The Opera House in Sydney’s iconic harbour is one of the cities most famous sights. It’s an incredibly imposing building and you have no idea how unique it is until you see it up close! The Opera House can be seen from many amazing locations within Sydney harbour and it looks spectacular where you check it out! The best view of Sydney Opera House though is not super hard to find, it is, however, handy to have a list of all the best views point.
In this blog post, I will show you some of the best spots to photograph or simply just enjoy the stunning sight that is the Sydney Opera House.
This post includes 10 locations and a handy map to help you identify the locations listed. Grab your camera and go and explore all the best places to view the Sydney Opera House!
BASIC INFORMATION SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
The Opera House can be found on Bennelong Point at Sydney’s harbour. The Sydney Opera House, and as the name might suggest, is a multi-venue performing arts centre which draws in over 8.2 million visitors every year. (Maybe not in 2020 though, thank you COVID)
Its unique design arched roof is covered with more than 1 million tiles (1,056,006 to be exact). It took more than 10,000 workers to build the Opera House. The building itself took 14 years and 3 specially designed cranes had to be built in order to construct the giant shells that give the Opera house its distinct shape. It was also one of the very first buildings to use a computerized structural design programme. Originally estimated to cost $7 million, this ambitious project actually cost $102 million, but I am sure the increase in tourism has made this a well-worth investment!
It was opened by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II on the 20th of October 1973 and they haven’t looked back ever since.
Are you looking for the best places to view the Sydney Opera House?
Here is my ultimate list!
To make things easy for you I have listed all the locations into a handy map. It shows you where the locations are in comparison to the Sydney Opera House. Further below you can find lots of information on those viewpoints and it will include lots of amazing pictures so you know what you will be able to see from these points?
1 | Bennelong Point
Bennelong Point is a former island in Sydney Harbour that since the 1970s is the location of the Sydney Opera House. Adjacent to is, you can find Circular Quay, the main ferry terminal of the city.
The second you walk into Circular Quay you will be able to see this beautiful and unique building. Walk to the right, towards Bennelong Point, to get closer or walk to the left to take a picture from the other side of the harbour. Unfortunately, cruise ships often dock on that side of the harbour, blocking the views regularly. If one has docked, then don’t walk that way, just had to the right, towards the building. Along the way, you will walk past the ferry terminal, lots of restaurants and tourist shops.
So make sure to scale the steps in front of the building to check out this masterpiece. Once you get up close to the building you can actually see all the individual tiles that have been placed on the roof of this building. When you stand further back, you would not notice this.
Below the building, with stunning views, you can have a drink at the Sydney Opera House bar! or grab a bite to eat at Bennelong, the Opera House’s premier restaurant. With world-class chefs and therefore delicious food, there is no better way to make your Opera House experience special. Tables inside this airy space face out on to the Sydney Harbour and city-skyline for a view that will never get boring.
As you can imagine, the price tag on a dinner with a view like that does not come cheap, so make sure you top up your credit card.
Most cities don’t get better after the sun has set, but strangely Sydney does! Especially Circular Quay. With the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House as its main attractions, it truly becomes a spectacle after dark. Especially the Opera House is a sight to behold after dark. I have written an extensive blog post already on where to see Sydney by night, so make sure to check that one out as well!
The Sydney Opera House by night from Bennelong Point
Heading up the stairs towards the buildings, just shows you how unique and interesting this building actually is. With 100’s upon 100’s of tiles can be seen up close, that make up this fabulous masterpiece. The closer you get as well the more you can see a bit of the inside of the opera house. That’s if it’s not cordoned off, unfortunately for us, the night we went it was due to COVID.
How to see this building from the inside?
You might be wondering what it would take to get inside, as you can’t actually just walk in, can you imagine the chaos that would occur. Underneath are some options for you if you, if you wish to see it from the inside.
A Sydney Opera House tour is one way of getting into the building. A guided tour will explain how the construction went and what it entailed to complete it. You will also get a look at the interior of the multiple concert halls within the Opera House is often unseen by the average tourist. It is pretty cool and very informative, so if you have time I suggest you join one of the tours.
Another, pretty obvious way of getting a glimpse from the inside seeing an actual show at the Sydney Opera House is one of the most memorable ways to experience it. And although you might not know it by the name, the Opera House hosts more than just operas.
A wide range of incredible Broadway shows, concerts, symphony orchestras and more ensure that you won’t miss an opportunity to sit in on one of the most incredible live venues in the world. Or as mentioned prior, grab a bit to eat at Bennelong restaurant.
2 | Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens are located next to the Opera House and therefore offer some of the most incredible views! the gardens itself are also worth checking out. For a relaxing day in the city why not take a stroll around Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Entry to the gardens is free and is normally open until sunset. The gardens are open every day of the year with a few exceptions for special events where tickets may be required.
I personally love The Oriental Garden. This part of the garden is dedicated to Asian plants and flowers, and the Succulent Garden has several varieties of succulents and cacti on display arranged in a garden of pebbles and stones. Right in front, there is also a collection of rare and endangered plants to be found.
Pretty much throughout you will be able to see the Opera House! Make sure to walk towards Mrs Macquarie’s chair!
3 | Mrs Macquarie’s Chair at The Botanical Gardens
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a pretty iconic Sydney landmark. The ‘chair’ was carved out of a sandstone rock ledge by convicts in 1810 for Elizabeth Macquarie. She was known to love the area so her husband, who was the Governor of NSW, built her this vantage point.
It is now known as one of the best vantage points to view the sights of Sydney Harbour, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course the Opera House.
This vantage point is open 24-hours a day and is completely free to enter. Although be aware that the royal botanic garden itself closes at sunset, so you have to get around the park to get to Macquarie’s Chair.
