Exploration

Lights Up Down Under: Vivid Sydney

Australia's annual music and art festival transforms Sydney into a spectacular urban light show.

While we're sweating out summer in the northern hemisphere, Australia is hosting its major winter festival, the annual citywide spectacular known as Vivid Sydney. The fest features major musical performances (Vivid Music) and creative conferences (Vivid Ideas), but is best known for the eyeball-popping light installations displayed in and around the nation's largest city.

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Photo: James Horan/Destination NSW

The world-famous Sydney Opera House is transformed into an animated canvas with "Lighting the Sails: Songlines," a series of light installations featuring Australian indigenous art.

Photo: James Horan/Destination NSW

Over the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), a collective of artists from Sydney and Paris display their project "The Matter of Painting," a light display which creates the illusion that the facade is being perpetually painted and sculpted.

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Photo: James Horan/Destination NSW

Using light, fog and a reflecting pool, the artistic collective known as The Electric Canvas create a prehistoric scene where giant eggs and reptilian creatures appear to rise from the water.

Photo: James Horan / Destination NSW

Sydney's Taronga Zoo -- celebrating its centenary this year -- gets a colorful makeover with an illuminated trail of multimedia sculptures and giant animal-shaped lanterns.

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Photo: Vivid Sydney

Sydney's waterfront hosts the spectacular Laser Dragon Water Theatre display with -- deep breath, now -- four video projected water-screens, 40 vertical fountains, 16 moving fountains, 22 flame jets, 10 powerful lasers, and the world's first water-screen mounted on a robotic arm.

Photo: Vivid Sydney

Designed to be viewed from both the inside and the outside, the Royal Botanic Garden's Cathedral of Light installation is a 70-meter-long tunnel illuminated by tens of thousands of LED globes.

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Photo: Vivid Sydney

Sydney's Custom House is transformed into a gigantic bookshelf and multimedia adventure with -- and we quote -- "haunting landscapes of warty witches and wizards, gnomes and cocky cockatoos." Australians, what can you do?

Photo: James Horan / Destination NSW

Back at the zoo, the "Be The Light for the Wild" exhibit features giant illuminated lanterns to celebrate 10 endangered species from Australia and Sumatra.

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Photo: Vivid Sydney

Now it its eighth year, Vivid Sydney is recognized as one of the major creative festivals of the entire Asia-Pacific region. This year's festival runs through June 18, so there's still time to drop by.

Photo: James Horan/Destination NSW