The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s most famous architectural creations, well-recognised landmarks and indeed an icon for Australia’s creative successes. Since it’s completion in 1973, it has been celebrated globally (including by UNESCO as a heritage site) for its unique design and ground-breaking construction, contrasted alongside a gorgeous harbour setting.
- Guided Tour – The most popular of Sydney Opera House’s tour options, this interactive guided tour is a chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site in all its details. Learn about the Danish architect behind the construction, Jørn Utzon, and his engineering success. See the theatres and performance spaces, and have an experienced guide take you to areas off limits to the general public.
- Backstage Tour – The only tour that will provide visitors with VIP backstage access to the Sydney Opera House, this is a two-hour journey behind the curtain. As well as all the building’s history, your guide will take you through the many backstage areas of the Sydney Opera House. This is followed by breakfast in the Green Room, where staff and performers spend their time, leaving plenty of opportunity for celebrity spotting. Tours run at 7am only, children under 12 are not permitted.
- The Tour and Tasting Plate – This tour allows you to take a one-hour VIP tour of the Sydney Opera House, and then enjoy a scrumptious tasting plate for two on the edge of Sydney Harbour. There’s a three-tiered sample menu, with everything from fresh sushi to wagyu beef at one of the Sydney Opera Houses’ Best venues. The Tasting Plate section of the tour is only available after 11am.
All tours are subject to a 10% discount when booked online.
|Guided Tour||Backstage Tour||Tasters Plate Tour|
|Early Bird Adult||$29.60|
|Early Bird Concession||$22.40|
|Early Bird Child||$14.40|
- Different Perspectives: The Sydney Opera House can be viewed from so many different angles around the Sydney area. Make sure you see it from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and from the ferries. Also consider walking to the iconic structure from the Botanical Gardens side.
- Tour Alternative: If guided tours aren’t really your thing you could always have a meal in one of the Sydney Opera House’s restaurants Guillaume at Bennelong, which is inside the south-facing shell.
- Attending Performances: The Sydney Opera House hosts performances at great prices, which is another way to see the building. But to see the best of the interior, look at performances in either the Concert Hall or the Opera Theatre, as there are other venues inside which don’t show off the interior of the building as much.
- Eating and Drinking: Restaurants in and around the Sydney Opera House are very expensive, so if you just want to experience the atmosphere, try a drink at the Opera Bar, and then head to the Rocks or Circular Quay area for mains.
- Walking – You can walk to the Sydney Opera House very easily from most places in the city centre, the most scenic walk is down Macquarie Street.
- Buses – A number of Sydney buses go to Circular Quay, which is in easy walking distance to the Sydney Opera House. Keep an eye out for the 555, which is a free service to this area.
- Train – The nearest train station is Circular Quay, a well connected central hub from which the Sydney Opera House is an easy 10 minute walk.
- Taxis – A good option if you’re seeing a performance and need to get home late, there are many taxis in the Circular Quay area.
The Sydney Opera House took 16 years to complete, with construction starting in 1957 and finishing in 1973. During this time there were issues for architect Jørn Utzon, partly with design being made reality, but mostly with the budget.
In 1966, following arguments about budgets with the government, Utzon resigned from the project. In finding new architects, the interior of the building became at odds with the exterior following a redesign, and spending increased to five times Utzon’s estimates.
Now, some of the interiors are being designed to be more in line with Utzon’s original ideas, with help from his old designs and living family members.
- Despite the estimated construction spend being AU$7 million, the Sydney Opera House cost AUD$102 million.
- When works started in earnest in 1959, 10,000 builders were involved.
- The roof is covered by one million tiles handmade in Sweden.
- The glass used in the building is totally unique, and was made to order in France.
- Over 15,000 lightbulbs are changed in the Sydney Opera House every year.