Sydney Opera House in the evening sun, with a full rsilver shining eflection of its dramatic architecture in the blue harbour waters below

An architectural icon, its iconic sail-like roofs rising proudly on the shores of Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Opera House this year commemorates its 50th anniversary. Enveloped by the shimmering harbor waters, the Sydney Opera House it is a symbol of cultural prestige and the city’s everlasting allure, showcasing world-class performances and exceptional dining.

A design winner

Sydney Opera House shown with the tall CBD buildings behind and the blue harbour waters in front, with greenery close to the camera

The Sydney Opera House is the result of a visionary collaboration between Danish architect Jørn Utzon and the Australian government. Utzon in fact won an international design competition in 1957 with his striking and unconventional concept. Construction commenced in 1959, and Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Opera House on October 20, 1973.

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A unique architectural marvel

A masterpiece of modern architecture, the Sydney Opera House is characterized by its iconic sail-shaped shells. Seeming to float above the harbor, they comprise of over 1 million glazed ceramic tiles. These reflect the sunlight in a stunning interplay of colors. The design takes its inspiration from nature, demonstrated through its fusion of light, shadow and curves.

These shells form a series of concrete vaults, home to multiple performance venues. These include the Concert Hall, Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre, Playhouse and Utzon Room. Each is meticulously crafted to deliver exceptional acoustics.

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Unforgettable moments

Aerial Drone View Of The Sydney Skyline With Harbour Bridge And Kirribilli Suburb

A world-renowned performance venue, the Sydney Opera House has hosted some of the most famous artists on the globe. It serves as a revered venue for classical music and opera. Legendary sopranos Maria Callas, Renée Fleming and Angela Gheorghiu have all graced the stage for memorable performances. The venue is also home to the Sydney Film Festival and Sydney Writers festival.

Legendary Australian soprano Joan Sutherland graced the opera house with her sublime voice, performing in the inaugural concert in 1973. Also that year, the iconic Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti’s performed, solidified the Sydney Opera House’s reputation as a world-class opera venue. He also united with Plácido Domingo and José Carreras (The Three Tenors) in 1997 for a historic concert under the sails.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela, recently freed from prison after 27 years, spoke of forgiveness to a crowd of 40,000 on the Opera House’s Monumental Steps. And in 2014 the Rolling Stones, delivered a memorable performance, attracting music enthusiasts from across the globe.

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Sydney Opera House 50th anniversary

This October everyone will be able to celebrate the Sydney Opera House anniversary at a month-long festival featuring top artists in music, dance, theatre and art. In keeping with its role as a cultural and artistic hub for both the city and the country, there will also be a host of free events for all the family. There will also be 50 consecutive days of rare and unseen recordings shown from the archive, spanning opera, classical, dance, theatre, contemporary music and documentaries. This offers a special opportunity to relive the spectacular performance history of this famous institution.

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Much more than performances

View from under the sails of the Sydney Opera House, with a purple carpet and brown slats with the bright blue sky behind

Beyond its renowned performances, the Sydney Opera House is a treasure trove of delights. Travel with Luxury Gold on  Inspiring Australia and spend two days around this amazing venue. On your first day in the city, join a lunch cruise for a decadent way to explore the city’s harbor. Sip a chardonnay as you pass iconic sights, including a first look at the Sydney Opera House sitting proudly on the water’s edge, and the magnificent Harbour Bridge.

The following day embark on a behind the scenes VIP guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, architecture aficionado or just a curious traveler, you’ll depart with a deeper appreciation for the building’s cultural significance and its status as an enduring symbol of Australia’s creative spirit.

Afterward, you can enjoy an unforgettable Celebration Dinner at creative chef Peter Gilmore’s Bennelong restaurant, set in the building’s iconic sails.

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Exceptional Dining

A colourful dish of Redclaw yabbies, heirloom peas, white squash, fermented chilli yuzu and ume broth, as served at Bennelong Restaurant inside the Sydney Opera House.


To dine under the sails at Bennelong is to experience the best of Australian fine dining. The acclaimed restaurant is nestled within the Sydney Opera House – a breathtaking setting to feast along with stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

Offering a culinary experience like no other, embracing both artistry and sustainability, Bennelong’s menu showcases an array of seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Traditional Australian flavors are elevated with inventive techniques and presentations. Diners can savor exquisite dishes like Gilmore’s signature Snow Egg dessert, while enjoying impeccable service and an extensive wine selection.

Beyond its gastronomic delights, Bennelong embraces the arts, hosting performances at the adjacent Bennelong Lawn and providing a perfect synergy between food and culture.

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An economic powerhouse

The Sydney Opera House has also played a pivotal role in the economic growth of the city. Attracting millions of visitors annually, both locals and international tourists, the venue contributes significantly to the country’s tourism industry. As well as establishing Sydney as a global cultural and artistic hub, the Opera House’s iconic status has made the city a must-visit destination, with its image gracing countless postcards, brochures and travel advertisements.

To experience the magic of the Sydney Opera House and the other delights that await in this beautiful country, take a look at our Inspiring Australia small group journey. Along with exceptional hotels and exquisite dining, prepare for the journey of a lifetime.