7 Ways to Explore The Rocks on an Australian Cruise

The Sydney Harbour and its vibrant downtown are alight at night, adjacent to The Rocks neighborhood.
The Sydney Harbour and its vibrant downtown are alight at night, adjacent to The Rocks neighborhood.

When you step off of a ship docked in Sydney's Circular Quay Harbour, you'll be walking on the land that colonists first called home in 1788. Take a simple walk from the dock to the neighborhood up the hill known as "The Rocks" to visit historical sites, shop vibrant markets, and taste a myriad of local flavors. On an Australian cruise, you don't need to leave The Rocks to experience the best that Sydney has to offer.

The Markets

Both Friday's Foodie Market and The Rocks Markets on the weekend are musts to experience authentic Australian tastes and goods. At the food market, pick up a mouthwatering creation from Phillip's Foote like the roast pork roll served with coleslaw, applesauce gravy, and crispy crackling. A long line is likely for Turkish gözlemes — savory crepe-like pockets packed with pumpkin and leeks or spinach and cheese. At the weekend markets, take home items you will only find in Australia — spice mixes inspired by the Outback, stunning photography, Australian eucalyptus, and locally crafted jewelry, to name a few.

Historical Walking Tour

The Rocks neighborhood holds more than 100 heritage sites hidden along narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, and you can choose among the guided tours that share these secrets, like the Walking The Rocks app created by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which you can download for free. This tour contrasts the contemporary vibrancy of The Rocks with its gritty history.

Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb

Get some thrills as well as a stunning view of Sydney by daring to climb the Harbour Bridge on an excursion with Princess Cruises. Experienced guides lead the climb up ladders, stairways, and catwalks to the top, which is 134 meters above sea level. There, savor a once-in-a-lifetime view of the city's coves, hillsides, mansions, and skyscrapers, while standing above all of them.

Löwenbräu Keller

This German-themed restaurant combines everything that's great about Munich's Oktoberfest (generous portions of schnitzel and plenty of beer) with the laid-back vibe of Sydney's harbor. Sit inside the Musikraum for the cozy Bavarian atmosphere or allow the resident oompah band to lure you outside to the Brasserie.

The Australian Heritage Hotel

This hotel has a restaurant frequented for its wide variety of Australian beers on tap and an array of local animals on the menu. Order a pizza topped with peppered kangaroo, emu, or coconut cream marinated crocodile. They sound strange, but each pizza is crafted with specific concoctions of sauce, toppings, and spices that make each bite delicious.

Pancakes on the Rocks

The founders of Pancakes on the Rocks could justifiably claim bringing pancakes to Australia, but even if they weren't the first, they'd still be the best. It's all about the toppings: grilled bananas and homemade butterscotch sauce or raspberry coulis atop chocolate pancakes, for example. Even leaving stuffed, you might yearn for more, so a bag of their pancake mix would be a great souvenir.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art sits large next to Circular Quay Harbour; go inside to see its treasures. Among over 4,000 works by Australian artists, you'll find Aboriginal art, such the Arnott's Biscuits Collection of 275 Aboriginal bark paintings. The museum's painting, photography, and sculptures are a door to the country through the eyes of its artists.

Ready to plan your visit to The Rocks? Discover the Australian cruise that's perfect for you.