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Circular Quay is situated in the small inlet of Sydney Cove, the official landing site of the First Fleet. Scottish political reformer Thomas Muir once had a cottage here, and for decades it was the city’s main shipping port. Today, it’s best known as the place to catch one of Sydney's iconic ferries, which travel all over the harbor. It’s also a great spot to take in incredible views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Circular Quay is Sydney’s outdoor answer to New York City’s bustling Grand Central Station. As well as the ferry terminal, it has one of Sydney's busiest train stations and a bus interchange. The central location and views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge ensure that this hub is always buzzing with commuters and tourists. It’s also a focal point on New Year’s Eve, when crowds pack the area to watch the annual fireworks display.
The area is home to Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the Customs House. Art buffs will love the MCA, which underwent a major refurbishment in 2012. It’s open daily and entry is free; some touring exhibitions may attract a fee.
At the Customs House and explore the library and exhibitions, or relax with a coffee. Don’t miss the grand atrium and staircase, and the impressive scale model of Sydney, displayed under the glass floor on the ground level. Keep an eye out for the ghost of convict David O’Connor, who was hanged on the site in 1790. Rumor has it, he walks the halls of the building offering rum to unsuspecting visitors!
Harbor cruises operate regularly out of Circular Quay’s cruise terminal. For something romantic, book a sunset dinner cruise from jetty number 6. One of the most inexpensive ways to see the harbor is to catch the Manly Ferry, an unforgettable 60-minute round trip.
Located just north of downtown on Sydney Cove, Circular Quay is best accessed via public transport or on foot.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all, so why not embark on some new and exciting experiences?
Start off your trip to Circular Quay by trying out some of these activities:
Got a few spare moments? Head to our Circular Quay things to do page for a full list of activities.
This family-friendly Sydney hotel is located in the historical district, just steps from Circular Quay and Museum of Contemporary Art. The Rocks Markets and Sydney Opera House are also within 15 minutes. Sydney Circular Quay Station is only a 3-minute walk and Wynyard Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Sydney Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museum of Contemporary Art and Circular Quay. The Rocks Markets and Sydney Observatory are also within 10 minutes. Wynyard Station is 6 minutes by foot and Sydney Circular Quay Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Sydney Central Business District, this hotel is steps from The Rocks Markets, Circular Quay, and Overseas Passenger Terminal. Sydney Harbour Bridge and Australia Square are also within 10 minutes. Sydney Circular Quay Station is 7 minutes by foot and Wynyard Station is 12 minutes.
Located in Sydney Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pitt Street Mall and Circular Quay. The Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens are also within 15 minutes. Wynyard Station is 5 minutes by foot and Martin Place Station is 5 minutes.
Located in Sydney Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps from Circular Quay, Customs House, and Government House. Sydney Opera House and Museum of Sydney are also within 5 minutes. Sydney Circular Quay Station is only a 4-minute walk and Martin Place Station is 11 minutes.
This family-friendly Sydney hotel is located on the boardwalk, steps from The Rocks Markets, Circular Quay, and Overseas Passenger Terminal. Sydney Harbour Bridge and Australia Square are also within 15 minutes. Sydney Circular Quay Station is 9 minutes by foot and Wynyard Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Sydney Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps from Queen Victoria Building, The Galeries, and Sydney Town Hall. Westfield Shopping Centre and Strand Arcade are also within 5 minutes. Town Hall Station is only a 2-minute walk and St. James Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Darling Harbour, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Harbourside, Australian National Maritime Museum, and Star Casino. International Convention Centre Sydney and Chinese Garden of Friendship are also within 10 minutes. Convention Light Rail Station and Exhibition Light Rail Station are within a 5-minute walk.