When people think of Australia, it's likely that the iconic white sails of the Sydney Opera House spring to mind first and foremost. Gazing at the striking building is like looking up at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London or the Empire State Building in New York - you get chills down your spine as it hits you that you're finally here, you're in Sydney! At any time of day it is a stunning sight, whether viewed against a backdrop of blue sky and sunshine or silhouetted against a reddening sky as the sun starts to set. To make the most of this iconic Australian landmark, take your time and enjoy an entire day at the Sydney Opera House with our suggested itinerary.
Wander across to the Sydney Opera House first thing in the morning, order a coffee and a pastry from the Opera Kitchen and watch the ferries sail into Circular Quay from your position right by the water's edge.
Discover the stories behind the controversial construction of the Opera House and the backstage gossip on the Essential Tour. An experienced guide will bring to life the turbulent time the architect, Jorn Utzon, had when building the modern masterpiece and how, against political and public criticism, he managed to construct the youngest building ever to be world heritage listed. The tour takes you beneath the hallowed sails and into one of the seven working venues and includes fascinating audiovisual technology.
Now you've explored inside, it's time to wander around the outside of the building, taking the circuit that will allow you to see it from every angle possible, as well as soaking in some spectacular views of Circular Quay, the city skyline, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the harbour itself.
If you're feeling peckish, head back down to the lower concourse to have a light lunch at either the Opera Bar or the Opera Kitchen and choose between sushi, freshly made sandwiches, salads, seafood or noodles. You just won't be able to get enough of that spectacular view, especially if you're sitting in the sunshine with a glass of something cold!
Walk off your lunch with a wander round the Royal Botanic Gardens right next to the eastern side of the Opera House, from which you are treated to further spectacular views of the house beside the harbour.
Watch the sun go down over the harbour with a cocktail from one of the Theatre Bars, before dining in one of the Opera House's many restaurants - for something really special head for Guillaume at Benelong, a French fine dining restaurant with spectacular views.
You've seen it inside and out, from every possible angle, and now it's time to see it in action. With hundreds of shows being performed in the house's seven venues, there's something for everyone. From quirky contemporary theatre in the Studio to a mind-blowing performance by the Sydney Symphony, there's something to suit every taste and budget.
Bio: Emily Buckley frequently shares insider knowledge about many other cities around the globe.