The Rocks Discovery Museum
The Rocks Discovery Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The Rocks Discovery Museum is a free, family friendly museum which tells the story of The Rocks area of Sydney from pre-European days to the present. Housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, The Rocks Discovery Museum is home to a unique collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in The Rocks. The exhibits are filled with interactive fun, using touch screens, audio and visual elements to bring the history of the area alive.Learn about the area's traditional custodians, the establishment of the English colony and the time when sailors, whalers and traders made The Rocks their home; through to the 1970s union-led protests which preserved this unique part of Sydney for future generations to explore and enjoy.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: The Rocks
The first residents of the Rocks were convicts and sailors from the old nation. As the oldest neighbourhood in the city, the area's cobblestone streets host more than 100 heritage sites and buildings, including the oldest house in Sydney, Camden Cottage, which was built in 1816. Taste a “midi “ or a “schooner” of beer and dine “al fresco” on the waterfront at some of the oldest pubs in Sydney. The weekend markets at the Rocks are where you can find local artists' hand-made souvenirs, organic food and designer jewelry in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. To enjoy some of the best Australian and international contemporary art, the MCA museum is open every day and select evenings. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, be sure to save energy to dance the night away at the area's many late night entertainment venues.
How to get there
  • Circular Quay • 5 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles534 reviews
Excellent
266
Very good
217
Average
41
Poor
8
Terrible
2

Dimitris L
Sydney, Australia49,928 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The Rocks Discovery Museum is perhaps one of the jewels of the Rocks area of Sydney. It is a great museum like no other. It is housed in an old, but restored building in the Rocks. It has many items dating from the early days of the Sydney colony, but also from the time before that, telling of the long history of the area. Highly recommended.
Written 6 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Dimitris, Thank you for your wonderful review, so glad your visit was enjoyable. :) Thank you for the recommendation and hope to see you visit again soon.
Written 16 November 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom10,960 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
This is a small gem of a museum with free entry (a donation box is near the door but this is entirely voluntary).
It will be included on all Rocks Walking Tours but you don’t really need a guide for this.
The one problem with it is that, even though it’s in the heart of the Rocks, it is still quite hard to find. The easiest way to get there is to start at the Sydney Rocks Information Centre. If you are standing, facing downhill towards the harbour, its the first lane on your left. Look for the large colourful balloon like decorations hanging in alleyway and you’ll have found the museum.
It’s only very small so you can visit very quickly (20 min) or, depending on your level of interest, you can spend up to an hour.
Currently, the popular Rocks museum, Susannah Place is shut, so this is a very good substitute.
Housed inside an 1850s sandstone warehouse, it is interesting to go inside one of these early colonial buildings. Many of original features have been retained, like sandstone walls and narrow staircases. You really get a feel for the place. A cut out section on the ground floor allows you to see the original flagstone pavers.
Four rooms cover the history of the Rocks area, starting with aboriginal history. The nest room looks at the establishment of an English colony and the life in The Rocks when it was home to mainly sailors, whalers and traders. Finally it looks at the period during the 1970s when there was enormous pressure by developers to build high-rise here. Union-led protests successfully fought off attempts to re-develop the Rocks and led to the preservation of the area.
NOTES:
* I’d recommend visiting The Big Dig first. This is an archaeological excavation of 30 convict houses and businesses, and it was really worthwhile seeing this before the museum because nearly all of the contents that were recovered from those houses are on display here
* The original narrow staircases are not suitable for everyone.
Written 26 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi and thank you for your review. We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit and for your wonderful words. The museum was only recently refreshed - hardware and content - and we have a new website which will be updated with new content regularly. We invite you to come back and visit again or hop on our website to see new stories and updates. Regards, RDM
Written 30 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JoanieM620
Grantsburg, WI186 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
Amazing museum that tells the history of the Rocks which is the original settlement area of what is now Sydney. I really liked the interactive areas of the museum. For example, I could compare what was taking place in Australia, Europe, and the USA in any given year. It is obvious that the people who set up and maintain the museum are knowledgeable and very dedicated to sharing this early history of Sydney.
Written 17 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi and thank you for your review of the Rocks Discovery Museum. We are extremely glad you enjoyed your visit. We recently had a refresh of all our interactive technology, and am pleased to hear that you are enjoying the resources and carefully researched and written content. Our Interpretation guides, curators and historians are extremely dedicated to the museum and we thank you for your review and feedback. Hope to see you visit again. Regards, RDM team
Written 20 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

dccv1
Toronto, Canada306 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
The museum is free and provides insight into the history of the area of the first European settlements. It starts with the original indigenous peoples and goes up to the early 1900's with comparisons to events in other parts of the world. The staff were excellent: friendly and helpful. Not large but worth the visit.
Written 23 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello, We are glad you enjoyed your visit and thank you for your review. The staff thank you for your kind words. Regards, RDM Team
Written 23 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ron M
Menasha, WI554 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Couples
This is a great museum, free entrance, that does a nice job of introducing you to the original history of Sydney. Many of the electronic displays are interactive, give you a LOT more to see than it appears as you enter the various rooms. There is much to read about the original inhabitants (most of whom were convicts send from Great Britain) and how they set up shop and built the city. Very interesting with a nice staff.
Written 25 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynne van Veen
Sydney26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Solo
Great little museum, in a lovely old stone building, offering a snapshot of The Rocks history from pre 1788 to present day. Good displays and informative, friendly staff and no entry fee. Highly recommend a visit.
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Lynne V, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review for our little Rocks Discovery Museum. We are glad you enjoyed your visit and we hope to see you back again soon! Regards RDM Team
Written 18 July 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tammyBaltimore_Md
Baltimore, MD3,819 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
Stumbled onto this small museum behind the Rock centre mall, free to enter, rich in history dating back in the late 1800's, fabulous old artifacts encased on both levels.
FYI stairs a little tricky coming on, elevator also available to use.
Close to many other great places to visit
Written 4 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Megan C
Chesterfield, UK546 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
We went in this small museum on the way to somewhere else and suddenly 2 hours had gone by and we had not seen everything. So much interesting information, really well curated. Lots of items to look at with great information provided for context. Lots of different types of displays and plenty of interactive content too. There is even a small library with selections for adults and children. I can’t recommend it enough, and its free!
Written 11 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tassylass
Burnie, Australia370 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Friends
Artifices interesting. Narrow stairs for some access. Really interesting video stories but were impossible to hear. A school group close to us was noisy but the sound was too low for us to hear even if they hadn’t been there. Great that it showed Aboriginal and European history of the area.
Written 10 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi, glad you came to visit our small museum. We apologies that you were not able to hear the audio very well, we have taken this on board and are having the speakers and volume improved. We thank you for your feedback. We hope to see you again soon.
Written 15 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Johnathan M
1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2024 • Couples
I must say beautifully curated, informative and totally relevant for its location. But being 186cm tall and requiring glasses to read, I found the font woefully too small and the information panels too low. I found my self bent over resting my arms on my knees to read the lower sections off the displays. There is plenty of grey space above and below to display larger info panels with larger fonts to be more inclusive for taller people with sight impairment. Still worth the visit.
Written 2 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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THE ROCKS DISCOVERY MUSEUM (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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