Colony History Walk (Part 2) – The Australian Heritage Hotel to Dawes Point

A few weeks ago, during my hunt of discovering the Sydney hidden gems, I stumbled upon the Colony History Walk. The walk is divided into two parts – Part 1: Customs House to The Big Dig and Part 2: The Australian Heritage Hotel to Dawes Point. In this post, I have talked only about the Part 2: The Australian Heritage Hotel to Dawes Point which is a continuation of Part 1: Customs House to the Big Dig.

Sydney CBD Colony History Walk
Sydney Central Business District (CBD)

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Colony History Walk

As I mentioned previously in my Part 1: Customs House to the Big Dig post, the Colony History Walk is along the Circular Quay, The Rocks and Millers Point. The walk is through the peninsula where colonial Sydney laid down its roots. It is said that the early settlers, convicts, sailors, soldiers and the whalers, all of them walked this route.

Part 2: The Australian Heritage Hotel to Dawes Point

Part 2 of the Colony History walk starts at the Australian Hotel in Circular Quay and ends at the Dawes Point in the Rocks. It takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to complete this walk at a leisure pace. Note: There are steep stairs along the way.

  • Starting point: The Australian Heritage Hotel.
  • Finishing point: Dawes Point.
  • Total distance: 1.8 kilometres.
  • Total time taken: 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Grade: Easy.
  • Path: The Australian Heritage Hotel – Garrison Church (Holy Trinity) – Observatory Hill Park – The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel – Hero of Waterloo – Ferry lane & the Paddock – Dawes Point/Tar-ra.
Customs House to The Big Dig: Source: Google Maps
The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point: Source: Google Maps

Stop 1: The Australian Heritage Hotel

With an old-style architecture and vibes, the Australian Heritage Hotel is a lovely place to have beers and eat pizzas. Established in the year 1914, the hotel holds the longest running hotel licence in Sydney.

The closest train station to the Customs House is Circular Quay train station. The Sydney city line goes to Circular Quay from Central train station. For up-to-date and recent information on the public transportation is found on the Transport for NSW website. Note: The fare for transport can be paid either using credit/debit cards or Opal transport card. Paying by Opal attracts a discounted fare rates.

The Australian Hotel -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
The Australian Heritage Hotel

Stop 2: Garrison Church (Holy Trinity)

Opened in 1846, the Garrison Church is a heritage listed active church in Sydney. Also known as Holy Trinity Anglican Church and Hall, the church is owned by Anglican Church Property Trust. The church has a significant importance in demonstrating the pattern or natural history in New South Wales (NSW).

  • Timings: 9:30 AM till 4 PM.

Did you know that the Garrison Church is the first military church built in colonial Australia?

Garrison Church -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
The Garrison Church (Holy Trinity)

Stop 3: Observatory Hill Park

Providing spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour bridge, Observatory Park Hill is an amazing place in the Sydney Central Business District (CBD). The park’s history dates back to 1796 and it was used as the site of the first windmill in the colony. It is also known as Windmill Hill and Fort Philip and Flagstaff Hill. The park hosts a number of historical buildings and the most prominent one is the Sydney Observatory, that was built in 1858.

  • Entry into the Observatory Hill Park and Sydney Observatory is FREE.

Observatory Hill Park is a popular lookout and photography spot among the wedding photographers.

Observatory Hill Park - Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
Sydney Observatory seen from Observatory Hill Park

Stop 4: The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel is home to Australia’s oldest pub brewery and also Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel. The hotel was established in 1841 and is recognised around the World for its beers. It is a three storey sandstone building in the Old Colonial Regency style. The hotel claimed it liquor licence one year before Sydney was proclaimed as a city.

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel is known for its good variety of craft beers. So beer lovers take a note!

Lord Nelson Hotel -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

Stop 5: The Hero of Waterloo

Built from 1843 to 1844, the Hero or Waterloo is a heritage listed pub in Millers Point of Sydney. The Hero of Waterloo is the second oldest surviving hotel in Sydney. It is a three storey building constructed in ashlar stone.

The hotel retains substantial evidence in its original form.

The Hero of Waterloo -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
The Hero of Waterloo

Stop 6: Ferry Lane & The Paddock

Cobblestone lane ways with tiny cottages lined on either side of the lane is the Ferry lane. It was all but abandoned during the Bubonic Plague. Some of the houses were even burnt down as residents were evacuated and the area was fumigated.

