Inner City Areas: Sydney Cove and The Rocks | Central | Southern | Darling Harbour

Inner City: Harbourside

Sydney Cove, on which Circular Quay is built, is one of the most significant places in Australia's history as it was here, on 26th January 1788, upon the arrival of a fleet of convict ships from England, that the Colony of New South Wales was founded. From it, not only the State of New South Wales, but also the City of Sydney and the nation of contemporary Australia grew to become what they are today. In early colonial days, Sydney Cove was the hub of transport and communications for the fledgling settlement. The Cove has maintained that role to the present day, as it is from here that ferries, trains and buses provide access to the many attractions in Sydney and the surrounding region.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge

Affectionately referred to by the locals as the Coathanger, you can drive over it, walk under it at Dawes Point, climb it with BridgeClimb or walk across it from steps in The Rocks or from the Cahill Walkway from Circular Quay. Which ever way to chose to approach it, you'll be glad you did.

Sydney Opera House

One of the great architectural wonders of the 20th century, Sydney's iconic opera house stands proudly at the maritime gateway to the City of Sydney. Visitors can explore the opera house on one of the many guided tours held daily.

The Rocks

The Rocks is Sydney's authentic historic maritime village, the place where the early colonial settlers called home. Today it is a popular tourist precinct which retains much of the character and charm of its colourful past. It is populated with gift shops, cafes, markets and heritage buildings.

Circular Quay

In years gone by, Circular Quay was the focal point of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour. Today it is meeting place for visitors and locals, a gateway for visiting cruise liners, and a tourist trasnsport hub where you can catch a ferry, train and bus to all parts of the city.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair

Mrs. Macquarie's Chair is situated at the tip of Mrs. Macquaries Point, a peninsula that sits between the Garden Island peninsula and Bennelong Point. it is a popular lookout position for the view to the north-west of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Garden Island

Now Australia's main naval base, Garden Island has been associated with the defence of Sydney and eventually Australia, since the first fleet of convicts arrived in 1788. Its best kept secret is its spectacular 360 degree view of Sydney from the top of the old signal station.

Millers Point

The most well known of Sydney's early windmills stood on Millers Point and gave rise to the locality's name (Jack the Miller's Point) and to that of Windmill Street. Waliking through the streets and lanes of Millers Point is to take a walk back in time to Sydney's colonial days.

Museum of Sydney

Situated on the site of the colony of New South Wales' first government house, this fascinating museum brings alive the history of the city of Sydney and the steps it went through to become the world city it is today.


Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the ultimate Sydney experience. On a 3.5-hour guided Sydney BridgeClimb, you'll be taken along the outer arches of the bridge on catwalks and ladders up to the 134-metre summit and take in the spectacular 360-degree views.

Dawes Point

The site of early colonial fortifications (some are still there and on display) and Australia's first observatory, Dawes Point is a popular place to sit on the grass and watch ships come ond go, as well as view the Harbour Bridge from an unusual perspective - unterneath.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Established in 1916 on the site of the first farm of the young colony of Sydney, the Royal Botanical Gardens contains an impressive collection of native and overseas plants. They feature a palm grove, herb garden, a tropical centre, the National Herbarium of NSW and more.

Walsh Bay

The wharves of Walsh Bay were built just before the First World War to handle the demand for more wharf space around the turn of the 19th century. A shift by overseas travellers from ocean travel to air, along with containerisation, led to the wharves being re-developed for other uses.


The Barangaroo project is a massive redevelopment taking place on the eastern shores of Cockle Bay (Darling Harbour). It includes returning the foreshore of Millers Point to what it might well have been before the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.

Woolloomooloo Bay

Bordered by the Domain, Kings Cross and Potts Point, the harbourside suburb of Woolloomooloo is home to some iconic Sydney landmarks, including the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf and Garden Island Naval Base.

Inner City Walks

A selection of self guided walks in and around the inner city area, covering history and heritage, attractions, things to see and do, architecture, and more.

East Circular Quay

A variety of cafes and restaurants can be found under the collanades of East Circular Quay. Beyond them is one of Sydney's most recognisable icons - the Sydney Opera House - on Bennelong Point. And across the water is another - the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

West Circular Quay

The west bank of Sydney Cove was a hive of maritime activity in the early days of colonial Sydney. Remnants of its past still linger among the more recent additions to this interesting corner of the city. West Circular Quay is where many cruise ships of the world tie up when visiting Sydney.

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