Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of ‘light, music and ideas’, which has become one of the cities most popular events since it began in 2009.
Although the citywide festival includes a wide range of events, it is mostly known for it’s light instillations and projections that illuminate the city, and transform its landmark buildings.
Unfortunately, our only glimpse of Vivid in 2017 was from an aeroplane window, as our first night living in Sydney coincided with the festival’s closing night. We were therefore keen to get the full experience this year, and eagerly awaited its arrival.
After a few days apart, Mum and Dad arrived into Sydney ready for an action packed weekend exploring the city that we now call home. Luckily for them, Dee and Rob were met at the airport by a private chauffeur (Rachael), who took them into the city and to their fancy apartment overlooking Darling Harbour.
First on the agenda was a very late Christmas present – dinner at one of Sydney’s many harbour-side restaurants. After giving them a few hours to unpack, we met back at Darling Harbour, and took the ferry across to Milson’s Point, which is on the north side of the harbour.
Every November, Sculpture by the Sea transforms the famous coastal path between Bondi and Tamarama into a temporary sculpture park, with over 100 sculptures from both Australian and international artists suddenly appearing along the walk.
Now in its 21st year, the programme is one of the most popular and well known art events in Sydney, with this edition attracting over 500 entries from all over the world. Sensing a great photo opportunity, we decided to finish work early one Friday and go check it out.
We decided to visit another of the National Parks surrounding Sydney with a trip to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Located just 25km north of the CBD, the park is very popular for a quick weekend escape from the city, with campsites also available for longer stays.
Our day started in Brooklyn, which is actually just north of the parks boundaries and located on the Hawkesbury River. Arriving at the Marina, we arranged to hire a small ‘tinny’ boat for two hours, which cost a very reasonable $70 (£44). After a very quick tutorial we were on our way out onto the river.
After lots of day trips out of Sydney, we decided to go a little further afield for our first Australian camping trip, heading a few hours south along the coast, past Jervis Bay, to Meroo National Park. Setting off on Saturday morning, we hit the road early in the hope of avoiding the worst of the traffic from the routine weekend exodus from the city.
With just a short breakfast stop in the picturesque little town of Berry, we arrived at Meroo campsite mid-morning and immediately began setting up camp. With the campsite well into the forest, and just a small number of fellow campers, there was a great remote feel to the place.
We made the trip with our friends Becki and James, who let us use their spare tent, as well as bringing a stovel and even more importantly – a hammock!
With Rachael’s working well outside of Sydney, she has been fortunate to receive a company car – a very sporty looking white Kia Cerato Sedan.
While making her commutes considerably easier, this has also meant we have been able to do lots of exploring outside of the city, without having to rely on the public transport network. With a ton of things to see and do within a two hour drive of Sydney, we have been trying to join the crowds heading out of the city at least one day every weekend.
One of the most popular weekend getaways for Sydneysiders is the Royal National Park, which is located just 29km south of the CBD. The Park was founded in 1879, and is the second oldest in the world (after Yellowstone). We made the short journey from Glebe and spent a day exploring the vast and beautiful park.
Our recent Sundays have been spent making the most of Transport NSW’s generous offer of unlimited travel all day for just $2.50 (£1.60). This includes all trains, buses as well as Sydney’s extensive ferry network, making it a great, cost effective way to explore more of the State.
Cockatoo Island, the largest of the seven islands situated within Sydney Harbour, is just a short ferry journey from Circular Quay, and seemed a great place to spend a Sunday morning, ensuring we took the early ferry to avoid the crowds.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Island has a lengthy history (for Australia anyway), and was opened to tourists only as recently as 2007. Much to Rachael’s excitement, after the colonisation of Australia, the island was originally used as a prison, housing convicts transferred from the overcrowded Norfolk Island. Continue reading