The Rocks, Sydney
If you like history and/or like arts and crafts, then The Rocks Markets held on Saturdays and Sundays may be the place for you.
The Rocks is one of the oldest areas of Sydney (from a British settlement/colonial period point of view), with many buildings dating to the early times of the British settlement.
The area has boutique stores, restaurants, pubs and the weekend markets.
If you like arts and crafts and home made soaps, candles, jewellery, preserves, condiments, jewellery, wood products, incense, art works, old photos or bits of clothing, then the markets may have something for you.
There is always something new when we visit the Rocks. Public Art installations are always changing in the Rocks and we always look forward to seeing what is new. Our last visit in November 2012; there were various lampshades strewn across a street by a wire. Yet another example of the interesting artistic sense in the area.
When walking in the Rocks you will come upon the First Impressions Sculpture by Bud Dumas. The Sculpture is sandstone with figures cut into the stone of a soldier, settlers and convict. These figures represent the original settlers to the area.
While I was in Sydney, I stayed at The Rock. It was very easy for me to navigate around the area as I walked in and out the area during my stay.
The Rock has got its historical backgrounds as the Indigenous Cadigal people inhabited in this area, then later in 1788 the European settlers and the British convicts and their overseers-claimed the land and built their camp atop the sandstone cliffs.
You still can see the old houses and historical buildings in the area.You can walk along Argyle Street, pass under the bridge you will feel like you are living in the pass.
You can walk up to the bridge by enter the " Pylon Lookout". You can either walk or cycle above the bridge.
The Sydney Visitor Centre is located between Argyle Street & Playfair Streets. You can get free maps and Information on NSW, Sydney, and Blue Mountains.
On Friday till Sunday, The Rocks Market will be available on Argyle Street. You can buy foods, drinks, art and crafts items, and etc in the Market. It is opened until late night.
You can do many things in here!!
Circular Quay and the surrounding area is a great place tyo wander and browse.
It includes the Sydney Opera house, see a seperate tip of mine), The Overseas Passenger Terminal, and the Rocks area.
There are many many cafe's/restaurants in the area to cater to all tastes, and of course the usual tourist orientated shops.
An interesting feature is the markings of the old foreshore on the reclaimed area.
The Rocks Markets are fantastic (see a seperate tip of mine).
All the ferries and water tours go from here as well
About two blocks from the Rocks you will find the Shangri-la Hotel. On the 36th floor there is a bar with what may be one on the best views of Sydney Harbor.
The drink menu is incredible! I had something called 'Toblerone' (like the candy). It was decadent! Kahlua, honey, and a mixture of both white and dark chocolate shavings. There was so much chocolate, I had to finish it with a spoon!
The first building at the same place where you will now find the Observatory, used to stand a windmill and that was also the first european building. The Observatory houses some of the oldest astronomical instruments of Australia. Entrance to the Observatory is free. However if you want to have a peek through the telescopes you have to make an appointment for the evening and then you do have to pay a few dollars.
The Rocks was once an area filled with convict settlers, and is now full of tourist attractions, restaurants, pubs, and shopping areas mixed in with interesting historical sites. The Rocks Sqaure has live music performances every day.
This is a great place to spend time or just walk around and take in the atmosphere. You can take a self-guided tour with a map or stop by the visitors centre for a tour schedule.
The Rocks, the site of Australia's first colonial settlement. With colonial architecture, modern restaurants, art galleries, unique shopping, and views of the magnificent Sydney Harbour, The Rocks is a must see for any visitor to Sydney.
(You can pick up a free booklet, called The Rocks Self-Guided Tour, from The Rocks Visitors Centre at 106 George Street. This excellent publication maps out the walk and provides historical notes on each building along the way.)
Facing the Opera House; the Rocks area is an Adult destination at night......with some 100 bars, pubs, and clubs, the young and hip come to mingle with the hordes of tourist in the area. The later you come down to the Rocks the crazier it gets. Bar hop and have fun.....this place is just plain old cool !!!!
The historic Russell Hotel is not the oldest but certainly one of the best preserved of the original establishments in this area.
The History of The Rocks
The Rocks is one of Sydney's most historic areas, a favourite of tourists and locals alike. As the oldest area of Sydney, The Rocks features a wonderful mix of past and present. The Russell was one of the first hotels in the rocks and maintains our emphasis on old world charm and personable service to this day.
The Rocks was the first European settlement in Australia, established by Captain Arthur Phillip of England in 1788. Originally settled as a penal colony, convicts were tasked with the job of erecting government buildings and housing for officials. These original buildings were built using hand-made bricks or blocks of local sandstone - hence the name "The Rocks."
Plague Strikes The Rocks
In 1900, the bubonic plague struck Sydney. Many worried that the historic and densely populated Rocks area would be the worst hit. Although only three people in The Rocks died of plague, the Government bought the area and resumed it. Parts of The Rocks were demolished, but luckily many remained.
Changing Face of The Rocks
The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1920's required the demolition of hundreds more building in The Rocks. Further construction developments, such as the Cahill Expressway in the 1950's, caused more alteration to character and landscape of The Rocks.
In 1970, the Government turned The Rocks over to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. The Authority planned to demolish and redevelop The Rocks. Local residents formed The Rocks Residents Group in opposition, putting forth a plan to preserve and rebuild the historic Rocks. The Rocks Residents Group ultimately won in the end - instead of redeveloping The Rocks and losing countless historic sites, The Rocks has been renovated and preserved as a premier historical area.
The Biggles Statue was something I never noticed in the Rocks before until Liz pointed it out to me. It's a bronze sculpture of a Miniature Schnauzer named Biggles.
Apparently Biggles was a major attraction in the Rocks; often seen riding around on the back of a motor-scooter with his owner (a resident in the Rocks) or jumping from balcony to balcony in pursuit of a cat or two. Unfortunately in 1994 Biggles took his last jump; right by Mrs. Macquarie's Chair in pursuit of a rat. In 1995 the Chamber of Commerce commissioned this statue of the famous pooch of the Rocks.
The Rocks Visitor's Center is a must do for anyone visiting Sydney or the surrounding areas. The Center is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and is a resource for any traveler. There is a large collection of free brochures, maps, tour information and guides. There is staff available to help book tours and accommodations as well. They also have a nice gift shop with books, souvenirs, shirts, beauty products and other touristy items.
Liz and I always make this our first stop in order to find out the local happenings, pick up a map and see if there has been anything new popping up in Sydney since our last visit.
Our last trip to the Visitor's Center; Liz arranged for a Blue Mountains Tour for my Birthday. She found the right tour through some free brochures and it was booked in a matter of minutes.
The Rocks Discovery Museum is a free attraction in the Rocks. The museum is an 1850's sandstone warehouse that was restored. Inside the museum are levels of artifacts and images that tell the story of the History of The Rocks and the people who once lived there.
Throughout the museum there are several screens with informative movies and stories about the rocks merchant history. Tales of sailors, whalers, tradesmen and early colonists are written on the walls and reflected in displays.
Our 2010 trip was the first time we had explored this museum. I think it is worth taking some time out to read and see what the Rocks history is all about.
Can't complain about the price...it's free, although I did drop a couple dollars in the donation box. Open from 10am-5pm every day.
During our most recent trip to Sydney the Rocks had "Markets by Moonlight". Every Friday from 5:30pm - 10pm a smaller version of the weekend (Sat & Sun) Rocks Market took place.
There are not as many vendors as the usual weekend market but there were some nice food, flowers and craft booths. It was nice to experience the market in the evening when it is cooler and no strong sun beating down. Liz and I enjoyed the market before heading off to a nice dinner for two.