The Rocks is the name given to the oldest area of Sydney which is located at the Sydney end of the Harbour Bridge between the bridge and Circular Quay. It was once the area inhabited by poor dock-workers and ex-convicts and has been transformed into an area filled with bars, restaurants, markets and shops and has become one of the most-visited parts of the city. It is considered to be Sydney's oldest preserved colonial district .
In addition to the retail and dining options, attractions include the Sydney Visitor Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Merchants House, The Susannah Place Museum (a row of old terraced houses restored to their original state), the Discovery Museum and the oldest building in the city, Cadman's Cottage.
Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the world's most iconic bridges and a significant feat of engineering. It was opened in 1932 after more than 8 years of construction work although planning of the bridge had begun as early as 1912.
The bridge is known locally by the affectionate nick-name of 'The Coathanger' due to its unusual shape. At it's tallest point, the bridge stands 134m high and has a total length of 503m. With a breadth of 49m, the bridge is the widest single-span bridge in the world. The bridge has 8 lanes for vehicles, a further two train lines and a pedestrian footway as well as a cycle path. For those who wish to cross the bridge 'the hard way' bridge climbs are also available.
The bridge connects Sydney's CBD area with the area known as the North Shore and is just across the water from the Sydney Opera House in one direction and the Luna Park amusement park in the other.
The Harbour Bridge is always a key focal point of any national celebrations such as New Year's Eve when it is lit up with a major firework display.