A Travellerspoint blog

Vivid Sydney 2015 - Part 3

A short visit to Chatswood in North Sydney - a new venue for this year's festival


Verging on the obsessive, I went on my third visit to Vivid Sydney on Tuesday, June 2.

The area is a little out of the way, so I fear a lot of people may have missed it out, but it was still quite busy for a Tuesday nonetheless.

You really can't go wrong, whether you arrive by bus or train, as the lights begin right outside the station and across the road from where you get off the bus.

When I arrived I was greeted by a giant jellyfish hanging over my head, and several of his friends lined the Victoria Street Mall.


They glowed red and blue and looked beautiful with the little fish below them.

Further down the road were little glowing sticks hanging from the trees and lots of food stalls which smelt absolutely amazing.


Then I came to an amazing display of this orange creature (I'm sorry, I'm not sure what type of fish it is) which was in the centre of the Chatswood part of the festival. It glowed very brightly and many couples had photographs taken near it. I get it - this festival is pretty romantic!


As with any good event, some of the bits are "hidden" so they take a little bit more effort to discover and Vivid is no exception. Many visitors could be too busy studying their maps to look up - but I'm glad I spotted it.

The pictures below show a projection which was cast onto a little arched roof running above the mall. It showed a slippery eel weaving its way around the water and must have taken a long time for the artist to animate.


The culmination of my walk was The Concourse, where a huge video display was showing on the theatre itself. The clever artists who designed it even featured the windows and different-angled walls into the movie, so it looked like the fish were weaving in and out of the theatre.


This was a short expedition but well worth the visit.

I really enjoyed the sea creatures theme and it was nice to see a part of Vivid Sydney that I suspect many didn't get to enjoy.


Posted by emmaabroad 00:59 Archived in Australia Tagged trees trains sea sydney fish ocean travel australia bus lights fun festival swimming underwater jellyfish vivid creatures 2015 chatswood Comments (0)

Vivid Sydney 2015 - Part 2

Vivid music and light festival around Darling Harbour and Pyrmont




So, on our second excursion out to Vivid Sydney we did Darling Harbour and Pyrmont on another cold Friday night.


When we arrived from Bathurst Street we climbed the steps up near Home (nightclub) and were perfectly positioned high up for the 7pm fireworks. Our view on arrival is pictured above.

And.....WOW. Just wow.

I'd thought the projections around Circular Quay were good, but the fireworks and laser-light displays in the water were something else entirely. Ever colour of the rainbow danced around on the sprays of water that shot up from the middle of the harbour.





The crowds of people all stopped to watch and admire the display and a quiet sense of awe swept around the thousands of people there.

After stumbling across that gem (seriously - top tip for next year is get onto one of the walkways, bridges or in a restaurant on the second floor) we walked round to Tumbalong Park behind the IMAX where there were more subdued pieces to see - including two women walking round performing juggling tricks with light-up hoops.


I love the Darling Harbour area of Sydney as there is always something new to discover or see. Tonight was no exception and the dazzling colours were made even more impressive by the beautiful backdrop of the water.

After the quietness of the park, we followed the trial round the west side of the harbour to the Harbourside Centre (a shopping centre I've never actually been into - the temptation would be too much) to where a large ferris wheel was taking centre stage.


What we didn't realise until we got there was that the colour projections on the wheel were not computer-controlled patterns, but rather whatever took the fancy of passersby. Yep, that's right. Micka and I both became five-years-old again when we got to press the big red buttons that dictated what colour the wheel was going to be. I would have had hours of fun, but a queue of small child guilted me into having the quickest of quick goes.

After the wheel we made our way round Pyrmont to The Star - a huge nightclub and casino complex I'd been to before in the summer for a friend's birthday.


This time however, the building was part of the festival and had little nooks and places to venture on all levels.

In the gardens there were brightly coloured drums which, when hit, lit up lights and projections onto the trees.


Inside, there was a chocolate fountain (okay, not a light display, but made a delicious chocolate crepe) and a gorgeous luminous 3D star with pointed edges so sharp, I'm glad it was suspended in place by what I hope were thick steel rods.


