The gleaming white shells of the Sydney Opera House contrast with the bright blue waters of the Sydney Harbor. It appears futuristic and yet naturalistic like a remnant of an ancient shell from another age! It is an icon of Australia and one of the world’s most recognizable buildings. Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is one of the leading live entertainment venues in the country and the world. It’s six theatres seat up to 5,800 guests and perform over 2,000 shows annually! But, more than 8.2 million visitors come each year just to marvel at the breathtaking architecture.
Do more than marvel on your Sydney trip, go on a Sydney Opera House tour and get an insider’s view of the venue. Here is a guide on one of the most famous structures in the world, and essential information on how to pick the best Sydney Opera House tickets !
A Brief Look into the Sydney Opera House
This gem of an idea of a performance space in Sydney was developed in 1957 when the NSW Government floated an international design competition. Jørn Utzon was selected as a winner who would be the lead architect and design the futuristic Sydney Opera House. The construction began in 1959, but challenges rose, both technical and financial, and Utzon resigned from the project. Despite the setback, the Opera House was completed and inaugurated by the Queen on October 20, 1973.
The humongous undertaking involved 10,000 workers, and final costs reached AUS $104 million. More than a million of the ‘Sydney tiles’, a 120mm square ceramic tile, were used to cover the iconic white shells! In 1999, the Government re-established contact with Utzon, who worked on the interiors and even has a room named for him, the Utzon Room.
Why You Must Go Inside the Sydney Opera House?
- An in-depth visit is extraordinary opportunity to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and learn about its history, and the famous personalities who have visited and performed here.
- Unearth the secrets of architecture of a building structure that was revolutionary for its times and took 14 years in the making!
- Get a behind-the-scenes look at the theatres, and gain perspective of what goes into the making of over 2,000 epic live entertainment performances each year.
- To enjoy the visual beauty and cultural experience of the Sydney Opera House with the entire family and make memories of a lifetime!
Sydney Opera House Tickets
If you're looking to purchase Sydney Opera House tickets & tours, you've landed at the right place. From guided tours to backstage tours and dining at the opera bar, you can choose a tour that suits your budget and likes. Here are the top-ranking Sydney Opera House tickets.
What to Expect Inside the Sydney Opera House – Your Tour Deconstructed
Step Inside the Famous Theatres
The inside of the Sydney Opera House has six performance spaces including the Concert Hall, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, Studio and the Utzon Room. Each of these halls combined together host more than 40 shows a week and 2,000 events a year! A tour will take you through these spaces, where everyone from celebrities to royalty has sat and enjoyed a show.
Learn incredible stories of the Opera House
Every great Sydney Opera House Tour review mentions the knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides that lead the tours. They narrate stories of the making of the Opera House and legends and stories of prima donnas, actors and performers. You won’t likely come across these interesting tidbits on an internet search, and makes the tour worth the time!
Visit areas off-limits to the public
Imagine walking through the backstage of the Sydney Opera House and watching the performers taking up their spaces for rehearsals, or witnessing the setting up of the theatre stage. Even better, enjoying breakfast in the green room! All these are off-limits to regular visitors and guests of the show, but you can do all of this at a Sydney Opera House Backstage tour.
Capture photographs from vantage points
The vast open arena of the Concert Hall, or the smooth curvature of the shells, these are not views you can capture when you are visiting the Sydney Opera House for a show! A tour takes you through spots in the Opera House where you can capture the magnificence of the theatres, as well as beautiful views of the harbor, bridge and the city.
Enjoy exclusive perks on a tour
You get the option to enhance your experience of a Sydney Opera House tour with exciting perks. You can buy a souvenir book with your photograph printed on it with an excellent image of the Sydney Opera House in the background. You can also enjoy tasting platters at the Opera Kitchen and the Opera Bar which is offered only to the tour guests.
Best Time to Visit the Sydney Opera House
The best time to visit the Sydney Opera House is around sunset. The ideal way to explore is to take one of the last Sydney Opera House tours, admire the interiors and then venture out to capture the beauty of the shells. The sunlight plays on the shells and every minute you will enjoy unique vistas over the harbor perfect for photographs. You can end the day with the Bada Gili show at sunset and view the Sydney Opera House lights come up at night. Early morning and late evenings are good if you are seeking a relatively crowd-free environment while in Sydney.
Sydney Opera House Tour Timings
From 3 April 2021
- Monday to Thursday: 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 02:00 PM
- Saturdays: 09:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM
- Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, along with Good Friday, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
Opera Bar timings:
- Sunday to Thursday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
- Friday & Saturday: 11:30 AM to midnight
- Closed on Christmas Day
Opera Kitchen timings:
- Daily: 07:30 AM to 11:30 PM
- Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day
Getting to Sydney Opera House
You can park at the Sydney Opera House Car Park managed by Wilson Parking. The parking is located at 2 Macquarie Street, about 700 m away from the Sydney Opera House. The GPS Coordinates are -33.856159, 151.215256. This is an expensive option for travelers as the parking rates start at AUS$12 per hour.
The nearest bus stop is at Circular Quay, and you will have to take a short walk of about 800 m to reach the Sydney Opera House. The frequency of buses is high and it is a relatively cheap option with single bus ticket fares starting at AUS$ 2.60.
