Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is undoubtedly Australia’s best-known contemporary building. Its imaginative design resembling sails sailing in Sydney Harbor was the result of an international competition, won in 1956 by a 38-year-old Danish architect, Jørn Oberg Utzon (1918 -2008), out of 233 entries! The only two constraints at the time were to include two performance halls to accommodate theatrical and musical performances, and to construct the building at Bennelong Point. The construction indeed took a long time, 8 years only for the installation of the sails.
Architect and the cost to build
The Opera House was finally completed by architect Peter Hall, David Littlemore and Lionel Todd in 1973, at a total cost of over AU$102 million. To be able to finance these additional costs, a big lottery was organised.
Sydney Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge at dusk, two of Sydney’s most famous landmarks, taken at the very end of sunset from Macquarie’s Point. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings built in the 20th century (1973) and is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2007. Benh LIEU SONG (Flickr), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Listed as World Heritage by Unesco
Since 2007, the Opera House has been one of three Australian cultural sites listed as World Heritage by Unesco (the other two being the sites of Australian convicts scattered in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania, the Royal Palace of exhibitions and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne). Jørn Oberg Utzon died in his home country in 2008 and indeed never set foot in Sydney again while building one of the architectural masterpieces of the 20th century there. He has never seen it other than in a photo. Despite Utzon’s nightmare, an exhibition hall bears his name in the Opera to commemorate and celebrate the extraordinary work of the architect.
Here are some major facts to remember about this building, its construction and its architecture:
- The original architecture of the building was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon
- Following various technical problems, lengthening deadlines and a rising bill, the Danish architect was replaced by a consortium of Australian architects during the project
- The initial budget for the construction was AU$ 7 million, it ended up costing AU$ 102!
the project started in 1957. It was supposed to be built in 3 years but it finally took more than 15 years to complete its construction…
- Nevertheless, the building remains unique in the world and despite its eventful construction, the objective is fulfilled!
- built on the sea, it is supported by 580 concrete pillars that sink 25 meters below sea level
- Sydney Opera House is 183 meters (600 ft) long and 120 meters (394 ft) wide
- Very popular around the world, it is visited each year by more than 7 million people!
Visit to the Sydney Opera House: price, ticket reservation
After these few quick explanations, make way for useful information before visiting it.
Indeed, before telling you about our feedback and giving our opinion, it seems important to us to mention a few practical aspects: ticket price for the Sydney Opera House, opening hours, online booking, etc.
The price for the visit is 43 AUD or around 28 euros (to be booked online here). The price in Euros may vary slightly depending on the Euro / Australian dollar rate.
Some information to know about the price for the Sydney Opera House:
- full price (adult): AU$ 43 AUD or around € 28
- reduced rate for children aged 5 to under 15: price of AU$ 23 or approximately € 15
- free entry for children under 5 years old
The Sydney Opera House hours are:
- open every day of the week
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., guided tour only
- exceptional closure: Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday), December 25 (Christmas)
Since the Sydney Opera House can only be visited with a guide. All you have to do is book your entrance ticket and respect the time of your guided tour. We will explain below how the reservation works and in particular for the language to choose when booking your access ticket.
Reservation of the guided tour
As specified above, the Sydney Opera House can only be discovered as part of a guided tour (book here officially). It is impossible to visit the Opera House on your own. If you do not want to take a guided tour, you will have to settle for a walk outside, around the building.
They take place mainly in English but there are 3 slots per week for a guided tour in French of the Sydney Opera House:
- Monday midday (11:30 a.m.)
- Wednesday midday (11:30 a.m.)
- Friday at midday also (11:30 a.m.)
If you are not available or these time slots have already been booked, then you will have to opt for an English guide. If you wish to take the guided tour in French, we recommend that you book your entrance ticket in advance. With 3 slots per week, these tickets can sell out quickly, especially if you plan to go there in July / August or during the high season.
You can book your ticket here. Payment is made in local currency and you pay the price displayed for the ticket. In addition, by booking your ticket online, you are guaranteed to have a seat for the day of your choice, in the language of your choice. If you have any trouble with your order, call us official Sydney Opera House on +61 2 9250 7777
Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Attend a performance in the Opera House?
