Sydney Opera House: An Icon of Australia

Sydney Opera House from the Royal Botanical Gardens

When anyone thinks of Australia, the first thought that comes to mind is that iconic image of the Opera House by the harbour. The Sydney Opera House is an essential stop for every type of traveller, whether that’s the cheap and cheerful backpacker or the luxury money’s no object tourist. Everyone enjoys the view in their own way, some may prefer to take the tour and learn about the history, whilst others are just happy to see the outside and enjoy a drink or meal at the nearby bars. 

As soon as I was checked into my hostel I dropped my bags and made my way to the Opera House. I decided to head there by walking through the Botanical Gardens, that way not only did I get to see it for the first time at the end of a beautiful walk, but I would finish right on the harbour and could sit down and enjoy lunch there too. 

The challenges of building the Opera House

Completed in 1973, it was expected that the build would take 4 years and cost $7 million to build. This quickly escalated and ended up taking 14 years and costing nearer to $102 million. The inconic design of the Sydney Opera House was picked in an international competition in 1956. Out of 233 entries the winner was Jorn Utzon from Denmark, and he received just £5000 for his design. 

Arriving from the Botanical Gardens

It’s a stunning building and as soon as I arrived I sat down and stared in marvel at it. It comes as no surprise how long it took to build, with the curves and structure causing difficulty. Although after a morning consisting of a long amble (and a bit of a snooze) in the nearby Botanical gardens I realised I had missed breakfast and it was nearing lunchtime. Right next to the Opera House you have Circular Quay, an area full of restaurants each with a beautiful view. I stopped here for a lovely Italian pizza and ice cold beer with a stunning view of the Harbour Bridge and then went for a follow up beer in the Opera Bar. Both have incredible views and I really would recommend trying both. Order a local beer or wine, put on your sunglasses and just enjoy the sun. 

It was mixed emotions looking at the Sydney Harbour bridge knowing that the very next evening I would be scaling to the top. Immediately after booking my tour and flights to Australia, my travel rep had arranged for me to climb the bridge whilst I was there. For someone who is petrified by rollercoasters, I was fine with this and if anything I wish I could have done it sooner. But knowing I cant speed up time I just relaxed and enjoyed my beer.

Final goodbye to Sydney

During my stay in Sydney, I came back here multiple times to see the Opera House. For the last night, I chose the same Italian place to have my final meal before I made my way to the airport.  Being near the Harbour and major transport links you will often find yourself nearby, so there will be plenty of opportunities to find that perfect photo, so don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time. But no trip to Australia is complete without a visit here.

Sydney Opera House FAQ’s

How can I book a tour of the Sydney Opera House?

The easiest way to book a tour is with Get Your Guide. They make booking activities really easy especially when travelling and I have used them a lot in the past. I have attached a booking link below. By booking through the link it doesn’t cost you any extra but means I receive a small commission. All of which helps continue to support me creating more content for you.

How long are the tours?

Tour lengths can vary depending on what type of tour you have chosen. They typically range from 45 minutes to an hour, with the foodie tours taking longer. 

What else is nearby to visit?

Just a short walk from the Opera House you can find Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens which I wrote about previously and have linked below. If you want to get some lunch or dinner then just below is the harbour which not only contains some great restaurants but also the best views in Sydney.  Other nearby attractions include the Aquarium, as well as the ferry that will take you straight to Taronga Zoo.

Of course! But as is often the case with travelling, preparation is key. I would always recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment if you are only in Sydney for a short stay. They offer plenty of shows in all different genres, from comedy to musicals. Whatever you like to see there is a show for everyone.

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