The chocolate crepe was seriously naughty and seriously nice. I like to think of it as having medicinal purposes, as I wasn't feeling too well.


Then, at the top of the building itself we came to a bar and games area where young ones placed computer simulations which were projected onto the exterior wall while the adults sat in glowing chairs to sip wine and beer (below pic).


This area also had a karaoke contest (no, we didn't, in case you're wondering) and truly amazing views over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the edges of Darling Harbour and the lighthouse.


We ended our visit watching the last fireworks display up on Pyrmont Bridge - the footbridge which spans the harbour. Our high-up viewpoint once again allowed us to take some incredible pictures and admire the festival in all its glory.


I can seriously not get bored of this event and will be very sad when it is over. I'm so happy I got to see it as part of my travelling adventure.

Posted by emmaabroad 23:51 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney chocolate australia lights city friends fun music festival colours vivid crepe 2015 pyrmont Comments (0)

Vivid Sydney 2015 - Part 1

Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and Campbell's Cove

rain 10 °C


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.

Posted by emmaabroad 21:50 Archived in Australia Tagged art sydney harbour australia lights of bridge new museum house south opera show wales vivid contemporary quay Comments (2)

13 songs that will make you want to travel

Some are more obvious than others, but all have a travel link if you look hard enough......

1. B.o.B - So Good

Shot in Buenos Aires and lines like "Girl tell me how you feel, oh, What's your fantasy, oh, I see us on a beach down in Mexico" and "spin the globe, wherever it lands that's where we'll go" who wouldn't want to hop on plane? Before I started travelling and hardly anyone knew about my plans, this is what I'd listen to to reassure myself I was doing the right thing. Awesome feel good tune.

2. Simple Plan - Summer Paradise ft Sean Paul

Okay, I'm sorry, this is an AMAZING song, but the lyrics "But someday, I will find my way back, To where your name, Is written in the sand" is factually inaccurate. It's been washed away by the tide or blown away in the wind Mr Plan. You're better off following a map. Also "I remember every sunset" - there are three months in summer. That's 90 days. I'm betting you can't remember ALL of them. Third complaint - what does Sean Paul bring to this song except the odd 'oh', 'eh' and repeating the lyrics?

3. Don Omar - Danza Kuduro ft Lucenzo

What's not to like? Catchy tune, girls in bikinis, hot men on a yacht. If this doesn't scream "first class travel" I don't know what does. Sadly, no cramped hostels or sleeping at the airport in this video. But who needs reality?

4. Fall Out Boy - Immortals

When you quit your job, give up your house, pack your life into a suitcase and invest all your money in plane tickets, there will inevitably be people who think you are bat-shit crazy. To them, this song says "I'm immortal...mwahahaha". Hold your head up high and stomp through the streets singing this catchy tune. (Also - please see Big Hero 6, the film this song is from, as it is awesome).

5. Bernard Fanning - Wish You Well

Not intended as a travel song, but there are connections nonetheless. The globes and the fact Fanning is continuously walking in the video reminds me of travel. Plus, if you imagine listening to it while sunning yourself on a beach, it's definitely has a chilled out "I don't have a care in the world" vibe to it.

6. Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

Okay, the lyrics are quite dark, but the video starts with someone jumping in a lake in the sunshine and the beat is annoyingly catchy. I have no idea where this was shot but some of the scenery looks beautiful. Added traveller points for including backpacks and fish.

7. Jack Johnson - Good People

Ahhh Jack Johnson. Listening to you strum away makes me want to sit by a fire on the beach with you. Bring wine.

8. Santana - Smooth ft Rob Thomas

The opening riff on the electric guitar, the Hawaiian shirts, the sexy location shots in the video....bring on the sangria and rum, we're off to a beach party.

9. Vance Joy - Riptide

Just the mention of riptide makes me think of surfing. VERY strange video but that's one of the reasons I love it.

10. George Ezra - Blame it on Me

The repetition of "what you waiting for?" throughout this song reminds me of when I was thinking of travelling. If I'd waited until I had loads of money, or until I found the right time in my job, I would never have left. In life, there is no such thing as the "right time". If you wait until the perfect moment, you'll probably miss out.

