The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic, most visited and most photographed landmarks in Australia, and if you love travel photography, getting the perfect shot will most likely be at the top of your list.
Situated on one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, whether you’re on the water, above the water, or even below it, there are a million ways to get a shot of the Sydney Opera House. It’s quite easy to take a great photo here. Though this is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, so what’s not always easy is taking an interesting one. As a tourist, it’s difficult to capture a unique angle which the world hasn’t already seen.
The following are great photography locations for shooting the Sydney Opera House. Head here if you’re looking to travel like a photographer and not a tourist. Urban photography locations in Sydney. Photos of the opera house.
The Best Places to Photograph the Sydney Opera House
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The Sydney Opera House
For close up shots, or photos of the interior, it would stand to reason that the best location for shooting the Sydney Opera House is the Sydney Opera House itself. The steps are a fantastic place for shooting the sails at close range, and you can take some great street scenes as locals and tourists make their way around Circular Quay. Places to take photos in Sydney.
For those looking to photograph the inside, look at taking the backstage tour. This is expensive and will put you back $165 per person, but is the only tour which grants you unprecedented VIP access to the Opera House.
Walking around the Circular Quay area will give you plenty of opportunities to take photos of the Opera House. Where to take photos of the Opera House in Sydney.
Kirribilli is on the outskirts of the Sydney CBD, and offers great views of the Opera House at anytime of the day or night. You can find the lookout just down from Jeffrey St. Warf near where Broughton St meets Olympic Drive; there is always plenty of parking in the morning, though afternoons and evenings do start to get quite crowded. Best lookouts in Sydney for photos.
The best time to head here is for sunrise and sunset. Kirribilli is easily accessible via public transport; there is a train station closeby, or you can catch a water taxi or ferry and get off at Jeffery St Wharf. Photos of the Opera House.
If you pack a wide-angle lens you can get both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House into the frame. Best night photography spots in Sydney.
During VIVID Live
More of a when than a where, but during winter Sydney becomes the beautiful backdrop to the largest party of lights, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere. Best photos of the Opera House during VIVID live Sydney.
Usually scheduled for May/early June each year, VIVID features free nightly light shows and incredible art installations, LED-bejeweled boats cruising the harbor, live music, creative conferences, and most importantly, the sails of the Opera House are illuminated with mesmerizing 3D projections.
Photo credit: Pavel
MCA Café, Sydney Harbour, is on the rooftop of he Museum of Contemporary Art, and is one of Sydney’s hidden gems when it comes to killer views. There are panoramic views of the harbor, the bridge, and the Opera House.
It’s a great vantage point for photography, and is always named as one of the most Instagrammable cafes in Sydney.
Opening hours: Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday–Sunday 10am – 4pm (last orders at 3.30pm), Friday 10am – 9pm (last orders 8.30pm).
From the Deck of a Harbour Ferry or Cruise
Some of the best photos of the Opera House can be shot from the water. Ride the Manly or Watson’s Bay ferry in late afternoon for the best light (midday sun can be quite harsh). Sydney night view spot for photos.
For truly unique photos, you can take a 2 hour harbour cruise on a traditional 1980’s style tall ship where you will have the opportunity to snap photos and climb the mast. These cruises depart from Campbell’s Cove.
The Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal is another great location for Opera House photos, and this is less crowded than other spots as it is relatively unknown among tourists and locals.
Located in the heart of Circular Quay on the opposite side to the Sydney Opera House, there is an observation deck which provides a fantastic vantage point for photos.
Some of the best views of the Opera House can be taken from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, though you can’t take your camera with you do the bridge climb. Instead, head to Pylon Lookout in the South East Pylon of the Harbour Bridge. How to get a sunset photo of the Sydney Opera House.
A highly underrated attraction, spend $13 and climb to the observation area 87 meters above sea level. Here you will find the best views of Sydney and you can take photos to your heart’s content. Where to take great photos in Sydney.
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 North side use the steps near Milsons Point Railway Station.
Do note that this is open from 10 am – 5 pm, so it’s not possible to take sunrise or sunset photos here. Set up underneath the bridge on the grass at these times instead.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is elevated spot that offers an uninterrupted view of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and from this angle you should be able to frame them both to be in close proximity to one another. The walking path on the Farm Cove bay bank below provides the same views but at a lower point. How to get good photos of the Sydney Opera House.
The best time for photography here is sunset, as the sun goes down behind the Opera House and this is an absolutely magical shot. Depending on what you want to shoot it’s advisable to travel with a full range of lenses. This is a great spot for panoramic shots, and those with a good zoom can shoot the Opera House sails with the bridge in the background. Sydney photo tips.
Metered parking is easy to find along Mrs Macquarie’s Road. If you’re relying on public transport you can get the bus from Circular Quay, though it’s actually also very easy to walk. Tips for urban photography in Sydney.
Photo credit: tcbutler
If you’re traveling from overseas with a lot of camera equipment, check that you have the correct travel adaptor for Australia. This means ensuring your chargers and devices are rated to 230v. Most new electronics (including phone and laptop chargers) input voltage range between 100-240v and 50-60hz.
To find out which travel adaptor you need for the country you are travelling to, visit the ‘Travel Adaptors’ page on the Electrical Safety First website.
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