24 hours at The Rocks

Nachiket Behera
April 30, 2022
Back to Inspiration

The first thing that comes to our minds reading or hearing about The Rocks, is fun, frolic and a place where you can unwind. But there’s much more to this iconic locality than it meets the eye. One can even say that the birth of a modern metropolitan Sydney that we see today started from The Rocks as it was here that the first of the European settlers built the civilisation.


Mornings are not good until you had a good cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast in you. So, let’s make a great beginning to the day and head over to Café Danieli for a full-bodied blend, artisan coffee. This café offering premium coffee has been run by an Italian family and offers some of the best paninis and pastas that you can find in Sydney. So, head over to Café Daneli and grab that cuppa coffee for a head start.

Coffee at Circular Quay
Get, set, go! (Picture courtesy: Danieli's Cafe Facebook


Cadman's Cottage - Australia's oldest house
Still as fabulous (Picture courtesy: Sydney.com)

Not far from Danieli’s, we start our tour of The Rocks by paying a visit to the old historical landmarks that makes this locality so distinct from others. We start by visiting the Cadman’s Cottage first which was built in the year 1816 and was used for a variety of purposes in the past. This old cottage is one of the few old structures that still stands strong in the 21st century.

Moving over from the lovely cottage we make our next stop at Susannah Place Museum which is just about a 4 minutes’ walk. Susannah Place Museum which was built in the 1840s is a classic example of the English architecture’s two up, two down terrace with basement cellar and kitchen. The museum staff takes you on a guided tour of this architectural landmark and gives you a glimpse of the lifestyle that the early settlers had. 


Sydney Harbour Bridge
Take in that Sydney skyline (Picture courtesy: BridgeClimb Sydney)

Our next stop is The Sydney Pylon Lookout. A popular global architectural landmark and an Australian cultural icon, The Sydney Harbour Bridge stands just as tall as it was on the day it was commissioned.  After climbing 200 stairs, be prepared to take in the breath-taking view panoramic view of this megalopolis. A spectacular well-hidden jewel, this one is a must visit if you are in The Rocks.


Irish Pubs in Sydney
Food of the gods (Picture courtesy: Mercantile Hotel Facebook)

Following that nice little trek, we are sure that one is bound to get a bit hungry. So not taking any longer, lets head over for our second meal of the day, lunch. Since the Rocks has a certain air of mystery and history around it, we suggest grabbing a bite at the iconic Mercantile Hotel. Opened its doors in 1915, this is Australia’s oldest Irish Pub. Also dubbed as the home of Guinness in Australia, you can expect to get rubbed on a little bit of that good ol’ Irish luck.


Recharge your weekends with the weekend Rocks market. There’s plenty to do in this market and people from all over Sydney come down here. From fashion to homewares, jewellery to beauty products, there is hardly anything that you won’t find in this market. Whether a tourist or a resident, the homegrown products sold here are a hit among people of all walks. And it doesn’t stop at that, you can find scrumptious food in this market as well as live entertainment. So, shop, eat and explore.


The Rocks is filled with buildings of historical importance and among them there is one such very important lane which is called the Suez Canal. This lane which used to be a sewer of the ports in those days replete with thugs and prostitutes. This lane has even seen a plague and walking down this lane you could read about the history of Sydney and the locality. 

Not far away is the Contemporary Museum of Art, which houses some of the finest Artworks of living Australian and International artists. This museum celebrates the works of the living artists and the exhibitions curated here are renowned world over. 


Customs House
The architectural landmark (Picture courtesy: Customs House)

The Rocks is filled with so many museums and places of interest and for your first visit we do recommend visiting either of these two institutions: Customs House or Justice and Police museum. Customs House is an architectural marvel that still amazes the onlookers and once a courthouse where criminals were punished in front of the Sydney waterfront, Justice and Police Museum still has the old cell blocks and police change rooms. We leave it to you to decide which one to take time out to visit. 

Another Aussie legend, The Australian Heritage Hotel at The Rocks serves some of the highly authentic Australian dishes in Sydney and Australia. The Hotel is more than 100 years old and is listed as a Heritage structure. Considered a prime watering hole as well, time just seems to stand still at this hotel. We suggest visiting The Australian Heritage Hotel for a good time and some happy memories.


Sydney Ghost Tours
Spooky! (Picture Courtesy: Ghost Tours Sydney)

This one is suggested as much not for the paranormal factors but for experiencing The Rocks in an altogether different light. You are taken across various historical and modern landmarks at The Cross and told the stories of their past at night. 

We understand, that Ghost Tours are not everyone’s first preference so here’s an outing that would be enjoyed by all the members of the family. The Sydney Observatory, built in the year 1858, is a perfect ending to a wholesome day. Watch the stars and planets and get a glimpse of the beautiful Sydney Skyline from this observatory. Their guided night tours are really something to look forward to.

Well, that brings us to an end to a terrific day at The Rocks. While we tried to cover most of them, we still missed out on quite a few places of interest which you can visit anytime like the Dawes Point Park, circular Quay, Kendall Lane, The Rocks Discovery museum and the list goes on. It was pretty tough to sum up a place as big and extraordinary as The Rocks in 24 hours but still we gave it a go. You can always try your version of it and give us shout from there.

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