach the sashimi tasting platter, you’re given a flaming cocktail of green apple liqueur, crème de cassis, lychee liqueur and fresh apple. Move from a seafood course of miso-crusted lobster tail to tender cuts of Wagyu beef and onto an imaginative green tea crème brûlée for dessert. Enjoy this feast for two for $199.90 all up, right on the doorstep Darling Harbour’s spectacular light installations.
The grinning entrance of Luna Park is even more enticing this year, with the funland lighting up for the first time as part of Vivid Light. The whole family can enjoy the spectacle after dark and a night of unlimited rides with RedBalloon’s pass for $55 per person. But rules do apply: it’s only available between 6-11pm on Friday and Saturday, and the little ones have to be more than 130 cm tall. If you make the cut, race to the dodgems or take a leap of faith on the Devil’s Drop. There’s also a $20 food and drink voucher included – best saved for after the stomach-churning rides.
Leave the land-lovers behind and avoid the crowds on this 90-minute tall ship cruise. You’ll be served dinner and drinks as you bob around the harbour aboard your authentic vessel. As you glide past the Sydney Opera House and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll see the best of Vivid Light splashed across the city. This experience is available every day during the festival for $109 per person, and casts off from Walsh Bay at 7pm.
If it’s spectacular city views you’re after, it’s hard to ignore the Sydney Tower Eye. It has the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere, and gives you eyes way out to sea – 55 km on a clear day. On the nightly climb, you’ll spend 45 minutes on your guided skywalk after a safety briefing. Knowledgeable guides will explain the region’s history and point out the city landmarks among the dazzling Vivid Sydney illuminations. Tackle your fear of heights with RedBalloon for $69 and $45 for kids from 6pm.
Take a retro spin around the city on this sidecar tour. Your personal guide will pick you up directly from your hotel (or a central location), before you embark on a 90-minute road journey from Circular Quay to Kings Cross. Along the way you’ll pass light projections on the Sydney Opera House, ride over the illuminated Sydney Harbour Bridge and coast past Luna Park’s colourful light show. There’s opportunities to pause for a quick snap, and plenty of local knowledge to glean from your guide. You can ride solo for $225 or with a pal for $300.
Everyone wants to get that perfect Vivid photo, but only the pros know how to make the lights sparkle just right for the camera. Learn how it’s done at a night photography workshop with RedBalloon for $110 per person. In this roaming three-hour course, you’ll be capturing Vivid Light installations and artworks around the city, getting tips on technique and camera functions as you go. You’ll need to bring your own digital camera with full manual capabilities to participate.
Get the gang together for an elegant tour on your very own cruise vessel. On this private RedBalloon experience, you and five friends can charter a little liner for a two-hour spin around Sydney Harbour. Your experienced captain will show you the city highlights and colourful Vivid additions while you enjoy a hamper of edible treats – starring a bottle of bubbles. Enjoy the stunning city views in the company of friends for $799.
We’re pretty proud of our Coathanger, and during Vivid she becomes even more impressive, with a light display and dancefloor in the sky. Conquer the climb at night for a more serene experience with RedBalloon. For $263 you’ll get to enjoy the 360-degree views on the steady incline towards the summit, then at the top you can show off your moves on a ’70s themed light-up dancefloor. Book in for the three-and-a-half hour long experience, Monday to Friday.
If you haven’t seen Vivid from the water yet, you’re missing out. Uninterrupted views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House await on this RedBalloon experience with Vagabond Cruises. They cry anchors aweigh three times a night for this one-and-a-half hour trip around Sydney Harbour. As you embark from King Street Wharf, enjoy your complimentary drink, then descend on the savoury supper and sweet treats. Make the most of the views on the outdoor deck, or stay cosy undercover. This is a family-friendly cruise, with tickets for adults going at $69 and $55 for kids.
Make it a date at the Glass Brasserie inside Hilton Sydney with this dinner for two during Vivid Sydney. You’ll see all the illuminated action outside the Queen Victoria Building from your window seat, while enjoying two courses of modern Australian dishes for $189. There’s a choice of four warming mains, from pan-fried gnocchi to a roast lamb, and exciting desserts like the coconut mousse with torched papaya and passionfruit. They’re including two colourful cocktails to match the Vivid Light artworks that mix vodka, Licor 43, lime juice, fresh passionfruit and amaretto-spiked cream for a fun float.