Yes, yes, it's an obvious one, but this is the most instantly recognisable building in the world we're talking about. And in fact, despite its iconic status today, it’s something of a miracle that Jørn Utzon’s visionary design was chosen in the sleepy Australia of 1957 – although less surprising that Utzon was subsequently fired and his vision compromised. It’s still an impressive sight, almost five decades after it opened, and the Opera House offers different tours that allow you to get intimate with the building, including some hosted in different languages and full ‘experience' packages. If you don't feel like shelling out, it's still free to sit on the steps for a quick lunch and walk by the water and gaze in marvel at those 1,056,000 pearly, self-cleaning Swedish tiles. During Vivid Sydney they’re lit up with colourful projections. Bennelong Point, Sydney 2000.
Ok, we'll concede that Sydney has not done the best job in retaining its architectural heritage. The ease with which developers can knock down buildings and throw up new ones has robbed us of some treasures. Nevertheless, this is still the city that commissioned one of the most famous buildings in the world, and there are more than a few built wonders to admire, from grand colonial houses to post-modern marvels by design legends.
You can also visit some breathtaking examples of outdoor design in Sydney, at one of the prettiest public gardens in and around the city.