Circular Quay and the Rocks

Short description

It’s all bustle and buzz down at Circular Quay, one of the great crossroads of the city. Ferries, trains, buses and light rail bring people from all over Sydney to work and play. This is Sydney’s dress circle, with the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Garden and Sydney Harbour Bridge framing that iconic harbour view. Around the water’s edge are cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars as well as luxury hotels and the striking Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Circular Quay
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

Tucked behind the western edge of Circular Quay you’ll find the maze of cobblestone laneways, century-old terraces and cosy pubs that make up Sydney’s oldest precinct, The Rocks. Think of this as the place where the city of Sydney was born and the soul of that early colony still lives beneath the stones. This is where early settlers put up some of the new colony’s first homes and businesses, and you can still find bricks hand-hewn by convicts more than 200 years ago. In amongst this living history is a thoroughly modern crop of stylish cafes, lively bars, quirky art galleries and chic boutiques. 

Circular Quay and The Rocks are always the stars of Vivid Sydney. See the city’s most iconic sites, like the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art illuminated by spectacular light displays. Inside these world-famous venues, Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas will inspire with creativity and innovation. Follow the Light Walk along the waterfront and connect with individual bespoke pieces that tell the story of Vivid Sydney. See the harbour itself become a canvas for the world’s greatest light show. 

How to get there: Trains, buses and light rail services from all over the city will take you right into the heart of Circular Quay. You can also catch a ferry from Manly, Taronga Zoo and Luna Park in the north, or along the Parramatta River stopping at Balmain and Barangaroo. The Rocks is just a short and picturesque walk around the waterfront. 

This is an image of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay lit up during Vivid Sydney.

Light Events

New York Sunday

Be transfixed as majestic cliffs of colour shape-shift and morph across the Museum of Contemporary Art. As a centrepiece of Vivid Sydney’s 2022 Light...

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This is an image of the New York Sunday light projection at the Vivid Sydney festival
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Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia Price:

88 Bars

For over 40 years, the Coca Cola sign on William St has been an unlikely Sydney icon. Consisting of 88 vertical neon tubes, this installation encapsulates...

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This is an image of the 88 Bars installation at the Vivid Sydney festival
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Location: Circular Quay and the Rocks Price:

Lighting of the Sails

Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, 2021 by the Martu Artists and Curiious with soundtrack by Electric Fields and Martu Artists (Inspired by Yarrkalpa...

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This is an image of the Lighting of the Sails light projection on Sydney Opera House at Vivid Sydney festival
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Location: Sydney Opera House Price:

Who the Heck is Billy Blue?

Felon… Larrikin… Maverick… This entertaining animated projection spills the beans on the life of William ‘Billy’ Blue. Follow the unpredictable...

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This is an image of the Who The Heck is Billy Blue light projection at the Vivid Sydney festival
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Location: Circular Quay and the Rocks Price:

Equilateral

This futuristic installation at the Overseas Passenger Terminal features a canopy of kinetic equilateral triangles. In unison, they create an amazing...

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This is an image of the Equilateral installation at Vivid Sydney
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Location: Overseas Passenger Terminal Price:

Temple

Temple embodies the idea of nature as a sacred refuge. The natural world is a life-force, both mysterious and ever-present. It takes us out of our busy...

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This is an image of the Temple installation at the Vivid Sydney festival
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Location: Circular Quay and the Rocks Price:

Neon Graffiti: Still Here

The writing is on the wall… Equal parts affirmation and intention, the statement is emphatic. Ngulli yahnbai gulli bahn! [We are still here now!]. It...

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This is an image of the Neon Graffiti: Still Here light installation at Vivid Sydney
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Location: Circular Quay and the Rocks Price:

Music Events

Going Under: Bypass

DOORS 8:00PM / NAUSHEEN B2B RANDEV, DJ MISTRY B2B RAKISH, DEEPA B2B JHASSIC, UNCLE KAL [MC], SCALYMOTH (MEANJIN) PERFORMERS: RAMASHON, CINNAMONKWEEN...

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Going Under: Drop-Off Zone
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Location: Mary's Underground Price:

1 4 All

This weekly series of four multi-faceted events laces music performances with live visuals and delicious dishes in a fusion of Sydney’s rich and diverse...

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1 4 All
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Location: Since I Left You Price:

Ideas Events

GENEXT x VIVID IDEAS

Calling all bright young things! Get amongst this atmospheric festival-style ‘museum takeover’ created by young people, for young people! This one-night-only...

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GENEXT x VIVID
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Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia Price:

The Future Sounds Different

Join us as we showcase the many Australian innovators who are changing the music industry. This collection of talks and performances shines a light on...

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The Future Sounds Different (2022)
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Location: Australian Institute of Music Price:

Deals