City of magical lights

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Magicians of the Mist at Darling Harbour. — Sunpix by Lin Siu-Loong
Birds of Lumos. — Sunpix by Lin Siu-Loong
A waratah flower installation at the Royal Botanic Gardens. — Sunpix by Lin Siu-Loong
Audio Creatures at Sydney Opera House. — Sunpix by Lin Siu-Long
Sydney Harbour Bridge. — Sunpix by Lin Siu-Loong

HAVING heard so much about last year's colourful Vivid Sydney event, it felt somewhat surreal to actually be in this city for the 2017 festival, courtesy of Destination NSW.

Vivid Sydney really lived up to its claim as the world's largest festival of lights and music.

The whole city was lit up from 6pm onwards for 23 days (from May 26 to June 17), and ­visitors were treated to a wonderful array of sights and sounds, including some cutting-edge music.

Now in its ninth year, Vivid Sydney's colourful ­kaleidoscope was enhanced with the addition of a new precinct in ­Barangaroo.It featured a trail of amazing installations ­winding through intimate walkways, and leading to waterfront vistas and eventually, a foodie paradise.

Here, visitors could become part of the artwork in A Day in the Light, an ­outdoor ­theatre of lights and sound. We were also treated to ­optical ­illusions at Trapdoor, which offered stories of ­Barangaroo's past.

At the Royal Botanic ­Garden Sydney, we got to enjoy the Birds of Lumos ­installation, inspired by the rare Rowi species of the New Zealand kiwi.

These "birds" came to life, pulsing with vivid colours.

We were also treated to the sights of the brightly-lit ­Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House at the heart of the Vivid ­Sydney Light Walk.

The Opera House sails became the backdrop for the ­Audio ­Creatures ­installation which was designed and curated by Ash Bolland. It showcased creatures ­interacting with the ­environment, ­morphing, writhing and ­squirming to a soundtrack by Brazilian ­electronica star Amon Tobin.

Most of the city's iconic ­buildings were ­transformed, ­including the facade of the ­Museum of ­Contemporary Art Australia with its ­Organic ­Vibrations ­installation.

Meanwhile, the ­interactive light display ­Dreamscape ­allowed ­visitors to display their own ­colourful work on the city's ­skyline, projected across the Circular Quay from the ­Cahill ­Expressway to the Sydney ­Harbour Bridge.

Taronga Zoo offered Lights for the Wild, featuring giant animal light sculptures. ­Everyone was taking photos and video ­recordings of the colourful sights.

Amongst ourselves, we were comparing the quality of the pictures we took with our smartphones and my new Samsung Galaxy S8 managed to capture some amazing photographs despite the low light.

Unfortunately, we had to contend with the erratic winter weather in Sydney, as we experienced intermittent rain almost the entire time we were there. ­

Luckily, the rain stopped briefly during the first night, so we were able to join the massive crowd by the harbourside to view the light display.

Another Vivid attraction that captured our attention was the Magicians of the Mist display at Darling Harbour, where we were treated to a magnificent water-meets-light-technology work of art. Some 28,500 litres of water were shot into the air by 12 state-of-the-art pumps, forming a wall of water some 40m high and 60m wide.

The wall of water acted as a backdrop for projections of vivid imageries formed by lasers, ­fountains, jets of flames, LEDs and searchlights, all controlled through a computer interface in the hands of a master fountaineer and laser artiste.

The show ended with a fireworks display.

There were lots of ­fascinating sights and unforgettable ­experiences to bring back home from Vivid Sydney 2017
Besides the sights and sounds, there were also the gastronomical delights and exquisite cuisine offered by some of Sydney's famed ­restaurants.

For those who missed Vivid Sydney 2017, don't worry. There is always Vivid Sydney 2018 to look forward to.

This trip is courtesy of ­Destination NSW. For more, visit its website.