Welcome to Sydney, mate! Nothing like starting a Sydney tour from the Sydney Opera House (or SOH in short). [see panorama of the Sudney Opera House] It’s without doubt one of the world’s most spectacular buildings – and appropriately built along the cove (Sydney Cove) where Captain Cook “discovered” and landed in Australia in 1788. It was designed by Joern Utzon, from Denmark - after an international competition. Alas a Dane – not an Aussie, but who cares, mate. If it was an Aussie, perhaps the Opera House may look like a crushed pack of empty beer cans instead. That would be cool, mate?
The work of building begun in 1959. The architectural design was there by Utzon – but nobody at the time quite knew how it would be built due to the structural and construction engineering challenges. It was to be the world’s first large-scale project to make extensive use of computer technology (remember computers were only then just invented). It was finally completed and opened in 1973 after exceeding 15 times its original budget! But few people have ever since complained about the price . The Opera House became an instant hit and icon for Australia. Today, Sydney would be quite unthinkable without the Opera House. The spectacular complex curving shapes of the exterior have been likened to billowing sails, shells and even hoods worn by nuns! The elegant, soaring roofs are covered in over a million Swedish ceramic tiles. The interior houses the auditorium of the opera and four other performance spaces, including a concert hall [see interior of concert hall] and two theatres, plus restaurants and bars. [see layout map of SOH] You can stare at it a whole day, [see SOH at sunset] and still be amazed at how beautiful it looks. Fair-dinkum, mate!