Ferry Lane -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
Ferry Lane

In the year 1914, the site was cleared and flattened to the level and a green patch was created for the local children to play. And this area was known as the Paddock, the first ever children’s playground in Sydney.

The Paddock -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
The Paddock

Stop 7: Dawes Point/Tar-ra

Tar-ra is an aboriginal name for the peninsula. Also known as Dawes Point, this is an area where aboriginal people used to cook fish. It was named after Lieutenant William Dawes of the First Fleet.

Look out for engravings near the Dawes Point Battery. These engravings were carved by the aboriginal people.

Tar-ra -Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
Dawes Point/ Tar-ra

Bonus Stop: Cadmans Cottage

A heritage listed former water police station and sailor’s home is the Cadmans Cottage. It is the oldest surviving residential cottage in Sydney.

  • Timings: Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 4:30 PM.
  • Free guided tours are run on 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 9:45 AM to 10:15 AM.
  • More details can be found on the National Park NSW website.
Cadmans Cottage - Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
Cadmans Cottage

Safety for Solo female travelers

Sydney is one of the safest cities I have traveled in. I have never faced too many issues while traveling within the city. However, like any other city be cautious and know your surroundings especially at nights.

Sydney CBD

Closing notes

The Colony History Walk: The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point is one of the most beautiful walks I have done in the city. The walk provides an awesome insight in Sydney’s history and it was so amazing comparing what things were back then to what it is now. I had a lot of fun doing this walk and I would definitely recommend it for everyone.

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12 thoughts on “Colony History Walk (Part 2) – The Australian Heritage Hotel to Dawes Point”

  1. I am loving the looks of this walk but what I like the most is some of the buildings and the brick work which is either the orginial bricks or refurb bricks, but still, it makes it look like the buildings were built in either the 18th or 19th century or maybe early 20th century. The view of the bridge at the end of the walk is the reward. Would defo hit this up when I eventually get to Sydney.

  2. I always love learning about the history of a place when I visit. There’s nothing like standing in the same place that years ago might’ve been something else, or the event of a major historical event. I’m sad I missed these spots when I was in Sydney, but I’m dreaming of going back and will have to give this walk a go!

  3. Hi there,
    I was in Sydeny for Christmas a couple of years ago and I went to the Hero of Waterloo! It was a natrual choice given that I’m origionally from the Uk 🙂 Nikki

  4. I wish I would have known about the Colony History walk when I was in Sydney. I was surprised the read the first windmill was on Observatory Hill, I don’t recall seeing any windmills when I visited Australia. Ferry Lane looks like such a cute area, it’s too bad parts of it were destroyed. I also found Sydney to be safe and was surprised how friendly and helpful people were.

  5. The past few weeks I have binge watching walking tours on Youtube and I realized that there is beauty in exploring a place by foot. Your post is simply perfect and I would love to take to colony history walk if given the chance. The small pathway in the ferry lane is so cute that it looks like a scene from the movies.

  6. I love a self guided walk in a city so it was fabulous to read about this particular one, especially given the history of the route for the early settlers. I appreciate all the highlighted stops along the way, and details down to timings. The most fascinating for me were the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel and Dawes Point, with it’s beautiful views.

  7. I love exploring a place on foot. Firstly because I don’t drive, and secondly because you can take your own time and see more (and stop at as many cafes as you want along the way). 1.5 hours sounds like a good length for a morning or evening stroll. I might combine it with other walks around the area if there’s any.

  8. I love these 1-2 hour walks as I find it the best way to explore a city and its history. The History walk would certainly feature in my plans. Thanks for a detailed guide and that is something I love about your posts.

  9. This would be our kind of walk! Loving the sights of the bricks and how its all been conserved. I can imagine us taking our time and taking lots of photographs so such a historical place. A must see when we go to Aus for sure!

  10. What a fabulous way to peek into the past of the country. The Colony History Walk is indeed a pleasure to take where one can get great insights into the old colonial architecture. The façade and overall construction of heritage buildings are really great inheritance for today’s modern architecture. Thanks for reminding a pleasing way to explore Sydney’s hidden gems.


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