/ The Sydney Traveler
Sydney — By Lauren Katulka on May 12, 2010 at 4:55 am
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Discover Sydney’s Historic Rocks District

For the history buffs, The Rocks is the site of Australia’s first European settlement. Today though, its cobbled streets and heritage buildings are a great place to explore. Many of The Rocks’ colonial buildings now house art galleries, cafés, pubs, restaurants, and kitsch souvenir stores.Stairs at The Rocks

One of my favourite places to visit is La Renaissance Patisserie, a little bit of France in the middle of Sydney. Paris-trained Pierre Charkos and his wife Sally established the family business in 1974. Their signature cakes are a homage to the renaissance painters that inspired the patisserie’s name. Why not try a Mousse Van Gogh, a chocolate mousse topped with Grand Marnier-flavoured bavaroise, or the Larme de Gaugin, a creamy mixed berry mousse cake. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing, you probably don’t have a sweet tooth. Don’t worry: La Renaissance Patisserie also offers savoury treats like quiches, croissants, and cheese sticks. La Renaissance Patisserie is at 47 Argyle Street.

If you want to learn more about the area’s history, a visit to The Rocks Discovery Museum is in order. The museum, located on Kendall Lane, is home to a unique collection of images and artefacts found in The Rocks. You’ll learn about the Eora Aboriginal people who first lived there, the establishment of the English colony, and the protests in the 70s that helped preserve the area’s heritage. This may sound a little boring for kids, but they’ll love the interactive exhibits. Best of all, entry is free! You can visit every day from 10 am to 5 pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day.

I love wandering around The Rocks and discovering new treasures on my own. But if you’d prefer a local to guide you, why not try a walking tour?

The Rocks Walking Tours are 90-minute tours through The Rocks precinct. For just $30 for adults, $24 for concession holders and backpackers, $15 for children 10-16 years, and $75 for a family, the friendly guides will take you to some of Sydney’s oldest buildings, historical shops, and 19th century terrace cottages. Tours run at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm on weekdays and 11:30 am and 2 pm on weekends and public holidays.

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