Experience The Glory Of Sydney Opera House
With Behind-The-Scenes Sydney Opera House Tour
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 how to pick the best Sydney Opera House tour!
Sydney Opera House
The germ 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 Take a Sydney Opera House Tour?
- A Sydney Opera House tour is an extraordinary opportunity to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site from up close and learn about its history, and the famous personalities who have visited and performed there.
- To 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!
Best Sydney Opera House Tour Tickets
If you're looking to purchase a Sydeny Opera House Tour ticket, 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. Read more about the four most popular Sydney Opera House tours.
Sydney Opera House Guided Walking Tour
- Walk under the glorious sails as you soak in the breathtaking surroundings of the Sydney Opera House on this tour.
- Join an expert guide who can interact with you in English or Chinese.
- Discover the rich history, fascinating stories, and pure magic of the Sydney Opera House on this guided walking tour.
- You could also choose to attend one of the many performances at the Opera House to better appreciate its state-of-the-art facilities. (Note: This is not included in the ticket price)
Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour
- Visit the Sydney Opera House on this VIP guided tour and see what it is like from a insiders point of view.
- Head backstage for a first-hand look at what it is like in the orchestra pit and rehearsal rooms and regale you with facts and anecdotes about the museum’s history, the goings-on backstage, and the lives and stories of the many performers.
- End your tour with a piping-hot breakfast in the green room reserved exclusively for the opera house staff and performers.
Sydney Opera House Tour & Tasting Plate
- Visit the Sydney Opera House on this guided tour and learn more about this iconic Sydney landmark while you admire spectacular views of it.
- Your expert guide will give you an insider’s look at the Opera house and regale you with facts and anecdotes about the museum’s history, the goings-on backstage, and the lives and stories of the many performers.
- End your tour with a delicious tasting-plate meal for two at the Opera kitchen, including a chef’s selection of delicious gourmet hot and cold menu items.
Sydney Opera House Tour and Dine at Opera Bar
- Wander through the Sydney Opera House on this guided tour and learn more about the architecture and design of this iconic Sydney Harbour landmark
- Walk on the same stage where brilliant artists such as Cate Blanchett, Luciano Pavarotti and Ella Fitzgerald once performed
- Complete your tour with a delicious dinner at the Opera bar, including beer battered fish and chips, roasted beetroot salad, or Jack's Creek Black Angus rump.
The Sydney Opera House 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.
Sydney Opera House Tour Timings
The Sydney Opera House Tour Times start from 9 AM and the last one is at 5 PM.
- English Tours
- Every 15 or 30 minutes
- Every day except for Christmas and Easter’s Good Friday
- The Sydney Opera House Access Tour runs every day 12 PM.
- The Sydney Opera House Language Tour runs at these tour times
- Mandarin – Every day - 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM
- Japanese – Every day - 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM
- Korean – Every day - 10:15 AM, 11:15 AM, 12:15 PM, 1:45 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:45 PM, 4:45 PM
- Spanish – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – 3:00 PM
- French – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – 11:30 AM
- German – Every day – 11:00 AM
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 your Sydney Opera House Tour
- 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! The dates for 2019 are 3 February, 17 March, 7 April, 5 May, 2 June, 7 July, 4 August, 8 September, 6 October, 3 November, 17, November, 1 December.
- 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.
- Big luggage is not allowed on the Sydney Opera House Tours. 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!
- Vivid Sydney is an annual Light, Art, and Music Festival that is held at different venues across Sydney from 24th May to 15th June 2019. This year artist Andrew Thomas Huang will project his exciting artwork the ‘Austral Floral Ballet’ on the roof of the Sydney Opera House.
- 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 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
Everybody seems to say "take the tour!". We agree too. Read more about what others have to say about the Sydney Opera House Tour before booking your tickets.