Here you will find large tourists groups, taking selfies with the opera house in the background. This is the number one spot visited by people going to the gardens and so definitely make sure you head to this panoramic spot as its worth it!
4 | Pylon Lookout and The Harbour Bridge
The Pylon lookout on the harbour bridge is an incredible viewpoint for, not only the Opera House but the entire Sydney harbour! The Sydney Pylon lookout is massively overlooked and comes with 360-degree views of the whole of Sydney Harbor! say what! that’s right…
The Pylon Lookout is located on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and is an 87m-tall bridge bearing with a 200-stair climb through historical exhibits to 360-degree city views. The northern side you see the Coathanger of the bridge, Luna Park, Milsons Point, and Kirribilli. The Western point faces towards Sydney’s skyline. But the money-making pictures are definitely taken on the Eastern side of the pylon, where you can see the icon that is the Opera house.
The admission to the Pylon lookout it as follows (As per August 2020).
|General Admission (13 years and over)||$ 19.00|
|Concession (Seniors & Student)||$12.50|
|Children (5 to 12 years, inclusive)||$9.50|
|Children (4 years and under)||FREE|
Getting to the Pylon Lookout?
The lookout is located in the South-East Pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Access is via the pedestrian pathway on the Eastern side of the Bridge from the city side (use the ‘Bridge Stairs’ in Cumberland Street, The Rocks). Or if you are coming from the Northside use the steps near Milsons Point Railway Station.
Whilst you are on the bridge, make sure to keep walking and enjoy the stunning views from the bridge. If you walk towards Milsons Point you will head towards a couple of more viewpoints, including Mary Booth Reserve, Luna Park and Beulah Street Wharf.
5 | Mary Booth Reserve
Mary Booth Reserve is a small little park in Kirribilli that lies adjacent to Sydney’s harbour and across from Circular Quay. This reserve is located pretty much slap bang across from the Opera House. There are sections near the water which are perfect spots to snap hundreds of cool pictures for hours on end! There are not a lot of amenities in the park, as you are only minutes away from Luna Park, where there are plenty.
6 | Luna Park at Milsons Point
Right underneath the bridge on the north shore side, you will find Milsons Point. Here you have spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Many locals just go for the views and wander along the harbour.
Right next to the bridge is Luna Park. The park is an amusement attraction which was established in 1935, amazingly it still contains traditional midway games and rides while of course still offering your 21st-century amusements as well. The older charm that this park offers, the more the modern generation can catch a glimpse of the past. So whilst you are here, why not hop on some rides!
If you walk alongside the walkway and pass Luna Park, then I advise you to keep walking just a tad further. You will end up at Lavender Bay. Although the Opera House itself can not be seen from Lavender Bay, the rest of the harbour can be seen from here! It offers some lovely harbour and city views and it is definitely worth the 10-minute walk from Luna Park.
7 | Beulah St. Wharf
I had seen an amazing picture on the Sydney official tourism Instagram account. I saved it on my phone, so if I was ever in the area I had to go take a similar picture. This spot can be found on the corner of Kirribilli Ave and Beulah Street. It is a super cool place to take some more artistic and non-standard pictures.
At the bottom to the street, you will find Beulah Street Wharf, located right across from the Opera Hosue, it offers some A-mazing views. The wharf is often occupied by fishermen, so it can be a bit tricky sometimes to get access to the wharf. But the views are worth it.
8 | Bradley’s Head at Sydney National Park
At Bradley’s Head watch the boats glide by from Bradleys Head Amphitheatre or step into the past at Military relics. Bradleys Head Amphitheatre is an exceptionally popular lookout in Sydney Harbour National Park. Travel bloggers, Instagrammers and tourist head to this lookout point to inhale its breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison.
There are a couple of cool military relics at Bradleys Head, it was built after four American warships arrived in Sydney Harbour undetected in 1839. Sydneysiders were feeling uneasy so a circular parapet was later installed to enhance Sydney’s protection. Today, the mast of HMAS Sydney towers the lookout, as a striking monument to the WWI warship.
To get to Bradley’s Head I advise you to hop on the Taronga Zoo ferry and then walk to the viewpoint. It is about a 20-minute walk, but you will have mind-bogglingly beautiful views to distract you along the way. And you should also consider checking out Taronga Zoo whilst you are there! It is an amazing zoo and well worth checking out! Additionally, the wharf at the zoo is one of my favourite sunset photography spots!
9 | Taronga Zoo Wharf
The wharf at Taronga Zoo offers an amazing spot to see the sunset behind Sydney’s skyline! From this wharf, you will be able to see the Opera House and the arch of the bridge. The Opera House is quite far, but the views are none the less beautiful!
10 | From the water!
Another incredible way of checking out the Opera house is by going on a cruise! This way you get to see the harbour (with the Opera House perched at Bengallo Point, in a relaxed way, whilst having a nice dinner. Underneath are just a couple of cool cruises you could check out.
- Fantasea Cruising | Sydney Harbour Sunset Cruise from $45
- Sydney Harbour Tall ships | Twighligh dinner cruise from $109
- Captain Cook Cruises | Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise from $99
If a cruise is a bit too expensive, then you can always hop on one of the ferries. This is a cheap alternative to a cruise, providing you with the same views. Get on the ferry at Circular Quay and go to one of many destinations. Milson’s point is only a couple of minutes away and is an easy option.
These are just some of the best view of the Sydney Opera House’s throughout Sydney. I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you have any questions feel free to leave a message below.
Additional Sydney Resources
- The ultimate Sydney bucket list
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk
- Whale watching in Sydney’s harbour
- mini-guide to Bondi Beach
- Sydney by night | all Must do’s and see’s
The best Sydney Travel Itineraries
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- Western Australia
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