The Circular Quay has three Metro Lines T2, T3, and T8. A short walk of 800 m will take you to the Sydney Opera House. The metro frequency is good and it is an affordable option with single ticket fares starting at AUS$4.40.
Tips for Visiting the Sydney Opera House
- Once a month, you can participate in one of the best Sydney Opera House Tours, a culinary tour of its restaurants where you not only sample the food but also learn to cook iconic dishes at each of the restaurants – Opera Bar, Opera Kitchen, Portside Sydney, and Bennelong. The tour lasts for four hours and is a small tour group, so book in advance!
- Book your Sydney Opera House tickets online in advance to avoid losing out on your preferred visiting slots, and to avail great discounts and combo deals.
- Badu Gili is a light and music experience that involves a projection on the shells of the Sydney Opera House. Best watched from the Monumental Steps, the show lasts for 7 minutes and narrates stories of history and culture of Australia’s First Nations. The show runs twice all year long, at sunset and 9 PM.
- Large pieces of luggage are not allowed inside the Sydney Opera House. You can use the private storage facility at Circular Quay, prices start around AUS $12 per day. If you are carrying handbags etc. ensure you only carry items that can pass airport security.
- The Sydney Opera House is kid-friendly and has many activities particularly during the school holidays. Apart from the Junior Tour, they can also indulge in free ‘Creative Play’ which is a huge space where they can play with LEGO kits. Opera Kitchen, Opera Bar and Portside have kid-friendly menus as well.
- For the souvenir-hunters the gift shop at Sydney Opera House has an excellent collection of gifts. The best one is the Sydney LEGO Set, but if you are on a budget the 3D Wooden Puzzle is a great gift!
- Your chance of visiting all the theatres on a tour decreases in the evening as they may have performances lined up and do not allow guests to enter.
Looking for other ways to get inside the Sydney Opera House?
Take the Drama Theatre staircase and pop inside for a bit
The Sydney Opera House does not have, and you can walk around the venue freely. If the theatres don’t have a show running, you can also get inside for a bit and marvel at the interiors. You can click photographs, use the rest rooms, and enjoy the view from the monumental steps. This way you don’t have to miss out the Sydney Opera House due to budget constraints!
Attend a show
The six theatres in the Sydney Opera House run shows, operas, musicals, and other live entertainment, and it is a great way to take in the complete experience of the venue. You can find regular performances by the Resident Companies - Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, The Australian Ballet, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Take a Backstage Tour
Theatre lovers and creatives love the backstage tour which takes you on a behind-the-scenes experience. The tour starts daily at 7 AM at the Stage Door, from where you will wind your way through the backstage of the theatres, rehearsal spaces, and production areas that are off-limits to regular visitors. The tour ends with a sumptuous breakfast in the green room with the staff and performers; it is the most exclusive of all Sydney Opera House tours.
Enjoy a meal at the Bennelong Restaurant
The Sydney Opera House is also a hub for culinary experiences, and one of its best restaurants is the Bennelong Restaurant. Run by celebrated Australian Chef Peter Gilmore, the restaurant offers a gourmet menu that is crafted to include the best of Australia’s food and wine. Book in advance to get a table with great views of the harbor, and if not you can always walk in for the hip bar!
Go on a Junior Adventure Tour
Kids and theatre don’t naturally mix and if you want to introduce your child to the joy of live theatre then take them on a Children’s Sydney Opera House Tour. The tour runs for an hour, and you can accompany your kid as an expert guide narrates interesting information, engages them in interactive activities, at the end the kids also get to play dress-up! The tours take place in the school holidays, April 13th-28th, July 6th-21st, and September 28th-October 13th.
Sydney Opera House Tour FAQs
Yes, it is actually recommended that your purchase your Sydney Opera House tour tickets online and in advance to ensure there is no overcrowding at the venue.
Sydney Opera House tours usually take about an hour.
There are a number of measures in place to ensure the safety of all patrons:
- Guests aged 12 and above are expected to bring their own masks and keep them on at all times.
- High-touch areas are frequently disinfected.
- There is a QR-code check-in system in place to reduce physical touch.
- Tour groups have no more than 15 people to ensure social distancing is possible.
- Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the venue.
Currently, the Sydney Opera House tour is available only in English.
The venue currently does not store suitcases or large bags. It is recommended that you only carry the essentials.
Yes, visitors are allowed to take pictures. However, if there is any location where you cannot take pictures, your guide will inform you of the same. Please note that taking videos is not permitted.
Yes, there are lifts, accessible toilets, and other accessible services available at the venue.
Sydney Opera House Tour Reviews
Sydney Opera House is such an iconic part of Australia that this tour is not to be missed! It does get busy so it's worth heading down to prebook your tickets in advance!
On the tour you get to learn the history of the Opera House and how it got it's unique shape, whilst looking around some of it's theatres. We was even lucky enough to get to hear one of the performances doing a rehearsal in one of the theatres and it was incredible!
Our guide was really knowledgable and friendly and you also got some good views of the harbour. There are quite a few steps to go up and down so just be aware if you're not very mobile. If you're unable to go to a show I would definitely recommend this tour!
- Amy9977, Tripadvisor 2019
Make sure you take the tour of the opera house. Not only do you see the inside of the opera house but you learn the history of it being built and about how it was constructed. It’s a must do and make sure you bring your camera. Can only use your camera in some areas inside the house.
- 479pattid, Tripadvisor 2019