The rusty old bicycle, cable-tied to a lamp post, at the lower end of George Street on the approach to the markets from Circular Quay belies the fact that The Rocks Markets is Australia’s preeminent tourist market and a Sydney Institution.
Thousands of people, mainly tourists, visit the outdoor markets every weekend and, while the market footprint along George Street, Playfair Street and in Jack Mundey Place is extensive, it can sometimes get oppressively busy for my liking.
With over 200 eclectic and colourful stalls your eyes and wallets will be tempted by all sorts of locally-produced home wares, beauty products, photography, art, crafts, jewellery, fashion and accessories, Australiana, books and more. See the web site below for stall details. No fruit or veggies here.
In my humble opinion and as a non shopper, a lot of what is on sale, beautiful as much of it looks on the stall, is the sort of thing you bring home, look at, and say why the heck did I buy that?
In terms of souvenir shopping, what differentiates this market from Paddy’s Market at the other end of George Street is the quality of the produce on offer. Paddy’s is best for cheaper, mainly imported, lower quality Australiana, The Rocks is better for more expensive mainly Australian sourced and higher quality items. So, you choose the source for your koala key-chains, bush honey, boomerangs and Harbour Bridge and Opera House fridge magnets!
I hasten the add that there are exceptions to the above and nice, interesting, quality and even useful things can be acquired at both locations, at reasonable prices.
The location of this market, set among the sandstone and cobbles of the historic Rocks area, certainly adds to the atmosphere, so while you may not buy much, if anything, a stroll through the markets is a must do for all visitors.
Should you tire of the shopping, and I often do, an historic pub, restaurant or café is never more than a few metres away and on a Friday Jack Mundey Place is transformed into a foodie market. As I have not visited on a Friday I cannot comment on that. As you might expect for a market of this type, there are lots of street performers wandering the streets sharing their music and performances.
The Rocks Markets
10am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays
Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place
The Rocks Friday Foodie Market
9am – 3pm, Fridays
Jack Mundey Place
Address: Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place
Directions: The Rocks area, a short walk from Circular Quay