Even Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair can get busy – usually on public holidays and weekends. Try to choose a weekday if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Mrs’ Macquarie’s Chair may not be as well-known as some other locations in Sydney, and its name does not exactly make the average tourist brim with eager anticipation, but it does have one significant draw – the view from the Chair is perhaps the finest to be found anywhere in the city. From here it is possible to see both the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, and from a distance that allows for a greater appreciation of the scale and setting of these places than can be achieved from closer up.
Watching the Ships Roll In
The chair was carved in 1810, during the period when Scottish colonial administrator Major-General Lachlan Macquarie was the governor of New South Wales. His wife Elizabeth loved to sit on an exposed sandstone rock overlooking the harbour and watch for ships arriving from Great Britain. Eventually Macquarie decided that a bare rock was insufficient for a woman of Elizabeth’s daintiness, and ordered a team of convicts to carve a bench from the sandstone.
Visiting the Chair today, it seems impossible that such a peaceful spot can be found so close to the constant hustle and bustle of the nearby opera house. You can sit for as long as you like, gazing out over the harbour, and take a break after a day’s sightseeing. A bonus is that arriving at the Chair itself requires a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are easily worth a visit in themselves. Combining the two is a great choice for a more relaxed afternoon.
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