Shopping in Sydney: From The Rocks to Chinatown

Fast Facts

Duration: More than 3 hours
Price Guide: $0-$unlimited, depending on how much shopping you do!
Last Reviewed:
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Shopping in Sydney: From The Rocks to Chinatown

To save more money so you can spend more money on Sydney’s clothes, shoes and souvenirs, bring your own lunch. Make sure you’ve got some water too – you will get thirsty!

To visit the full line up of markets included in this tour, set out on a Saturday or Sunday.

Starting the tour

The Rocks

Section 1:

The closest train station to The Rocks is Circular Quay. Walk towards the bridge side of the harbour and you can’t miss it: the main drag is a continuation of George Street.


The Rocks markets, held every weekend, attract both tourists and locals. Here you’ll find anything from bad boomerang-shaped ashtrays to stunning and unique Aboriginal paintings. Buskers line the street to take in their share of the profits and it certainly isn’t a bad way for you to part with a dollar or two. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants around, although they’re not the cheapest option.

Section 2:

Walk back to Circular Quay and Pitt Street (adjacent to George Street) will take you into town.


Pitt Street leads directly to – wait for it – Pitt Street Mall. While you won’t want for anything in this venue, some of the shops are a little predicable (think mobile phones, teen girl fashion and fake leather). But don’t be alarmed. There is a diamond in the rough. The Strand Arcade is everything we love about Old Sydney. The galleries are decked out in dark polished wood, the windows are stained glass and even at the peak of frenzied consumer activity (Thursday nights, weekends and Christmas) the whole place manages to maintain a sense peace and grace. The clothes and jewellery shops here are often one-of-a-kind.

Section 3:

Back over to George Street.


Directly behind Pitt Street Mall, back on George Street, you’ll see the semi-majestic Queen Victoria Building (QVB). It’s been a long while since the QVB has had a makeover but she’s still lovely, despite the fray. The shopping centre occupies an entire block in the city. Every hour on the hour, the famous QVB hanging clock chimes away and displays a moving tableaux of British kings and queens. The spectacle ends with the beheading of Charles I. There are also other exhibitions on the higher floors. Basic brand names are found on the lower levels. Up top you’ll find high end fashion.

Section 4:

Head directly down George Street in the direction of Central Station.


There’s no mistaking the beginnings of Chinatown as you move away from the QVB. Chinese characters start to appear on shop fronts, bright red barbeque pork hangs from kitchen windows and funky, young Chinatownians (with sharp haircuts and bold peroxide highlights) strut the streets in the latest catwalk gear. In the heart of it all is Paddy’s markets downstairs and Market City upstairs. Bargaining is always worth a try at the markets; you can find anything from fresh produce to ‘genuine’ designer perfume. Market City is a haven for retail outlets. Stop on by for a bargain.

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