Convicts and The Rocks: Sydney's Walking History Tour Led by Historian

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Destination: Australia, NSW, Sydney

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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Sydney
  • E-Voucher
  • Lowest Price
  • Cancellable


Expect fascinating history, delivered with energy and insight on a walking exploration of Sydney's birthplace: The Rocks. Together your group will uncover the scallywag stories of convicts, soldiers, rum and rebellions. 

Best of all, this tour now finishes with a free drink at an historic venue in the heart of The Rocks. This is a unique opportunity to soak in the stories you've shared over a refreshing craft beer / local wine / tea / coffee or soft drink, meet other members of your group and chat to your guide about local recommendations.

This tour has been written and run by historians and heritage professionals who share their passion for the past through extensive research and great storytelling.

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Journey Walks, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Australia

Meet you guide at our Journey Walks' starting point Quay Bar — an outdoor venue with coffee and bathrooms where you can take a seat and enjoy being transported back in time as your guide introduces the age of British penal colonies and the story you are about to undertake on foot.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Sydney Customs House 31 Alfred St Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Australia

Begin your journey by unraveling the elaborate sandstone facade of Sydney Customs House — the gateway for people and goods arriving by ship into Sydney through the 19th & 20th Century.
Then enter inside Customs House see a unique model of the entire city including Circular Quay and The Rocks in miniature (scale 1:500) below your feet as your guide illustrates the forming of the natural harbour and the urban settlement of Sydney.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Australia

In The Rocks you'll find yourself wandering though back alleys and along cobbled lanes, passing some of the oldest pubs and houses in Sydney and getting lost in the stories of convicts, sailors and street gangs who occupied and worked in the area. Your guide will lead you to hidden sandstone ruins, old slums and underground cellars turned speak easy bars. The Rocks area is full of character, quirks and surprises.

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

Stop At: Macquarie Place Park, Bridge Street, Sydney, New South Wales Australia

Discover the hidden and forgotten relics found in Macquarie Place including the underground Edwardian lavatory, the First Fleet anchor and the Obelisk of distances — Sydney's first public monument designed and built by convicts for the Governor of NSW.

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: The Argyle, 18 Argyle Street The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales 2000 Australia

Enter into a hidden courtyard in the heart of The Rocks where you'll find the original customs house and ex-cellars once filled with barrels of spirits and tobacco that now function as a bar and club. The Argyle will be our final stop where your guide will sum up the tour and include a free drink to end t he journey in style.

Duration: 30 minutes

  • A local Sydney expert as your tour guide
  • 2.5 hour walking tour covering approximately 20 historic sites and stories
  • Alcoholic Beverages - 1x after drink refreshment (local beer/wine/soft drink) at an historic pub in The Rocks
  • Local recommendations and extra question time with your guide is included after the tour.
  • Entry/Admission - Customs House
  • Entry/Admission - Macquarie Place Park
  • Entry/Admission - The Argyle

  • Food is not included on this tour, but your tour guide will have fantastic local recommendations
  • Gratuities
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • We continue our tours in all weather conditions so please dress accordingly. Umbrella's are a good idea if wet weather seems likely.
  • Due to the layout of The Rocks, some stairs are unavoidable at certain points along the way, but majority of the route follows flat terrain.
  • Anyone requiring special assistance is kindly asked to make contact with your local operator in advance.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised that this tour may include the names and images of people who are now deceased.
  • Your guide is a native English speaker who will communicate information clearly, ensuring you can hear every word
  • Groups are kept small so that the platform for questions, discussion and interaction can be kept large
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
Departure Point

31 Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Departure Time

10:30 AM

Tour departs within walking distance of the cruise port

Return Details

The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia

Voucher info

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.


2 hours 30 minutes

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

User's Reviews

Image - 03 Dec 2018 -

Anne A

Max' s passion for the history and characters of the period when convicts where transported to Australia was very evident.

Image - 24 Oct 2018 -

Brian S

Max is an excellent tour guide. A very interesting and informative walk. I loved the "back alleys' and the stories Max was able to tell us about Australian History. I liked the way he threw in a few questions too to keep us thinking. I have bad feet but I found there were enough stops to relax and listen, so I was able to manage this tour just fine. I hear Max has another tour up his sleeve. "Rum and Rascals". I can't wait to hear more from Max about Australia's past. Wish Max had been my history teacher!

Image - 05 Jun 2018 -

Robert B

An informative look into the city's history. Max was a great guide - informative and polite. Open to many questions and responded with clear answers.

I highly recommend this tour.

Image - 03 Apr 2018 -


The walking tour was educational, gave us a glimpse into the past of Sydney's discovery by the British, the life's of the convicts and historic buildings. Conducted at a good walking pace with many stops at places you would not find if exploring on your own.
I would definitely recommend the tour to anyone wanting to learn more about the early history of The Rocks.

Image - 09 Mar 2018 -

Matt L

This was an amazing tour. The tour guide was very passionate about the history of Sydney and was well versed in giving tours. If you are interested in the beginning history of Sydney this is the tour for you.

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