11. Emeli Sande - Next To Me

Whether you chose to believe this is a song about a boyfriend or God himself, Next To Me is a gorgeous piece about someone being there for you, who you can rely on. When travelling alone, I always feel like someone is looking out for me, whether that's a friend on the end of the phone, a new hostel roommate or just the stronger Me I've become.

12. Helen Reddy - I Am Woman

Sorry boys, but this is pretty female-specific. "I am woman, hear me roar" - you go girl! Don't let anyone tell you you're doing the wrong thing or you can't travel alone. Travelling will help you grow and discover things you never knew about yourself. "I am strong, I am invincible...."

13. Counting Crows - Mr Jones

An American band I've loved for years. Again, not strictly a travel song. But seeing Adam Duritz bouncing around in dreadlocks and the catchy guitar strums make me think of all the hippy-esque travellers with their compass tattoos, battered acoustics and questionable facial hair. Bless em.

Posted by emmaabroad 23:19 Tagged beaches people travel the fall music boy travellers out simple you tube jack don plan videos bernard foster songs helen fanning counting sande crows johnson b.o.b omar emeli reddy guitars Comments (3)

Plane plotting - the adventures continue

My visa for Oz runs out in July, but that doesn't mean the adventure ends there....

sunny 18 °C

So July 27 is the fateful date. It is the day I leave Australia after exactly one year of amazing travel adventures.
That's 72 days to enjoy the last few weeks of Sydney and save as much cash as I can.
When I first started this blog, I assumed I'd do Thailand on the way out to Oz, Bali on the way back, and that would pretty much put an end to my time as a traveller.
But a strange thing happens when you start living like a nomad - you actually start to like it.
I've been in Sydney five months now and I'm already getting itchy feet and feel ready to move on. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but I'm yearning for the next adventure round the corner.
I can't believe that it has been 307 days since I waved goodbye to my loved ones at Manchester Airport and bid farewell to the UK. What is even more astonishing is that it'll have been 18 months of being away until I see it again.
I've now booked my planes for the next few months and they begin with a three month stint in New Zealand.
I went to Auckland in April and I was madly in love with it as soon as I got there. So many quirky different shops, stunning scenery and amazing islands to visit. All with the impending sense of doom that any day a volcano could erupt - it certainly makes you live for the moment.
I'm already compiling a list of things I'm excited to do there including Hobbiton, a zip wire, swimming with dolphins and seeing how the locals live. Of course, all this will have to fit around a job, as I'll be needing one pretty much as soon as I arrive.
I'll be there until early December, before catching a plane to Bali - the place I have dreamed about ever since I saw and read Eat, Pray, Love. (If you're female and are thinking about travelling, this will sway you).
I'm so excited to scuba dive sunken statues, make friends with monkeys in Ubud, watch sunsets over beautiful beaches and see rice fields laid out for miles.
I can't believe I have waited this long to go and cannot WAIT to see it.
After Bali I'll spend a few days in Singapore. My mum was born there so I feel like it is some sort of rights of passage that I visit. I'm taking recommendations for this one as I have to admit I don't know too much about the place. But it is another tick off the bucket list and I'm sure it will be an exciting adventure.
After that I'll be home in time for Christmas - my first Christmas back with the family after missing out in 2014. I was going to do the whole "flights are too expensive, I can't make it home" gag and then turn up unannounced to surprise the family, But mum made me promise I'd be home for Christmas and I didn't want her upset for six months thinking I wasn't coming back. (In all honesty, I think she would have chartered a jet and dragged me home by the scruff of my neck if she had to).
So there you go - plans for the next few months.
Still more booking to do though - in January I'll fly back out to New Zealand to see the south island and finish my visa there. Then who knows? I'll definitely want to see some more places on my way back home to the UK.
I'll be 32 by the time I get back and in desperate need of a job, house and possibly a boy. Otherwise I might have to get ten cats and lots of woolly jumpers.
But that's another year away yet - plenty more places to see.
I read a great quote the other day which I think perfectly sums up everything I now believe in.....
I travel because life is short, and the world is big.

Posted by emmaabroad 00:23 Archived in Australia Tagged planes sydney auckland bali singapore travel australia new zealand flights uk manchester Comments (1)

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