The Rocks, Sydney
The Rocks is the Old Town of Sydney. It is situated on the western side of Circular Quay. From a European perspective the Old Town is not so old and impressing. Yet it shows Australian history. The Rocks was the area of the first European settlement in 1788. Before 1820's it was actually full of convicts and prostitutes, but this has changed from slums to three-story houses. Since the 1970's it has developed into a tourist area, full of cobbled streets, ancient building, small shops and a lively nightlife. The Rocks Markets at the weekend are quite interesting as well.
The district known as The Rocks, Sydney's first village, has a fascinating history as a colonial port area. Many of the restored old buildings retain their heritage status and now house interesting shops and galleries, quaint pubs and good restaurants. Take a walk along the backstreets and check out the Argyle Stores and nearby Playfair Street. The Rocks Markets, which take over a section of George Street, is a weekend market specialising in Australian homewares, antiques, collectables, gifts and arts and crafts.
There is definitely something charming about The Rocks. Readily accessible by car, train, ferry or bus, this place and its cobbletone streets make you feel as though you are in London.
The view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge is definitely something stunning.
All visitors should definitely try The Rocks Cafe and their sticky date pudding! It's big enough to be shared by 2, so bring a date or a friend and spend an afternoon just admiring the historical landmarks of Sydney Harbour.
Be sure to visit the Rocks---Sydney's oldest section. It was settled by the 750 convicts along with 400 settlers who all arrived on the ships of the First Fleet on January 26, 1788.
The historic buildings in the Rocks have been recycled to house shops, restaurants, art galleries, etc. There are many pubs.
The Rocks is a very historic area of Sydney... this is where it pretty much all began! There are numerous old pubs to enjoy a meal/beer, souvenier shops and the Sydney Observatory if you're into some night-sky viewing. This should not be missed!
The oldest area in Sydney has been done up and is now an artsy place with lots of pubs, food halls, galleries and apartments in the renovated buildings. It's a small part of town but worth an afternoon because there's something around every corner and the old buildings are quite nice!
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!
Located in a renovated sandstone warehouse, The Rocks Discovery Museum has an amazing array of artifacts, time lines and so much more and all housed in a 2 story building that dates from the 1850’s. The floor boards creak and at times it’s necessary to duck the head when walking through doorways - perhaps we have grown taller in the past 150 years!
The Rocks has been such an integral part of the history of Sydney and therefore Australia and we are lucky that so much has been preserved - and some was even found in rubbish dumps and now displayed in the museum.
Interactive games for kids as well as intriguing exhibits from the past.
Entry is free and the museum is open10am - 5pm daily (Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day)
Under the shadow of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge is the fascinating, historic area of Sydney known as The Rocks. Today it is a mix of quirky shops, art galleries, museums, bars, pubs, restaurants, the odd little park, walking areas, history, with the occasional accommodation establishment all somehow mixed together.
The Rocks was the first area of Sydney to be settled in 1788 and therefore has a very important place in the history of Sydney and therefore Australia. As the settlement of Sydney expanded, The Rocks had a notorious reputation for crime - luckily for Sydney visitors, the area is well “gentrified” and the only chances of crimes are the high prices charged by some of the shops and restaurants.
The Sydney Visitors Centre and The Rocks Discovery Museum are well-worth a visit and so too is strolling along the pedestrian only zones such as Nurses Walk - an area where the first hospital for the fledgling colony of New South Wales was established. Interestingly, the first members of the nursing staff for that hospital were convict girls and women.
The overseas passenger terminal is located beside The Rocks and some of the ships are so large that they dwarf The Rocks area.
During the weekends The Rocks Market is open along parts of Argyle and George Streets - check the web site for details.
Included in the photos is a monument to the pioneers and quaint Atherden Street - both worth visiting along with a row of terraced houses, so popular in inner Sydney
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.
If you are interested, there is a Rocks Walking Tour which is located in Kendall Lane. The tour duration is 90 minutes, and has full commentary.
There is a moderate charge, and groups are by arrangement.
We took a tour of the Rocks to learn the real history in all its splendor...uh I mean its sordid history :) We booked the tour at the visitor's center.
The tour lasted about 90 minutes and gave us a lot of details about the rocks that we would not have known. It made the sordid history come to life. It was interesting to learn that the slums were just below a really rich neigbourhood, and that the government took over the whole neighbourhood in the early 1900s and no one owns any property there. This tour includes Cadman's cottage.
A definite must in my book!
WEEKDAYS - 10.30am - 12.30pm - 2.30pm
January Only. 10.30am and 2.30pm
WEEKENDS and PUBLIC HOLIDAYS - 11.30am and 2.00pm
Tours are not conducted on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve day, New Years Day, Good Friday
$10 AUD per adult
Traditionally the home of the Aboriginal people, the rocky sandstone ledge known as The Rocks is where mariners of the First Fleet stepped ashore on 26 January 1788 and British settlement of Australia was first established. Today it is Sydney’s historic old town quarter, nestled between the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. The cobblestoned lanes and historic buildings house great shops, pubs, bars and some of Sydney’s finest restaurants.
Dating from 1816, Cadman's Cottage is one of the oldest surviving residential buildings in Sydney and now houses the Sydney Harbour National Park Information and Booking Centre. It is named after John Cadman who was transported on the Barwell in 1798 for stealing a horse but by 1827, had risen to become Government Coxswain.
The Centre has a wide range of tourist information and takes bookings for both the harbour islands administered by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, as well as associated sites like the Quarantine Station, Botany Bay National Park North, and Nielsen Park.
The little cottage next to the Centre show's the original pipes etc in a mini-escavation site.
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.