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Nocturne: An Immersive Journey

Explore Sydney with recordings from a group of First Nations guides on this immersive walk around The Rocks and Walsh Bay.
By Andrew Zuccala
June 02, 2023
By Andrew Zuccala
June 02, 2023

Sometimes Vivid Sydney can get a bit much. The streets are packed with people, bright lights are strobing all around you and multiple soundscapes compete with one another. Many folks love it. Some are understandably overwhelmed.

But thankfully, you don't have to get caught up in all of this to enjoy Sydney's famed winter light festival. Nocturne: An Immersive Journey is a nightly event that helps people explore hidden parts of the city at a much slower pace.

You'll be given a smartphone and headphones before the Nocturne team sends you off into The Rocks and Walsh Bay by yourself (or with mates, if you don't want to be totally alone).

A group of First Nations guides will speak to you throughout your 90-minute walk via a series of recordings, telling you where to go while sharing stories about their culture, history and the local area. It's altogether calming, with ASMR-like talking and relaxing soundscapes changing throughout.

You'll be guided down to the wharves to learn about the long history of the harbour — from the perspective of First Nations people — before slowly ascending to Observation Hill via a series of hidden alleyways and parks.

We don't want to give too much away, but the ending is fairly magical and cosy — and at no point will you feel rushed. The whole Nocturne experience is quite meditative. It's a brilliant way to see some of Vivid's lights and installations while getting away from the crowds.

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