Get the best view of the festival of light aboard a Vivid Sydney harbour cruise.
Vivid Sydney has lit up the city’s foreshore since 2009 with the display getting larger each year. The grand illuminations on the Sydney Opera House sails, interactive displays found throughout Circular Quay and the smaller unique displays lining the piers at Walsh Bay attract more than 1.7 million visitors.
Spreading from Darling Harbour and Walsh Bay, under a lit-up Harbour Bridge, to The Rocks and Circular Quay, many of the Vivid festival’s displays take on a whole new perspective from the water.
Joining a Vivid Sydney cruise is a great way to see the event’s displays without the walking and crowds.
While the 2017 event has now come to a close, the 2018 one is now less than a year away. As soon as 2018 dates and cruises are announced, we'll update this page with more information.
Vivid Sydney cruises
Every year, dozens of boats sail the harbour aglow with brightly coloured lights and become part of the Vivid Sydney display. Sydney Harbour Ferries get in on the action too. If you're hoping to join a boat tour during Vivid that participates, these are the official operators that have joined the festivities in the past.
- Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Culture Cruise
- Magistic Dinner Cruise
- Sydney Showboat Dinner Cruise
- Showboat Paddlewheel
- Oz Jet Boating
- Manly Fast Ferry
- Sydney Cove Water Taxis
- Sydney's First Fleet Ferries
- Captain Cook Cruises
- Sensational Sydney Cruises
- Fantasea Cruising Sydney
- Shadow Charters
Other Vivid Sydney activities
If you’re not tempted by a Vivid cruise consider joining a photography class, Vivid Ideas event or dining at a restaurant with views of the illuminations.
What do I need to know about Vivid Sydney and Vivid Sydney cruises?
How does Vivid Sydney work?
Being a free event throughout Circular Quay, The Rocks, Martin Place, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour (with smaller displays in other parts of the city), Vivid is a giant open-air gallery. It's a free event where you can walk around and see light-based displays and illuminations created by a range of artists. There are guides available and each attraction is signposted with explanations of what it is you're looking at.
Is Vivid Sydney free?
Yes, Vivid Sydney's displays are free to access. If you'd like to join a cruise or bridge climb, you'll need to pay for admission.
How long does Vivid Sydney go for?
While it's usually an 18-day event, this year the festival will be running for 23 days this year, from 26 May to 17 June 2017.
When did Vivid Sydney start?
Vivid Sydney has been lighting up the Sydney foreshore since 2009. It began as a light festival promoting energy efficiency with light paintings displayed on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
What time does Vivid Sydney start?
The Vivid Sydney light displays will be turned on at 6pm each night during the festival.
Do Vivid Sydney cruises go to Darling Harbour?
Yes. Most of the sightseeing cruises during Vivid depart from Darling Harbour or King Street Wharf, so you'll get the chance to wander around the area before and after your cruise. It's best to check with the operator you've booked your cruise with to see where and when you need to meet the boat.
Are there Vivid dinner cruises available?
There are a wide range of sightseeing cruise options available offering something for every budget. We've noted on each sailing above whether food or drink is included.
Are there many Vivid Sydney road closures?
Many roads leading toward Circular Quay and The Rocks are closed or restricted during the event. Given those limitations and the road closures along George Street it's recommended to take public transport to Vivid. There will be an extra 3,500 public transport services available during the event and ferries will be illuminated from 6pm.
Can I do a Vivid Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb?
Yes! The twilight and night-time bridge climbs are available during Vivid and offer panoramic views of the harbour displays.
Do you have any tips on how to photograph Vivid Sydney?
If night photography isn't your forte, consider joining a night photography class prior to or during the festival to capture the best images.
What is next?
- ALSO READ: The Ultimate Guide to Vivid Sydney
Image: Vivid Sydney