Sydney’s biggest bash isn’t New Year’s Eve—it’s Vivid Sydney! This 23-day festival of light, music, and ideas attracts over 2 million visitors each year, turning the city into a neon wonderland with dazzling displays on iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. While in Sydney, take a chopper ride to the Hunter Valley for epic views and a world-class wine tasting experience. Enjoy the vibrant city, its culture, creativity, and natural beauty during Vivid Sydney for an unforgettable adventure.

Now, check out our recommendations featured in this episode and more!

What to do

Vivid Sydney’s Various events and installations

Immersive journey of light and sound across the city with different themes and colors. 

This festival takes place over the course of three weeks in May and June.

If you don’t like crowds, avoid going on a long weekend – it seems to be quieter and easier to catch trains during the week.

Smoke Bar at Barangaroo House

Chic rooftop bar with a trendy cocktail list and stunning views of the Sydney skyline.

  • Address: Level 1/35 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo NSW 2000
  • Hours: Daily 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Cost: $$
  • Website: Smoke Bar

Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard

Historic vineyard in the Hunter Valley offering guided wine tastings and vineyard tours with panoramic views.

  • Address: 750 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Hours: Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Cost: Tasting fees apply
  • Website: Audrey Wilkinson

Where to stay

Intercontinental Sydney

Luxurious hotel with breathtaking panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Located in the restored Treasury Building of 1851.

The Langham, Sydney

Elegant hotel featuring classic luxury with modern amenities. Offers exceptional dining, a luxurious spa, and stunning views of Darling Harbour.

QT Sydney

Trendy hotel blending historic charm with cutting-edge design. Located in the heart of the city, close to major attractions and vibrant nightlife.

  • Address: 49 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Cost: $$$
  • Website: QT Sydney

And there’s tons of other fabulous places to stay during your trip.

Check out the best accommodation deals below.

What to eat

Bennelong at Sydney Opera House

Iconic restaurant celebrating the Sydney Opera House with a culturally significant and inspiring menu by renowned chef Peter Gilmore.

  • Address: Bennelong Point Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Lunch: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM, Dinner: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Cost: $$$
  • Website: Bennelong


Seafood-focused restaurant featuring the finest Australian produce, offering fresh, sustainably caught seafood.

  • Address: 30-36 Bay Street, Double Bay NSW 2028
  • Hours: Lunch: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Cost: $$$
  • Website: Margaret

The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar

Opulent dining room offering old-world hospitality with a modern twist. Specialties include whole dry-aged roasted duck and a dessert trolley.

  • Address: 66 King Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Lunch: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM, Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Cost: $$$
  • Website: The Charles Sydney

a’Mare at Crown Towers Sydney

Italian-inspired restaurant with an ever-changing menu focusing on seasonal Australian produce and Italian ingredients.

  • Address: Level 1, 1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW 2000
  • Hours: Lunch: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM, Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Cost: $$$
  • Website: a’Mare

Travel Tips

  • Best Time to Visit

    Sydney is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during the Australian spring (September to November) and fall (March to May). These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and vibrant festivals like Vivid Sydney in late May to mid-June. If you prefer warm weather and beach activities, summer (December to February) is ideal, but expect higher prices and more tourists.

  • Getting Around

    Sydney has a well-connected public transportation system, including trains, buses, ferries, and light rail. Purchase an Opal card for convenient travel across all modes of transport. Ride-sharing services like Uber and taxis are widely available. For exploring beyond the city, consider renting a car, but be aware of toll roads and parking fees.

    Opal Card: Buy and top up at stations, convenience stores, or online.

    Train: Extensive network connecting the city and suburbs.

    Bus: Covers areas not accessible by train.

    Ferry: Great for scenic trips to Manly, Taronga Zoo, and Parramatta.

    Light Rail: Connects Central Station to Dulwich Hill, and a new line links Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford.

  • Safety Tips

    Sydney is generally a safe city, but it's always wise to take precautions:

    Stay Vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

    Secure Belongings: Keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying expensive items.

    Beach Safety: Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and be mindful of strong currents.

    Emergency Numbers: In an emergency, call 000 for police, ambulance, or fire services. From mobile phones, you can also call 112.

  • Helpful Notes

    Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD). Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are readily available.

    Language: English is the official language.

    Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), UTC +10:00.

    Weather: Winter days can be cool, with average maximum temperatures around 15°C and minimums around 5°C. Warmer clothing and enclosed walking shoes/boots are recommended for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

    Plug/Adapter Info:
    Plug Type: Type I (used in Australia)
    Voltage: 230V
    Frequency: 50Hz

Packing list

Here’s our suggested items to pack for this destination. Please always consider the weather and activities you will be doing.


  • Light layers for variable weather (jackets, cardigans)
  • Warm clothing for cooler evenings (sweaters, scarves)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Smart casual attire for dining out and events
  • Swimwear for beaches and hotel pools
  • Sunglasses and a sunhat for daytime activities
  • Rain jacket or umbrella (in case of rain)


  • Daypack for carrying essentials while exploring
  • Travel-sized toiletries
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Camera or smartphone for photos
  • Portable charger for electronic devices

Travel Essentials

  • Passport and necessary travel documents
  • Copies of important documents (ID, reservations)
  • Local currency (Australian Dollars) or a travel card
  • Travel insurance details


  • Plug adapter (Type I) for Australian outlets
  • Voltage converter if your devices are not dual voltage (230V)
  • Headphones or earplugs for flights and downtime
  • Tablet or e-reader for entertainment

Activities Specific

  • Binoculars for sightseeing
  • Notepad and pen for jotting down experiences

Health and Safety

  • Basic first-aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers)
  • Prescription medications with a copy of the prescription
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes

Seasonal Items

  • Lightweight clothing for warmer days
  • Heavier layers for cooler nights
  • Enclosed walking shoes/boots for outdoor activities and sightseeing
  • Insect repellent for outdoor activities

Emergency Contact Information

  • List of emergency contacts
  • Hotel address and contact information

Get a full packing list and free downloadable template at Pack Better

Ultimate Packing List Library

Find the perfect customizable packing list for all of your travel situations on our sister website Pack Better.

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