Top 10 Places to Photograph Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House taken from Dawes Point Reserve

I visited Sydney on Last February 2020 for 5 days, exploring the city center and some beautiful places far beyond city center. During those days, I spent few days exploring and figuring out the best spot to photograph Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Of course, I could just google it and figured it out right away. But it didn’t cross my mind, and I thought while circling around the city I might figure it out my own. As a disclaimer, I am not a Sydney expert, and obviously I haven’t gone through all the lookout points pointing to those landmarks, and these are all based personal experience.

First of all, let me start by laying out the location of both landmarks: Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. At first i thought it would be easy to take picture of both, as I have seen it thousands time in movie and basically everywhere on the internet. I also vaguely thought somehow I can always have a picture of one landmark in one photo. But I was wrong. The central city of Sydney is located in the area with lots of bay with all numbers of windings, turns, and curve. Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge is located on a different “turn” if you may, and it’s a bit tricky to find a spot that nicely frame both together.

Some of lookout points (spots) that I visited are seen in the table below

Viewing Spot SydneyHarbour BridgeSydney Opera House
Circular QuayV
Campbell’s CoveVV
Dawes Point at Dawes Point ReserveVV
Pylon LookoutVV
Millers Point at Barangaroo ReserveV
Royal Botanic Garden (Mrs Macquarie Chair’s, and along the Farm Cove)VV
Taronga Zoo WharfVV
Sydney Tower EyeV
Body of water between Farm Cove and Elizabeth BayVV
Observatory Hill Park V

Those places either offer one of the landmark (Sydney Harbour Bridge only, or Sydney Opera House only) or both. And following are my takes on each of those places, starting from the least places that I thought can picture those places to the best spot where you can get the clear and best picture of both Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge. The closeness into each of the landmark is also taken into consideration, as well as the wholeness of the picture you can get from each of the object.

10. Sydney Tower Eye

Sydney tower eye provide 360 degrees view of Sydney from its observation deck and it’s a great opportunity to spot some of the famous landmark such as The blue mountains, Darling Harbour, The Rocks, and Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as Bondi Beach. But the sight toward Sydney Opera House is somewhat limited and seeing it from above doesn’t give you a grasp of the greatness the actual landmark is. However, I found it interesting as I got some “bird-eye” picture of the city buildings that I cannot get when I’m on the ground level. The downside though, the observation deck is indoor and there’s a glass around it, so any picture taken must have a glare or reflection spot on it.

How to get there:

Sydney Tower eye is on the corner of Pitt Street Mall and Market Street – just look up! You can find the entrance on Level 5 of Westfield – head to the food court and follow the signs to our admissions desk. The closest rail stations to Sydney Tower Eye are St James, Town Hall and Martin Place. And you can also use any bus that run along George Street, Castlereagh Street and Elizabeth Street all have stops in close proximity to Westfield Sydney, where Sydney Tower Eye is located.

Photo Result:

Sydney Harbour Bridge taken from Sydney Tower Eye’s 360 degree observation deck

These pictures were also taken from Sydney Tower Eye and i aim my lens closely to glass so as to not creating a reflection on the result.

9. Taronga Zoo Wharf (and the ferry ride)

I have to say the view of the Sydney CBD does look very cute taken from Taronga Zoo, especially if you can get a giraffe on it as well. But, looking at the position itself, Taronga Zoo and its wharf is quite far from the city center. Thus, while it provide unique photos, it’s gonna be very difficult to frame and resulting in the best clarity. Of course this issue can be mitigated if you’re using tele camera. My lens was canon 18-135 and I used the zoom to its maximum capacity.

On another note, the zoo is the best, I had super fun time in the zoo, and the view of the Sydney CBD including Sydney Opera House is just a bonus. If you are to come here, come for the zoo.

However, the boat ride from the zoo to Circular Quay is another thing. As the ferry getting close to the quay, the view of the rocks and Opera House started coming clearly and beautiful.

