The Rocks: Ex­plore Syd­ney’s his­toric quar­ter

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THE ROCKS IS SYD­NEY’S his­toric old town quar­ter, where colo­nial and mar­itime his­tory is pre­served in ev­ery piece of hand-hewn sand­stone, in the charm­ing cob­ble­stone streets and quaint her­itage ar­chi­tec­ture. It’s where Syd­ney first be­gan with the es­tab­lish­ment of the English colony in 1788. Since then it has been home to sailors, whalers and traders.

Its colour­ful his­tory was saved by a union-led protest in the 1970s which pre­served this unique part of Syd­ney for present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to ex­plore and en­joy. To­day, The Rocks is a unique des­ti­na­tion of­fer­ing early colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture, his­toric pubs, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig sites, modern restau­rants, fab­u­lous ac­com­mo­da­tion, unique shop­ping, gal­leries and mu­se­ums, mar­kets, live en­ter­tain­ment, leafy parks and spec­tac­u­lar views of Syd­ney Har­bour.

Take time to dis­cover the sto­ries be­hind ev­ery street cor­ner and ex­pe­ri­ence a precinct steeped in rich lay­ers of his­tory. To find it, take a 10-minute stroll down Ge­orge Street (Syd­ney city’s main street) to­wards the Syd­ney Opera House and the Har­bour Bridge—you can’t miss it. Al­ter­na­tively, take a train or bus to Cir­cu­lar Quay and wan­der through First Fleet Park.

To make the most of your visit to this unique precinct, make sure to drop into the Syd­ney Vis­i­tor Cen­tre on the cor­ner of Play­fair and Ar­gyle streets. The friendly staff can as­sist you in your ex­plo­ration of Syd­ney’s his­toric vil­lage.

For a truly plea­sur­able Syd­ney shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, wan­der the cob­ble­stone laneways of The Rocks and dis­cover a haven of spe­cial­ity stores, gal­leries and bou­tiques. Ex­plore The Rocks Cen­tre in the heart of the precinct for spe­cial shop­ping sur­prises. You’ll find fab­u­lous fash­ion, chic ac­ces­sories, fine food and sweet treats.

For those unique me­men­tos of your visit to Syd­ney, or trav­ellers’ needs such as guide books and maps, don’t miss the Syd­ney Vis­i­tor Cen­tre’s huge range of re­tail.

Around The Rocks, you’ll find other hot shop­ping spots in­clud­ing Met­calfe Ar­cade, Nurses Walk, Play­fair Street and Clock­tower Square.

Dis­cover the world’s lead­ing brands in one modern and invit­ing set­ting at T Gal­le­ria by DFS on Ge­orge Street.

In­spired by the trav­eller, DFS are our trusted source for the finest in fash­ion and ac­ces­sories, beauty and fra­grances, watches and jew­ellery and wines and spir­its, com­ple­ment­ing ev­ery as­pect of your life­style. Their team of knowl­edge­able ex­perts are there to help you with all your shop­ping de­sires, from start to fin­ish. Ex­pe­ri­ence su­pe­rior ser­vice with a per­sonal touch at T Gal­le­ria by DFS, the trav­eller’s lux­ury de­part­ment store.

Make sure you find time to ex­pe­ri­ence The Rocks Mar­kets, on ev­ery week­end from 10am to 5pm. Syd­ney’s favourite out­door mar­ket ex­panded last year and is now big­ger and bet­ter than ever.

With more than 50 cafés, pubs and restau­rants to choose from you can tempt your taste­buds at a se­lec­tion of Syd­ney’s best restau­rants.

Ex­plore The Rocks and dis­cover some of th­ese favourites, from Saké Restau­rant & Bar, a won­der­ful Ja­panese restau­rant tucked away along Ar­gyle Street, where you can ex­pect a blend of new-style sushi along with clas­sic Ja­panese dishes, to Pony Lounge and Din­ing, a cut­ting-edge grill restau­rant nes­tled along his­toric Ken­dall Lane. The Modern Aus­tralian menu in­cludes wood-fired grilled meats, seafood and small plates.

Housed within a her­itage cel­lar in the heart of The Rocks, The Cut Bar & Grill presents Syd­ney with a con­tem­po­rary twist on a tra­di­tional con­cept. In­spired by New York’s su­per-chic steak restau­rants, the menu cel­e­brates the very finest cuts of prime Aus­tralian beef and sus­tain­able seafood. Ev­ery dish is cooked to per­fec­tion by head chef Joel Woot­ten, matched with im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice.

For a wild night try El Camino Cantina. The Tex-mex in­spired restau­rant mixes big flavours, big mar­gar­i­tas and two re­stored 1957 Chevy trunks over­flow­ing with com­pli­men­tary hot chips and sal­sas. Flooded with neon lights and with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, tequila and mu­sic flow ‘til the early hours.

Fish at The Rocks on Kent Street of­fers a su­perb seafood menu and in­side the restau­rant im­ages of the early 20th-cen­tury fish­ing boats that were moored around the area set the mood.

For pure Bavar­ian fun in the heart of The Rocks head to Mu­nich Brauhaus. Friendly staff serve all of your Bavar­ian favourites, and you can sing and dance along with the Oom Pah Pah Band’s tra­di­tional tunes.