Would you like to attend a performance at the opera? Know that an opera playing great classics takes place there regularly. You can book your ticket to attend here (official website). Nevertheless, these representations are few on a yearly scale and on a short stay in the city, it is unlikely to have the chance to come across the right day or days.
Another option may be to inquire at the ticket office on site (inside the building and not at the starting point of the visits, We will talk about it more precisely below) to perhaps have the chance to fall on a performance that interests you.
The Sydney Opera House is home to five theatres, five rehearsal studios, two grand entrance halls, four restaurants, six bars and multiple souvenir shops. The five halls or theaters are:
- The large concert hall (The Concert Hall): 2679 seats. It contains the main organ of the Sydney Opera House, the largest mechanical organ in the world (more than 10,000 pipes)
- The opera itself (The Opera Theatre): 1547 seats. It is he who hosts the performances of the Australian Opera.
- The theater hall (The Dram Theatre): 544 seats.
- A smaller theater hall: The Playhouse: 398 seats
- The Studio Theater: 364 seats
Sydney Opera House visit schedule
Once your visit has been booked, meet at the scheduled time in the lobby (in the basement) of the Sydney Opera House.
The visit begins outside the Opera. On the whole visit, about 300 steps will have to be climbed. A certain physical form is recommended.
Once the first explanations have been given, the visit continues inside the Opera, in the corridors and then in different rooms. The visit to the largest hall of the Opera is simply stunning. 2600 seats as well as the largest mechanical organ in the world with over 10,000 pipes. Many explanations on the construction of these rooms are given to us in particular on the incredible acoustics which reside in these rooms.
The visit continues outside, on the roof of the Opera where you can touch this famous roof famous all over the world with your own hands.
Several grand organ ranks of metal pipes inside the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Grand Organ. In the background a row of tracker-action struts is visible proceeding to the next loft above. Also visible is a ladder used for tuning. Sophistoche, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
All activities around the Sydney Opera House
In order to be able to make the most of this emblematic monument, you can opt for several activities.
First of all, a boat trip through Sydney Bay is a good experience to learn more about Sydney and its Opera House. This will offer you different points of view on the Opera.
A helicopter flight over the bay is also a unique experience that will also offer you surprising views of the Sydney Opera House and its surroundings.
The best photo spots of the Sydney Opera House
Impossible to return from a visit to Sydney without some magnificent shots of the Opera. Here is a paragraph that will tell you more about the best photo spots of the Sydney Opera House.
At the foot of the Opera
Indeed, if you choose to visit the Sydney Opera House, then you will discover the Opera very close and will be able to enjoy very nice views, as from the roof. Take a tour of the Opera on Bennelong Point to take it from every angle.
A photo taken at a low-angle from the stairs leading up to of one of the south-facing shells of the Sydney Opera House. Lee Ball, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
From the Botanical Garden
One of the most beautiful views is undoubtedly from the botanical garden. Meet at the very end, at “Mrs Macquaries Point” to discover the Opera a few hundred meters from you. In the evening the show is amazing and beautiful, the sun will set behind the Opera from this point. Arrive early before sunset as the place is packed.
From the Harbor Bridge
To get to the other side of the bay, you will have no choice but to cross Sydney’s famous Harbor Bridge. Even if it is quite possible to cross it by bus or even by tram, cross it at least once on foot. The crossing is free and will offer you a spectacular and elevated view of the Sydney Opera House. It is even possible, for a few dollars, to climb to the top of one of the pillars of the bridge to take a little more height.
From Jeffreys Street
Let’s stay on the other side of the bay to reach Jeffreys St, a small pedestrian street that runs along the bay and is located exactly opposite the Opera House. The view of the bridge and the Sydney Opera House is sublime. Ideal for photos of the illuminated Opera.
Our opinion on visiting the Sydney Opera House
Visiting the Sydney Opera House is undoubtedly a must on a visit to Sydney. An emblematic monument of Australia, the visit to the Opera seems to me to be one of the unmissable things in the city. The visit, which lasts one hour and takes place in French, teaches you a lot about the Opera and its construction. Even if I did not have the chance to attend a performance, this guided tour of the Opera is really a good experience that we highly recommend.