Have you ever wanted to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter but not had the chance to get to the studios in London, or any of the filming locations? Did you know that Sydney has a building very similar to the one used in the film? No? We didn’t either, here’s a look at where you can dip your toes into the magic of Harry Potter in Sydney and not spend a penny!
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If you’re of a certain age like us, you’ll have grown up watching Harry Potter and his circle of friends living a life we could only dream of. It’s been almost 20 years since The Philosophers Stone was released (I know I know! I feel old too after realising that!) but the magic is still very much alive with filming locations all over the world open to visitors.
You’d have thought having lived in the Uk for 25+ years, the country where a huge portion of the film was made, we’d have visited all of the real-life filming locations such as Leadenhall market or Alnwick Castle right? haha wrong. Unfortunately, the closest I’ve got to seeing Hogwarts is a day visit to the London interior studios a few years ago. Yet here we are on the other side of the world, stumbling across a site that holds such huge similarities to some of the famous scenes. While the University of Sydney harry potter location isn’t an official film set, it’s so similar you’ll feel like real magic is at play in the heart of the city. Here’s how our trip to Sydney’s Harry Potter university went earlier this year.
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Our visit to the University of Sydney harry potter location
When you walk up towards Sydney University, from the outside it looks like any other building inspired by English architecture; beautiful gothic stone masonry intricately stained glass windows. Long gardens and winding paths lead up to the grand entrance but the real magic happens when you step through the archway and into its courtyard.
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Once inside the courtyard, it’s easy to imagine Mud bloods and Wizards walking around here donned with capes and wands, fighting off trolls, playing Quidditch. There are striking similarities between Sydney University and Durham Cathedral, where the outdoor quadrant scenes were really filmed. It’s no wonder the muggles here have set up their own Quidditch teams. What’s the first scene it makes you think of? For me, it’s when Ron Weasley throws up slugs thanks to evil Malfoy haha.
If all this wasn’t enough though, since our magical visit I have learnt that they also have a Grand Hall here similar to that in the film, complete with it’s very own hogwarts emblem to mark an important milestone for the building. You see, this buildings fame goes beyond that of its magical roots; it is Australia’s first university, dating right back to 1850.
Getting to Hogwarts Sydney
Getting to the University of Sydney harry potter location is quite easy. From Central station, you can take either the 426, 428 OR m30 and get off outside Victoria Park. From here have a wander up through the park towards the grand entrance, or if you like walking it’s a nice walk from most of the stations through the city and parks. There’s a coffee shop in Victoria park too if you want to extend your day and a lot of shops around the area including Broadway Shopping Mall.
Is Sydney’s University a Harry Potter film location?
I touched on this earlier but I thought I’d clarify it here – No. Unfortunately, the University of Sydney isn’t a real harry potter film location. However, it looks so similar it’s a great way to spend the afternoon. There’s also some really good coffee shops nearby as well as a park and Broadway shopping centre is a good way to kill some time too.
Have you come across any film location doppelgangers? Or even any of the real locations! We’d love to hear your stories!!
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I’ve been to many original Harry Potter filming locations in the UK and confirm, the Sydney University makes for an excellent Down Under alternative. As you mentioned in the post, the English architectural style sets you back in time and what the films captured so well is to use authentic settings and real life places. That alone makes much for the magic, so Sydney University defo holds that power, too. I found the Commonwealth Bank in Martin Place resembled much of Gringotts and when I passed it regularly during my stay in Sydney I always thought to myself “this must be Gringotts or at least felt inspired by it”. Like Gringotts the Commonwealth Bak has high elaborate ceilings, marbled columns and a polished floor. Have a look and let me know if you would agree.
Carolin | Solo Travel Story
You’re absolutely right about the Common Wealth bank! We walked past this a lot but never went in. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Carolin!
Haha, I almost lived on campus here. Could have been a good opportunity to have pretended to be a Hogwarts student. It is a beaut of a university. 🙂
That would have been so cool!! They’ve installed a Hogwarts emblem in the main hall now too!
this was so interesting. Its amazing to know that Harry Potter extended all the way to Sydney. What an incredible building and i love the photo’s.
The spell of Harry Potter is always irresistible. Never knew that the spell literally extended beyond London and all the way to Sydney. Seems like a great opportunity for Sydney and its people to be bowled over by the magic.
Hah, before reading this, I’d never have thought of their being a Hogwarts in Australia. Particularly Sydney University. But then, maybe it’s magic…
20 years since The Philosophers Stone was released ! WHOA that reminder though 😐 Being a potter head for life, I LOVEDDD this discovery! Thank you sooo much for making me go all nostalgic and relate to all the scenes with the pictures here. The resemblance is so uncanny! The windows, the lawns, the facades!
This really does look like it has come right out of Harry Potter’s universe. I can’t believe it’s been twenty years though, wow! Anyway, great informative post, I’ll be adding this to my Sydney list.
Loved the comparison. I have been in Sydney for 10 years and never visited the university. This is indeed a motivation to visit soon. Thank you for sharing!
Wow, that was a great tour through one of my fav movie- Harry Potter. The University photos do remind us about the shots from the film. I didn’t know Hogwarts is the location I need to visit for this. Thanks for sharing.
Is this really in Australia? It wouldn’t look out of place here in the UK. But seriously, I would love to walk around this university and do some photography. I love the facade.
I know! Definitely reminded me of one of the old churches near my home town! Such a beautiful building
Good to know the great stuff of Sydney relates to Harry Potter. Couple of my friends are big fans o f Harry potter and i am sure they would love to visit here. Thanks for sharing.
First.. 20 years when? You are wrong, it was like yesterday :)) Unbelievable! I loved your photos. These places look absolutely stunning. The closest I got to something similar was when I went to visit Cambridge. I really love this kind of architecture!
Haha I know! Definitely made me feel old when I realised it was released in 2001!!!
At first I was wondering if they had actually built another set or park in OZ – but I see what you did there. Nice alternative to get wizarding in Australia without flying across the world.
What a cool article and absolutely love the images!!!!
Thank you! It’s a great old building, we loved exploring it!!
Oh yes! I remember how much I loved wandering there just for the beauty of the building. I didn’t link it to Harry Potter but you’re right, it’s a doppelganger 😉
Yes it’s a very pretty building! That was the draw for us in the first place. Harry Potter was just a bonus 😉