Circular Quay Area Self Guided Walk

Circular Quay Area Walk - Take a stroll around this gorgeous area and enjoy the many sites!

This walk is relatively easy but does include a couple of large sets of steps. It therefore makes it tricky for those with prams/strollers or wheel chairs.

For everyone else though, you'll get to see some amazing sites including The Opera House, Harbour Bridge, thriving and funky Docklands, Olde Pubs as well as the bars, restaurants and attractions of Australia Darling Harbour.


















Would you like a guided walk by a local? Someone to make sure you don't get lost? Tell you lots of interesting facts along the way?

Silvie has been living in Sydney for nearly 10 years and is originally from Austria. Over the years she has had many overseas visitors and she prides herself on giving them the best ever stay here in Sydney. She's now extending her services to you, the visitor to Sydney, who wants a more Real and local experience. Meet Silvie:

It's a chance to see Sydney's secret places and see its real beauty. She offers a range of walks to suit all levels in and around the Sydney area. Enjoy tours of the city, The Rocks, Bondi as well as stunning coastal walks. It's not expensive either and groups are small. You can also have your own individual tour if you want to.

Want more information? Use the form below to tell Silvie what sort or walk you are looking for and she'll get back to you within 48 hours.

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About This Circular Quay Area Walk

How Long To Complete This Walk?

This Circular Quay Area walk will probably take you a couple of hours and that's without stopping for a coffee, lunch or at one of the attractions.

If you wanted to make this a full day activity, you certainly could. You could take in a Sydney Australia Opera House tour, have lunch in the Docklands or Darling Harbour and even visit the Sydney Aquarium.

You could enjoy a ferry ride back to Circular Quay taking in the Harbour Bridge or walk from Darling Harbour through lively China Town, back to your hotel.

Start Your Walk At The Opera House or Ferry Terminal

This Circular Quay Walk starts at either The Opera House or if you like, the ferry terminal. Either take in a tour of the Opera House (allow an hour) or enjoy the views and stroll around the quay passed the ferry terminal towards the Museums directly opposite the Opera House.


Be sure to look down and see the many plaques on the floor that commemorate famous writers that either lived in Australia or visited Australia. (Known as The Circular Quay Area Writers Walk) Many are local writers but others include Charles Darwin, DH Lawrence and Mark Twain.


You'll soon pass the Museum of Contemporary Art. (You are still in the Circular Quay Area.) Here you will find two buildings - one modern and one much older. Both are part of the same museum and if you can spare an hour then it's well worth a quick and free look round.

Just next door, you'll find one of the oldest buildings in Australia - Cadman's Cottage. Built in 1816, it is the oldest residential building there is. It is also a rare example of the colonial style housing and also shows the old shore line of Sydney Cove (i.e. Circular Quay Area)

Follow the road round passed the Overseas Passenger Terminal towards the Holiday Inn Hotel where you will find another wonderful set of buildings that used to be the store rooms/warehousing for when the ships came in from overseas. Now, these buildings are home to some of Sydney's most expensive (and touristy!) restaurants. I've still never eaten at one, presuming that I am being over charged for the experience!

From here follow the path around towards the Harbour Bridge and admire the views! Did you know that once the bridge has been painted, it's pretty much time to start painting it all over again - it takes that long!

Keep following the main path as you get glimpses of some of the other wharfs along the waters edge. Dive off the main Hickson Road and wander into the actual wharfs.You are now moving out of the Circular Quay Area and more into Walsh Bay.

You'll find lovely restaurants, office spaces and even the Sydney Theatre and Sydney Dance Theatre down here. You are now officially in Walsh Bay. You are looking then for a set of steps that are fairly large (so not too hard to miss!) that take you up to Windmill Street. They are called "The Windmill Steps" and are at the end of Hickson Road before you reach Towns Place.

At the top of the steps, you'll find a rather interesting looking modern statue of an egg in a nest. It's Brett Whiteley's 'Black Totem II' (Giant Nest Egg). From here you should shortly be able to see The Lord Nelson Pub on the corner of Argyle Place and Windmill Street. It's well worth a quick drink in Sydney's oldest hotel.

The place is said to be haunted and features in The Rocks Ghost Tour. Apparently a woman is often seen at the upstairs window and it's not uncommon for small objects to move if anyone stays in that specific room!

Enjoy the old houses and now modern office spaces in this area. Follow High Street which takes an elevated view of the cruise ship docking area. Keep to the right hand side until you find a set of steps that will take you down onto Hickson Road. Cross the road and follow the water until you reach Darling Harbour

The First Area of Australia Darling Harbour that you will see, will be King Street Wharf. A great place for restaurants, bars and cruises. Try Bungalow 8 in the day for light meals and nice drinks. The evening is far more rowdy if you fancy coming back one night!

Continue along Darling Harbour and Kings Street Wharf soaking up the atmosphere.

You'll start to see the IMAX theatre appear before you and round the corner is The Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Sydney Wildlife World.There are special tickets available if you want to go to more than one. They are all good but the Aquarium is probably the best, unless you are into famous people. It's amazing how life like the actors, prime ministers etc look in the Tussauds wax works. It's quite interactive too with dress ups and all sorts to do in there. I doubt you could spend more than an hour and a half in there though.

From here keep wandering along the main walkway passed the Water Play area. This is a total must for anyone with kids. I recommend bringing a change of clothes and only allowing them in the water on a warm day as the water is pretty cold!

The cafes along this stretch are a little cheaper and less crowded as it is a fairly new area. From here you can continue following the path straight on, underneath the concrete bridge with the colourful jets of water, towards the Chinese Gardens. Unfortunately, it's not free entry. But if you are in need of some zen, then this is certainly the place to find peace and tranquility in beautiful surroundings.

Next stop is Paddy's Market and it all depends what type of person you are as to whether you will like this experience. It is full of cheap clothes and souvenirs. Think "I Love Sydney" T-shirts and anything with a Koala or Kangaroo on it and you won't be far wrong! It's also not open every day so if you want to go bargain hunting then make sure you are here between Wednesday and Sunday.

This really marks the end of your walk, unless you fancy heading into the city and taking a stroll through China Town along Hay Street, Dickson Street and Sussex Street.  East Ocean is one of the oldest Chinese Restaurants in Sydney and could be a good spot for Yum Cha. ( Level 1/421-429 Sussex St, Haymarket)

You can retrace your steps back to the Aquarium Wharf and catch a ferry back to the Circular Quay area, or head into the city to walk/get a bus back to your hotel. Central Station is only a short stroll from here too if you need to catch a train.

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