Time Out Sydney

One of the most photographed and famous (if controversial) performing arts venues in the world

This Australian icon sits on Bennelong Point and is Sydney’s premiere venue for classical and contemporary music, opera, theatre and dance. As peaceful as it looks now, the House had a controversial beginning: while it was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, by the time the building was completed in 1973 its architect had been fired.

Many have pondered the building’s design over the years, comparing it variously to shells, waves and even a family of swans. Utzon never revealed his vision, only that it involved spheres.

The Opera House offers different tours that allow you to get intimate with the building, including some hosted in different languages and full ‘experience' packages. If you don't feel like shelling out, it's still free to sit on the steps for a quick lunch and walk by the water and gaze in marvel at those 1,056,000 pearly, self-cleaning Swedish tiles. 

Where to eat and drink near Sydney Opera House

For the ultimate Opera House dining experience, book a pre-theatre dinner at Bennelong, or just pop in for a drink and a snack at the raw and cultured bar. Check out the Opera Kitchen, a harbourfront dining area that features a host of Sydney food identities including John Susman. Meander around to Bulletin Place for cocktails. Later in the evening kick the glamour up a notch at Hemmesphere and enjoy matched cigars and more cocktails into the morning.

Backstage tour

With access into areas normally reserved for stars and their minders, this tour will have you treading the boards of its illustrious stages and sneaking into the dressing rooms of the Concert Hall, Opera and Drama Theatres, Playhouse and The Studio, while you are regaled with the secrets and stories that go on behind the curtain. Or perhaps you want to take on the conductor's baton in the Opera Theatre orchestra pit?

Backstage tours run daily at 7am and are $165, including a hearty breakfast served in the Green Room (the Green Room is not open on Sun or public holidays). Flat, enclosed rubber soled shoes must be worn. For safety reasons children 12 years and under are not permitted. Bookings essential. There are also junior tours of the Opera House for kids.

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Updated on 3 Oct 2015.

Sydney Opera House details

Bennelong Point, Sydney 2000

Telephone 02 9250 7111

Open Box office: Mon-Sat 9am-8.30pm; Sun two hours prior to performance (in person only)

Sydney Opera House website

Sydney Opera House map

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