Walk­ing the Rocks to Baranga­roo

Australian Traveller - - Contents -

SOME COR­NERS OF SYD­NEY are so well trod­den that even­tu­ally they be­come places that sub­con­sciously we per­haps no longer feel the need to re­turn to; we know it too well, every nook and cranny. The Rocks could be one such lo­cale, as old as the city it­self. But fol­low this walk­ing tour from The Rocks to Baranga­roo, from the city’s colo­nial be­gin­nings to its brand new quar­ter that pays homage to the land’s an­cient her­itage, and you’ll re­dis­cover Syd­ney at its most charm­ing, cre­ative and de­li­cious.


Your jour­ney through what is the tra­di­tional land of the Gadi­gal peo­ple of the Eora Na­tion be­gins at iconic Cir­cu­lar Quay, where even Syd­ney lo­cals can’t help but marvel at the world-fa­mous view from the ferry hub to the Opera House and Har­bour Bridge. Curve around the quay (bridge side), and pause to lis­ten to some of the ta­lented buskers be­fore mak­ing your way into the fab­u­lous Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Aus­tralia. The rooftop restau­rant here is per­fect for a cof­fee or late break­fast with a view out across the har­bour, and it’s an ex­cuse to sit and get your bear­ings be­fore ex­plor­ing this won­der­fully cu­rated gallery. Now it’s time to hit The Rocks. Pop into the cute Creperie Suzette or the court­yard of La Re­nais­sance patis­serie (head chef Jean Michel Ray­naud has the Re­lais Dessert stamp no less). If it’s Fri­day, there’s the fan­tas­tic Foodie Mar­ket out­side. Be sure to taste some olive oil and dukkah from the Hunter Val­ley’s Pukara Es­tate, fuel up with de­li­cious beef jerky from Bil­tong To Go and try a cup­cake from Mini Monet.

“The Rocks blends an­cient cul­ture, breath­tak­ing views and sen­sa­tional cui­sine.”

Now for a spot of bou­tique shop­ping on Ge­orge Street. There’s a lovely vil­lage vibe with friendly staff and de­sign­ers oc­cu­py­ing the pe­riod build­ings. Don’t miss the Tus­can-Aus­tralian pa­per goods, in­clud­ing cush­ion cov­ers, table­ware and ac­ces­sories, at Uash­mama; bril­liant gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You (both at num­ber 140); and sen­sa­tional steam­punk jew­ellery from AHW Stu­dio (num­ber 81). There’s also DUX Col­lec­tion for scented can­dles and soaps, de­signer wom­enswear from Sardis, and you can or­der a raw silk shirt for you or your beau at menswear store Joe Ba­nanas (num­ber 103). Evan Stur­rock, co-owner and de­signer at Joe Ba­nanas, says: “You can’t repli­cate The Rocks. It’s mys­ti­cal and rus­tic. While Syd­ney can be very con­ser­va­tive, The Rocks is a cel­e­bra­tion of colour and tex­ture which fits our in­spi­ra­tion from na­ture – rocks, trees, barks and gem­stones.” This is also Ruth Park’s clas­sic Play­ing Beatie Bow ter­ri­tory. En­joy get­ting lost in the back al­leys and dis­cover lay­ers of his­tory here with the help of in­for­ma­tive plaques, be­fore head­ing to the in­ter­ac­tive Rocks Dis­cov­ery Mu­seum housed in a re­stored 1850s sand­stone ware­house to get a dose of the past – from Indigenous to con­vict, sailor to labourer. Treat your­self to lunch at Wild Gin­ger Din­ing + Bar. This is Thai-Aus­tralian food at its best and most del­i­cate. Chef Tony Suphap Sam­sen learned from his grand­mother in Bangkok and now serves divine dishes, in­clud­ing a per­fectly fried rain­bow trout in a red curry sauce. “The Rocks blends an­cient cul­ture, breath­tak­ing views and, of course, sen­sa­tional cui­sine. It’s great to be a part of this,” he tells us. Visit The Rocks Mar­ket if it’s a week­end or be mes­merised by opals at Opal Minded, then take a break with a 30-minute mas­sage or a 60-minute ‘Na­tive Hibis­cus’ treat­ment to ex­fo­li­ate and re­hy­drate at The Spa at the Park Hy­att Syd­ney.

PART TWO BRIDGE TO BARANGA­ROO – ROUGHLY 3PM-8PM Rested and re­vi­talised, stroll un­der the awe­some Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge. Con­tinue down Hick­son Road along­side the piers (there are still places to tie up your horse!), and turn into Pier 4, the area’s artis­tic hub with Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany, Ban­garra, Aus­tralian Theatre for Young Peo­ple and Syd­ney Dance Com­pany all in res­i­dence. If you’re here just be­fore 3pm, Pier 8 cafe is a won­der­ful in­dus­trial space at Pier 8/9, where you can watch yachts cruis­ing the har­bour. Now it’s time to dis­cover the lat­est jewel in Syd­ney’s crown, Baranga­roo; named af­ter the pow­er­ful Cam­mer­ay­gal woman who was a key fig­ure in the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity dur­ing early colo­nial set­tle­ment. The Baranga­roo de­vel­op­ment is a se­ries of three wa­ter­front precincts that have re­claimed much of the har­bour’s for­merly in­dus­trial fore­shore for the public, in­clud­ing the beau­ti­ful, six-hectare head­land park. Down­load the app, Baranga­roo Nganga­may, that al­lows you to watch a se­ries of beau­ti­ful (very) short films that whis­per of the land’s Abo­rig­i­nal pres­ence with links to the ocean. From here, you’re close to the his­toric Ho­tel Pal­isade, once a port work­ers’ pub and now, fol­low­ing a grand re­open­ing in 2015, the place to go for a mulled wine or sun-kissed spritz on the so­phis­ti­cated rooftop cock­tail lounge, Henry Deane. End your day with din­ner in Baranga­roo’s south­ern precinct, home to a col­lec­tion of bou­tique stores and ex­cit­ing eater­ies. You’ll find whiskies, an af­ter-work bar menu and tai­lored shirts at Shirt Bar, and Ja­pane­sein­spired burg­ers at Ume Burger. Or head to south­ern-style Belles Hot Chicken, a cult-favourite; Somer Sivri­oglu’s Turk­ish restau­rant Ana­son or Banksii; named af­ter botanist Sir Joseph Banks, where you can en­joy a ver­mouth apéri­tif fol­lowed by braised lamb shoul­der, a prawn and fen­nel bisque or even some Syd­ney rock oys­ters.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: An old house in The Rocks; The sub­urb is a patch­work of his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture; Find the per­fect gift at Sorry Thanks I Love You; Pick up a silk shirt from Joe Ba­nanas; A glimpse of the Har­bour Bridge; Per­fectly cu­rated de­signs at...

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: A view of the Har­bour Bridge from Walsh Bay; Colour­ful old houses in The Rocks; A mix of the old and new; Del­i­cate Thai flavours us­ing Aus­tralian pro­duce come to­gether at Wild Gin­ger Din­ing + Bar.

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