April holidays bring the Sydney Harbour Opera. See the sunset over the Opera House and harbour bridge then enjoy the open air spectacle on the water. Magic.
What you need to know
It generally runs for about a month, with performances from Tuesday to Sunday each week (except for Good Friday).
Seating, bars and restaurants are all at the Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point. This is in the Botanic Gardens. The stage itself floats in the harbour.
The show starts at 1930 (7.30 pm) and is usually over by 2230 (10.30 pm). I strongly recommend your getting there well before this – have a drink at the bar or eat at the pop up restaurant and enjoy the truly spectacular sunset over the harbour.
Drinks are available from the bar from around 1730 (5.30 pm) and, at the restaurant, you can pre-book
- table service dinner from 1730 (5.30 pm)
- buffet dinner from 1800 (6 pm)
- interval dessert plate, and an
- interval drink
Bring your best camera. It is so special. Even a rather blasé Sydneysider (me) with a harbour view out of my window every day, feels blessed to be alive, here and part of the moment when I see the sun go down from this vantage point.
You’ll see it advertised “from $59” but, unless you’re booking way ahead (which I don’t recommend) you’ll most likely find Sydney Harbour opera ticket prices start from $99. They go to $299 during the week, $329 on Friday and $359 on Saturday for the best seats.
All seats have a decent view, there are no ‘bad’ seats. They get more expensive as you get to the front and centre. The sides and back are still very good – all of them give you the glorious harbour panorama.
What will Sydney Harbour Opera Perform?
It’s always a blockbuster. Think
- La Traviata
- Madame Butterfly and
- La Boheme
and you won’t go far wrong.
What might go wrong?
Rain. The nightmare for all outdoor performances. And, although March/April used to have settled, dry weather, Sydney now seems to get plenty of rainy days during this period.
Rain puts a very big damper on the evening. The performance will still go ahead in weather that you might not consider clement. Plastic capes with hoods will be provided for you to hunker down in. It’s a risk you run. It seems that only if it’s so terrible that the performers are in danger, will it be called off.
Should I book in advance?
Certainly not too far in advance, because of the high risk of having a rainy night. I do think you should try your best to go though, because it really is a fabulous experience on a fine evening. Sydney harbour at night is magic.
Wait until you can be reasonably sure that the weather will be in your favour before committing. There will almost certainly be seats available, even if not at the very cheapest price point.
Booking and contact details
The Sydney Harbour opera is produced by the Sydney Opera House under the designation Handa Opera, so you may see it referred to that way.
Book through Ticketmaster and look for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
Get more information at +61 (02) 9318 8200
What else is on in April?
On even years (2018, 2020 etc) there’s the Sydney Biennale.
On odd years (2017, 2019, 2021) there’s The National: New Australian Art.
This latter is presented jointly by Carriageworks, The Art Gallery of NSW and The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. It surveys current practices of contemporary Australian artists spanning emerging, mid-career and established artists in all mediums.
And there’s always the Easter Show. Go if you like watching men in singlets competing in woodchopping events. Or if you love buying show bags, you’ll find hundreds there. Otherwise just give it a miss.