Sydney Opera House Guided Tour
One of if not the most iconic sight in Sydney, Australia is the Sydney Opera House. This masterpiece of architecture has been sitting on the shore of Sydney Harbour since it’s opening in 1973.
We were fortunate enough to tour the Opera House during our trip to Australia, and made sure this was a MUST DO item on our list. We do not regret that choice.
We were able to purchase our tickets day of the tour. Once we checked in, we were given our group color and headsets. Because of other possible performances and practices, plus the large area we would be covering inside and out, this was the way to go. Our guide was able to keep her voice and give us all valuable information without having to shout. Best yet, we were able to hear everything she said without missing a bit.
If you’d like to check out prices and times ahead of schedule, their website will give you all the information.
We did the general Opera House Tour. This tour is 1 hour and takes you inside and outside of this magnificent structure. This tour is available in English, French, German, and Spanish. 30 minute tours are also available in Japanese and Korean.
A Bit of History of the Sydney Opera House
The Opera House is the design of Danish architect Jørn Utzon. It was built; however, by an Australian team. Officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, approximately 1,500 performances are held at the Sydney Opera House annually, attended by approximately 1.2 million people.
The Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the National Trust of Australia Register, City of Sydney Heritage Inventory, New South Wales Heritage Register, and the Australian National Heritage List.
The shells of the Sydney Opera House are what make this structure so unique and distinguishable. The are precast concrete panels supported by concrete ribs.
For the ceramic tiles that adorn the roof of the opera house, Uzton wanted them to contrast the deep blue water of the Sydney Harbour and the clear blue skies. The couldn’t have a full gloss finish so as not to mirror the sunlight causing a glare upon the city and water. Höganäs of Sweden produced the tiles, after three years of work, they are ceramic tile with a bit of crushed stone.
There are over 1,000,000 tiles covering the roof of the Sydney Opera House.
There are a number of performance venues within the property both inside and out.
The Concert Hall seats 2,679 and is home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Inside the concert hall is the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ. It is the largest mechanical tracker organ in the world with over 10,000 pipes.
While we weren’t allowed to take photos within the Concert Hall, our posed photos pre-tour in front of the green screen shows you what the Concert Hall looks like. Yes of course we purchased the tourist trap photos, just like we did at the Great Barrier Reef. Anyway, you can see the organ as the centerpiece of the background.
The Joan Sutherland Theatre (named after a renown Sydney born opera singer) is home to Opera Australia and The Australia Ballet. It seats 1,507 and was previously known as the Opera Theatre until October 2012.
Again we couldn’t take pictures inside, but I did get a photo of the Joan Sutherland painting and plaque outside the theatre along with the hall leading to the theatre.
Other venues within the Opera House which we didn’t visit include the Drama Theatre (seats 544), Playhouse (398), The Studio (400), and the Uzton Room (210). All together these performance venues can seat 5,738 people.
Another area we visited inside the Opera House was one of the many refreshment stands overlooking Sydney Harbour. As of course there were no performances going on during the daytime, it was empty. However, stunning to see of course. You can get a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from this area as well.
We quite enjoyed this tour and certainly recommend if you are in Sydney to consider booking a tour of the Sydney Opera House. You’ll never look at it quite the same way again!
So tell us, have you been to an opera? Would you consider attending one at the Sydney Opera House if the opportunity presented itself?