relaxing in rocks square (or, how i fell in love with a house in ruins)

theromanticAfter our morning tour of the Sydney Opera House, the hubs and I decided to stay close to the harbor. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on our first day in Australia, and after the chill of New Zealand’s South Island, we were craving more sun and waterfront views.

 As we wandered, we eventually found ourselves in The Rocks, which, as it turns out, was one of the best ways to spend our mid-morning.

ROCKS SQUARETo be honest, it’s clearly a super touristy area. It was reminiscent of New York’s South Street Seaport, and some of the stores and restaurants were the cheesiest. Still, in a city that feels so new, it was a nice little reminder that there’s history to be found, too.

And, because I am an official Lazy Traveler, we naturally did wander off the main street, almost immediately. This is how we stumbled upon one of the coolest public city spaces I’ve ever found.

the rocks square entrance

At first glance, I wasn’t really sure what we had just walked past. It was just the frame of a house, with a few café tables piled to the side? We backtracked, and when I peeked over the edge, I pretty much never wanted to leave.

the rocks square interior

Located in the ruins of what was formerly the harbourmaster’s mansion, the space has been filled with wooden pieces emulating old fashioned furniture that might have once filled the home. The rooms are small, but there are so many that anyone can easily find a place to relax, sit with a cup of coffee, and get away from the more crowded areas nearby.

the rocks

Seeing as we had found this respite right around lunchtime, we realized it’s value as soon as we stumbled back onto a main street and saw how swamped the area had become thanks to the recent docking of a nearby cruise ship (and if you didn’t already know, cruise shippers make me exceptionally stabby).

We unfortunately didn’t make it back over to Rocks Square again during our brief stint in Sydney, but based on our brief meeting, this place has perched itself neatly at the top of my favorite little places hidden in the city.


the romantic



  1. Laura
    July 25, 2013 / 22:05

    That is so cool! How have I never noticed this space before? Must get there ASAP. Thanks for the tip!

  2. July 28, 2013 / 23:43

    Love the random finds. Touristy or not, I still love wandering around The Rocks….it is a pretty cool place!
    Anita Mac recently posted..From Paris With LoveMy Profile

    • July 29, 2013 / 17:44

      agreed, it is really adorable–i just am always leery of guiding people toward neighborhoods that can get extremely crowded, because those are the places that overwhelm me the most. at the right time of day, though, the rocks is great!
      Lazy Travelers recently spotter: budapest, hungaryMy Profile

  3. July 29, 2013 / 14:00

    What a gorgeous find! I’m completely on board your hate of tourist areas. My husband and I recently got back from New Orleans and we took the obligatory walk down Bourbon Street, and I was almost immediately begging to leave for the next street over, basically empty comparatively.

    • July 29, 2013 / 17:47

      uggh yeah, we’ve heard that about bourbon street. i just get overwhelmed by so many people in tight spaces, but the rocks was really nice in the morning.
      Lazy Travelers recently spotter: budapest, hungaryMy Profile

  4. August 3, 2013 / 08:44

    Wow, how did I miss that? Or was it not here 4 years ago? Now, my excuse to return is completely solidified!!

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