The Rocks and Observatory and back to the MCA

Fast Facts

Duration: 2-3 hours
Price Guide: $0-$20
Last Reviewed:
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The Rocks and Observatory and back to the MCA

Check out some of the best of Sydney’s arts and culture with this tour.

Starting the tour

The Rocks.

Section 1:
Directions:

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.

Stopover:

Spend some time wandering the streets of The Rocks – there’s something special about the ambience of Sydney’s oldest alleyways. Stop in to the Sydney Visitors’ Centre (106 George Street, The Rocks). You’ll be spoiled for helpful staff, brochures and information. While the centre covers all aspects of Sydney and NSW, its very location means the staff know all about the restaurants, shops and places of interest in The Rocks – don’t be shy in asking.

Section 2:
Directions:

Just off the main drag you’ll see Argyle Cut, a great feat of Sydney engineering, which is not to be missed.

Stopover:

Argyle Cut was literally hewn out of Sydney sandstone by convict labourers between 1843 to 1867. By slicing through the sandstone ridge of The Rocks (including a dynamite stage), the workers connected Darling Harbour and Millers Point with Sydney Cove. The walkway is still in use today and is a very scenic walk.

Section 3:
Directions:

Climb the hill up to Sydney Observatory (Watson Road, Observatory Hill). You’ll see it piercing the skyline.

Stopover:

Sydney Observatory, Australia’s oldest observatory, was built in 1858. It boasts a 29cm lens telescope (constructed in 1874), a 42cm computer-controlled telescope and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope. But that’s nothing compared to the real gem of this stopover: the beanbag planetarium. Other features include lectures, a virtual reality 3D space theatre show and a rocket launch (within a workshop). Or visit at night and get a glimpse of the moon, the planets and the other wonderful things moving about and shining in our southern sky. It’s free to visit during the day (without a program) and costs $15 for a night visit. The hill also provides great views of Millers Point and the harbour.

Section 4:
Directions:

Head back down to George Street to the Museum of Contemporary Art or MCA (140 George Street, The Rocks).

Stopover:

The MCA is a haven for contemporary art lovers. There are always a number of exhibitions on. Certain exhibitions incur a charge but apart from that entry is free.

Section 5:
Directions:

If it’s the weekend, you’ll notice George Street in The Rocks is MAD. Stop by the market to see what all the fuss is about.

Stopover:

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.

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