Customs House Sydney
Impressively Customs House Sydney is the oldest surviving customs building in Australia. Traditionally a customs house was a building that housed offices for officials who were in charge of processing goods imported in and out of ports.
Built around 1845, today the heritage listed Sydney Customs House houses commercial spaces, a restaurant and bar, a tour information desk, library and exhibition space! It is also home to one very impressive scale model of Sydney.
So you probably won’t spend all day here, but as you are waiting for a ferry or jumping off a train head on in and check out the five reasons you really should visit the beautiful Customs House Sydney.
1. Check out the underfloor scale model of Sydney
Downtown Sydney from a different angle
So first up…..that scale model!
You’d never think from looking at the outside that inside this beautiful historic building is home to a very modern, underfloor, scale model of Sydney. The scale model depicts 10 square kilometres of Sydney and it is very cool to look at.
It is situated on the ground floor of the building, literally as you walk in. When you first step in you will feel as though you can’t walk on it but have no fear the floor won’t give away under you! It is great to spend some time finding Sydney highlights and maybe even spotting where you live or are staying!
For best views of the model head up to Level 1 or 2 so you can look down onto it.
2. Information Desk
The funky tour desk has super friendly staff to sort you out
On the ground floor you will also find a tourist information desk. The staff here are super friendly and can provide you with brochures, tour information, maps and transport information.
From here you can also get walking tour brochures. These great brochures give detailed historical walk information on various different walk that depart from Customs House (and surrounds) including Women in History, Oxford Street and Customs House to Millers Point historical walk. Download the App – Sydney Culture Walks App – to get all the walks digitally.
3. Enjoy Sydney’s Lounge Room
Sydney’s Lounge Room is a fun spot to hang out
If you are looking for a place to rest your weary legs, read a book or browse a paper then Sydney Customs House is a good spot to pick! Scattered across the ground floor and levels 1 and 2 you will find readings nooks, couches, desk space and even a study room with views across the harbour. The spaces are aptly named Sydney’s Lounge Room and I think it is a fitting name.
I loved the newspaper area! It is literally a spot with stand up reading spaces and couches with newspapers galore. It was actually quite busy with locals and visitors reading their favourite rag or that hard to get one.
Awesomely wifi is free here and you can also use a computer with internet for 30 minutes free of charge! Win win!
I really loved the concept of Sydney’s Lounge Room
4. Browse the library
In the library there is something for everyone!
Whilst only NSW residents can borrow books from the library, it is still a great spot to have a wander or to pick up a magazine to browse. There is a great kids sections and many spots for visitors to sit and relax.
There is also a shelf of ‘free’ books for those who need something for their next ferry ride!
5. Peruse the temporary exhibition
The exhibition space is interesting to visit
Sydney Customs House is home to an exhibition space that sits across parts of the ground floor and level one and two. The exhibition changes on a semi regular basis. Check out their website for details of what’s on.
Free events are also run at Sydney Customs house.
- Entry: Free
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes
- Free carparking: No
- Free BBQ facilities: No
- Time to spend here: 1 hour
- Food available: Yes
- Address: 31 Alfred Street, Sydney NSW 2000
- Further details: Visit Customs House directory listing