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Escape The Crowds & Tourist Traps During Vivid Sydney


As winter sets in, Sydney shines once more with the iconic Vivid Sydney Festival. The epitome of innovation and creativity, we like to think of Vivid Sydney as the beating heart of the city’s winter economy. And, the ever-increasing popularity of the festival draws an ever-growing number of visitors to Sydney.

This year, the festival is set to launch Vivid Food, the newest addition to the core of Lights, Music and Ideas, making it all the more worthy of a visit!

Weighing in on the fact that there’s going to be a whole new array of incredible things to do and see, it is imperative to know how to enjoy them without battling the hordes of festival-goers. So, here’s how to ensure you avoid the crowds and tourist traps during Vivid Sydney 2023.

Vivid Cruises

Is there a more iconic sight than the ‘Lighting of The Sails’ at night? Probably not. With the harbour as Vivid’s playground, nothing quite compares to being on the water and experiencing all of it away from the buzzing harbourside. While ferries are the cheaper option, a Vivid Sydney cruise offers a primo experience without having to jostle your way to the best seats on board.

For an ‘out-of-the-world’ experience, enjoying the very best of Vivid from a unique perspective, Australian Cruise Group offers a range of Vivid Sydney cruises – from all-inclusive dinner packages to ‘lighter-on-the-wallet’ sightseeing cruises. It’s the best way to leave the thronging crowd behind, and enjoy the festival in all its glory!

Cahill Expressway

A bevy of tourists and locals alike will be on the hunt to get the ultimate Vivid photograph, and according to Sydneysiders, the Cahill Expressway is one of the best locales to capture the night-time magic of the harbour. 

Photo aficionados can be seen lurking at many vantage points along the highway, getting their best shot of the illuminated Harbour Bridge and Opera House, dotted by ferries and cruises on the harbour. Floating above the Circular Quay, there is only one way to get there - catching a lift from below! If you’re feeling peckish post work, then we advise going later into the night to avoid the masses.

Lavender Bay

Want to be in the midst of a magical garden, sipping on red with your significant other while soaking up the Vivid spectacle from afar? Who’s passing on that! Wendy’s Secret Garden is pretty popular during the day, but did you also know that this is one of the most underrated Vivid viewing spots? It might get a bit chilly, but imagine Luna Park, Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and more in one single frame! 

Lavender Bay Parklands is also another interesting vantage point in the lower north shore of the city with plenty of open space and elbow room. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring a blanket and get cosy with your other half! 

Bridge Walkway

The Vivid Sydney Climb is a popular attraction during the colder time of the year, but if you don’t want to shell out for it, there’s always the option to just walk across the bridge for free. You’ll be right in the midst of all the surreal light displays with prime views of the Opera House and Circular Quay. This is also a proper locale to get those exposure shots of the festival with cruises gliding down the harbour waterways.

Pro Tips

Lastly, but most importantly, the easy way to avoid the crowds is to head out very early or very late. Split your exploration across several days to enjoy every last one of the attractions, and for ticketed events and attractions including a Vivid Sydney cruise, it is wise to book in advance.

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