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What a half year it’s been!
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the glorious spectacle of the Northern Lights in Alaska, flew back to Perth for a very special friend’s wedding, spent Easter exploring my new backyard the Gold Coast, delighted in the beauty of Japanese cherry blossoms over the ANZAC break, and most recently flew to Sydney to experience the now world-renowned Vivid Festival. The latest news is that I am moving house again this month, and have just 4 short weeks to get settled in before jetting off again to Denmark! It’s kind of crazy to think I’ve been away probably half the time so far this year (and working really hard the other half so I can fund my travels), but I wouldn’t really have it any other way. Except maybe for an extra day each week so I can tell you all about my adventures!
As I’ll be without internet for some time around the time of my move, I thought I’d better do a quick update here, so you know what I’ve been up to. I decided to start by sharing some pictures with you all from my most recent trip to Sydney.
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and art in the heart of Sydney that takes place over 3 weeks in late May/early June. I really wanted to share my experience there with you as soon as I got back from my trip, but alas, work (and life) got in the way as usual. As the 2017 festival ran from 26 May to 17 June, this means that you will now have to add Vivid Sydney to your travel wish list for 2018, or perhaps 2019, when it celebrates its 10 year anniversary, hence may be even more spectacular!
Without further ado, here is a taste of what you can expect should you decide to attend Vivid Sydney.
1. Street performers
Fire juggling whilst precariously balanced on wooden boards stacked onto buckets.
2. Pop up bars and food carts
You won’t go hungry during Vivid, but you may feel a bit high on sugar and whatever goes into those glow-in-the-dark neon donuts and other sweet treats I saw others chowing down on – almost bought one just for Instagram value. Kinda regret not succumbing, but my stomach was churning at the thought of all that sugar! Aah, the side effects of embracing a healthier lifestyle…
Some of the installations like this waratah which changes colour according to sound are interactive, which is great fun, but be prepared to queue for your turn.
Look at all those people! 2.3 million people attended Vivid in 2016, so expect to share the experience with others. The greatest crowds are found at the Opera House and the train station at Circular Quay. It all adds to the excitement, but be prepared for the throngs!
5. A desire to take photos. Lots of them.
Be warned – the changing artwork projected onto the blank canvases that are the city’s most prominent buildings will at first mesmerise you, and secondly trigger a snaphappy frenzy. If you want any chance of capturing the lights, bring a camera that allows you to change the settings for slower shutter speeds that will allow you to capture sharper images in the dark. You don’t need anything fancy – I just had my compact Sony Cyber Shot on me. However, I was a tad envious of those with tripods!
6. Be prepared to walk
Vivid is not one, but a collection of multiple multimedia installations around the city, the majority of which are around Circular Quay. As such, expect to walk from one to the next.
One of my favourite events was the walk through the Botanic Gardens. From here, we caught a glimpse of the Opera House from the other side without any light projections, with the Harbour Bridge behind it.
However, it’s not the Harbour Bridge that you’ll be wanting to look at during this walk, but rather the giant technicolour flower beds, like the sunflower above and the dandelion below.
You’ll also find some wildlife, like these cute fluffy kiwi birds.
Not all the walking is as fun as this though. Be aware that, in the interest of crowd control, the train station at Circular Quay was closed almost the entire time we were there. This means you may need to walk a little bit further to get to the attractions that you want to see.
7. Factor in time
Aside from the crowd factor which will slow you down getting from A to B, many of the light exhibits tell a story, like this Urban Tree at Martin Place, Sydney. Give yourself ample time to really enjoy the show and take in the artist’s message. Your experience will be that much richer!
1. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a good camera, and maybe even a tripod depending on your level of enthusiasm (see points 5 and 6 above).
This installation, titled Fractal, was one of my favourites, and one where I regretted not lugging a tripod along with me. The wings change colour as you move!
2. Stay somewhere with a view so you can enjoy the festival from the peace and quiet of your own room, if desired.
The Four Seasons was definitely a good choice for this trip. Strategically positioned close to The Rocks, you’re right in the heart of all the action, with great places to eat just minutes from your doorstep, and this amazing view of the harbour with both the Harbour Bridge towards the left and the Opera House towards the right. Bliss!
Address: 199 George St, Sydney
3. Don’t forget to sample some of the great food that’s available in Sydney!
My weekend of indulgence began, as always, with a Zumbo breakfast at the Queen Victoria Building. Just about everything is good there, but if there’s one treat I never leave Sydney without eating, it’s the salted popcorn zumbaron (macaron). Do yourself a favour – try it if you haven’t done so yet!
This trip, I was lucky enough to secure a dinner reservation at former Masterchef contestant Reynold Poernomo’s new digs, Koi Dessert Bar. We had the 6 course dinner, and it was amazing. We also ordered his famous Moss dessert, pictured above, to share between the 2 of us at the end. This sophisticated blend of matcha, caramel, pistachio and green apple won him rave reviews when he created it whilst on the show, and it wasn’t hard to see why. Fancy making it yourself? Well, you can by clicking on this link!
Address: 46 Kensington St, Chippendale (take the train to Central)
To round off our Masterchef weekend, we enjoyed an Anna Polyviou high tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, right before we had to head back to the airport for our flight home! You may think we’re nuts, but what with the delicious sandwich toppings, the light and fluffy scones, and the beautiful selection of pastries, this definitely didn’t disappoint. We even took a firecracker home with us!
Address: The Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La, 176 Cumberland St, Sydney
I had a great time at Vivid, and am so glad I finally made the effort to visit Sydney during this time.
Have you been to Vivid Sydney? What were your favourite exhibits? Where else should I stay and/or eat the next time I go to Sydney?
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Going on a trip and are unsure what to see? Check out my detailed practical travel guides which include transport, things to do and main attractions!
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