1-day Sydney: The Rocks

Sydney is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia. The city is home to the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the host of the first Olympics of the new millennium. The city is surrounded by nature and national parks, which extend into the suburbs and right to the shores of the harbour. For this installment of 1-day itinerary, we’ll explore The Rocks suburb, located in the historical precinct of central Sydney.


For accommodation, stay at the Harbour Rocks Hotel. This 4-star hotel is in close proximity to other attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney Aquarium and Darling Harbour. showed rates as low as A$149/night.

Let’s start the day by perusing the stalls at an open air market for art and souvenirs.  The Rocks Market which occupies a closed-off portion of George St from Dawes Point Park down to Hickson Rd. Over 150 stalls can be found under the distinctive yellow sails every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

Next we’ll head to Australia’s oldest Observatory. Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory was essential to ship navigation, meteorology, timekeeping and for studying the southern hemisphere. The Observatory became a museum in 1982. The historic lens telescope in the south dome dates from 1874 and is the oldest regularly used telescope in Australia. In contrast, the mirror telescope in the north dome is fully computer controlled and incorporates the latest technology. The observatory is open daily from 10a to 5p and admission costs A$7.

You may have seen the breathtaking view of the Harbour Bridge from the Observatory. Now let’s head there for a closer inspection. The Harbour Bridge is fondly known as the “Coat Hanger” and is visible from many parts of the Rocks. It is possible to walk over the bridge through a pedestrian walkway. We’ll enter on the western side on Fort St near Observatory Hill. Once on the bridge, let’s climb up the the Bridge Pylon to the Pylon Lookout. For A$9.50 admission fee, the Pylon Lookout offers fantastic views of the city, harbour, and the Opera house.

It’s time to rest our feet and have an oyster & champagne lunch. Let’s head to the Sydney Oyster Cove located on the east side of Circular Quay. This casual spot offers everything from oysters to salmon to lobster. It is also possible to create your own seafood platter for a customized meal. Opt for alfresco dining where you can take in views of both the harbour and the city.

After lunch let’s head to The Sydney Opera House. One of Sydney’s most beautiful and unusual buildings, the Opera House is world famous. It is possible to walk around the building, and some of the foyer areas free of change. For A$35 (or A$29 online), a guided 1-hr tour is available for those interested in seeing the inner workings of the Opera House.

Located a short walk around the water’s edge from the Sydney Opera House, is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful settings you will see anywhere. The Royal Botanics Gardens have more than one million specimens and there is even a hop-on hop-off “train” for speedy access to different parts of the gardens. Entry to the gardens is free and closes at sunset.

Tonight let’s have dinner and enjoy a jazz concert at The Basement Club. Recognized as Australia’s number one jazz venue, The Basement delivers a wide range of styles with bands play almost every night. The dining room offers modern Australian cuisine with a flare of Asian influence. Booking ahead is a must.

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