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An accessible guide to Vivid 2019

Vivid Sydney leads the way when it comes to accessibility at events. Here's everything you need to know if you are planning to go.

Vivid Sydney leads the way in accessibility and inclusion for events.

For many people with disabilities as well as families with young children, large festivals with teeming crowds can be daunting.

Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney

However, Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, is continually setting the benchmark for access and inclusion at major events.

Vivid Sydney has transformed Sydney Harbour into a colourful, creative canvas. The festival runs from 15 May to 24 June. For three years, Vivid Sydney has partnered with Cushman and Wakefield to make the festival more inclusive. Vivid isn’t just about light shows. It also has contemporary music performances, public talks by renowned thought leaders and creative workshops.

“The festival has considered access incredibly well,” says Para-Olympic athlete Kurt Fearnley, who visited Vivid with his family last year.

“They feature wheelchair-friendly venues, provide Auslan interpreters at music events and speaking events and they offer audio tours. These are exactly the things we need to make their way into mainstream events and Vivid Sydney is leading the way.”

The Opera House is a highlight of Vivid Sydney
The Opera House is a highlight of Vivid Sydney

Here are six trailblazing accessible initiates we love at Vivid.

Accessible viewing areas

Managed accessible viewing areas offer a less-obstructed view and are also great places to just chill out away from the crowd. Vivid has three of these spots.

Sydney Opera House – on the western boardwalk. Enter via near Portobello Cafe.

Hickson Road Dawes Point – great for views of the Opera house

Darling Harbour – on the Western Promenade of Cockle Bay.

They will be open from 6pm every night.

Tumbalong Lights

Tumbalong Lights will be a feature of Vivid Sydney for a second year. This is an inclusive play space where children can participate no matter what their level of ability.


Auslan interpreters will sign at the two Vivid Ideas Game Changer events.

Audio Descriptions

For a memorable Vivid Sydney experience, listen to audio descriptions of feature Light Walk installations and projections.

Text to talk

Listen to a description of each of the Light Walk installations on the Vivid Sydney website. Use your screen reader or smartphone with accessibility options.

Interactive guest experiences

The Vivid Sydney Light walk interactive guest experience allows small groups or those who can not venture too far along the Light Walk to participate virtually. Take a tour of the Walk via a Samsung Galaxy Tab A with the support of trained volunteers. This service is available Monday to Thursday at Hickson Road Reserve and the Sydney Opera House accessible viewing area.

Planning your trip

To make the most of the event, it’s best to plan ahead. The website has up-to-date information on accessible viewing areas, drop off points and you can download an accessible map. You can also contact the Access and Inclusion team via email at or call Access and Inclusion Co-ordinator Denise Willis on 02 9931 1190 to discuss options for accessible travel.

Remember to inform the venue of your access requirements when booking tickets for a Vivid Ideas or Vivid Music event.

Read More: 

A full guide to NZ accessible accommodation

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