Our School organised an amazing excursion to Sydney in June 2019. The main attraction was the spectacular Sydney Vivid Festival that lights up the skyline with creative visual lightshows. Included in the itinerary was a visit to Taronga Zoo Sydney, The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, Paddy’s Market and the Art Gallery NSW. The stories below have been written by our Students, Kaidyn, Holly and Sophie.
Our Students had the best adventure at Taronga Zoo where they spent the night. ZooSnooz or Roar and Snore is a program that allow visitors to spend the night in the Zoo in safari-style accommodation, hear keeper talks and experience the world of nocturnal animals.
Read the delightful experience from our Students time at Taronga Zoo.
For many of us, it was the highlight of the Excursion. Due to the extreme weather, we were able to negotiate to sleep in the Backyard to Bush House where we snuggled with snakes, mice and hairy spiders rather than the in the tents where it would have been bitterly cold.
Kat and Nat, our Education Coordinators, were professional, courteous and knowledgeable, but most importantly they were compassionate and engaging. The way they interacted with us in such a positive way was such an important part of creating a memorable and inspirational experience. They organised a special behind the scenes tour of the Zoo which included an information session in the Sumatran Tiger enclosure where we watched a mother and her cubs interact at night. We learnt about the disturbingly destructive impact the Palm Oil industry is having on their natural habitat and about ways we can change to live more ethically.
Our walks to and from the cafeteria took us past the giraffes and elephants and we were also able to view the Taronga Vivid installation which was really magnificent. The level of detail and creativity in the exhibits was incredible.
We learnt about the history of the Zoo and how the purpose of zoos has changed recently. We were told of stories of how, when the Zoo changed locations, they had to transport the animals across the harbour on ferries, including Jessie the Elephant. There were hints to the Zoo’s past all throughout the Zoo, including the 100 year old Moore Park aviary which now houses a rare Cockatoo.
We really enjoyed the morning behind the scenes aspect of the program. Brendan who spoke to us about the Bird Show was one of the most engaging presenters we’ve ever seen and his passion for his field and the animals was clear and we felt so privileged to be able to share this experience. Of course we were a little disappointed that he brought a Barn Owl, not a Velociraptor, when he told us he would be showing us a raptor.
One of Sydney’s spectacular events is held in June for 23 days every year. Our Students had the amazing opportunity to be part of the sensational Vivid Festival and take in the visual feast that was on display. The festival brings together light artists, music makers and creative minds to display their creativity Sydney siders and visitors.
The Vivid Festival was an oasis of colour, water and mud. On the first night of the excursion we walked from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay to see some of the many Vivid installations. Unfortunately, the heavens opened at the beginning of the night and this left many damp students and spirits. The enchanting lights were a captivating introduction to the city for those who hadn’t been before, and we all enjoyed the interactive installations. The most popular was the orbs that floated and danced on the ceiling of the passenger terminal, giving all of us the chance sit back (out of the wind) and enjoy the experience.
We journeyed back to the accommodation on a private ferry which was a wild ride for some. The weather turned on one final performance for the evening making sure that no one fell asleep too early.
Paddy’s Market and the Museum of Contemporary Art
Our next destination was Paddy’s Market in Hay Street Sydney, which is a staple tourist destination. The Markets have been around since 1834. Students also visited the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) which is a leading art museum dedicated to exhibiting and collecting contemporary art from all over Australia and across the world.
Paddy’s Markets and Art Gallery
The allure of cheap knock-off goods was too much for some people and we spent up big at Paddy’s Markets despite trying our best at haggling. Thrasher jumpers were a popular choice and the teachers started questioning if we had decided on a new School uniform. We were given a choice whether we wanted to go to the markets or the Museum of Contemporary Art. Both experiences had their merit, but those who went to the art gallery were transported into a different world. Many of us questioned ‘what is art?’ as we explored the different levels of the gallery, and immersed ourselves into exploring the different mediums. The gallery and the markets were the perfect way to escape a cold and wet Sydney morning
Photos from Our School visits Vivid Sydney