The Rocks & Circular Quay. See Sydney’s outdoor museum on the Sydney Bus Tour

Tucked away at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge on the western side of Sydney Cove is The Rocks. This is the oldest preserved colonial district of Sydney, where Europeans started to settle as they colonised Sydney. The original buildings were made from local sandstone, and many are still standing. Now it’s a vibrant place with museums, bars and restaurants aplenty.

Beyond The Rocks is Circular Quay, the hub of Sydney Harbour. It’s actually semi-circular in shape, but ‘Circular’ is quicker to say. It’s a pretty buzzing place, with ferries leaving every few minutes to different parts of the harbour. So if you’re travelling to sights like Taronga Park Zoo, you’ll probably go from where your Sydney Bus Tour stops, right here.

Stroll, shop and sightsee

Feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds? The Rocks is home to Cadman’s Cottage, Sydney’s oldest surviving dwelling, built in 1816. There are also up-to-the-minute shops and eateries, and a Museum of Contemporary Art. There’s plenty to feast your eyes on as you stroll about.

Sandstone and shells

At The Rocks you can still see the rock face that gave the place its name. With all the cobblestone lanes and ancient warehouses – it’s like wandering through history. Take a close look at the brickwork. The mortar holding everything together is made from crushed cockle shells.

Other interesting facts about the Rocks & Circular Quay

  • Circular Quay is one of the main places people gather for Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks displays
  • You might be lucky enough to be here when the national water polo team play a match out in the water
  • In the late 1800s The Rocks was dominated by a gang known as the Rocks Push
  • 2 pubs at The Rocks claim to be Sydney’s oldest – we’re not sure which is right