How to get there:

Take the 12-minute Taronga Zoo ferry from wharf no.2 at Circular Quay and alight at Taronga Zoo Wharf. The nearby Sky Safari cable car transports you to the zoo. (Cable car ride is included in admission fee). By Bus, the 430 Bus travels to Taronga Zoo Sydney every 10 – 15 minutes from Central, Town Hall and Wynyard train stations

Photo Result:

View of Sydney City Center from Taronga Zoo

8. Millers Point at Barangaroo Reserve

This viewing point is great, as it provides unique element thanks to its sandstone blocks. Miller points provide view of Sydney Harbour Bridge from its Southern-left side. If you combine it with a walk on Dawes point (as it’s nearby), Pylon Lookout, and Milsons Point, it would be a perfect combo to get up-close and personal with the Harbour bridge.

How to get there:

Three bus routes – 311, 324 and 325 – provide visitors arriving at Town Hall the opportunity of a direct bus to Barangaroo Reserve. By Ferry, arriving into Barangaroo Wharf is immediately adjacent to the Barangaroo waterfront dining precinct. The F3 and F4 services stop here. It is a 10-minute walk north to Barangaroo Reserve. If using train, the closest stations to Barangaroo Reserve are Circular Quay and Wynyard. You can then follow the walking directions above (Source: website).

Photo Result:

Sydney Harbour bridge taken from Millers Point at Barangaroo Reserve

7. Observatory Hill Park

I put Observatory Hill Park on top of Millers Point, because it provides context to the Harbour bridge, and at a certain elevation, it does sure look pretty along with the small houses and the greens around the observatory hill area.

How to get there:

You can reach the park from Argyle Street, by steps from Kent Street (Agar Steps), Cumberland Street through a cutting in the Harbour Bridge and a pedestrian bridge from the city centre via the Bradfield Highway. A cycling path is also available from the Harbour Bridge.

Several bus services stop near the park. The 431 and 432 to Millers Point are the most frequent. The red Sydney Explorer bus routes 300 to 500 also travel nearby. If you are feeling energetic catch a ferry to Circular Quay or train to Wynyard station and walk to the park (source: website)

Photo Result:

Sydney Observatory Hill

6. Pylon Lookout

To get the best of the view, I climbed up to the lookout for $19. There are 200 stairs up to 87 meters above mean sea level. From there, we can get the best 360 degrees of Sydney. Sydney Tower Eye is definitely taller than this lookout, but the viewing deck in Pylon Lookout is outdoor. From Pylon lookout, one can see people climbed the bridge, and the detail construction of the bridge itself closely. From here, you can also spot Sydney Opera House and witness the busy sea traffic and car traffic of the Sydney, hearing the car horning, birds chirping, and the smell of Sydney (Yes, a city can have a smell!). Without a doubt, this is one of the best place to get the Sydney atmosphere at its best.

How to get there:

Pylon lookout is located in the South East Pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Access is via the pedestrian pathway on the Eastern side of the Bridge from the city side (use the ‘Bridge Stairs’ in Cumberland Street, The Rocks). Or if you are coming from the North side use the steps near Milsons Point Railway Station. (source: Website)

Photo Result:

Sydney Opera House taken from Pylon Lookout

Circular Quay and the Rocks taken from Pylon Lookout

5. Campbell’s Cove

From Campbell’s Cove, you can get a clear view of Both Sydney Harbour bridge and Opera House, as well as Circular Quay. But, you cannot get both on one picture. The great thing about this place is that its always busy and this is the heart of Sydney. On a clear day, you can admire both landmark pretty closely, especially the Harbour Bridge

How to get there:

It’s located east of The Rocks and north of the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Circular Quay Wharf 5 is 706 meters away, 10 min walk if you go by ferry.

Photo Result:

On this picture below, it doesn’t have Opera House in it, but the direction i’m sitting is facing the Opera House. Also, the area is literally next to Dawe’s Point Reserve, and that’s where i took most of the photo.

