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Considering the Sydney Opera House backstage tour during your visit? Great idea. This is one of the most popular tourist activities in Sydney and for good reason. I have accompanied guests on our Sydney tours through this experience many times and always enjoy it and learn something new about this fascinating and iconic building. So what’s it like to do the tour? How much does it cost? When does it operate? And is it worth adding to your Sydney city tour itinerary? Read on to get the perspective of a seasoned Sydney tour guide.
If you are coming to visit Sydney to the first time it will be impossible to miss the beautiful and timeless curves of the Sydney opera House. Whether you fly over it as you arrive or enjoy it from your hotel window or as a backdrop on an evening meal or Sydney harbour cruise it is a landmark which will grab your attention and make you look again and again. The beautiful sail like facade changes during the seasons and during the day, reflecting the light and begging to be photographed from every new angle it reveals. But. if admiring from a far is not enough for you and you want to get more intimately acquainted then a Sydney Opera House Tour is for you. It is also the only way to get inside without having tickets to a performance or event. It is wonderful to walk the entire way around the base and get up close to the exterior facade, especially at dusk, but to get inside the tour is essential. The Opera House tour is a 1 hour walking tour with headsets to ensure you don’t miss anything. Group sizes are kept to around 12 and you will hear all of the fascinating stories about the architect Jorn Utzon, the dramas and conflicts, the huge construction challenges that were overcome, the reaction of the Sydney public at the time and the ultimate triumph of this UNESCO listed landmark. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos and a variety of media is utilised to tell the stories. The tour does get you inside some of the performance spaces but this varies based on the season and schedule at the time of visit.
The standard Opera House tour runs every day of the year and there is a very generous schedule of 1 hour tours that start from 9am and leave every half hour through till 5pm every day of the week. Entry is $42 for adults and $22 for children with $32 concession and family pricing available too. There is also a longer 2 hour option, tours that include meals and child focussed programs too. An Access Tour for those with mobility difficulties is available every day at 12noon an the Opera House is about to commence huge upgrades to make the the whole facility more accessible for visitors with physical limitations.
The standard Opera House tour has over 200 steps and so is not ideally suited to visitors with prams so consider bringing a baby back pack or sling if you plan to visit with small children.
The only way to get inside the Sydney Opera House is on a scheduled tour or if you have purchased a ticket to a performance or event in one of the many spaces. You can walk the entire perimeter of this immense structure and go up the stairs at the front which are a very popular photo location. Visit early morning or at dusk to get the best light and most evocative photographs. Image in this blog was taken late in the afternoon.
You sure can. I frequently build a tour into one of our tailored Sydney city tours and usually suggest a later afternoon tour so that the touring time around the city is not affected. Guests usually then just head back to their Sydney hotel on foot or grab dinner nearby at one of the many waterfront dining options, either casually at the Opera Bar or fine dining at Benelong or Aria.