If you want a mouth­wa­ter­ing cock­tail then try the stylish sur­rounds of The Ar­gyle. The Ar­gyle at­tracts lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional DJ tal­ents in its gallery space, cre­at­ing a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere and bring­ing a metropoli­tan vibe to a busy night. A warm glow is cast through­out the venue by or­nate, hang­ing chan­de­liers, which com­ple­ment the plush vel­vets

of rich pink, muted choco­lates and gor­geous greens, splashed across the cus­tom-made fur­ni­ture—all this com­bin­ing to cre­ate the in­ti­mate feel that is The Ar­gyle.

This blended en­ter­tain­ment mecca brings a dis­tinc­tive style to the Syd­ney scene—lux­u­ri­ous, sexy, and in­ti­mate— day or night, it is the place to be.

If you’d pre­fer a beer with a view, head to the Har­bour View Ho­tel. This icon be­side an icon com­mands pride of place be­side the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge. With its colo­nial old English charm and char­ac­ter, The Glen­more has been a pop­u­lar wa­ter­ing hole since 1921. En­joy sweep­ing views from the rooftop. If you’re af­ter a de­li­cious pub lunch and re­fresh­ing drink, then head to The Glen­more.

An­other old Syd­ney favourite is The Aus­tralian Her­itage Ho­tel on Cum­ber­land Street. With a great big menu, full of some Aussie in­spired piz­zas, why not try the kan­ga­roo pizza? Or are you game enough to test out the salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile pizza? Make sure you pop by on a Wed­nes­day night for trivia or try and win the Meat Tray Raf­fle on a Fri­day night for a bit of fun!

Don’t for­get The Rocks Food­ies Mar­ket that takes place ev­ery Fri­day lunchtime. Stop for a de­li­cious bite to eat and have a chat with the florist who has grown fresh flow­ers or the baker who has made fresh bread.

There’s a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of her­itage at­trac­tions in The Rocks that bring Syd­ney’s his­tory to life. Visit The Rocks Dis­cov­ery Mu­seum, a re­stored 1850s ware­house which is home to a unique col­lec­tion of im­ages and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal arte­facts found in The Rocks dig sites.

Just up the road at Susannah Place Mu­seum, you get the very rare op­por­tu­nity to re­con­struct do­mes­tic work­ing-class life within The Rocks neigh­bour­hood be­tween 1844 and 1989 and hear sto­ries from for­mer tenants. The mu­seum’s re-created 1915 cor­ner shop is pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors of all ages, with jars of lol­lies, straw brooms and brown pa­per wrap­ping.

If you’re look­ing for an en­ter­tain­ing way to ex­pe­ri­ence the his­tory of The Rocks, don’t miss the award-win­ning The Rocks Walk­ing Tours. In the evening The Rocks Pub Walk will al­low you to wind your way through the his­toric lanes as you visit three her­itage­listed pubs, try a lo­cal brew, meet the lo­cals and hear the colour­ful sto­ries and in­fa­mous char­ac­ters as­so­ci­ated with The Rocks. The tour de­parts at 6.30pm from out­side Harts Pub.

The Rocks is also the home of a num­ber of gal­leries in­clud­ing Ken Done and the S.H. Ervin Gallery where you can view some beau­ti­ful Aus­tralian art. The S.H. Ervin Gallery is one of Syd­ney’s lead­ing pub­lic art in­sti­tu­tions housed in the his­toric Na­tional Trust Cen­tre on Ob­ser­va­tory Hill, The Rocks. The Gallery’s ex­hi­bi­tion pro­gram is de­signed to ex­plore the rich­ness and di­ver­sity of Aus­tralian art, both his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary, and present it in new con­texts.

The Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Aus­tralia (MCA), at the har­bour’s edge at Cir­cu­lar Quay, is ded­i­cated to ex­hibit­ing, in­ter­pret­ing and col­lect­ing con­tem­po­rary art from across Aus­tralia and around the world. The mu­seum re­ceived a $AUD53 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion in 2012 and with a con­tin­u­ally chang­ing pro­gram of ex­hi­bi­tions there’s al­ways some­thing new, ex­cit­ing and inspiring to see at the MCA.

En­joy panoramic city views at the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge Py­lon look­out. From The Rocks, take the Ar­gyle Stairs then the Cum­ber­land Street stair­way to ac­cess the bridge pedes­trian path­way. Climb 200 steps to the very top of the Py­lon, where you will be re­warded with spec­tac­u­lar views of the city of Syd­ney. Find out how the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge was con­structed and dis­cover the sto­ries be­hind the open­ing cel­e­bra­tion as you wan­der up, through three lev­els of ex­hibits, to the open-air look­out.

With so much to ex­plore, The Rocks is a must-see des­ti­na­tion on any trip to Syd­ney. For more in­for­ma­tion call into The Syd­ney Vis­i­tor Cen­tre in The Rocks Cen­tre, on the cor­ner of Ar­gyle and Play­fair Streets. You’ll find friendly and knowl­edge­able ex­perts on The Rocks as well as maps, brochures, tour book­ing fa­cil­i­ties, gifts and me­men­tos.

The Rocks Mar­ket. Photo: Prop­erty NSW.

Mu­nich Brauhaus. Photo: Sam Ali

The Rocks. Photo: Ad­nic.

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