4. Circular Quay

The specific spot that I refer to in Circular Quay is shown in this picture. I went there at night, and from that point I could see both Harbour bridge and Opera House with Opera House on a closer view. But, the trickiest part is that more than a certain point, the area is blocked for seaside café. And it’s tricky to mount your tripod on its walled line. The best thing though, you can get Both Harbour bridge and Opera House in one picture with little extra effort (Read: with wide lens or panoramic mode on your camera/phone)

How to get there:

Circular Quay Light Rail is 93 meters away, 2 min walk. Circular Quay, Alfred St, Stand A is 127 meters away, 2 min walk. Circular Quay, Young St, Stand D is 154 meters away, 3 min walk. Circular Quay, Alfred St, Stand B is 168 meters away, 3 min walk. Train T2, T3, and T8 stop at Circular Quay. These Bus lines stop near Circular Quay:  263, 333, 396, 428, 438, 610X, L94. (Source: Website)

Photo Result:

3. Dawes Point at Dawes Point Reserve

Although Campbell’s Cove is super near to Dawe’s Point, but Dawe’s point is something else. It’s the area right above the bridge where you can admire the bottom part of the Harbour bridge, watching boats and ferry passing by, while eyeing Sydney Opera House. Though again, you can’t get both Harbour bridge and Opera House in the same picture. But, you will get Harbour bridge picture at its best, and Sydney Opera House pretty closely.

How to get there:

You can get to Dawes Point by Bus or Train. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby : Bus: Bus – 292, Bus – 324, Bus – 325, Bus – 399. Train: Train – T1, Train – T2, Train – T3 (source: Website)

Photo Result:

2. Body of water between Farm Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Fortunately (or unfortunately), this can only be accessed if you ride a boat /yacht/ship/ ferry or in my case, had a kayak in that area. I was conflicted whether to put this as number one on the list. But, as long as flexibility involved, you can’t take long exposure shot from the spot as there are not stable ground (it’s literally in the body of water around THAT area). Meaning, this spot can’t be accessed easily and therefore is not flexible for one to get both day and night photos.

But, if you have decided to take that Kayak and getting very close to the Opera house and or Harbour bridge, you will understand that that point of view is unique and combined with the activity, it’s just something one must do while in Sydney.

Kayak near Sydney Opera House

Just couldn’t get any closer than this!

1. Royal Botanic Garden (Mrs Macquarie Chair’s, and along the Farm Cove)

This is by far the best spot to photograph Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, not only you can get both in one picture, you can also frame Opera House looks somehow ‘crowned’ by the arch of the bridge. Though it doesn’t provide closeness to both of the landmark, you can snap any picture of both flexibly (day or night) and it provides the best position for sunset.

How to get there:

By train, the nearest station is Martin Place (TD – South Coast Line). St James and Circular Quay (T2 – Airport, Inner West and South Line and T3 – Bankstown Line) are also near by. You can also reach the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney by Ferry ride to Circular Quay and enter the gardens at either the Opera House or the Queen Elizabeth II Gate. The other alternative is taking the bus to Martin Place or Circular Quay on route 441. Route 200 stops in Macquarie during peak hours on weekday mornings and evenings (Source: Website)

Photo Result:

Royal Botanic Garden overlooking both Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge (The arch of the bridge kind of framing the Opera house) – Photo taken by day

Go further to the direction of Mrs Macquarie Chair in Royal Botanic Garden and getting this view

Sunset at Royal Botanic Garden’s Mrs Macquarie Chair

and that’s all the ten viewing spots i visited during my 5 days in Sydney. Some other view point that I didn’t get chance to visit but I think also provide views to both landscapes are: Milsons Point, Kirribilli Point, Blues Point Reserve, Kurraba Point, and Cremorne Point & Robertsons Point Lighthouse.

If you have any questions just leave a comment here, and Thank You for reading!

Asana Kusnadi
I'm Asana Kusnadi from Semarang Indonesia. Some of my friends call me Mei, it is taken from my Chinese Name. I was born in Semarang, capital city of Central Java and lived there until I graduated from University. After graduated i worked in Sumatera island and it's been almost 9 years now i live in Riau Province

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