7 ways to have a Vivid Sydney staycation on a budget
Use your NSW vouchers, register for free events, bring your own meals and other ways to have a mini break without breaking the bank.
Vivid Sydney is one of the largest light festivals in the world. After a 2-year break (no) thanks to the pandemic, the festival is finally returning with 23 nights of glowing installations, inspiring talks and electrifying live music.
While the light festival itself is free, many activities and experiences are not. Neither are meals nor accommodation if you're planning to stay overnight.
However, there are ways to keep costs down, whether you're planning a big night out or making a larger staycation of it.
Use your Dine and Discover vouchers
The NSW Dine and Discover program that gives eligible residents $25 off dining and experiences comes to an end on 30 June 2022. If you don't use them by then, you'll lose them.
Restaurants across Sydney accept Dine vouchers, including those around the Vivid lights such as The Meat and Wine Co.
The annual Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo is one of the few official events accepting the Discover voucher. With adult tickets priced at $26.95, you can see the lights at the zoo for under $2.
Otherwise, there are experiences not on the official bill that you can put your Discover voucher toward:
Vivid Sydney Night SKYWALK
Vivid Sydney Catamaran Cruise
Vivid Sydney Harbour Cruise
Use your Parents NSW vouchers
Parents of school-aged children are each entitled to a bonus of $250 in Discover and Stay vouchers.
You can use them all on experiences, all on accommodation or split it up into $50 chunks.
Shop around for unofficial experiences
Beyond the official line-up of lights, talks and live music are bonus experiences to see the lights in, well, a different light. There's the iconic Sydney Bridge Climb, the Sydney SKYWALK, a fleet of harbour cruises and guided walks.
Use your Stay NSW voucher
Maximise your time among the lights, avoid public transport and treat yourself a little. These are all more than valid reasons to book a room in the city. That and the view of the lights from your window.
Locals can use their $50 Stay NSW vouchers on a sky-high room at the Shangri-La or at perfectly positioned Langham Sydney. Vouchers can be stacked so if you get a group going you could cover your room with these freebies.
Book Vivid Sydney accommodation packages and deals
Interstate visitors don't have to miss out either. Trip.com is taking $50 off Sydney stays and $50 off flights into Sydney throughout the festival. The only catch is you have to book before 30 May 2022.
Klook has 10% off stays, which could be a better option if your stay costs more than $500.
Alternatively, Accor has slashed its nightly price tag to $125 on various hotels across Sydney.
For something more luxurious, a myriad of 4- and 5-star hotels have wrapped up packages filled with accommodation and dining treats. Novotel Sydney has the family covered with an overnight stay with buffet breakfast for 2 adults and 2 kids, Vivid cocktails (for the adults) and glow packs (for the family) from $235.
Ovolo Woolloomooloo is sending its guests on an exclusive harbour tour on its very own cruiser Suellen when they book its Vivid VIP package. To top that off, you'll get a $100 food and drinks voucher, breakfast and social hour drinks.
Check out the free events
Vivid offers both free and ticketed ideas and music events. You don't have to miss out if you'd prefer to keep the extra dollars in your pocket. Highlights you can catch for free include the following:
- The Future of Work – 7 June
- Stages Live Show – 2 June
- Ballroom @ The West Ball: Powerhouse Late X Vivid Ideas – 9 June
- Falling Through the Cracks: Australian Museum X Vivid Ideas – 8 June
- Tumbalong Nights: Free Vivid music live shows at Tumbalong Park – from 27 May
- DJs at The Goods Line – from 27 May
- SINK – 1–4 June
- Vivid Music at Central Station – from 27 May
Pack your own meals
The neon-tinged bespoke Vivid menus may be calling from those harbourfront venues, but they will come at a premium price. A budget alternative is to bring your own food and make a night picnic of it.
Prime spots to lay down the picnic blanket are Campbell's Cove, Hickson Road Reserve, Sydney Observatory and Blues Point Reserve.
Plan out the rest of the festival with our Vivid Sydney guide.