Sydney Opera House

It may not be an ancient monument, but the architecturally distinctive Sydney Opera House epitomises the city as much as the Great Pyramid in Cairo or the Acropolis in Athens. Situated on Sydney harbour at Bennelong Point, this intriguing, white-sailed landmark is no white elephant. It is a fully functional performing arts centre in constant use. The complex consists of a massive Concert Hall that seats more than 2,500 people and has the finest acoustics in the world; a smaller Opera Theatre, also used for ballet performances; a Drama Theatre, seating about 500 people; the smaller Playhouse; and the Boardwalk dance and music venue. The building, designed by Joørn Utzon, was completed in 1973 and cost over A$100 million, most of which was raised with a series of national lotteries. There was so much controversy involved in its construction that the Danish architect returned home without ever seeing his finished product. Free performances of various types are given outside on the boardwalks around the Opera House on Sunday afternoons. A variety of tours are available.

Address: Bennelong Point, Sydney Harbour

Website: www.sydneyoperahouse.com

Telephone: (0)2 9250 7111 (general information Monday to Friday)

Transport: Buses, trains and ferries go to Circular Quay, which is a five-minute walk from the Opera House

Opening times: Guided tours operate daily from 9am to 5pm (one hour); Box office is open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 8.30pm, and on Sundays for two hours before the scheduled performance time

Admission: Tours vary in cost - check the official website for details.