On a Friday evening earlier in December I headed out to the Rocks Christmas Markets. The Rocks is a heritage and tourist precinct in between Circular Quay and Wynyard in Sydney’s CBD. It is a charming area and I love to wander the jumbled lane ways and admire the historic sandstone and brick buildings. This time when I visited there were also Christmas stalls to admire!
What is The Rocks?
The Rocks has a chequered history. It’s traditional name is Tallawoladah and was lived in by the Cadigal. After the First Fleet arrived in 1788 convicts started settling in the area instead. Over the years it became a thriving warehouse and shipping district which also housed many of the working class. After an outbreak of plague in the early 1900’s, the state government decided to revive the area and demolished many buildings and houses. These days the Rocks is known for heritage buildings, history, old world European charm and quirky town planning – or lack of it! And that is why it is a wonderful site for Christmas Markets today.
The Christmas Market Vibe
The evening that I visited the Rocks Christmas Markets, the air was extremely smokey and I could catch falling ash in my hand. But that certainly didn’t diminish the festive vibe of Christmastime amongst the people visiting the stalls and eating dinner with friends. Christmas music came across the overhead speakers and the Christmas lights strung about added plenty of cheer.
My favourite stalls included one that sells wooden Christmas ornaments and one that sells handmade fudge. I tried a tiny piece of ‘Butterbeer fudge’ that had an amazing taste of honeycomb and marshmallow. It could certainly pass for a taste of Butterbeer bought in Hogsmead! I also found stalls selling art and prints, candles and soaps, beard grooming supplies and wooden cutting boards. Jewellery is a popular choice for stalls with one selling beaded necklaces and earrings and another real eucalyptus leaf pendants encased in gold and silver.
Christmas time in Australia is generally warm (often hot!) and bright. The daylight lasts at least until 8 pm in December in Sydney because of daylight saving. The evening that I visited the Rocks Christmas Markets it was a trifle humid but there was a breeze off the water. However, for those more inclined towards Christmas as experienced in the Northern hemisphere, the Rocks also has a charming ‘Christmas Lane’. Down the quirky laneway you can find light bedecked Christmas fir trees, lights, snowflakes, trumpeters, Nutcrackers and even fake snow.
When to Go
The Rocks Christmas Markets are held on Thursdays to Saturdays in December. You can find out more about opening times as well as stores and places to find food on The Rocks’ website. I went on a Friday evening, but a stall owner told me that there are many more stalls on Saturdays and Sundays. So if you’re keen for a really big Christmas market experience I would recommend that you go then. The markets are open during the day but I really enjoyed visiting in the evening. That’s when you can really appreciate all the lights.