10 Fun Things to Do in Circular Quay

You’ve booked your luxury accommodation in the heart of Sydney’s The Rocks. Now it’s time for the all-important next step: finding fun things to do and fun places to visit in Circular Quay. With breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, the Quay is Sydney’s main ferry terminus and the place to see some of the city’s biggest attractions- and a few you may not know about. Read on to find out more about our Circular Quay fun activities.

1. The Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Image source: Destination NSW

Of course you recognise the one-of-a-kind architecture of Sydney’s most famous landmark. But have you checked out of one this venue’s many shows? With over 40 experiences a week including everything from music and theatre to comedy and dance, it’s safe to say you’ll find something to satisfy you even if opera doesn’t float your boat.

2. The Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens

Image source: Destination NSW

Just a six-minute walk away from the Opera House, this delightful free garden is a third of the size of Sydney CBD and has more than a million plant species spread out over grassy lawns. If you get sick of walking, you can hop on the red train and hop off any part of the Gardens you like.

3. The Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

Image source: Destination NSW

Like the name suggests, this museum located in the Art Deco-style former Maritime Museum building is all about modern art. With more than 4,000 works of art at any given time including paintings, sculptures and sketches, there’s always something to inspire you creatively.

4. Customs House

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Australia’s oldest surviving customs house, this place offers more than just authentic Australian history. In this unique historical gem you’ll find events and exhibitions plus the one-of-a-kind dining experience of Cafe Sydney, where you can enjoy sweeping views of Sydney Harbour while dining on its delicious seafood.

5. The Justice and Police Museum

Justice and Police Museum

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Another slice of history at Circular Quay, this set of sandstone buildings was once the home of some of Sydney’s most notorious criminals. Now it’s filled with interesting artifacts like Captain Moonlite’s death mask and Ben Hall’s pistol, as well as forensic evidence from other Sydney crimes.

6. Food, Drink and Nightlife


Image source: Destination NSW

What could be better than gazing out at Sydney Harbour on a day of blue skies with a cup of spectacular Sydney coffee in your hand? Or enjoying a rum cocktail or modern cuisine while taking in views of the Harbour Bridge? Circular Quay has a range of cafes, restaurants and bars that are sure to keep you satisfied from dawn to dinner and beyond. With your accommodation already booked at the Russell Hotel, you’ll be able to walk back after sampling Circular Quay’s best nightlife.

7. Shopping


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There’s no shortage of shopping to be found in Circular Quay and The Rocks, including high-end fashion, gift and boutique stores, and Sunday markets at the Opera House. Make sure you swing by T Galleria at The Rocks (just a one minute walk from The Russell Hotel) for all the duty-free fashion, accessories and gifts you could ever need.

8. The Rocks

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Since you’re already here, why not check it out? Just next to Circular Quay, The Rocks started off as Sydney’s convict settlement. Now it’s cobblestone laneways are home to fashion boutiques, weekend markets and more than 50 restaurants, cafes and bars, surrounded by charming historic waterfront atmosphere.

9. Catch a Ferry


Image source: Destination NSW

You’re already in Sydney’s main ferry hub, so why not jump on a ferry? A trip to Darling Harbour will take you under the Bridge and past the opera house on a twenty-minute scenic route. You can take a day trip to Cockatoo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed 18-hectare island full of convict ruins and – of course – cockatoos.

10. Ride a Jet Boat

Image source: Destination NSW

Craving something with a faster pace than a ferry ride? Hold on tight and experience the thrill of a jet boat ride. It’s the most exciting way to see Sydney Harbour’s sights, and there are a number of jet boat companies that depart from the Quay.