If you love travel photography then getting a perfect photo of the Sydney Opera House will be on the top of your Sydney shot list. While it’s not particularly hard to get good pictures of the Opera House, it can be harder to get interesting ones. So let’s go hunt down some perfect Instagram shots for your visit to Sydney.
- The Opera House from Mrs Macquarie’s Point
- From the deck of a Sydney Harbour ferry
- Walk around Circular Quay via the Cahill Expressway to the Rocks
- From the top floor public viewing deck of the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
- From Dawes Point
- Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon.
- Getting up close – Walk around and inside
Where are the best places to take photos of the Sydney Opera House?
Let’s start with the classic shots. These are my own, and I am very much an amateur so I am sure you can do better!
The Opera House from Mrs Macquarie’s Point
Start here and walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens, shooting different angles as you walk.
About halfway around the path between Mrs Macquarie’s Point and the Opera House, these vibrant red calla lilies make a great foreground.
If you can, try to head here at the end of the day, the sunset is spectacular. The Botanic Gardens is open until sunset each day, but you can access Mrs Macquarie’s Point 24 hours a day.
From the deck of a Sydney Harbour ferry
A ride on a ferry should be on the top of your to-do list and if you can more than one! Depending on the route you take, you will capture different aspects.
On West Bound Ferries
The Darling Harbour or Balmain Ferry
Heading to the west under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a Darling Harbour, Balmain or Parramatta ferry will allow you to take a shot of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
This shot is taken from near the Milsons Point Wharf
From an Inner Harbour Ferry
These ferries head to North Sydney, Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay. They allow you to shoot the front of the Opera House almost directly on with the skyline behind. It is hard to get this exact angle from any other Sydney Ferry.
From an Eastern Suburbs or Manly Ferry
Both the Manly or Watson’s Bay ferries glide right past the Opera House.
These two ferry routes are great for getting an afternoon shot with the Opera House silhouetted against the sunset. Go late afternoon or early morning for the best light. The harsh midday sun is not optimal, but if that is the only time you have, you can still get some great shots.
Check out our detailed post on using Sydney Harbour ferries to explore the harbour.
Walk around Circular Quay via the Cahill Expressway to the Rocks
There is a walkway that runs the length of the Cahill Expressway and allows a different perspective of the Opera House. To get the full view, you need to walk two-thirds of the way across.
From here, you can capture the building and the harbour in action. If the wind is kind, you might even get an Australian flag in the frame.
From the top floor public viewing deck of the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
At the Campbells cover end of the Overseas passenger terminal, there is a viewing platform that is directly opposite the Opera House. You can access the platform via the escalators at the front of the ship terminal – you can see if just past the Museum of Contemporary Art.
This is especially good during the VIVID Sydney festival
The VIVID Festival runs each year during May/June for just over three weeks. This year it begins on Friday 25 May and runs to Saturday 16 June 2018. It is now one of the most popular festivals in Sydney. Check my tips for enjoying Vivid Sydney.
From Dawes Point
The grassy area under the Harbour Bridge is known as Dawes Point or Tar-Ra in the Gadigal language.
Keep walking around the point to get a nice shot with both the Bridge and the Opera House. This is best in the early morning just after sunrise when the streets are almost deserted. You can also frame beautiful shots with the iron fence.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon.
You don’t need to book a Bridgeclimb to get a birds-eye view. The pylon museum will only set you back $15, and you can bring your camera – a big no-no on Bridgeclimb. The Pylon is open daily from 9-5pm. You can see my review of Pylon Museum
Walk, train or ferry across to Milson’s Point.
Walk across the Harbour Bridge or get a ferry to Milson’s Point.
You can also continue walking around to Blues Point for more shot looking east that takes in both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
After you have captured all the regular postcard views, why not try a few more unusual shots.
Getting up close – Walk around and inside
I like getting up close and looking at the texture of the tiles, also try framing shots that do not include the whole building.
And don’t forget to get yourself inside
You can see the public areas by taking a tour or even booking a performance.
You might also like to read our post on the best spots to photograph on Sydney Harbour.
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