Exhibit at Rocks Discovery Museum, The Rocks.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Rocks Discovery Museum

Top choice in Circular Quay & The Rocks

Divided into four displays – Warrane (pre-1788), Colony (1788–1820), Port (1820–1900) and Transformations (1900 to the present) – this small, excellent museum, tucked away down a Rocks laneway, digs deep into the area's history on an artefact-rich tour. Sensitive attention is given to the Rocks’ original inhabitants, the Gadigal (Cadigal) people, and there are interesting tales of early colonial characters. The 3rd floor holds temporary exhibitions.

Short free introductory tours of the exhibition are available at 1pm and 1.30pm and school holidays see special activities for children.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Circular Quay & The Rocks attractions

1. Cadman’s Cottage

0.03 MILES

Built in 1816 for Superintendent of Government Boats John Cadman (a former convict with a commuted death sentence for horse theft), this is the inner city…

2. Foundation Park

0.05 MILES

Thought-provoking Foundation Park is set among the preserved ruins of 1870s houses, built against the cliff face. The oversized furniture by artist Peter…

3. Suez Canal

0.05 MILES

One of few remaining such lanes, the Suez Canal tapers downhill until less than a metre wide (hence the name, also a pun on the word 'sewers')…

4. Ken Done Gallery

0.07 MILES

The cheerful, quasi-childlike work of Sydney artist Ken Done is exhibited inside the lavishly restored Australian Steam Navigation Building. Expect…

5. Overseas Passenger Terminal

0.09 MILES

Multi-storey luxury cruise ships anchor at this large terminal, disgorging hordes of shaky-legged tourists onto the Quay. For a killer harbour view, head…

6. Museum of Contemporary Art

0.09 MILES

The MCA is a showcase for Australian and international contemporary art, with a rotating permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Aboriginal art…

7. Argyle Cut


Convict labourers excavated this canyon-like section of road clear through the sandstone ridge that gave the Rocks its name. The work began in 1843 with…

8. Susannah Place Museum

0.12 MILES

Dating from 1844, this diminutive terrace of four houses and a shop is a fascinating time capsule of life in the Rocks. A personable guide takes you…