A Night at the Australian Ballet

A few nights ago Arabella and I went to the ballet together.  This is not something we normally do,  it’s just my parents subscribe and when they’re unable to attend a performance they offer the tickets to me.

As the sun sets on Sydney Harbour

The Australian Ballet performs at the Sydney Opera House.  We could have easily driven to the venue but the only available parking is in the Opera House Car Park and after being trapped in there a year ago there was no way I was driving in there again.  Not only would this have to be one of Sydney’s most expensive car parks, it is also the most badly designed.  It’s in a circle that spirals down to the bowels of the earth with all cars having to spiral back up on the way out.  If everyone is leaving at once (which is normally the case after the ballet or a concert) and you happen to be down in the bowels of the earth, you are trapped.  You can’t move.  You have to wait for all those cars above you to exit before you can.  That takes almost an hour.  And to be trapped in there unable to leave you will pay $35.00.

View from Circular Quay

Arabella and I purchased return tickets on Sydney Ferries for $16.50.  We had a lovely crossing and took in all the sites and saw one of the biggest cruise ships ever with passengers leaning over their balcony railings and waving to us as we passed by.

Circular Quay with enormous passenger liner on the left

We had dinner at Searock Bar at Circular Quay.  They have a happy hour from 5pm – 7pm every night with wine and beer available for $5.00/glass but Arabella didn’t want a wine, she wanted a blue cocktail!

Arabella’s blue cocktail

They have a lot of ‘shared plates’ on the menu so we ordered a nachos and that was very good with a great spicy kick to it.  Arabella ordered a pizza that she really enjoyed and I had a stir-fry chicken with lemongrass.  It was disappointing.  Alarm bells went off when I saw it was served with chopsticks because the Thais don’t use chopsticks, they use a spoon and fork.  Then the rice was on the bottom of the bowl with the stir-fry on top causing all the sauce to seep into the rice leaving the stir-fry dry.  And the rice was hard like it had been sitting in the rice cooker for a bit too long.  But, we sat in a lovely corner of the restaurant watching the world go by and we had very attentive and friendly service.

Spicy Nachos

Prosciutto Pizza


Stir-fry lemongrass chicken

After the dinner we walked to the Opera House and bought chocolate bars to help wash down the lemongrass chicken.  We took our seats at the Ballet and watched Icons, three modern ballets.  The first was about a lyrebird doing a mating dance, the second was four dancers creating ‘illusions of breathless fluidity’ and the third was quite funny and was about the journey of a male dancer at 12 when embarking on a career in dance, at 18 when dancing as a career and falling in love, and at 30, reflecting on his future beyond dance.

The restaurants around the Opera House are crowded every night of the week

Sydney Harbour at night

At the final curtain we rushed to Circular Quay wharf for the ferry ride home.  The big cruise ship had left but another had arrived to take its place.

A very poor photo of the Sydney Opera House

As we disembarked we crossed paths with some of Arabella’s friends who were heading into the city for a big night out.  At 11pm.

Good luck to them.




  1. What a lovely evening, too bad about the stir fry. I saw a modern ballet when I went to NYC with my first year uni, and it was very weird to me. Glad you enjoyed this version.

  2. I’ve never been to a ballet! I’m hoping that because we’ll be closer to New York (4 hours) that we’ll be able to take in a lot more ballet, theater, and all kinds of interesting adventures.

    Your pictures are lovely!!

  3. Oh darling you know that you can’t be seen to be going OUT until AFTER the ballet or opera.. and what a lovely evening you had, I love the ballet, I always leave a theatre somehow heightened! have a lovely aussie spring day.. c

  4. I go to the Nutcracker with my mom and sister every year. I love the ballet– I used to dance. Doesn’t Arabella dance or am I mistaken? I’m glad ya’ll had fun, even if the dinner wasn’t great.

  5. I love the Opera House and I wish I needed to travel to work by ferry. I love Sydney Harbour. You enjoyed a perfect girls’ night out.

  6. I just love the photos of the opera house. I would love to see it someday. It would be even better to attend something there. I’ve never seen a ballet show. I’m sure Miss A would enjoy it.

