Your Guide To Man O’War Steps – Opera House

Disabled Access – YES

Food and Drink Options – YES

Tourist Attractions – YES

Transport Links – NO

Shopping Centre – NO

Nightlife – YES

The Man O’War Steps are situated right next to the iconic and beautiful Sydney Opera House and this wharf is a popular pickup and drop off point for that very reason. It is also surrounded by some of the greatest sights of the Harbour, with the Royal Botanic Gardens situated nearby and all manner of restaurants, bars and tourist attractions within easy walking distance. It’s a very popular place for tourists to stop-off, but for that very reason, it’s also incredibly busy and wharf fees are steeper, at around $30 per stop. Also, note that the wharf might not be suitable for smaller boats as there is a lot of wash. We can advise on this however when we discuss your charter.

History

The Man O’War Steps that the wharf is named after are a tourist attraction in their own right and with good reason. The steps are situated next to the wharf itself at the western end of Farm Cove, which sits adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens and just south of the Sydney Opera House where Fort Macquarie once stood. The steps are a small feature that you might miss if you didn’t know what you were looking for, but they hold a very special historic significance. The current steps were reconstructed in 1973 to coincide with the opening of the Opera House, but the original steps were built during the time of Lachlan Macquarie (indeed, the steps are the only known structures left from that era) in the early 19th century, when a stone jetty and the titular steps were built to allow movement between the land and the Man O’War ship, which was anchored in Sydney Harbour. For the next 150 years, the steps were used by members of the Australian and British fleets right up until the Vietnam war. At the steps, you’ll find a plaque honouring all of the men who left from the steps and didn’t return.

Attractions

The primary attraction you’ll find after embarking from the wharf is rather hard to miss. The Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most notable and unique landmarks, with its distinctive curves appearing in countless pop culture moments in the 44 years since its original construction. The building itself occupies the entirety of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour and is adjacent to the CBD and the Royal Botanic Gardens. It comprises a number of performance venues, but it also offers guided tours, as well as a number of exceptional restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, which sit to the rear of the Opera House, are a much older and more relaxed proposition. First opening in 1816, it is the oldest garden of its kind in Australia and is regarded as one of the most important botanical institutions in the world. It’s open 365 days a year and is completely free to access. That fact, coupled with its proximity to the Opera House, makes it one of the most popular attractions in Sydney. The gardens occupy roughly 74 acres and feature a vast array of fauna and unique architectural structures. Government House sits at the centre of the gardens and has been the official residence of the Governor of NSW (New South Wales) for almost 200 years.

Restaurants & Bars

The Sydney Opera House itself houses a number of respected drinking and dining establishments. The Opera Bar, which sits on the western side of the gardens, just below the steps of the Opera House, is a contemporary bistro with a large, covered outdoor area and a chilled atmosphere. It’s also open late most nights and serves a range of foods from pizza and pasta to more refined fare. The Opera Kitchen, meanwhile, located inside the building itself, offers reasonably priced burgers, salads and seafood. For drinks, meanwhile, the Playhouse Bar is ideal for enjoying a quick drink before and after a performance, or for relaxing with a long drink whilst enjoying some of the most spectacular views in the city.