The Sydney Opera House is one of the man-made wonders of the world. The unique structure is an unmatched feat of innovative architectural design that earned its certification from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. With proper planning and a detailed itinerary, a visit to the Sydney Opera House can be one of the many highlights of your trip to Australia.

01Pick the Best Time of the Year

A firework celebration at the Sydney Opera House on New Years Eve Michael Dunning / Getty Images

When planning your visit to Australia, it’s important to keep in mind that the seasons there are reversed: December to February are Australia's summer months, and June to August is winter. Sydney can reach scorching temperatures during its summer months; if you want to enjoy a more balanced, moderate climate, October to November and March to April are the ideal windows for your trip.

02Wear Comfortable Shoes

Sydney in the distance behind the Opera House Michael Dunning / Getty Images

Sydney is a busy, bustling metropolis, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking while you’re there. Even though Sydney can get quite hot, sandals are a bad fit for a visit to the city. Pack a pair of comfortable, breathable sneakers or other shoes instead. Sydney experiences rain at all times of the year, so you’ll also want to bring an umbrella and a pair of warm clothes just in case.

03Getting There

The Sydney Opera House later in the day Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

There are many ways to reach the Sydney Opera House, including taxi, bus, and ferry. Buses, trains, and ferries can all take you to Circular Quay, a ferry terminal and transit hub that’s only a short walk from the Opera House. Sydney has a robust public transit system; it’s easy to reach Circular Quay from any part of the city. If you’d rather not take transit, you can hail a taxi.

04When You Get There, Take in the View

Sydney's skyline turns gold at sunrise. Kokkai / Getty Images

Take a moment to admire the stunning architecture of the opera house. The foyers and other areas in the entry are free and open to everyone. However, to explore the rest of the building, you will have to either purchase a ticket for a show or for one of many guided tours.

05Make Your Friends Jealous with Some Great Photos

Sydney Harbor at night Siwawut / Getty Images

The Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO-recognized world heritage site for a reason; there’s no other structure in the world with anything like its flair and unique design. You should take your time to snap photos from several angles, and be sure to take pictures at various times throughout the day. Catching it while it’s backlit by sunset is essential. A notable location is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, which might be the best place to take a sunset picture of the Opera House.

06Enjoy a Show at the Opera

Sydney Opera House and Sydney skyline Scott E Barbour / Getty Images

While the architecture is what sells the Sydney Opera House to most visitors, the performances here are critically acclaimed, world-class productions. Productions often revisit famous works of Shakespeare or modern classics like West Side Story. If theater isn’t your cup of tea, there are also orchestral performances, business workshops, and all sorts of events. Check the website to see what’s playing at the opera during your prospective dates.

07Take a Backstage Tour

Sydney aerial Michael Dunning / Getty Images

There are many unique and interesting tours of the Sydney Opera House. You can take a comfortable cruise in the surrounding waters, or catch a guided walking tour. One of the most promising tours, especially if you’ve watched a performance at the Opera House, is the backstage tour. This two-and-a-half-hour long tour will take you behind the scenes of production and show you everything that goes into putting on world-class performances.

08Book Well In Advance

Panoramic Sydney cityscape and skyline over the Sydney Harbor Starcevic / Getty Images

Whether you want to catch a show or book a tour, the Sydney Opera House is an extremely in-demand destination. If you try to buy a ticket on the day of your arrival, the odds that you’ll be disappointed range from “probably” to “definitely.” You can safely book many popular tours on the day before, but why tempt fate? Make your plans and buy your tickets as far ahead as possible via links found on the Sydney Opera House website.

09Relax at The Opera Bar

Harbour Bridge and Opera House with full moon. Robin Smith / Getty Images

You can enjoy great cocktails, delicious pizza, and have a lovely evening without even leaving the Opera House. If your tastes are a bit more refined, then there are bistro options that include fresh seafood. Locals and tourists know the Opera Bar for its large outdoor venue, which makes it a popular place to rest and enjoy the sunset during the warmer months of the year.

10Try Some Australian Delicacies

Australia, Sydney, Opera House and city skyline seen from water Michele Westmorland / Getty Images

If you’re visiting Australia, you’d be missing out if you didn’t experience the key hallmarks of Australian cuisine. The first on the list is always vegemite, the most peculiar ‘Australian’ food you’ll find. It’s a strange, salty paste made from vegetables, spices, and yeast that foreigners usually end up hating. However, you still owe it to yourself to try this unique food. After this daring act of cultural exploration, you can enjoy some delicious Tim Tams, a popular Australian chocolate biscuit, or buy an authentic Australian Pavlova cake at a bakery.