Australia’s largest festival, Vivid Sydney, will this year run for 23 days, from Friday, May 26 to Saturday, June 17. Now in its 13th year, the festival has prompted many a venue around the city to offer special packages with food and drink in line with the festival’s underlying illumination theme.
There are now countless places where you can sip a Vivid-themed cocktail or tuck into festival-special set menus all while soaking in dazzling views of the installations. But what if you don’t want to shell out for an expensive dinner or drink? What if you’re keen to catch the attractions without the crowds, but also without necessarily having to be eating or drinking?
Ahead, we share some spots around Sydney that tick all three of those boxes: stunning Vivid Sydney views, no crowds and, best of all, no or little charge for being there.
Lavender Bay is a harbourside suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney, a six-minute stroll from Milsons Point train station. There, you can take in views of Luna Park, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, and capture them in all their Vivid glory in one single photo. Visit Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden or Lavender Bay Parklands for the best views.
Highway Cahill Expressway floats above Circular Quay, and is a favourite spot for Vivid Sydney photography enthusiasts. Here, you can capture both the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge with the scene punctuated by ferries and boats on the Harbour. You’ll also easily be able to snap the projections lighting up the Museum of Contemporary Art with Luna Park in the distance.
Sky Deck Sydney
Sky Deck is the free viewing tower on the 83rd floor of Crown Sydney. Though it’s open to the general public and — amazingly — free, it does require that you make a reservation on the Sky Deck site. Spots are released each Monday for the following week, and note that the tower is closed on Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays. If you do manage to score a reservation, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Vivid all throughout the city.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Walkway
While BridgeClimb does offer a Vivid Sydney Climb, if you don’t want to shell out for it, you can simply walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s walkway for free. There, you’ll be able to take long-exposure snaps of Vivid with boats cruising past on the Harbour. You’ll be in the heart of the action with prime views of Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay.
Sydney Tower Eye
During Vivid Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye puts on a Vivid SKYWALK program, an hour-long experience on one of the city’s tallest buildings that lets you marvel at the views on a guided tour. Spend as long as you want before your SKYWALK tour on the Observation deck, taking photos or simply taking in the twinkling lights.