Follow in the footsteps of the early Sydney colonists on this fascinating small group guided walking tour around the shoreline of Sydney Cove — the site of the first European settlement. Your local guide will share stories of the people and events that shaped Circular Quay and the harbour foreshore we know today.

AUD $35pp

Sydney Cove Walking Tour
Runs: Mondays
Departs at: 3pm
Departs from: Hickson Road Reserve, Sydney (by the Park Hyatt Hotel)
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

⟶ All Sydney walking tours

4.5 stars

Editor's summary:

‘While many visitors choose to take guided tour of The Rocks precinct, Sydney Cove itself has an equally fascinating tale to tell. The landing site for the First Fleet has of course changed beyond all recognition, but there’s still plenty of evidence of the early colony — if you know where to look. On this great value tour your expert local guide will share many of the early cove’s stories and secrets.’

Tour highlights

  • Explore the shoreline of Sydney’s earliest settled area and see surviving evidence of the colony
  • Visit the landing site of the First Fleet
  • Learn about the First Australians that inhabited the area, the timeline of European settlement, and the evolution of Circular Quay as a culture and transport hub
  • See the iconic Sydney Opera House and hear how Sydney’s best known landmark came to be
  • Maximum group size: 16.

What's included

  • Guided small group walking tour
  • Friendly and knowledgeable local guide
  • Expert commentary.


Adults: AUD $35pp
Children (10 to 17 years): AUD $12pp

This tour is not suitable for children under the age of ten.

What you can expect

No introduction to the history of Sydney would be complete without walking the shoreline of Sydney Cove — the landing site of the First Fleet, and where the early colony of Sydney was established. However, walking with an expert local guide on this Sydney Cove Walking Tour will reveal hidden details you would otherwise miss. There are stories and evidence of the original settlement all around you — if you know where to look!

You’ll meet your guide and your fellow guests on this Sydney Cove Walking Tour at picturesque Hickson Road Reserve, just a stone’s throw from the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge. The reserve is on a point that juts out slightly into the harbour and looking back towards Circular Quay, you’ll get a new appreciation for just how busy this 21st century transport hub is. The shape of the cove on which the Quay sits has changed completely since 1788. That will soon become clear as you set off to trace the long-forgotten path of the original shoreline. [More]

As this Sydney Cove Walking Tour progresses, your knowledgeable guide will talk about the region’s First People — the Gadigal, who occupied the area for more than 20,000 years prior to European settlement.

You’ll visit the site where the First Fleet came ashore and hear stories about the growth of the early colony. You’ll see historic 19th century buildings and important memorials and monuments. So much of Sydney’s heritage is tied up in this one easily walkable precinct.

The tour finishes on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House — one of the city’s best-known and best-loved buildings. The construction of the Opera House courted huge controversy, as you’ll discover. Today it’s hard to imagine the city without the huge white sails that seem to float on the harbour.

From the Opera House it’s just a short walk back to your CBD hotel, ferry or train. Alternatively, relax with a drink overlooking Sydney Cove and consider the incredible legacies left by the early colonists.

Guest reviews

No reviews to display

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

Once your booking has been completed, a confirmation document will be sent to your email address, including tour departure details and operator contact information for the day. Please print the confirmation or have it available on your smart phone. Please refer to the booking confirmation for your confirmed tour meeting point and departure time.

Do you have a promo code? Please click here.

To purchase a gift certificate, please click here.

Do you have a group enquiry? Please contact us.

Private tours can be arranged for other days of the week.

This tour operates in all weather conditions.