Your Guide To Commissioners Steps Wharf

Disabled Access – NO

Food and Drink Options – YES

Tourist Attractions – YES

Transport Links – YES

Shopping Centre – NO

Nightlife – NO

The Commissioners Steps Wharf is located on the eastern Botanic Gardens side of the Sydney Opera House on the walkway between the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Circular Quay, and is surrounded by numerous waterside cafes and museums. Closely situated to the historical Rocks area and CBD, the wharf is also an exceptionally convenient spot for corporate groups or friends to catch a boat to one of the many world-famous waterside restaurants and venues on Sydney Harbour. The wharf is also located just south of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, which is the only major passenger terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and primarily deals with cruise ships and oceans liners. As such, if you’re visiting Sydney as part of a cruise, this will likely be where you disembark, and the Commissioners Steps Wharf is perfectly placed to allow visiting cruise passengers to explore the rest of the city from a smaller vessel. Note, however, that the wharf is not suitable for very small boats due to the amount of wash.

History

The Commissioners Steps Wharf is situated just north of Circular Quay, an area which is currently a popular neighbourhood for tourism, consisting of walkways, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants. Its history, however, stretches back hundreds of years, with Sydney Cove, on which the quay is located, the site of the initial landing of the First Fleet in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. The wharf is also located in an area just a hop, skip and a jump from the historic Rocks area, which borders on the Bradfield Highway, leading to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Known as Tallawoladah by the Cadigal people, The Rocks is an urban development known that derives its name from the traditional buildings built by the first settlers, which were built first from wattle and daub, but eventually from sandstone. The area, which was initially regarded as a slum, has blossomed over the ensuing decades into a major tourist area, with all the souvenir, craft shops and historic pubs and restaurants that entails.

Attractions

The Museum of Contemporary Art sits right behind the wharf and The Rocks Discovery Museum is also only a short walk away, so if you’re in the mood for an educational afternoon, this is the perfect wharf for a drop-off. The Museum of Contemporary Art, which is often abbreviated to simply the MCA), houses some of the most thought-provoking contemporary arts from Australia and the rest of the world. The art-deco styled building, which was once a maritime service board building, was converted into a museum in 1991 and underwent a significant expansion in 2010. Today it stands as a Sydney landmark and contains over 4,000 works by Australian artists, including works by Aboriginal artists.

Housed in a genuine, restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, The Rocks Discovery Museum tells the tale of the historical Rocks, which spans over hundreds of years. The museum holds a unique collection of archaeological artefacts found within the Rocks and also features a number of interactive elements to really bring the history of the area alive for young and old history buffs alike. You’ll learn about the original landowners of the area, the English colony and the union-led protests in the 1970s that helped preserve this iconic area of Sydney for generations to come.

Bars & Restaurants

Located on the top floor of the Overseas Passengers Terminal is the world-renowned Yuki Japanese restaurant, which also offers some truly exceptional views of the Sydney Opera House. The terminal also plays host to the charming Quay restaurant, which has been featured as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants since 2009 and has won several top awards for its cuisine and its atmosphere. The Cruise Bar, also located in the terminal, is also a great place to meet and share a drink and serves creative meat and seafood dishes in a relaxed atmosphere with some of the best harbour views in the city. If you’ve spent the afternoon at the museums and fancy a snack and a drink before boarding your charter, the MCA Café & Sculpture terrace is also famous for its spectacular views and calming location. It looks out over the Circular Quay and the small, but perfectly formed First Fleet Park, which could also be the perfect location for a family picnic.