tips Sydney opera house

Top Trip Tips: Visiting Sydney Opera House

A holiday to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without seeing, let alone visiting the Sydney Opera House.  Walking up the maze of paved reddy brown steps, gazing at the 89m high white tiled scallop shells that contain the various theatres inside – is awe-inspiring.

And whilst you stroll around marvelling the outside of this iconic building completed in 1973, you cannot get a full appreciation of the turmoils that the engineers battled to create Jorn Utzon’s 1956 competition winning design, without taking a tour.

Travel tips for planning a visit to Sydney Opera House

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What You Need to Know About Visiting the Sydney Opera House

The twinkling white sails of the Sydney Opera House jut out at Bennelong Point into Port Jackson, Sydney.  Making the Opera House  easily visible from many vantage locations around Sydney Harbour.

Getting to the Sydney Opera House

Getting to the Sydney Opera House is a good walk from the city centre.  Alternatively, you can catch a train, bus or ferry to Circular Quay.  Then it is a further 5-10 minutes walk around the quay to reach the Opera House.  If you’re unable to walk a courtesy shuttle designed for the elderly and those less mobile runs from stand B at Circular Quay to the Opera House.  For those driving there is a public car park with pay machines located at 2 Macquarie Street.  Or if you are cycling, there are some bike parking spots located under Monumental Steps.

You’ll find maps for all these locations on the Sydney Opera House website.

Sydney Opera House Tours and Costs

To learn the history and see inside the Sydney Opera House you will need to book a tour.  All Opera House tours can be booked online or at the ticket counters inside the Sydney Opera House.  There is a selection of tours available to suit a range of ages, interests and languages.

Main Opera House Tour

Discover the history and stories of the iconic Opera House structure.  Tours run daily from 9am to 5pm for one hour each.

  • adults $37
  • child (5-15yrs) $20
  • family (2 adults and 2 children) $95
  • extra child $12
  • concession (Australian senior card holder, Australian pensioner, full-time student 16+) $28

Backstage Tour

Learn how the backstage world of theatre works.  The tour for a maximum of 12 people runs daily at 7am for up to two and a half hours followed by an inclusive cooked breakfast.

The tour costs $165 and must be booked at least one day prior.

Other Language Tours

Tours of the Sydney Opera House are also available in other languages:

  • Mandarin
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • French

These tours cost the same as the main tour.  Times for these tours vary so check the website.

The Junior Adventure 

This high energy tour runs daily during the New South Wales school holidays.  Whilst parents or guardians do accompany their children, the tour is aimed at the kids.  It is fun, interactive and energetic with lots of stair climbing.

  • adults $33
  • child (5-15yrs) $20
  • family (2 adults and 2 children) $95
  • concession (Australian senior card holder, Australian pensioner, full-time student 16+) $28

Taste of the Opera House

If you’ve ever wondered how an establishment this big caters such exquisite food, this tour will give you a glimpse into the chef’s world.  Begin by making a cocktail, enjoy local delicacies before joining a Japanese masterclass, then finish with a mouth-watering dessert.  Group tour sizes are limited to 10 people and you must be over 18yers to enjoy this $295 tour.

Things to Know About Taking a Tour

Access

As this is a working theatre at times not all theatres, spaces or even the entire Opera House will be always open for the public tours.  You need to be prepared that what you really wanted to see may not be available.  For example, I have visited when the world largest mechanical tracker pipe organ has been covered up by theatre props or a performance is in progress.

Photos

You can take photos of the building throughout your tour.

Bags

No large bags are allowed in the tours.  Bags larger than a handbag can be coat checked but NOT suitcases.

Services

There are public toilets, baby change rooms, and ATMs available.

Useful Websites

One final point, allow plenty of time to explore this interesting award winning and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There is much to discover as you travel inside and out the Sydney Opera House.

Travel tips to help plan your visit to Sydney Opera House

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you have a better holiday with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel tips and destination inspirations.

16 Responses to “Top Trip Tips: Visiting Sydney Opera House

  • I’m loving this new blog Sally! I have to admit like many others, I haven’t been inside the Opera House either and to be honest, for this kind of money, I don’t even really want to unless I’m going to see a play. Have you ever been in there?

    • Thanks for the positive feedback on the blog Kreete. Yes, I have been on a tour of the Sydney Opera House. It was relly interesting covering the history of the build of the Opera House. Though I haven’t seen a play there, but I have heard it is memorable.

  • I’m thinking I need a visit to Sydney and this lovely architectural wonder! I had no idea it as built in the early 70s… It was quite an engineering feat! #theweeklypostcard

    • It was an incredible engineering feat, Hilary. Trying to create those arched shells without blocking views within the theatres.

  • I feel like such a loser! I’ve been to Australia twice now and still haven’t been to Sydney! I’ll tuck these tips away for later, though. Thanks for linking up! #wkendtravelinspiration

    • I wouldn’t be so harsh on yourself Jim 😉 There are so many great places to discover in Australia, it’s impossible to say which is the best. I hope you get to Sydney one day.

  • This has been on my bucket list for a long time now, Sally-Ann. Well, who knows, maybe someday soon I’ll get to visit it. I would definitely like to attend a performance there.

    • I’ve heard the performances are magical Anda, though I haven’t been to one there either. It’s also on my “one day” list.

  • The tours sound wonderful, but to be honest I’d rather put the money and time towards a performance. I imagine the memories would be far better.

    • A performance does sound wonderful Linda. Lyn from “The Travelling Lyndfields” commented that it is an experience she will never forget.

  • I’ve never thought of taking a tour of The Sydney Opera House, although I’ve always wanted to go to take photos of it. The taste of the Opera House tour seems like it would be interesting!

    • It is an engaging story of the problems faced in building the Opera House Bryna, which is all discussed by your tour guide during the tour.

  • Have you taken the opera house tour? How is it? It is possible to take pictures? Is there a way to have a discount? #The WeeklyPostcard

    • Yes Ruth, I have taken an Opera House Tour. The first when I was a teenager, the main thing I remember was the pipe organ being covered by props which disappointed my mother. The second time was a few years back. Yes, we could take photos inside however, my point and click camera did not have a sufficient flash to capture the stunning exposed architecture. The tour was really interesting, lots of facts about the process to choose the design and the problems (financial and technical) in building the design.
      As far as I am aware there are no further discounts. Some tour operators offer Sydney attraction multi passes but the Opera House does not appear to be included.

  • I have lived in Sydney for most of my life and never done a tour of the Opera House. I really need to tick that box – lol! However I have seen many shows there and the experience is fabulous. Do a tour by all means but if you get a chance, go to a concert, an opera or a ballet. You will never forget the experience.

    • A performance does sound wonderful Lyn and obviously the best way to experience the Opera House – as it was intended to be used.

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