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The Lucky Country’s brightest light festival returns this week for its 10th anniversary. Stephanie Holmes outlines what you should look for.
Vivid light walk
Stretching for 2km, this route will take you past all the major Vivid illuminations and installations, including the Sydney Opera House, the harbour bridge, Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Rocks. There is a lot to see along the way, so allow plenty of time. Lights come on every night at 6pm. You’re better off visiting during the week if possible as weekend crowds will slow things down to more of a Light Crawl.
Family-friendly attractions are everywhere during Vivid. Start at the Royal Botanic Gardens’ QEII gates, where the pathway weaves through the natural environment, which is pretty magical on a normal day, but out of this world during the festival. He’e nalu is an installation that lets you experience what it feels like to ride a wave without getting wet.
Don’t miss Parrot Party, a musical installation with a flock of birds inspired by our very own kea, as well as the Australian rainbow lorikeet.
Take young kids down to First Fleet Park, next to the MCA, where the child-friendly attractions include cute inflatable sculptures at Harmony Valley, and the Garden of Sweeties, where sugary-themed characters encourage kids to learn more about renewable energy.
Under the harbour bridge, Luna Park will shine even brighter than usual thanks to a revamped ferris wheel. It’s also a great spot to look across the water and see the harbour lit up in all its Vivid glory.
Taronga Zoo’s Lights for the Wild features huge animal light sculptures, including a shark, whose mouth you can walk through, and a simulated Sumatran jungle. There’s a food market to fill hungry tummies after all the excitement.
If you haven’t already got tickets to see Solange, younger sister of Beyonce, perform at the Sydney Opera House, sorry but her four shows have sold out. Which is a shame, as she’ll be joined by dancers, a cinema-sized set and visual art backdrops (June 1-4). But there are more Vivid Music events to enjoy at this iconic venue — including Neil Finn performing his album Out of Silence with a full band and orchestra (May 30-31).
Legendary hip-hop star Ice Cube makes his Opera House debut (May 25-28); Silverchair’s Daniel Johns teams up with Empire of the Sun’s Luke Steele to perform as Dreams (May 29-30); and Cat Power gives a 20th anniversary performance of her 1998 album Moon Pix (May 31). Elsewhere, fans of Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet won’t want to miss Young Hearts Run Free at the Enmore Theatre, where an all-star cast will perform songs from the movie soundtrack (June 7). And the party to end all parties will be the Heaps Gay Qweens Ball at the Sydney Town Hall (June 9).