Sydney Series: Circular Quay and The Rocks

Sydney is not the capital city of Australia (that would be Canberra), however it is the state capital of NSW. Moreover, Sydney is probably the most well known, and iconic city of Australia.

Founded as a penal colony (as were all major cities of Australia with the exception of Adelaide), Sydney has since then grown to become a major global cultural and economic center. Its most famous landmark is probably the Sydney Opera House, and like Paris’ Eiffel Tower, has outlasted the dislike or apathy of the locals to become beloved of the world.

Every year millions of tourists come to Sydney to enjoy its attractions. I have been there several times, and have not had to venture too far from it’s center in search of interesting  things to see and do. It isn’t that there isn’t more – it is just that there is so much! Surprisingly, Sydney retains a somewhat low key and relaxed feel, in spite of the crowds.


Circular Quay (pronounced “key”) is the place to be. Here you will find the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, not to mention museums, lots of places to eat, sleep, shop, and explore. The beautiful and extensive Royal Botanical Gardens along with Macquarie’s Point border the Quay on the east side (future post). The CBD is situated at the south end of the the Quay.

It is also the central water transportation hub. We always situate our exploration in, and from, this area. As far as tourist attractions go, it is one of the best. Amazingly, it is also home to the large cruise ships when they are in town. If you know us, you know that we enjoy cruising. We have had the privilege of taking a cruise from this location and as interesting as it is to view the large cruise ships while they are docked, I have to say that the vantage point of Circular Quay from the deck of a large cruise ship, is spectacular. Check out my previous post – New Zealand Cruise – Part 1 – Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania

View of Circular Quay and docked cruise ship from the Opera Bar at the Sydney Opera House.

View of Circular Quay and docked cruise ship from the Opera Bar at the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney 144


The Rocks, dating back to 1788, is a popular tourist area – home to restaurants, pubs, shops, art galleries, hotels, a large weekly market, and more. It has a colorful history due to it’s port location and once was home to gangs, rough sailors, and prostitutes. Many of the original sandstone buildings have been demolished, but the area still retains it’s charm. It is also in view of the Bridge.

The Rocks and the Bridge

The Rocks and the Bridge

View from Cruise ship to

Sydney with Micah

Waterfront at The Rocks

STAYING IN THE QUAY at the Sydney Park Hyatt

We had the privilege of staying at the Sydney Park Hyatt, located in The Rocks at the edge of the Quay. Ed was there on business so I tagged along.  The amenities are fabulous. Although the weather was not spectacular, we had wonderful viewpoints of the Sydney Opera House, cruise ships in dock, and the Harbour Bridge. I took lots of photos from our veranda which had fabulous views of Circular Quay, the Opera House, The Rocks, and the CBD, but this one below is the only one that I currently have of even a part of the hotel. It is the brown building and not so impressive from the outside as it is from the inside. You do get a great view of the bridge in this picture, though.

Sydney Park Hyatt and Sydney Harbour Bridge as viewed from deck of cruise ship in dock.

Photos below taken from my perch on my porch.

Night views of Circular Quay

Cruise Ship on Circular Quay 4

Night lights

Cruise Ship in Circular Harbour

Early morning hours

Some more photos of the sights nearby.

Although you have already seen a few pictures here, stay tuned for more pictures of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in future posts.


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