Visited: Vivid Sydney 2019 (31 May: Darling Harbour, 1 June: Chatswood)

Having visited Vivid Sydney’s Circular Quay precinct on opening night, I decided to come back on 31st May to visit Darling Harbour and 1st June to visit Chatswood, finishing off the free precincts and concluding my visits to Vivid for the year.

Darling Harbour Precinct

The first stop on my visit to the Darling Harbour precinct was the inclusive playSPACE, with the To The Moon and Back exhibit seemingly drawing in many crowds. The exhibit features a creative use of wheelchairs roaming around a short section of track with projections, bordered on one side by a screen.

The whole precinct had a “space” theme to it, with even the ICC buildings being projected upon or displaying such artwork.

Alien Visitor has a rather friendly mushroom-shaped spaceship dressed in vibrant colours and strange sounds.

Adjacent to this is the screening of the short film, “One Giant Leap“.

Tumbalong Lights seemed to attract people like flies, as they scrambled to take pictures of themselves in front of LED fairy lights, not dissimilar to a smaller version of a display from previous years entitled Cathedral of Light.


The main attraction was the Robot SPACELand display in Darling Harbour, made out of various crushed cars and industrial looking components. Unlike previous years, shows only run twice each night – at 7:40pm and 9:00pm with fireworks on Friday and Saturday, plus Sunday long-weekend. As it wasn’t yet time for the display, I decided to continue along King Street Wharf.

Hanging above is the Tetra display of colour-changing LEDs in a tetrahedral pattern.

Barangaroo is part of the festivities with Winter Camp (45), bathed in a deep royal blue. You’d really have to be there at the right place and time to see something, however. Unfortunately, being such a walk from Darling Harbour, I expected a little more, but as time was ticking, I had to return.


Observing from Pyrmont bridge, I was just in time for the 9pm show with fireworks. I don’t recall ever visiting Vivid when the fireworks were going off in Darling Harbour, so this is a first. The fireworks were a little bemusing to some spectators – with a burst at the beginning, a long gap and then a decent finale.

Chatswood Precinct

Saturday saw me at Chatswood, taking the liberty of riding the new Sydney Metro Northwest to save some time. The first exhibit I saw was “Chattie’s Wood” (3), a projection on a signboard showing a (fictional) story of the development of Chatswood.

Light Bazaar (2) was mounted to a relatively plain looking wall, but served to display rather mesmerising colour patterns. Quite cool.

Next to it is Cascading Harp (1), which sits next to the escalator and is intended to be a massive wind chime. But instead of being a wind chime, it seems the kids have decided to interact with the artwork by grabbing the ropes and smashing the bowls together to make noise. I suppose the children are perhaps too impatient …

Looking upward through the suspended bowls, it almost looks like they’re out to get you …

Listen to the World (4) adorns the entrance to the Chatswood Transport Interchange. A big heart-shaped form with depiction of land masses suspended inside, if there’s one thing I really like about this, it’s the headphones. I’m a headphone kinda guy ;).

Along the strip towards the Civic Center, Trumpet Flowers (6) seems to be the hot favourite amongst the kids. This exhibit has light and music in copious amounts and makes a rather melodious result regardless of who’s smashing on those pads.

I Dance With You (7) seems to invite people to dance on top of projections on the ground underneath a row of qi-lin wings.

The regular attraction is the projection in the Civic Centre – this year it’s Unfold / Limelight & Limelight Academy Masterclass (9) which seems to have a very chicken-and-egg theme.

This year, there’s a number of extra exhibits in Mills Lane, with Woodie (11) being bathed in UV-A LED light. Fluorescent shirts and glow in the dark chalk illuminates, making for a fascinating canvas on the ground with roaming robotic mushrooms being added into the mix.

This was an ad on a bus shelter – it seems that Bridgeclimb are capitalising on Vivid. But what really drew me to the ad was the noticeable phased array of folded dipole antennas on a post near the “Book Now” text – quite a distraction …


In all, Vivid Sydney 2019 was an enjoyable experience, albeit seemingly less dense in exhibits compared to prior years. The loss of Martin Place precinct and the reduced density on the remaining precincts are noticeable. Crowd control was quite good, but it seems that there is still a commercial emphasis on restaurants and other associated novelty items which detracts somewhat from the lights. It seems that enthusiasm surrounding Vivid continues, with some crowding despite the cold and windy nights, but I still think the Circular Quay precinct outshines the others by a considerable margin.

Vivid Sydney continues through to 15th June 2019, so it might be nice to head down to see the lights if you haven’t already. As usual, I’m looking forward to seeing Vivid again next year.

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