Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

Sep 19, 2019

An American Architect Louis Khan once said, " The sun did not know how beautiful its light was until it was reflected off the Sydney Opera House”. The glimmering white shells of the Sydney Opera House contrast with the bright blue waters of the Sydney Harbor. It appears naturalistic like a remnant of an ancient shell from another age yet futuristic! The UNESCO World Heritage site, The Sydney Opera House is an icon of Australia and one of the world's most recognizable buildings. The Sydney Opera House was opened in 1973 and is one of the leading live entertainment venues in the world. It has six theatres which can host 5,800 guests and perform over 2000 shows annually. The Sydney Opera House has over 8.2 million visitors every year just to marvel at the breathtaking architecture.


About the Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera Tour
The Sydney Opera House Tour Deconstructed
When to Visit the Sydney Opera House?
Getting to Sydney Opera House
Tips for your Sydney Opera House Tour
Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

About the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera house comprises a complex of roofs shaped like billowing sails or huge shells that blend beautifully with its waterfront location. The gleaming harbor surrounds it on three sides and to its south, the palm-studded Royal Botanical Gardens border it. The structure encompasses studios, a concert hall, theatres, rehearsal rooms, reception rooms, a restaurant and a spectacular open-air forecourt overlooking the city and the harbor.

Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

Although, this iconic building had a rocky past. In 1957, the government of Australia launched an international competition for a cultural center at Bennelong Point. A Danish Architect, Jorn Utzon won the competition. The project was fraught with controversy. There were many technical problems, construction delayed, and the cost of the project increased. In 1966, Highly disappointed the architect withdrew from the project and left the country. The opera house was finally completed 10 years later than the decided date. The completion cost had increased tenfold from the original cost. The money was raised by a series of Opera House auctions and lotteries. The building was inaugurated by the Queen on October 20, 1973. neither did Jorn Utzon did not attend the event nor his name was mentioned anywhere.

In 1999, the NSW Government and the Sydney Opera House trust sought for reconciliation with Jorn Utzon and requested him to produce a set of design principles for further work on the building. In the year 2004, the Opera House celebrated its 31st birthday with the NSW premier opening up the newly refurbished Reception Hall and renamed it the Utzon Room honoring the Danish Architect Jorn Utzon. This room was the first to have authentic Utzon interior.

Later on, Jorn Utzon with his Son who was also an architect worked on improving several other buildings. The most significant one was The Colonnade, which opened up the shared foyers of The Studio, Drama Theatre, and Playhouse with glass doors and large windows. so, Visitors could enjoy the spectacular views of the harbor. Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated this project in 2006. Jorn Utzon's talent and futuristic vision were formally recognized and celebrated. However, due to ill health and old age, Jorn Utzon couldn't be a part of the ceremony.

Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

Sydney Opera Tour

For an extraordinary opportunity to explore this extravagant structure from up close and learn about its history and the world-famous personalities who have visited and performed here. With the Sydney Opera Tour, You can unearth the secrets of the architecture of the structure which was revolutionary for its time which took 14 years in the making. You can get to look at what happens behind the scenes at the theatres and gain perspective of what goes into the making of 2000 live entertainment performances every year. Enjoy the visual beauty and indulge in the cultural experience of the Sydney Opera House with your entire family and make memories of a lifetime.

There are different types and variations of tickets available for the Sydney Opera Tour. You can choose from guided tours to backstage, with dining at the opera bar. The Four most popular Sydney Opera House Tours are:

.Sydney Opera House Guided Walking Tour: On this Tour, you will get to walk under the glorious sails soaking in the breathtaking surroundings of the Sydney Opera House. You can interact with an expert guide who will take you around. On these guided tours, Discover the rich history, the fascinating stories and the pure magic of the Sydney Opera House. You can also choose to attend one of the many performances at the Opera House and its state-of-the-art facilities. The ticket price to take this tour is AU$ 30 (per person).

.Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour: On this VIP guided tour you can see what it is like from an insider’s point of view. You will be taken backstage for a first-hand look to see what it is like in the orchestra pit and rehearsal rooms. learn interesting facts and anecdotes about the museum's history, lives, and stories of many performers and the ongoings of backstage. End the tour with hot breakfast at the greenroom which is reserved exclusively for the opera house staff and performers. The ticket price for this tour is AU$ 175.

Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

.Sydney Opera House Tour and Tasting Plate: On this guided tour you will get to learn more about the iconic Sydney landmark while you admire the beautiful views of it. Your expert guide will give you an insider's look at the opera house and interest you with facts and anecdotes about the history of the museum, lives, and stories of performers and the ongoings of backstage. End your tour with a delicious meal for two at the opera kitchen which includes chef's selection of mouth-watering gourmet hot and cold menu. The ticket price for this tour is AU$ 75.

.Sydney Opera House Tour and Dine at opera Bar: On this guided tour you can learn more about the architecture and design of this brilliantly constructed structure. Walk on the same stage where talented artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Cate Blanchett and Ella Fitzgerald once performed. Finish your tour with a delicious dinner at the Opera bar which includes beer-battered fish and chips, Jack's Creek Black Angus rump or roasted beetroot salad. The Ticket price to take this tour will be AU$ 61.

The Sydney Opera House Tour Deconstructed

. Step Inside the famous theatres: Inside of Sydney Opera House it has six performance spaces which include Concert Hall, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Studio and Utzon Room. Each of these rooms combined together host more than 30 shows a week and 2000 events a year.

.Learn incredible stories of the Opera House: Every great Sydney Opera House Tour is highly reviewed and praise the knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides that lead the tour. The guide narrates the stories of the making of the Opera House, legends and stories of actors, performers and prima donnas. You will likely not come across these tidbits on the internet which makes the tour even interesting.

.Visit area off-limits to the public: Imagine wandering through the backstage of the Sydney Opera House and watching the performers taking up their spaces for rehearsals. witnessing the setting up of the stage for the upcoming event. Enjoying a delicious breakfast served at the green room. All these are off-limits to regular visitors and guests of the show, but you can experience all of these with the Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour.

Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

.Capture Photographs from Vantage Point: The smooth curvature of the shells or the vast open arena of the concert hall cannot be captured if your visiting the Sydney Opera House for a show. A tour takes you through spots in the Opera House where you can capture the extravagance of the theatre, spectacular views of the harbour, bridge and the city.

.Enjoy exclusive perks on a tour: You can get an opportunity to enhance your experience of the Sydney Opera House Tour with exciting perks. You can buy a souvenir book with your photograph with the Opera House at the background printed on it. You can indulge yourself with the delicious tasting platters offered at the Opera Kitchen and the Opera Bar which is offered only to the Tour guests.

When to Visit the Sydney Opera House?

An ideal time to visit the Sydney Opera House at sunset by taking one of the last Sydney Opera House tours. You can admire the interiors and venture out to capture the beauty of the shells. The sunlight plays on the shells and you will get to enjoy unique vistas over the harbour perfect for photographs. You can end your trip with the Bada Gili show at sunset and view the Sydney Opera House lights displayed at night. Early morning and late evenings are good if you are seeking a relatively crowd-free environment.

The Tour timings to the Sydney Opera House starts from 9 am to 5 pm.

The English tours are available every 15 minutes to 30 minutes, everyday except for Christmas and Easter's Good Friday.

The Sydney Opera House Access Tour runs every day at 12 pm.

The Sydney Opera House Language Tour has toured in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French and German.

.Mandarin: Every day at 9:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 2:30 pm.

.Japanese: Every day at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm.

.Korean: Every day at 10:15 am, 11:15 am, 12:15 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm, 3:45 pm and 4:45 pm.

.Spanish: Tours are only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 3 pm.

.French: Tours are only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:30 am.

.German: Every day at 11 am.

