Spotlight: Royal Botanic Gardens

Charming cast of characters sends an illuminating message

Rock walls, tree canopies & the trunks of 100-year-old Ficus plants will be transformed into living canvases as Vivid Sydney artists’ unleash their creativity & put the environment in the spotlight when the Royal Botanic Gardens returns bigger, bolder & brighter for this year’s Vivid Sydney festival.

Art, technology, flora & fauna will combine in a captivating showcase of light installations featuring cutting edge developments in projection, lighting & sound that will entertain & delight visitors as well as explore important conservation issues.

Minister For Tourism and Major Events & Assistant Minister For Skills, Adam Marshall, said “One of this year’s highlights at the Royal Botanic Gardens is Electric Forest, a dynamic collaboration between Vivid Sydney and Tertiary & Further Education New South Wales (TAFE NSW), designed & constructed by current TAFE NSW students.

Electric Forest features music, lighting design, animation and projection-mapping onto the Gardens’ magnificent fig trees & is designed to highlight both the natural beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens and the talents of the next generation of designers, 3-dimensional artists, animators & electronic musicians”

Executive Director Of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kim Ellis, said “Vivid Sydney is an awe-inspiring festival of light that dazzles & entertains us all with its brilliant cacophony of colours. It is also a powerful platform for artists & creative thinkers to challenge, provoke & encourage visitors to ponder bigger issues”

“This year’s lights will help spread a valuable message around sustainability & the importance of protecting fragile ecosystems delivered in the most captivating, natural botanical environment of all, the Royal Botanic Gardens”

Highlights include:

  • Birds Of Lumos: Birds of a feather? This illuminating mum & chick representing the rare rowi species of kiwi will melt hearts & highlight the importance of conservation when they come to life and try to avoid danger as visitors gather around them.
  • The Sunflowers: Ain’t no sunshine at night but that will not stop these charming, enormous potted sunflowers bowing down to welcome you as you pass by. This joyous, sustainable light sculpture uses solar energy harnessed by day to captivate visitors by night.
  • Spreading Life: Inspired by that most natural (and magical) of experiences: blowing on a dandelion. This installation captures the delicate moment when a dandelion’s seeds float off & spread through the air; a passage of nature — that shows us that as a flower dies, others are born.
  • You Lookin’ At Me?: The eyes have it in this captivating installation. A Vivid Sydney-take on the paintings where eyes follow your every move, you will encounter 5 giant, glaring, glowing eyeballs scattered across the grass. Watch them watch you – and find out what happens if you venture too close.
  • The Big Red Button: Will you press the button? This playful light sculpture dangles a carrot to the curious as it questions our impact on the environment & efforts being made to protect it. Will you be tempted to press the giant red button marked ‘Do Not Press’? And what will happen to the green environment if you do?
  • Dipping Birds: These sticky beaks are thirsty birds. A Vivid Sydney twist on the novelty ‘drinking bird’ toy that perched on the rim of a glass, 2 enormous bobbing birds stand over 2 metres tall in a pond in this hypnotic installation. The child in everyone will delight in the charming spectacle as the drinking buddies & the water change colour as they quench their thirst.
  • Waratah: Plants are more like us than we think. Find out how when this majestic, larger-than-life inflatable native flowering plant (and floral emblem of NSW) responds playfully & emotionally to sound and movement when visitors walk up & make direct contact.
  • Taste The Garden: Enchanted Garden Bar & Eatery is a whimsical & enchanted pop-up bar & eatery hosted by Wat’s On Events featuring the progressive & innovative Nel. Restaurant. From the Eatery, enjoy truffles & edible soil to bread & butter pudding with apple compote & cinnamon ice cream. At the Bar, toast the lights or keep warm with a cheeky tipple or two from the signature drinks list featuring gin & tonics, spiced rum, glühwein-mulled wine, molten hot chocolate & speciality coffee by Will & Co.

Vivid Sydney at the Royal Botanic Gardens runs from 6pm to 11pm AEST every night from the 26th of May to the 17th of June.


Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music & ideas, which for 23 days – from the 26th of May to the 17th of June 2017 – transforms the ‘Harbour City’ with its unique colourful, creative canvas. In 2016, Vivid Sydney attracted a record 2.31 million attendees. Vivid Sydney is owned, managed & produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism & major events agency. Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations & projections – Vivid Light; music performances and collaborations – Vivid Music (including Vivid LIVE At The Sydney Opera House) & creative ideas, discussion and debate – Vivid Ideas, all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific. Vivid Sydney is in its 9th year. For more information, visit


Founded by Governor Macquarie on the traditional land of the Gadigal people, the Royal Botanic Gardens is Australia’s 1st scientific institution & oldest living botanic gardens. It has & continues to be a favourite place for visitors & Sydneysiders alike to come to share, to relax, to discover & to be inspired. For the 1stt time in its history, the Gardens partnered with Vivid Sydney in 2016 to light up & open up its gates after dark to celebrate its 200th birthday year milestone.

Media Release: Vivid Sydney