10 of the best - Man-made icons - 5. Sydney Opera House, Australia
The ‘WOW’ factor: Wondrously memorable, if you have made the trip to Sydney, Australia, apart from walking across the upper spars of the Harbour Bridge, only a visit to The Opera House will make the trip complete. Consisting of several pre-cast concrete shells, the building is supported by 588 concrete piers sunk some 85 feet into the harbour basin. It represents a spectacular piece of late-1950s Danish design, even though it was finally completed as recently as 1973.
Did you know?: Despite the shell-like appearance of the Opera House, it is covered in a chevron pattern of alternating white and cream Swedish tiles. In fact, over one million of them cover the structure. The building houses a main performance hall, with smaller drama, playhouse and studio facilities located below the podium floor. A superb restaurant, the Bennelong, is located to the west side of the Monumental Steps. Although it is called the ‘Opera House’, it actually provides a base for many more large-scale entertainments.
Experience: Holidays to the Antipodes can be fairly cost-effective, if you are prepared to cut a few corners. Through ‘ebookers’, it is possible to obtain return flights from Heathrow to Sydney and a Travelodge room-only rate of £1,274pp in mid-January. On the other hand, opting to stay at The Four Seasons Hotel, with a view over the Harbour, will cost from £3,517pp, again room-only. travelsupermarket, www.virginholidays.co.uk, www.kuoni.co.uk, www.britishairways.com