The cobblestone walkways and sandstone walls of Australia’s oldest district are full of stories: of the lives of convicts, publicans, sailors, and wharf laborers as well as members of the 19 Aboriginal clans that called this land home centuries before the First Fleet of British ships arrived in 1788. Wander the narrow laneways on your own, or consider taking a walking tour to deepen your knowledge of colonial or Aboriginal history. If you’re in town on the weekend, don’t miss the Rocks Markets for clothing, jewelry, textiles, homewares, art, and street food. And if you never want to leave this area, standout accommodations, from the boutique Harbour Rocks Hotel to the five-star Park Hyatt, are at your service.
History is embedded in the very stones of this storied district, the location of the first European settlement in Australia and the original home of the Cadigal people. Wander the atmospheric cobblestoned streets and lanes as you shop for everything from Aboriginal art (don't miss the acclaimed Argyle Gallery, whose pieces are all sourced directly from artists and Aboriginal communities) to steampunk-inspired jewelry. Then stop in for a pint at a classic pub like the Fortune of War, which has been serving thirsty patrons since 1828.