Did you know Sydney had something called Nurses Walk? And that too in The Rocks and Circular Quay areas? I was surprised too when I accidentally stumbled up on it while walking around the area and exploring the two adjacent suburbs.
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The Nurses Walk is one of the hidden gems that one can find in the middle of the city and get a bit of history about the beautiful city of Sydney. After you enter the lane way of the Nurses walk, it suddenly becomes very quiet and peaceful. This is a place that reminds visitors of the history that Sydney had before when compared to what it is today.
In this post, I have tried to provide as much information as possible regarding the Nurses Walk. The Nurses Walk is a self guided walk where one can walk on the lane ways and read about them on the plaques provided throughout.
However, there is a free “The Rocks” tour everyday at 6 PM starting from Cadmans Cottage (water side). This is a 1.5 hours walking tour that provides information on the murders, convicts and mysteries around the Rocks area. Look out for a person wearing a bright green T-shirt with “I’m Free” written on it.
PIN for later reference
Where is Nurses Walk?
Nurses Walk is a narrow alley in The Rocks, right behind the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). The street has a history and is one of the oldest lane ways in Sydney. However, today the lane way is known for its quaint shops, art galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
The Nurses Walk is open 24 hours.
How to get to Nurses Walk?
- The closest train station is the Circular Quay train station. There are very frequent trains between Central station and Circular Quay.
- The train that needs to be taken to get to Circular Quay is the Sydney city circle line.
- There is also a light rail that runs between Central/ Haymarket/ Town Hall/ Wynyard to Circular Quay.
- Opal transportation and credit/debit cards can be used to pay the fares on public transport. However, paying by Opal cards fetch discounts on the fares and is just AUD 2.5 for a ticket when traveling on Sundays.
- Up-to-date and accurate details on timings and fare of the public transportation can be found on the Transport for New South Wales (NSW) website.
- One can also walk from Wynyard train station and the walk is around 9 minutes (750 metres). The path is straightforward and is on the George Street.
History of Nurses Walk
Nurses Walk was created in the year 1979 to honor of the first hospital constructed in the colonial era. It is to commemorate the nurses who worked in the area’s hospital between the years 1788 and 1816.
Nurses Walk got its name when Sydney was affected by “sickness”. The convicts who landed from England were suffering from diseases such as typhoid, smallpox, scurvy and dysentery. The Governor Philip who landed after a few days set up a hospital tent to care for the severely impacted convicts.
The colonial era in Australia refers to a period when Australia was a collection of British colonies. It was between the years 1788 and 1901. The colonies were created to send the convicts to live and work.More information on AWM website.
There are many plaques in the alley that provide information about the history and Nurses Walk.
Things to do
There is NO entry ticket to walk on the lane ways of Nurses Walk.
- Suez Canal Entry – The Suez Canal Entry is a very interesting lane way that is less than 1 metre wide. The street, previously known as Cornwall Lane, has images of various characters. The characters depict people, especially gangsters, who may have walked on this street once.
Experience the dark side of Sydney and see the characters of the male and female gangsters were engaged in the activities. Supposedly, the characters from the tales of the famous gangs Argyll Mob, Cumberland Razor.
- Shopping – There are art galleries where one can buy paintings. The most famous shop is the Australian Alpaca Barn.
Note: The lane ways are uneven and cobbled so be a bit careful if you are not wearing the appropriate shoes. Also, the lane ways are pedestrian lane ways and there are no vehicles that can enter.
- Restaurants – As I mentioned, there are a few pretty restaurants to dine in. One of the restaurants that I found interesting was the Tayim, a Middle Eastern restaurant, and I really loved their decor from the outside. There is also a Starbucks as soon as you enter the lane way.
Note: I have not dined in any of the restaurants or cafes at the Nurses Walk so I am not very sure of the food and service there.
- Street art by Vhils – Even though the street art by Vhils is not part of the Nurses Walk, the end of the walk is on the Globe Street. The staircase on the Globe street has a huge portrait of the Sydney environmental activist Jack Mundey.
For other amazing things to do in Sydney Central Business District (CBD), refer my Sydney CBD section.
Safety for solo female travelers
Sydney is extremely safe for solo female travelers. I have lived in this city for more than 9 years now and I have never had any problems whatsoever. This is the city that is friendly and open to tourists. However, like any other city, I would suggest being cautious and knowing your surroundings, especially at nights.
Always have the important phone numbers handy when traveling solo.
The Nurses Walk was truly a small hidden gem that can be easily missed while walking in the Rocks. I am glad to have found this place and walked on the cobbled street ways that was constructed to honor the nurses. Even though this is not one of the must see places, but I would suggest visiting it if you have more time in Sydney.