The best free things to do in The Rocks Sydney

Things to do in The Rocks Sydney

The Rocks is one of the best places to visit in Sydney

The Rocks is one of the best places to spend a day in Sydney. Choc full of history with a modern vibe, there is a lot to do here and importantly lots of it is FREE!

Here’s our download of the best things to do in The Rocks Sydney – for free!

1. Explore The Rocks hidden alleys

Free things to do in The Rocks

Explore the hidden alleys of The Rocks

The absolute best way to discover The Rocks is to walk it! Being such a historical area, The Rocks is full of cobbled alleys, secret paths, historical buildings and great walks. Grab a map from the Australian Visitors Centre (24 Playfair Street, The Rocks) or download one before heading out.

Make sure to stroll through the Nurses Walk. You will find it by entering into the Suez Canal (an ex-sewer off Argyle Street). The Suez Canal includes some character cut-outs of the criminals who inhabited The Rocks area. The Nurses Walk is an ode to the Nurses who worked in the Rocks hospitals from 1788 to 1816. Convict nurses selected to work in the primitive hospitals without pay.

2. See The Rocks up high from the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Free things to do in Sydney

View of The Rocks from the Cahill Walk

An absolute Sydney must-do, walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a great way to see The Rocks from a different perspective. Visitors can access the bridge on Campbell Street, The Rocks.

There is a lift here for easy access for those with mobility issues or prams. Make sure to check out the view from the Cahill Walk.

Check out our Top Tips to walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge for more great info.

You should also consider visiting the Pylon Lookout. The Pylon Lookout is located on the Harbour Bridge and offers some of the best views in Sydney. See across to the Opera House, Circular Quay and North Sydney. Entry is $15.00 but worth the splurge. Read our article on the Pylon Lookout for more details.

3. Discover history at The Rocks Discovery Museum

The Rocks Discovery Museum

Learn a lot at The Rocks Discovery Museum

The Rocks Discovery Museum is a fab, free museum that depicts the history of The Rocks area from pre-1788 to today. There are heaps of interactive exhibits and great displays all housed in a beautiful 1850s sandstone warehouse. Read our post on The Rocks Discovery Museum to learn more.

You”ll find it at Kendall Lane, The Rocks (enter via Argyle Street) Sydney NSW 2000.

4.  Be fascinated by The Big Dig

The Big Dig

Explore the ruins of The Big Dig

The Big Dig Archaeological Site consists of the foundations of over 30 buildings (including homes and shops) from the 1800’s. The foundations along with 100’s of thousands of artifacts were discovered during the building of the Sydney YHA Building. You will find some of the artifacts on display at The Rocks Discovery Museum.

Make sure to check it out at 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks NSW 2000.

5. Get cultured at The Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art is a great rainy day spot

With excellent art and great views the Museum of Contemporary Art is a must visit.

Find it at 140 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000

6. Visit Dawes Point

Dawes Point

Views are pretty special at Dawes Point

Dawes Point offers some pretty spectacular views as well as a bit of history. See the remnants of Sydney’s first fortified position and its first Observatory. Marvel at the undercarriage of the Harbour Bridge and enjoy the view across the harbour. For more great info on things to do in Dawes Point check out our review.

Find it off Hickson Road, The Rocks NSW 2000

7. Soak up some history at the Sydney Observatory and Observatory Hill

Sydney Observatory front garden

The grounds and architecture of The Observatory are beautiful

Sydney Observatory and Observatory Hill are excellent spots to visit in The Rocks. Today the Sydney Observatory acts as both an observatory and a museum. Enjoy learning the history of astrology in Australia and enjoy some cracking views from Observatory Hill.

You can find both the Sydney Observatory and Observatory Hill at 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point NSW 2000. 

8. Be baffled by Foundation Park

Foundation Park The Rocks

Some of the furniture at the curious Foundation Park

This curious park, Foundation Park, is located on what was the site of no’s 2 to 16 Gloucester Street (now known as Gloucester Walk). These houses were demolished in 1938 and a park formed on the site in 1972. In 1996 the foundations of the houses were marked out with low walls and now even include furniture…..a fascinating place!

Foundation Park is located on the right-hand side around 500m into the lane named Gloucester Walk.

9. Admire Cadmans Cottage

Cadmans Cottage

Enjoy seeing Sydney’s oldest residential building

Whilst you are unable to enter Cadmans Cottage it is worth a drive by given that it is said to be the oldest residential building in the City of Sydney.

You’ll find it just a short walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art at 110 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000. 

10. People watch at First Fleet Park

First Fleet Park

Take a load off at First Fleet Park

First Fleet Park is a great place to sit back and take some time out. Located next to The Museum of Contemporary Art and right across from the ferry terminals, it is ideal for some people and boat watching and to have a break.

You’ll find First Fleet Park next to the Museum of Contemporary Art, George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

11. Wander through The Rocks Market

If you can resist the temptation to buy buy buy then The Rocks Markets are a great place to visit on a  Saturday or Sunday. Enjoy the hustle and bustle and friendly vibe as tourists and locals alike enjoy finding the unusual and the unique. You can also visit the Foodie Markets which are held on a Friday.

Find the markets at Jack Mundey Place and Playfair Street.

12. Find Biggles the Dog

As you wander through The Rocks, make sure to look out for the statue of Biggles the Dog. This famous puppy was a Miniature Schnauzer who lived in the area in the 1980s and 1990s. His owner designed the sandstone convict sillouette at the end of Playfair Street.

You’ll find Biggles at the end of Atherden Street.

If you have some money to spare……

If you are looking for more things to do then you may also want to consider the Susannah Place Museum or the EH Ervin Gallery.

Or why not treat yourself to a drink at Sydney’s oldest pub The Fortune of War.


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