Sydney, Australia

The Rocks, Sydney

Some Background

The Rocks is one of the most-visited parts of Sydney. It is not hard to see why. Nestled at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on the western shores of Sydney Cove, The Rocks is the foundation place of Sydney and Australia, and of enormous historical significance. It is often described as "Sydney's outdoors museum".

The Rocks is the oldest area of Sydney and has recently undergone an amazing metamorphosis, the old district being transformed into a vibrant pocket of cafes and restaurants and interesting tourist shops and stalls. This has been achieved without destroying the area's Old World charm and historic buildings. Sydney's town planners have put in place a sensitive conservation program that has preserved the heritage and character of The Rocks and brought about an interesting fusion of modern amenities in an old and valued setting.

Most activities centre around walking, looking and eating. The Rocks is Sydney's oldest preserved colonial district so the main emphasis is on the historical importance of the area. The Sydney Visitor Centre, Corner, Argyle and Playfair Streets, The Rocks (Open daily 9.30am to 5.30pm [Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day]), is a logical and excellent starting point. This centre has a wealth of information on points of interest around The Rocks and provides free information and literature, as well as having souvenirs and mementos that can be purchased.


There is a wide range of hotel accommodation options in The Rocks.

Eating Out

While wandering around the Rocks take the time out to enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner at the numerous restaurants, pubs, hotels and cafés.


Enjoy the diverse selection of historic pubs offering everything from a quiet drink and a meal through to live bands and DJ's.

On weekends and at festival times, there is usually free entertainment, with outdoor concerts and street theatre. Many of The Rocks' pubs offer live music - jazz, folk and pop. The Rocks Market operates every weekend, from 10:00 am to 5:00pm each day, and until 6:00pm in summer months. Some 100 stalls are set up under a series of sail-like canopies, filling the lower end of George Street . The stalls are filled with a wide range of Australian gift ideas, homewares and collectibles.

Of special interest to children is the Puppet Cottage, in Kendall Lane, while grown-ups may be more interested in taking a look at the colony's first windmill, up on Observatory Hill, or dropping in to Sydney's oldest remaining pub, the Lord Nelson, built in 1844.

Galleries and Museums

Within The Rocks district the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Merchants House, Susannah Place, Discovery Museum and Cadman's Cottage (at 110 George Street), which was built in 1816 as barracks for the crew of the governor's boats and is Sydney's oldest surviving dwelling.

How To Get There

Take a train to Circular Quay and walk along George Street towards the Bridge.