Sydney Opera House Tours
About the Sydney Opera House – Sydney Opera House Tours
Make one of the Sydney Opera House Tours a Highlight of your Australian Trip.
Sydney Opera House Tours
Go Backstage at the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House
Rising from the harbour like a ship in full sail, the Sydney Opera House is a magnet tugging at your imagination. Iconic, gleaming and improbable, it has become a symbol for the city, and one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. It has not only become the visual statement for Sydney, but also for the Country and continent of Australia. Getting backstage on one of the Sydney Opera House Tours can be the highlight of any Australian trip.
In 2003, the Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, designer of the Opera House, received the profession’s highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, and in 2007, the building was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All this some 67 years after planning started, and 62 years after the announcement of a competition for the most suitable design. Utzon’s winning design was announced in 1957, but it took another 16 years before the building was completed, well past schedule and way over budget. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October, 1973.
Sydney Opera House Tours
While it is called the Opera House, the building actually contains multiple performance venues:- the Concert Hall, an Opera Theater, The Sydney Theatre Company’s Drama Theatre, the Playhouse, the Studio, the Utzon Room, the Forecourt and a recording studio.
There are also five restaurants, four souvenir shops and a guided tour operation. The building covers 1.8 Hectares (4.5 acres), is 183 meters (605 feet) long and 120 meters (388 feet) wide. The whole structure is supported by 588 concrete piers sunk up to 25 meters (82 feet) below sea level. Though the roof shells appear bright white from a distance, they are actually a chevron pattern made up of 1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream tiles made in Sweden.
Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour: > Sydney Opera House Guided Backstage Tour
All Sydney Opera House Tours: > Sydney Opera House Tours
Self Guided Walking Tour Including the Sydney Opera House
As well as taking any one of the Sydney Opera House Tours, here is a self guided walk that will take in the Circular Quay and Benelong Point areas.
Circular Quay is arguably the hub of downtown Sydney life – bordered on the west side by the Rocks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, on the south, by the glass and steel of the Central Business District and on the east, Benelong Point and the Sydney Opera House.
The ferries arrive from all over the city, some low and sleek, others boxy and tall, yet others large and purpose built for moving people. The air at the Quay has a salty tang to it, the light a brittle brightness, the waters of the Harbour a creamy green look, and the ever present crowds of locals and tourists are a mixture of casual drifting mingled with the hurry and bustle of commuters arriving on the ferries.
Seagulls soar and squawk, busking Aborigines click rhythm sticks, play the didgeridoo and work the crowd, human statues enthrall the children, vendor stands and shops offer everything from fruit to T-shirts to ice cream…and life is good.
From a starting point on the northwest corner of the Quay, in front of Pier # 6, walk towards the Opera House. The water and the ferries will be on your left. As you start to bear left at the end of the Piers, look down and find a bronze inlaid line that shows the position of the waterline at the time of the settlement of the city in 1788.
The shoreline has changed little in over 200 years, attesting to the deep and navigable nature of the harbour. Wander along towards the Opera House, taking in the view back over the Quay to the Harbour Bridge and stopping for refreshments as required at any of the outdoor cafes. Sydney’s downtown is dramatic, cascading down to the Quay in a jumble of high rise glass and steel. Look back and look up to fully appreciate it.
Ahead and on the right, the Opera House starts to show itself from behind the hotels and apartments on the landward side of the walkway. The sheer size and contrast of the building to its surroundings begin to sink in. Look for the Opera House Tour Office on the lower level and enquire about the next departure time.
There is a wide range of tours of the Opera House, each showing a different aspect of the structure and its function.
After the tour itself, comes the chance to get off the beaten track a little and to really appreciate the Sydney Opera House and the natural beauty of Sydney Harbour. With your back to the city, and the Bridge on your left, walk right out to the end of Benelong Point. This location provides you with one of the best views of the Harbour, the Bridge, the Rocks and the downtown area available. Early morning at sunrise, remarkable. At sunset, sublime. At night, spectacular.
Rather than turn back at this stage, continue around the end of the Opera House itself on the Northern Boardwalk (look up to appreciate those sails!) and look for the narrow, East Side walkway that runs beside the water and leads back to the shoreline. As you leave the walkway, turn right and climb onto the entrance podium of the Opera House and the Forecourt if you did not do so as you walked out.
From the Forecourt, walk back to the start point at Circular Quay. The Forecourt is also the start point for the Foreshore Walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Mrs. Macquaries Chair.