The nights are drawing in and the temperature is dipping (highs of 28 degrees today – freezing!) but that doesn’t mean Australia is going into a hibernation, far from it!

May 23 sees the return of one of our favourite yearly activities in Sydney – Vivid!

If you’ve never heard of it before …

Vivid is a spectacular festival of light, music and ideas that runs throughout Sydney. The main highlights are unbelievable as phenomenal projections are beamed onto the side of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and a host of other buildings throughout the city for just over 2 weeks.

The Opera House sails were officially lit on May 23rd and the festival is now in full swing and we are loving it!!

The city is a hive of activity as thousands of onlookers descend on circular Quay and Darling Harbour to marvel at the spectacular projections.

So what do you need to know? …

First and foremost, you are going to want a good spot for the Opera House projection! set to music, the sails of the Opera house act as a spectacular projections screen as the lights whir through a host of amazing images. From animal prints to psychedelic colours to underwater scenes, it is an unbelievable series that cannot be missed.

Head down to Circular Quay and find a spot amongst the crowds and wait for the wonder to begin. once you’ve gasped at the beauty of the Opera House, head behind Circular Quay train station to see Custom’s House in all its glory!

A library and information centre during the day (head in there during daytime for a scale model of Sydney if that’s your thing) at night, when the Vivid lights are turned on, the building becomes a giant musical instrument!

The colours swirl and change as you select the instrument you and your buddies want to play, then head onto a little stage and your movements control the enormous projection. No two projections are the same and the 3D mapping technology used to create the designs is out of this world!

Keep walking away from the Opera House and you’ll arrive and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The MCA is a perfect blank canvas, a big rectangular block with one of the most dazzling displays of the entire festival.

The organisers arrange world-renowned artists to design and create these one-off light shows and the MCA is a jaw-dropping journey through shape and colour.

Keep walking around the bend until you arrive just before the Harbour Bridge. The Rocks will be booming and has a handful of its own mini displays (want your face temporarily spray painted onto a wall?! Of course you do!), the final display are four giant white rabbits. Don’t ask us what they symbolise, they’re still pretty awesome though!

Head under the Bridge and you can watch the show projected onto one side of the most recognisable landmarks in the world – The Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Is it any different to last year? …

It sure is! This year is bigger an better than ever before! It isn’t just the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge that is transformed during the Vivid Festival in 2014. There is also a light and water show at Darling Harbour which is fantastic in its own right. Imagine a 40 metre tall peacock made of light and water and you get the idea. You have to see it!

For the first time since Vivid was launched in 2009 the light show has moved into the city too – namely Martin Place. Not as amazing as the other locations, the Martin Place section has a fantastic falling water effect that boggles the mind. The water and light are used to write tweets, which is pretty amazing!

Martin Place also features a great little food market too where some of Sydney’s best food trucks have set up shop. Messina Gelato (aka the best gelato in Sydney) also has a pop-up shop here serving the craziest sundaes you will ever taste!

The music and ideas section of the festival is a little bit of a sideline but it is definitely worth checking out.

Pixies opened proceedings last week and acts such as Lauryn Hill, James Vincent McMorrow, and many more following over the next two weeks there is something for everyone!

There is also a vast program of lectures and interactive seminars with some of the brightest minds in all kinds of creative industries. From marketing to content creation, education to art take a look at the Vivid website for more details.

Make sure that when you check out Vivid Sydney 2014, you tag your pictures with #UltimateVivid … we will re-post the best photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the best shot of the week will win an Ultimate Travel SOMETHING!