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The Rocks

  • Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb, The Rocks
  • Museum of Contemporary Art for Vivid, The Rocks

Highlights

The best of The Rocks

Get a sense of Sydney's past exploring The Rocks' cobbled laneways, cosy cafés and oldest pubs in the country. Throughout this historic precinct you'll find great places to stay, eat, drink and shop – and a buzzing annual events calendar.

Must Do

About The Rocks and Walsh Bay

 

As the strip of land where European settlers chose to step ashore in 1788, The Rocks is essentially the birthplace of modern Sydney. Over the last 200-odd years, it's morphed from a rowdy, raucous settlement of convicts, soldiers, sailors and street gangs to a thriving, modern precinct boasting a range of sleek accommodationattractions and funky bars and restaurants.

If history floats your boat, step back in time on The Rocks self-guided walking tour, or wait outside historic Cadman's Cottage every evening at 6pm for the I'm Free Tour; you'll explore the laneways, pubs and heritage buildings and learn stories of the precinct's colourful past.

Tourists and Sydneysiders alike flock to the area to take in the markets – on Fridays, you'll want to bring a healthy appetite to The Rocks Foodies Market and its mouth-watering stalls! The fun (and the exquisite food) continues on Saturdays and Sundays at The Rocks' Weekend Markets, where over 200 stalls sell designer clothing, accessories, homewares, jewellery, photography and souvenir gifts.

The area is a well-known creative and cultural arts hub, too, whether you're visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art or stumbling on artisans, poets or bespoke craftsmen as part of The Rocks pop-up project. Be sure to check out the Argyle Gallery and The Rocks Discovery Museum too.

Upcoming events in the area include The Rocks Aroma Festival in July, where you can taste coffee, tea, chocolate and spices from around the world – and enjoy live music, belly dancing, capoeira and more. Thinking of making a weekend of it? The Sydney Harbour YHA offers budget rooms and great views, The Harbour Rocks Hotel is a good mid-range option and you'll find luxury accommodation at the Quay West Suites.

Events

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  • Ghosts of Sydney Past

    Wander through the cobbled laneways where Australia’s convict colony laid the first stones, literally local ‘rocks’, to create the building blocks of the city we see today, from the sailors’ base at Cadman’s Cottage to Dawes Point Battery and Sydney Observatory. The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour gives some valuable insights, while The Rocks Discovery Museum and Sydney Harbour Foreshore’s 'Walking The Rocks' app bring splashes of life to the winding passage of time.

  • Rocks Markets and Shopping

    Make some time to visit shops and markets, which offer a range of authentic Indigenous art, photography, fashion and food. Situated near Sydney’s oldest quarried sandstone you can also stroll through the markets and explore art, textiles, prints and much more. If that stokes an appetite, visit The Rocks Foodies Market on Friday for some fantastic gourmet fare, ranging from cured meats and preserves to barbequed salmon and traditional gozleme.

  • The Great Pub Challenge

    While you’re exploring, duck into one of The Rocks’ historic pubs to refresh and take stock. With a huge number of waterholes packed into the area, several claiming the mantle of ‘Sydney’s Oldest’, you’ll find food to match the surplus of Australian beer and wine at your disposal. Sample the Lord Nelson’s house brewed ales, enjoy live music at the Hero of Waterloo or mingle at The Fortune of War’s bar. The Rocks’ pubs are a winning combination of old world charm and contemporary tastes.

Explore The Rocks

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Campbells Cove, The Rocks
Sydney Harbour view from Observatory Hill
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