  7. Mother-daughter time is always special and this sounded like a wonderful way to enjoy each other’s company. Sorry to hear about being trapped in the bowels of the earth (and having to pay for the privilege…) — your ferry ride looked like much more fun!

  8. Looks like a great evening!

  9. This reminds me of the time my daughter treated me to The Little House musical at The Ordway in St. Paul. So nice to have that special night with her, even if the play was not that good and the seating horrible.

  10. Good food + ballet? I would be in 7th Heaven…I’m salivating over that pizza!!!

  11. How funny that one of the most spectacular buildings in the world would have an abysmal parking lot design! What a lovely evening to spend with your daughter. Even the ride over on the ferry sounded perfect. Sydney Harbour must be one of the loveliest sights in the world. Must see it one day!

    • Oh, had to be ‘pretend’ to be abysmally incompetent [which, I am of not, nor was to be locally to be to what happened]! I cannot believe ,to be to be be half-way true, but, sickengly know has to know: is in a way is not!

  12. Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit Australia one day!

  13. Kids do begin their evenings so late! I’m sure, now, it is so they don’t come across their parents:) What a lovely ferry ride and evening with your daughter! I love the ballet!

  14. What a lovely evening out with Arabella – pity though about your meal, oh well.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  15. Aww it sounds like you and Arabella had such a fun girl’s night out! Love it!

  16. I don’t know whether I’m too old for my age but, at 25, I’m so much happier heading home at 11pm than heading out! I’m hoping to see The Nutcracker here in Toronto over Christmas. Alas I couldn’t get tickets to the brief showing of Alice in Wonderland.

  17. Was this Swan Lake my friend? Because my mum and I are going in 3 weeks time how exciting 😀
    Sounds like a fantastic outing!

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Dear Charlie,

    Great idea about taking the ferry to the SOH instead of paying exorbitant parking fees. That bowl of stir-fried lemongrass chicken does look like a nasty piece of work.

  19. How nice to have a girls night out for you and Arabella.

  20. What a wonderful evening! But that chick dish does look a little disappointing.

  21. Oh I remember the days of going out at 11pm. Those days are long gone. Sounds like a lovely night with Arabella. Shame about the chicken. It seems you ordering chicken never ends well!

  22. What a lovely daughter date night 🙂 Isn’t it annoying when the food is such a let down? The blue cocktail looks lovely- I’ll have two please!

  23. I love the sound of your evening (and far more than the sound of a big night out starting at 11pm!) and it sounds like a great activity to do with Arabella – especially if you got the tickets via your parents!

  24. I’m glad that you said that about the carpark at the Opera House. It’s mad! Who designed it? Someone that has never had to park there I think 😛

  25. What a fabulous night out. I’d love to go to Sydney Opera House. Mr Glam and I have promised ourselves we’ll get there. GG

  26. Sounds like a fabulous night out, and weren’t you smart taking the stress-free route by ferry. Must have been a treat for you and Arabella to have a night out together.

  27. Sounds like a great night at the ballet for you both. Love the blue cocktail 🙂

  28. I’ve always loved watching musicals but have never been to a ballet performance before. Must have been lovely to watch! I love the night scene across Circular Quay…it’s a totally different feel to during the day when it’s scattered with people….

  29. Nice night out!

  30. What a lovely sounding night! I’m actually going to the ballet at the Opera House to see Swan Lake in a few weeks so I’m glad to hear your review of the parking lot and will get there via public transport instead methinks!

  31. What a lovely evening! I think the Opera House is just fascinating and beautiful, but don’t you wonder why the form of the parking didn’t come together with the plan for function! Style over substance? The ferry sounds like an excellent choice!

  32. What a lovely night out: ballet isn’t my thing at all, mayvbe a goos rock concert or a jazz eveing! The foods look great & tasty too!

  33. It must be a nice season for you guys to go out at night. I’ve never seen a professional ballet before. Something I’ve been wanting to do!

  34. What a great way to spend the evening with your daughter! I am jealous – it looked like a wonderful time!

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