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Customs House Tours

Customs House
In bustling Circular Quay, Customs House stands on the spot where modern Australia was founded. This is where, in 1788, the First Fleet came ashore to establish a British penal colony in a faraway land. Built in 1845 in a classically Georgian style, the building is exceptionally well preserved, and the exterior is a sight in itself.
 
The Basics
Until 1990, Customs House served as headquarters for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Today, it is a popular meeting and gathering space. On the top floor, Café Sydney looks out over Circular Quay and is a great place for a fresh seafood meal, while the laid-back outdoor Quay Bar offers drinks and snacks. Free exhibitions are on regular display throughout the building, and the ground floor and library offer relaxed lounge areas, shared work spaces, and public-access computers.
 
Visits to Customs House are often included in architecture, history, and heritage-themed walking tours, which also give a sense of the European settlement of Sydney and its development into a modern city.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Customs House is a must-visit for those with an interest in Sydney’s history.
  • Entrance to Customs House is free of charge.
  • There is free Wi-Fi throughout the building.
  • The building has ramp access and accessible elevators that reach all floors.
 
How to Get There
Customs House is in the heart of Circular Quay and close to many major hotels. It’s a 10-minute walk from Martin Place train station, 15 minutes from Town Hall train station, and five minutes from the Sydney Opera House.
 
When to Get There

The building is open daily. On weekdays from 8am to 12am; Saturday 10am to 12am, and Sunday 11am to 5pm. Restaurants and exhibitions keep slightly different hours, so check before you visit.
 
City Model: Sydney at Your Feet
There’s a miniature replica of the city in a glass atrium under the first floor of the Customs House. The scale model depicts 3.9 square miles (10 square kilometers) of downtown Sydney and is upgraded yearly to reflect the ever-changing face of the city. City Model is even more striking at night when hundreds of fiber-optic lights illuminate the streets under your feet.
Address: 31 Alfred Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
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7 Tours and Activities to Experience Customs House

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Convicts and The Rocks: Sydney's Walking Tour Led by Historian

Convicts and The Rocks: Sydney's Walking Tour Led by Historian

star-5
Head to The Rocks to learn about Sydney’s colorful past. Your historian guide will regale you with stories of the first convicts to arrive in Sydney, their early experiences in Australia, and how they ultimately transformed a shanty camp to an enduring settlement. Listen to tales of street gangs, see the city’s oldest cottage, visit the Customs House, and check out maps and murals of old and new Sydney.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$26.13
From
$26.13

Sydney Complete Walking Tour

Sydney Complete Walking Tour

star-5
See the best of Sydney on this three-hour crash course covering the city’s fascinating history, vibrant culture and stunning architecture in just 3 hours (including a coffee and a beer)! Your friendly, local tour guide will give a taste of everything — starting with the history (Aboriginal Australia through to today) then move onto other important bits like our favourite cafes, pubs, museums and walks to do around. You’ll finish this tour at a historic Sydney pub with suggestions about what to do next in Sydney, and you will come away from the experience with a greater understanding of what makes Sydney tick.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$49.40
From
$49.40

Explore The Rocks Sydney In A Series Of Fun Cryptic Clues

Explore The Rocks Sydney In A Series Of Fun Cryptic Clues

star-4.5
Explore The Rocks district in Sydney with a scavenger hunt-style game that puts a fun twist on traditional sightseeing. Learn about the history and heritage of Australia’s first settlement as you work to solve the clues and find the Captains Ship. The game takes you into alleyways, courtyards, and streets that many visitors miss, with stops at landmarks such as the Customs House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Observatory.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$15.49
From
$15.49
Taking safety measures

Private Luxury Architectural Walking Half Day Tour

Private Luxury Architectural Walking Half Day Tour

A unique way to fully understand Sydney’s “lay of the land”, discover the city’s fascinating architecture as your host captivates you with remarkable details about its design and creation. Despite being so young on a global scale, Sydney’s architectural story is incredibly rich and diverse. Your host is a spunky award-winning Architectural Urbanist, passionate about all things design and sustainability. He will provide you with a real sense of the city’s orientation, settlement and evolution. Your host will meet you at your hotel at 9am for your half day experience focused on discovering the city’s architectural gems. This architectural experience is a walking tour, covering anywhere between 2-5kms so be certain to wear your most comfortable shoes and to apply sunscreen on the day.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$322.18
Price varies by group size
From
$322.18
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

The Beauty of Sydney Private Bike Tour

The Beauty of Sydney Private Bike Tour

What could be more thrilling than flying through the streets of Sydney on two wheels? Experience the child-like joy that only comes from biking as you whiz around taking in everything from the colonial-era Cadmans Cottage to the trendy spaces of the Museum of Contemporary Art and beyond. Cycling is a locals’ favorite way to get around. So hop on, blend in, and set off to discover Sydney. You’ll be surprised by how much more you can see when you explore by bike. Sydney is a city that embraces the outdoor lifestyle, with a fantastic mix of neighborhoods and open spaces to explore. By bike, you can see it all. As well as checking out the unmissable Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll get off the tourist trail and discover a side to Sydney that only the locals see. Your cycle-loving host will be by your side at all times, so follow their lead for an easy-going ride.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$114.95
Price varies by group size
From
$114.95
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Sydney Self-Guided Audio Tour

Sydney Self-Guided Audio Tour

Explore Sydney at your own pace with a downloadable audio tour. This self-guided walking tour includes insightful cultural and historical commentary and a map of the tour route. See the Sydney Harbour and its spectacular bridge and opera house with added context in your ear. Walk through The Rocks and learn about the city’s convict past, then dig deeper into Sydney’s past with a visit to the museum of Sydney. Ideal for visitors who enjoy privacy and prefer to explore on their own.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$16.11
From
$16.11
Taking safety measures

Explore Sydney's Secrets In A Series Of Fun Cryptic Clues

Explore Sydney's Secrets In A Series Of Fun Cryptic Clues

star-5
Central Sydney is known for its charming laneways and sidestreets. This travel game lets visitors explore these streets while solving puzzles and riddles with an online app, the perfect activity for families or friends looking for exciting and playful things to do while learning about Sydney’s attractions.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.06
per group
From
$25.06
per group
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Customs House?