Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of lights, music and ideas running for around a couple of weeks. What motivated us to attend this year was a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary light show on Customs House at Circular Quay. It was a wet and crowded night and the sound was too low, but the event was still enjoyable, plus we saw a number of other lighting installations around Circular Quay, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Opera House.

My video is below…

… But the official video is way better!

Museum of Contemporary Art
Customs House
Opera House

The crowds at Circular Quay Station

The MCA again.

Yesterday we decided to visit the other major lighting installation at Darling Harbour. CityRail have a Funday Sunday ticket which allows family travel across the network for $2.50, so it was a good excuse to explore the city. I had thought to include a day of riding around on the Sydney Monorail too, with the system being shutdown forever at the end of the month.

We caught a train in from Padstow to Town Hall, where we had a lunch at the Chinatown Noodle Restaurant on Bathurst Street. They serve fantastic food from western and northern China – we had Xinjiang leaf noodles and fried lamb and pork dumplings. Then it was back on a train across the Harbour Bridge to Milson’s Point.

Alex has been pestering us for a while to take him to Luna Park, which we see out of the window of our train each working day. Milson’s Point station is located at the northern end of the bridge structure. Despite travelling across it daily I never cease to be impressed by the scale of the Harbour Bridge. It is absolutely massive and dominates the city. Sydney would no longer be Sydney without it.

Beneath the station a market was in full swing. We were quite impressed by the offerings, especially for young kids. Then we walk down towards the foreshore and Luna Park.

We entered Luna Park through the big face, which Alex says is happy and welcomes people. The grounds retain the feel of an amusement park from many decades ago, or at least that’s how I imagine that they were. Unfortunately (well, not for me) the big rollercoaster was torn down due to the noise complaints of local residents. However, there are still plenty of rides to induce motion sickness.

The problem is that they are all so expensive, especially compared with the recent experiences in Japan! A single ride is $10, then another $10 for an adult to accompany Alex. Unlimited ride tickets make more financial sense, but are not cheap. In the end we just paid $5 for a couple of goes on a hammer striker, with Dad assisting Alex to wield the mallet. That won him a toy monkey and he was happy. Alex also asked for fairy floss, but Mum and Dad were left eating it.

There were big crowds at the ferry terminal. We eventually caught the appropriately named Alexander to Darling Harbour, giving great views of bridge and the construction work at Barangaroo.

The sun was setting and I wanted to catch the monorail to Chinatown, but B baulked at the price, so we walked instead. I’ll have to leave the monorail for another day soon as I have promised Alex a ride. It did mean that I got some great photos of the monorail as it rode off into the sunset.

Darling Harbour was already getting crowded in preparation for the night’s light show. Despite the darkness and different route Alex remembered the playground and water at Tumbalong Park, showing that he has the skills to be a future navigator.

Dinner was at Eating World at the northern end of Chinatown. It has the dingy but buzzing atmosphere of an Asian food court with tiny stalls and shared tables. I had the equivalent of a nasi padang from Pondok Selera, whose food tastes so genuine that I was immediately transported back to Asia. B ordered a tonkotsu ramen from Gumshara, my other favourite. I think it tastes as good as any that you’ll find in a yatai of Fukuoka.

We then returned to Darling Harbour, stopping to let Alex have a climb and slide at the playground. The crowd was packed around the southern end of Cockle Bay for the light and fireworks show. Fortunately, we managed to get decent viewing spots, with Alex seated on my shoulders.

There were colourful fountains, fireworks and laser projections across the water spray while music including Dune, Deep Forest and classical pieces played. It was fantastic, but when the time came to join the crowds leaving the park my feet complained of pins and needles!

The shops were all closed as we walked back to Town Hall station. It’s a pity that the city shuts down most nights, unlike in Asia, though I certainly prefer local working hours.

Platform 6 at Town Hall was crowded with passengers destined only as far as Circular Quay. Fortunately, most of them got on one train, which was shortly followed by a much emptier express service back to Padstow. Lucky we had visited Circular Quay earlier because it was packed with people getting a second to last view of the light shows.

A great day had without leaving our home city!