Start your day with visits to some of Sydney’s many museums. The Art Gallery of New South Wales
can trace its roots back to an earlier art academy established in the 1870s, though the oldest portions of its current home were built between 1896 and 1909. Its collection includes works by European masters: Bonnard, Braque, Rubens, and Rodin are among those represented. Perhaps its most interesting galleries, however, are the ones dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Historic pieces communicate the stories and ceremonies of the world’s oldest continuous culture, while works by current artists are also on display.
Next, the Museum of Contemporary Art
focuses on painters, photographers, video artists, and others who have challenged viewers’ preconceptions of art beginning in the early 20th century. Artists from around the world are represented in the visiting exhibitions and the permanent collection, but the annual Primavera show, focused on Australian artists under 35, offers a chance to learn about some new names at the beginning of their careers. The museum’s rooftop café and its Graze restaurant, both with views of the harbor, are good options when you’re ready for lunch.
As you enjoy your meal, you can get a good look at the Sydney Opera House
, which you’ll visit later in the day. Australia’s most visited attraction is, appropriately, located on a site where the indigenous Gadigal people would gather to sing, dance, and tell stories. The opera house that stands on the site today, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, is a masterpiece of both technology and art—a bold vision with its white “sails.” Follow your behind-the-scenes tour of the opera house with dinner at the one of several restaurants located there.
The Sydney Opera House is only one of many theaters and performance spaces in the heart of Sydney. The Roslyn Packer Theatre
has a full calendar of drama, dance, and musical performances. The Bangarra Dance Theatre
, with its works inspired by Aboriginal music and dance, recently returned to its home at the historic Walsh Bay wharves. And before or after your show, the Bar at the End of the Wharf
is an ideal place to discuss culture over a cocktail or a glass of Australian wine.