Things to Do at The Rocks

The Rocks is a popular part of Sydney City, providing a hearty dose of history and culture to visitors. Located on the southern shore of Sydney’s iconic harbour, it overlooks Circular Quay on Sydney Cove and marks the spot where the first European settlement landed in 1788.

The Rocks, Sydney

The History of the Rocks

Back before European time, the entire Sydney area was inhabited by the local Aboriginal people. There was not just one tribe within the city, but around about 29 separate communities. The people which inhabited the rocks section were known as the ‘Eora people’. The meaning behind the name ‘Eora’ translates to ‘from this place’. It was said this word was used to explain to the British where they came from, so the word was used define the community themselves. Unfortunately, after the European invasion, they introduce the smallpox disease to the aboriginals. This led to a widespread devastation to the aboriginal community, with a lot of the tribes becoming extinct and only a few remaining Eora surviving.

The area itself dates back to the 1800’s and was once used as a shipping port. The area was one of the first locations in Sydney to have housing and a community, making it an iconic start in the history of Sydney. Many heritage buildings in The Rocks were destroyed over time and it wasn’t until the late 1960’s did the area make a turn for the better. With reconstruction, The Rocks has successfully turned from a once depleted area of Sydney, to a wealth of tourism and attractions.

Why it’s the Rocks worth the Visit

The central location of The Rocks and its closeness to Circular Quay make it an incredibly popular spot. The buildings surrounding it are imbued with centuries of history, while the views of the impressive Harbour Bridge make it an iconic site.

The Rocks is a destination in itself. Located opposite to the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks has hit the jackpot on its location. People flock to The Rocks for the dining experiences on the water, as well as a great day of shopping at local galleries and boutiques. For a great history lesson, there are plenty of historic walks around the area to buildings and cottages dating back to the early 1900’s.

Things to Do at The Rocks

The Rocks Sydney

Grab your Sydney Souvenirs

Throughout the area, there are plenty of things for visitors to get stuck into. As well as numerous souvenir and craft shops perfect for picking up gifts in and exploring the local artwork, there are several themed pubs that act as ideal watering holes for busy shoppers.

Shop ‘til you Drop

At the weekend, The Rocks comes to life with a market that boasts more than 100 stalls selling everything from local produce to handmade goods. Here you can grab some bits and bobs, with hundreds of locals amongst the region coming together to sell their farm veggies, homemade honey, and crafted goodies.

If you aren’t visiting during the weekend, don’t fret, as there are still plenty of things on offer during the week. the pace of life at the site doesn’t slow down. There are key contemporary galleries showcasing the works of notable Australian artists like Ken Done and Ken Duncan, as well as a collection of boutique Australian clothing stories and opal shops.

Learn the History

The Rocks, Sydney

For the more active traveller, there are a selection of historic walks that weave through The Rocks that take in impressive buildings like Cadmans Cottage, Sydney Observatory, and the Dawes Point Battery, which was the first fortified spot in the whole of New South Wales.

For a bonus beer along with the history lesson, visit the two pubs claimed to be the oldest surviving pubs in Sydney: the Fortune of War and the Lord Nelson.

Refuel with some Food and Drink

After a couple hours of sightseeing, there is nothing better than digging into a delicious meal! Discovering the local favourites while refuelling for the rest of the day’s adventures! The rocks is home to numerous restaurants and bars, offering a little something for everyone.

There are some of the city’s award-winning restaurants, gesturing epic harbour views and elegant dining. Or delicious breakfast cafes, offering the best coffee in town along with mouth-watering eggs and pancakes.

And let’s not forget the brilliant range of bars scattered about! From rooftop bars, to romantic booths, you can enjoy one of the city’s best cocktails and spoil yourself at these luxury venues.

Take a Ferry

Beside The Rocks, you can grab a ferry from the passenger boat terminal to explore the coastline from a different perspective, or you pop into the Museum of Contemporary Art which is close by. Every year, Water Polo by the Sea is held in the area, so if you’re in town while it’s on, be sure to check it out. If you are up for a truly spectacular experience, why not hop on a harbour cruise. This lets you see the iconic sights from the inner sea harbour, slowly cruising around as you soak up the sun. The cruise also offers lunch where you can nibble on delightful seafood cuisines while washing it down with a beer or sparkling.

Visiting The Rocks gives you the chance to discover some of Sydney’s best-loved attractions. As well as perfect viewing opportunities of Harbour Bridge, you can explore the local culture of the area through the charming selection of shops, restaurants, pubs, and bars.

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