Nurses Walk in Sydney

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.

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.

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PIN for later reference - Nurses Walk in Sydney
PIN for later reference – Nurses Walk in Sydney
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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.
Sydney city circle map
Sydney City Circle Map; Source: Metro Easy
  • 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.

Nurses Walk
A plaque at the Nurses Walk

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.
Street art by Vhils
Street art by Vhils

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.

Closing notes

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.

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PIN for later reference - Nurses Walk in Sydney
PIN for later reference – Nurses Walk in Sydney

10 thoughts on “Nurses Walk in Sydney”

  1. As I am from the UK, I always find it wonderful to come across British history in other countries. I only done Australia once and went to Melbourne, so to do the history there was amazing, as well as other countries like USA, Canada, Gibraltar (Spain) and so fourth. I havent done Sydney yet, but I would consider doing this walk, not just because its a walk and a freebie, but I love to step back in time and get a feel for the place. Wonderful tip here. Thank you.

  2. I had actually never heard of the Nurse Walk before. It is always nice to learn about these hidden gems, particulaly when they pay tribute to heroes like our front line professionals.It’s also nice that it is a free activity in the city. Those are not always easy to come by!

  3. I am planning on visiting Australia as soon as this pandemic clears up and I will have to check out this walk when I am in Sydney! Thanks for sharing all the things to do around the area so I can plan a perfect day in Sydney. Saving for later so I remember how to best get to Nurses Walk and remember all these tips on my vacation.

  4. This is really something unique. To have a place called Nurses Walk! But the place looks really peppy with the artworks. The area really looks like it has an old world character from the pictures. Very happy to know about this.

  5. Love this little hidden gem! I had no idea the Nurses Walk existed when I was in Sydney, but it’s always fun to discover these hidden pieces of history in well-traveled areas. Thank you for sharing!

  6. The Nurses Walk seems perfect hidden gem of Sydney. I hope I visit this fabulous city one day because it’s on my bucket list. I like the story of the beginning of this walk-in in 1979 and about the plagues in the XVIII and XIX century. It’s such a great post with so many tips!

  7. Interesting! I wonder if this was the original location of the hospital tent for the convicts. Besides doing my own self-guided tour, I would also like to join the free walking-tour. It will be cool to learn about the murders, convicts, and mysteries around The Rocks.

  8. It was nice learning about Nurses Walk which I had never heard about before. History of a place has always fascinated me and so it would be great taking this self guided walk to feel the peace of the place. Thanks for the complete guide which would be so useful when we plan for Australia.

  9. This is a truly unique thing, we’ve never heard of anything like the Nurses Walk. It sounds really amazing that it pays tribute to our medical practitioners. Every country should have something like this especially nowadays!


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