Sydney Opera House: A Detailed Guide

Getting to Sydney Opera House

If you are taking the train, the Circular Quay has three metro lines T2, T3 and T8. Its a short walk of 800 m from the metro station to Sydney Opera House. The metro frequency is good and it is an affordable option with single ticket fare starting at AUS$ 4.40.

If you are taking the bus, the nearest bus stop is at Circular Quay. A short walk of 800 m will get you to the Sydney Opera House. This is relatively the cheapest option with the ticket fare starting at AUS$ 2.60 for a single person.

If you are taking the car, then the Sydney Opera House Parking is managed by the Wilson Parking. The parking is located at 2 Macquarie Street which is about 700 m away from the Sydney Opera House. The GPS coordinates are -33.856159, 151.215256. This is the most expensive option for travellers because the parking rates start t AUS$ 12 per hour.

A complimentary shuttle bus is available for the elderly and mobility-challenged visitors which runs between Circular Quay near stand E, under the Cahill Expressway and the Vehicle Concourse.

If you are getting your bike, then there is bike parking available under the Sydney Opera House Monumental Steps.

Tips for your Sydney Opera House Tour

.Once every month, you could participate in one of the best Sydney Opera House Tours, a culinary tour of all its restaurants wherein you can sample the food and also learn to cook few of the iconic dishes at each of these restaurants- Opera Kitchen, Opera Bar, Portside Sydney and Bennelong. The tour lasts for four hours with a small tour group, so do book in advance.

.Bada Gili is a light and music show that involves a projection on the shells of the Sydney Opera House. The show lasts for 7 minutes narrating the stories of history and culture of Australia's First Nations and is best watched from the Monumental steps. The show runs twice every day of the year, once at sunset and at 9 pm.

.Big Luggage is not allowed to be carried on the Sydney Opera House tours. However, you can use the private storage facility at Circular Quay with prices starting from AUS$ 12 per day. Handbags are allowed and there is strict security check before entering the premises.

.The Sydney Opera House loves kids and has many activities and programs for them particularly during the school holidays. Apart from the Junior tour they can participate in creative play, which is a huge space where your kid can play with Lego kit. The restaurants have a kid-friendly menu as well.

.For those looking to take souvenirs from the Sydney Opera House, the gift shop has an excellent collection of gifts. The most bought item from here is the Sydney Lego set, but if you are on a budgeted trip the 3D wooden puzzle is a great buy.

.There is an annual light, art and music festival called Vivid held at different venues across Sydney. Check their official website for the dates and performing artists.

.Your chance of visiting all the theatres on a tour decrease as the day comes to an end as they have performances lined up and do not allow guests to enter.

The Sydney Opera House lets visitors walk around freely in the premises. If the theatre's does not have a show running, you can go inside and marvel at the interiors. You can click as many photographs as possible, use their restrooms and enjoy the view from the monumental steps. You can attend a show in any of the six theatres which runs operas, musicals and other live entertainment and is a great way to experience the venue. Few of the regular performances by the resident companies are Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Ballet. The Opera House is also a hub for culinary experiences and best restaurant among them is the Bennelong Restaurant. It is run by the celebrated Australian chef Peter Gilmore. The restaurant offers gourmet menu is set to include the best of Australia's wine and food. Reserve a table in advance with great views of the harbor and if not, you can always walk in for the hip bar. As we all know Kids and theatre don't mix naturally, so the Sydney Opera House has Junior Adventure Tours which will introduce your child to the joy of live theatre. The tour runs for an hour. you can accompany your child as an expert guide narrates interesting stories and engages them in interactive activities. In the end, the kid gets an opportunity to play dress up! You can also visit the Royal Botanical Gardens which is a short walk around the waterfront from the Sydney Opera House and also the Circular Quay if you want to leisurely take a stroll south from the Sydney Opera House along the Waterfront Promenade.

All in all, a trip to Sydney is not worth it without visiting the Sydney Opera House with its theatres with musicals, operas, plays, live entertainment and the beautiful surroundings with your family or friends. For a collocation of architecture, art, culture and incredible views of the harbor visit the Sydney Opera House.

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