Crime and corruption, foul play and infidelity, today’s headlines have nothing on Sydney’s dirty secrets explored in a Tank Stream Hotel review. What’s it like to stay in the heart of Sydney’s historic area? Eat drink and be Kerry dishes out the watery truth!

Tank Stream Hotel Review

From the entrance of Tank Stream Hotel, the Tank Stream winds its way to Circular Quay. This underground remnant from Sydney’s convict past is a link to days when rum ruled the streets. When sourcing a new cabin boy was as easy as dragging a shanghaied, drugged lad through a dark tunnel, and the Push claimed its victims with socks of sand.

The finest harbour in the world

The city of Sydney was ‘born’ on 26 January 1788, with a backdrop of the “finest harbour in the world”, as Captain Phillip was to later describe Sydney Harbour. When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, the colony should have been established at Botany Bay, but the lack of freshwater persuaded Captain Arthur Phillip to move the settlement 14km north to Sydney Cove, where there was a freshwater stream. In those days, the stream was open, running from a swamp in Hyde Park down through waterfalls across Bridge Street and then out to what is now Circular Quay.

Wandering with Sydney Urban Adventures

Philip, who is guiding the Sydney Urban Adventures tour, says these walking trails are popular with North American visitors and increasingly travellers from Denmark who want to see the Sydney Opera House designed by their countrymen. For the next two hours, we walk the Rocks district learning about the early establishment of Sydney.  The story starts with the British looking for a place to dump their undesirables post the American revolution, somewhere like Australia.  So they loaded up the ships and set sail.

These were harsh times.  The Tank Stream got its name from the deep holes the convicts dug in the sandstone to create water tanks.  They also dug into the side of cliffs to create primitive hole homes.

The tour stops for a moment outside the oldest building in Sydney, Cadman’s Cottage, just near Circular Quay where there is a statue of William Bligh. The Rocks are full of the story of the Rum Rebellion when rum was the currency in Australia and William Bligh was the man sent to whip the Rum Corps into shape. They marched up the street singing God Save the Queen and knocked on his door to put Bligh under house arrest for two years.

There’s also the anchor from the HMSS Sirius, which conveyed the first fleet from the Isle of Wight in 1787, to see.

Tall tales and true

We stop for a welcome drink on a hot day at the Hero of Waterloo, a pub that claims to be Sydney’s oldest.  Down to the cellar we go to see where they locked up boys drugged with a Mickey Finn, shanghaied for staff recruitment 1840s style. The boys were dragged through a tunnel to sail away on a ship for several months.  Some even came back for a second stint by choice, so the story goes.

Not all of them survived and the pub also has had its share of untimely deaths, so it’s no surprise that The Hero of Waterloo is known as Australia’s most haunted pub.  The hairs on the back of my neck were definitely on full alert in the unpleasantly smelling cellar.

The Tank Stream Hotel

The Tank Stream Hotel is located in the heart of Sydney’s central business district, just minutes away from Martin Place, Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and Barangaroo.  It is built above and named after the freshwater stream that was the life source for the first European colony.

Staying at the Tank Stream Hotel

When I walk into my room I’m pleased by the warm monochrome décor and the large, centrally placed bed. The timber bedhead wraps around the bed offering plenty of spots to place a cuppa or a book. Integrated lighting is easy to use. There’s a small glimpse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from my window and concealed ceiling lighting enhances the light and spacious décor.  A desk under the television offers a convenient workplace with plenty of power points and charging slots.

Although not overly large, the well-designed bathroom feels roomy.

An all-inclusive rate concept provides complimentary Wi-Fi, in-room movies, minibar soft drinks and Nespresso coffee.  Such a pleasant change to have Wi-Fi included and it’s real Wi-Fi too, not that pretend signal that takes you nowhere and gives you nothing.  There’s also a complimentary mini-bar stocked with muesli bars and juice.

Their French-styled bistro, Le Petit Flot, overlooks one of Sydney’s historic laneways and features a menu showcasing local produce with French and Asian influences.  Open for breakfast and dinner, it also offers a bento box style takeaway option.  For me, it was too easy to stay curled up in bed after a day of adventure and dine on a healthy salmon dinner delivered to my room.

Where to find the Tank Stream Hotel

The 4.5-star Tank Stream Hotel is located just a short walk from the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, Hyde Park, The Rocks, Barangaroo, and trains, buses and ferries at 97 Pitt Street, Sydney. I stayed in a Premium Queen room, which costs from $360 per night.

Where else to stay in Sydney?

Looking for other great Sydney hotels?  Here are my reviews of Sofitel Darling Harbour and Hyatt Regency

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a guest of the Tank Stream Hotel.