While visiting Sydney, discovering the Rocks neighborhood is a must thing to do on everyone’s list. This is the birthplace of Modern Australia and a vibrant place to be. If you are wondering on the best way you could discover the Rocks, here are 4 options to consider: a free for, a paying tour, a photography tour or on your own.
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - The Rocks
The Rocks is a historical neighborhood of Sydney which was established shortly after the colony's creation in 1788. It is named the Rocks after the sandstone from which most original buildings were built.
At that time it was mostly frequented by sailors and prostitutes.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL PLANNING ADDICTS - The Rocks
Getting to The Rocks
Situated in the heart of Sydney, The Rocks is the "peninsula" area at the eastern side of Circular Quay
Visiting The Rocks
- The Rocks is full of restaurants, bars and art galleries
- The Museum of Modern Art has free entry and clean bathrooms
- See below 3 options to discover the Rocks
Join the free walking tour of the Rocks
Everyday at 6 PM, I’m free runs a free walking tour of the Rocks for 1 & ½ hours (the guide is paid by the tips you decide to leave or not). This is quite a fun tour as we stopped at various place and the guide shares fun facts and stories about it such as the French servant who killed his boss or the Drunk or the pub with the trap to get slaves on boat or the famous Butcher and its Rhum.
The advantage of this tour is that you are sure it departs everyday and you do not have to book in advance. However if you are looking for some history of how it all started, check the second option!
Book a paying tour
There are many organized tours of the Rocks, sometimes included in a day tour of Sydney. Personally, I booked Sydney with conviction with 2 feet & a heartbeat walking tour . This is a small group tour with a very knowledgeable guide who takes you through the history of the Rocks and of Australia. The size of the group allows you to ask all the questions you have. Must do for history aficionados!
On your own
The third option is of course to discover the Rocks on your own. You can start by visiting the free Rock Discovery Museum and then wander in the area, take all the small ways and let you be surprised by where you end up. Do not worry, this is small enough, you will not get lost!
Another option is to purchase an audio guide for you iPhone/iPod/MP3. Check out for example talkn’tour (Note: I have not tried). You can also download brochures to read through while walking.
On a photo tour
Many photographers offer photo tours of the Rocks. No history information and no legends of the old times. However you might look at the building with another eye.
Which one will you choose?
I never read this stuff about Sydney. Glad to know this history and mystery of this city. Surprised with many hidden pathways. Guess, one who knows this city very well, can make anyone fool. 🙂
Claire Robinson says
Thanks for your comment. I think every time I go there I discover new stairs or a new path.
a blonde around the world says
I didn’t know they had free walking tours of the Rocks! Thanks for sharing!!
Claire Robinson says
My pleasure 🙂