Twin of the nearby Mint, the venerable Parliament House (1816) has been home to the Parliament of New South Wales since 1829, making it the world’s oldest continually operating parliament building. And like the Mint, its front section (which now blends into a modern addition on the eastern side) was part of the Rum Hospital, built in exchange for a monopoly on the rum trade.

You need to pass through a metal detector to access the inner sanctum, where you can check out art exhibitions in the lobby and the historical display in the wood-panelled Jubilee Room. On non-sitting days both assembly chambers are open, but when Parliament is sitting you’re restricted to the Public Gallery. There are free guided tours on Mondays and Fridays at 1.30pm.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby City Centre & Haymarket attractions

1. Macquarie Street

0.02 MILES

A swathe of splendid sandstone colonial buildings graces this street, defining the central city's eastern edge. Many of these buildings were commissioned…

2. Sydney Hospital

0.05 MILES

Originally the Rum Hospital, built by two Sydney merchants in return for a monopoly on the rum trade, Australia’s oldest hospital has a grand Victorian…

3. Reserve Bank of Australia Museum

0.06 MILES

Hidden inside the Reserve Bank is this surprisingly interesting museum detailing the history of Australia's banknotes, from pre-Federation to the polymer…

4. State Library of NSW

0.07 MILES

Among the State Library's over five million tomes are James Cook’s and Joseph Banks’ journals and William Bligh’s log from the mutinous Bounty. It's worth…

5. The Mint

0.11 MILES

The stately Mint building (1816) was originally the southern wing of the infamous Rum Hospital, built by two Sydney merchants in return for a monopoly on…

6. State Savings Bank Building

0.14 MILES

The Commonwealth Bank has taken over the old State Savings Bank building: it’s a beautiful example of interwar beaux-arts architecture, featuring green…

7. Hyde Park Barracks Museum

0.15 MILES

This noble brick building was designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway to house prisoners arriving in the colony. Now a flagship museum, the…

8. The Domain

0.17 MILES

Administered by the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Domain is a large grassy tract east of Macquarie St, set aside by Governor Phillip in 1788 for public…