Things to Do in Sydney, June

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June comes with lots of festivals and ice rink in Darling Harbour to remind a bit of European winter.  Here are great things to do in Sydney during June.

The night comes alive with lights on the sails of the Opera House for the Vivid festival, there are movies galore at the Sydney Film Festival.

Plus a winter festival and Saturdays fireworks in Darling Harbour.

So quite a packed program for one month, there's something new and exciting to do almost every day.

And some days you would really have to choose where to go with so many events overlapping.

Vivid Sydney Festival

sydney vivid 2016 festival in June

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Vivid festival. It is on between 27 May and  18 June 2016, with lights on the opera since 6 pm every night.

Every year design teams get the hard job of coming up with increasingly innovative shapes and colours to project on the sails of the Opera House.

sydney vivid 2016 shapes on the sails of the opera house

The special effects used make the lighting of the opera sails one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the capital of New South Wales. And the beauty of it is that many of the stunning programs that come with this festival are free and family friendly.

sydney vivid 2016- opera illuminated in brown

Things to Do in Sydney June - The Film Festival

The Film Festival is running every year since 1954, and while it started very small with screenings at the University of Sydney, it has grown to be a powerful event. Heaps of movies from lots of countries. Among them latest releases, new and older pictures, short films, documentaries.

There are many venues for screening the films or for catching up before and after the screening for a glass of wine, snack or dinner or simply for sharing your experience or listening to film experts.

things to do in sydney june - event cinema

So the places to be between 8 - 19 June 2016 are:

  • cinemas:
    • Event cinemas on George Street,
    • Dendy Opera Quays;
    • Dendy Newtown;
    • Cremorne Hayden Orpheum
    • the Skyline drive-in, Blacktown

  • theatres and art centres:
    • the State Theatre;
    • Carriageworks;
    • the cinematic theatre at the University of New South Wales;
    • Casula Powerhouse in Liverpool

  • the Town Hall, which hosts the Sydney Film Festival Hub with many free performances, live music, exhibitions, talks presented over 10 days, between 4 - 13 June.

  • museums:
    • the NSW Art Gallery,

  • open spaces - The Pitt Street mall with a big outdoor screen;

  • stores - the Apple store.

state theatre

The beautiful State Theatre foyer

The festival opens and closes at the State Theatre and is followed by an aferparty.

The closing night will also host the awards ceremony.

The public can enjoy lots of movies from all the world, spanning across a wide range of types and genres.

The festival includes a Martin Scorsese retrospective.

The Winter Festival

The winter festival will return to St Mary's Cathedral between 30 June to 17 July 2016 with an ice rink, mulled wine to keep you warm, live music, fresh food and a beer garden to keep your thirst away.

Things to Do in Sydney from Past Years

Spanish Film Festival -2013

From 19 June to 3 July 2013, over 20 movies from Spain and South America screened at Palace Verona (17 Oxford Street, Paddington) and Chauvel Cinema (Paddington Town Hall).

The Australian premiere of the Spanish film "A Gun in Each Hand", followed by an after party, opens the event.

Luis Bunuel's masterpiece, "Tristana", screened on the closing night.

Vivid Sydney - 2012

In 2012 it was all about sustainability in addition to creativity. In an era where energy consumption rules, the organisers of this event try to minimise energy by coming up with smart installations that don't use energy at all or are solar powered.

The random geometrical shapes on the sails of the Opera that delighted us in 2011 transformed into planned architectural forms. Simplicity and minimalism replaced complexity and richness. But only with the light projections on the Opera.  Not with the other buildings.

Have a look at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House in the gallery below. Hover your mouse on the small images to make them larger.

things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights 2012 customs house blue

things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights 2012 customs house blue things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights 2012 customs house things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights sydney 2012 things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights museum of contemporary art sydney 2012 things to do in sydney 12 - vivid lights museum of contemporary art sydney 2012

Below are two images of Opera, featuring colorful geometry, during the Vivid 2011 festival.

vivid festival 2011 - geometrical shapes on opera
vivid festival 2011 - icy blue opera

Here's where to read more about the 2012 and 2011 editions of Vivid Sydney.

Jazz and Blues Festival

jazz and blues festival darling harbour

The Darling Harbour Jazz and Blues Festival went on for 22 years till 2012 with great international and Australian musicians and a jazz parade. You could join the professionals and play or dance along.

Local and international jazz heavy weights such as James Morisson, Trevor Watts, Tina Harrod, The Crusty Suitcase Band, Geoff Bull's New Orleans Jazz Band were just some of the artists that participated. It is a shame the festival is not on in 2013.

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2016 Festival of lights


Vivid Nights 2014

Vivid Pictures 2013

Vivid Festival 2012

Opera Lights in 2011

2009 Lighting

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