MOST people don't need convincing that Sydney is a beautiful place.
But if there was ever any doubt, then Vivid will set you straight.
The 18-day event, which is currently running from May 22 - June 8, sees famous buildings and areas across the city lit up with bright lights, married with ambient music.
The bigger installations are accompanied by smaller shows (such as a forest of bright trees) and thousands upon thousands of people visit to see this amazing spectacle.
My friend Micka and I set off from Manly on Friday night so that we could get our first glimpses of the Sydney Opera House from the ferry. It was her recommendation and was an excellent idea.
We could see the beams of pink and blue before we reached the harbour and I just couldn't believe how amazing the sight that greeted us was.
I'd naively assumed the event was nothing more than the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and nothing more, but what met us when we arrived cannot be described in words.
Even now, I look at the pictures on this page and realise they don't do justice to the amazing night we had.
It was like being transformed into the fairytale stories we often read to the children (both Micka and I are au pairs) and Vivid really did make the city seem magical.
We started with Circular Quay itself and the surrounding buildings - which changed from rainbows, to pink and purple, to blue and green, and back again.
Walking under the railway (which was also decorated in blue lighted balls) we encountered our first few sets of attractions.
On the large scale - am impressive light show, projected onto a building (I've tried Google Maps and failed to find a name, so I apologise) which included the Great Barrier Reef, a shark attack, gnomes, fairies and a spooky plant which grew long vines and broke off bits of stone.
On the smaller scale, there were equally fun things to see and do - such as kaleidoscope-type room full of mirrors and lights and stairs which were turned into a piano.
Back through under the bridge, we walked towards the Opera House itself and saw many smaller light installations along the way.
One of my favourites was a set of three robotic-looking figures, which had light-up lungs and brains. This was one of my favourite spots (I'll say 'one of my favourites' a lot on this page probably - it is hard to narrow done an ultimate favourite) as I got a stunning picture of the robots set against the backdrop of the city lights.
Then we saw the Sydney Opera House itself - with a stunning montage of images and movies projected onto its famous sails. We watched in awe as the scenes changed from a dancing ballerina to a lion to more abstract works which can't really be described.
We watched for ages and didn't mind the chilly winds one bit, as the view we saw was definitely worth a little bit of bad weather.
After the Opera House we headed back to the quayside and round the other way, towards The Museum of Contemporary Art.
But before that, there were so many other special things to see in First Fleet Park, including a beautiful arrangement of glowing balls and poles (sorry for the awful description - hopefully the photographs below depict it better).
Then, as the heavens opened, we stood in front of the Museum to watch a slideshow projected onto the front of the building.
Even the rain created a special treat - as it transformed the projection beam into a colourful rainbow. So again, the bad weather was more than compensated for with the amazing views.
Then, as the rain once again started to die down, we headed towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to the Cadman's Cottage, where again there was a projection onto the wall of the building.
Beside it, in the trees, there was a laser show and it felt like I was in some sort of 90s rave for a moment, as the electric music and flashes of colour dazzled my eyes. In front of this was a display of pigs and piglets, which I just had to get pictures of as pigs are ADORABLE!
Near Campbell's Cove, we watched the display on the Sydney Opera House once more, had our photograph taken by the "you are here" sign and again saw lots of smaller light shows including a beautiful mermaid-type sculpture, reeds which swayed in the wind and made a noise like frogs, and a wave which changed colour.
At Campbell's Cove we saw the magical trees, which transitioned from pink, to blue to green. They made a magical forest of lights and the photographs showing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background really came out well.
Lastly, we went into a smaller show, which was basically a long, thin room lit with bright lights. Again, I'm going to say this was my favourite display, although looking back at the photographs again I think this is really true this time.
We got some gorgeous pictures together in the room, but I would have liked to have stayed longer. However, the pressures of long queue forming outside in the rain and the possibility of missing the last bus home meant we were a little pressed for time.
We had a fantastic evening on Circular Quay and can't wait to see the rest of it next weekend. I strongly recommend that if you're in the Sydney area you make a trip there soon, or get your flights booked ready for next year.
A stunning way to see the city by night and one of the top things I've done so far this year. Don't miss it!
See www.vividsydney.com for more details.