Historical pubs, old warehouses, great shops
Below the Bradfield Highway, which now carries a constant flow of traffic across the Harbour Bridge, is the historic Rocks village. It was the first site settled by European convicts and troops as early as 1788 and, despite being given a major facelift in recent decades (and losing its erstwhile reputation as the haunt of prostitutes, drunks and criminals), still retains much of its original architectural charm. Old and new is married in an eclectic array of shops, galleries, arcades, cafés and some mighty fine pubs and restaurants.
By far the best way to see the Rocks properly is to join one of the official Rocks Walking Tours, which give an entertaining and informative insight into the past and present.
Rocks Market, held every weekend, is perhaps the most popular in Sydney. It features a fine array of authentic arts, crafts, bric-a-brac and souvenirs. For live entertainment head for the Rocks Square where you’ll find jazz, classical or contemporary music every day from midday for two hours. The Rocks Discovery Museum houses various highly interactive historical exhibits specific to the Rocks.
To escape the crowds, head up Argyle Street, and the steps to Cumberland Street, taking a quick peek at the historic row of cottages at Susannah Place, 58-64 Gloucester Street, west side, below the popular Australian hotel and pub, before walking through the pedestrian walkway to Observatory Park. This offers some fine views of the bridge and is home to the Sydney Observatory. From Observatory Park it is a short walk further along Argyle Street to enjoy a small libation and a bite to eat at the Lord Nelson, Sydney’s oldest pub, before walking north down Lower Fort Street to Dawes Point Park with its dramatic bridge perspectives.