5 October 2016 by Daniel Wright
It has to be said: Sydney has a standout attraction. While no Sydney holiday would be complete without a clifftop walk from Bondi to Coogee beach or a sail under or climb of the Harbour Bridge, it’s a visit to the fabled Sydney Opera House that first-timers most look forward to – and with good reason.
A troubled past
Stood on Bennelong Point, this iconic venue had – unbeknown to many – a troubled inception, traumatic childhood and overall inauspicious beginning. Commissioned after an architectural design contest in 1957, its official opening was delayed until 1973. Work on the site started in 1959, but competition winner and Danish Expressionist architect Jørn Utzon took two years to ascertain how his extraordinary building could maintain its structural integrity. The project was also plagued by political scandal, and Utzon was forced to resign before the building was completed. It arrived over 10 years late and 14 times over budget.
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
A place in history
Since then, though, the soaring shell-like structure of the Sydney Opera House has become Australia's most recognisable silhouette and a modern architectural icon. Standing 67 metres high, its roof is made up of more than a million Swedish-made tiles. Under these interlocking shells are four auditoriums for dance, opera, concerts and theatre performances. It’s tough to stand out in a city as good-looking as Sydney, but the Opera House does so with aplomb.
Utzon's original design won the prestigious Pritzker architecture prize in 2003, with the jury heralding that it 'proves that the marvellous and seemingly impossible in architecture can be achieved.' Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO four years later, it's evolved into one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world and an essential stop for anyone visiting the city of Sydney.
Circular Quay aerial view
A scrum of nuns?
Not everyone is a fan of the Sydney Opera House. While Utzon declared that the design was inspired by orange segments, snails, palm fronds, sails and Mayan temples, others have likened it to a scrum of nuns. What do you think?
A scrum of nuns?
Discover it for yourself
Add an extension to your Australia tailor-made holiday and take a tour of the iconic venue. Throughout the day you can visit the front of house and backstage area, and if you're lucky you'll catch a rehearsal in progress. Spend time exploring the Opera House precinct and experience its many moods as the sun strikes and slides across the ceramic tiles before it's replaced at dusk by dramatic floodlights that compete with the twinkling harbour lights for attention.
Alternatively, tour the venue at night on our new Red Carpet Bennelong Package. Your evening starts with an outstanding three course dinner from one of Australia's finest chef's, Peter Gilmore at Bennelong Restaurant. You’ll then be treated to a performance by one of the four key resident companies - Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra - or one of the visiting performing-arts companies. With over 40 shows a week, there's something for everyone.
Sydney Opera House Red Carpet Bennelong Package
Get in touch
Contact a Wexas Australia specialist today on 020 7590 0614 to discuss incorporating a visit to the Sydney Opera House into your tailor-made Australia itinerary.