Lightscape – Experience Review

Located in the heart of the city, the immersive and hit winter experience is back again with Lightscape returning to The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Lightscape 2024 with its new installations bring you through a dreamlike and fantasy land. The incorporation of lights, sound and music was stunning.

Walking through the main arch of the trail, The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria transformed into a winter wonderland with an array of colours shining through the night. With its path designed to follow one direction, every installation and art piece had its own story and I loved hearing different interpretations and how it personally related to people as crowds walked through the 2.1km trail.

We were extremely lucky to have weather on our side, a chilly winter night laced with fog made the experience out of this world. The blend of nature, lasers, lights and aboriginal artwork was extremely smooth and beautiful. I loved that you had chance to learn different phrases in the Woiwurrung language, from ‘Wominjeka’ (meaning ‘Welcome’) at the start of your journey, to ‘Twaganin Kirrip’ meaning ‘goodbye friend’ at the end of the trail accompanied with the Toy Story soundtrack ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’.

Although estimated to take 90 minutes, I ended up spending 2 and a half hours at Lightscape and I do recommend taking your time through the experience and really take in your surroundings, whether to take in the stunning art displays or take photos. Tickets are allocated through specific time slots in 15-minute increments, so it is important that you make it to your nominated session. If like me, you tend to take your time through things, I would highly recommend to going to one of the earlier sessions so that you can take your time.

There are also a few pieces that could be easily missed if you aren’t looking around from all angles (remember to also look at projections on the ground). The ‘Ghost of the Quercus Alba’ is a piece I almost walked straight past next to ‘Why Don’t You Know Me’, words projected onto a building. This subtle installation is a gorgeous projection of the tree’s original form before it fell down in 2020, leaving only a part of the trunk behind.

Another touching piece is the ‘Fire Garden’, a sphere with multiple flames bursting from it. The piece is a tribute to the Shrine of Remembrance and its Eternal Flame, marking its 90th anniversary commemorating Victorian service and sacrifice.

Many highlight installations took my breath away with its scale and I couldn’t help but get pulled in by the colours and lights. ‘Sea of Light’ with thousands of coloured balls left me mesmerised with its intricate designs and patterns. So much so that I couldn’t help but watch the entire installation cycle through more than once. The ‘Laser Forest’ really looked like a laser forest with coloured beams dancing and projecting towards the sky. It was truly out of this world and spectacular with its blend of futuristic lights and nature. You will also be able to get beautiful photos at the popular and beautiful ‘Winter Cathedral’, a gold fairy light archway that is the perfect setting for a great photo shot. Our team also had so much fun at the ‘Light Angles’ dancing to ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ with rainbow lights that line the path like a tunnel of streetlights.

There is also a wide variety of food and sweets cleverly distributed along the trail. Whether you choose to pick up something from the Welcome Zone, treat yourself to some mulled wine or a toasty crème brûlée before arriving at Terrace Hall for an even bigger selection. I highly recommend picking up a marshmallow that you can toast on an open fire while admiring the lake and lights.

Lightscape is truly an escape into another world in the middle of bustling Melbourne CBD. It was full of fun, music, reflection and healing. It really gives you the opportunity to take in nature and admire the creativity of these installations. Some were extravagant and bright, others simple but soothing. A perfect outing for the family, a date, a group of friends or even some healing ‘me time’. 

Lightscape currently on in Melbourne at The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria until August 4th. The entrance for Lightscape is via Observatory Gate, near the Visitor Centre, Birdwood Avenue, opposite the Shrine of Remembrance.

For more information on Lightscape and ticketing, please visit:
https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/melbourne-gardens/whats-on-melbourne/lightscape
https://www.lightscapeaustralia.com/city/melbourne.html

Photography by Grant Alexander.

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