A vibrant and diverse mix of different cultures and alternative lifestyles. The Inner West is the heart and soul of Sydney’s bohemian culture.
Walking down King Street in Newtown is about the best introduction to the area you’ll get. For about two kilometres, from the University of Sydney all the way down to St Peters Station, you’ll find quaint, quirky and eclectic shops selling anything from high-end fashion to hand-made wooden toys. The street is full of cafés, bars and restaurants, and where else in Sydney would you find Suzy Spoon’s, Australia’s only vegetarian butcher?
If you have a spare hour or two, or indeed a whole day, Gould’s Books Arcade in Newtown is the kind of bookstore you have to see to believe – it’s more of a warehouse than an arcade. Spread across two levels, it feels almost cavernous, piled high with an extensive range of out-of-print texts and classics.
For some of the best coffee in Newtown, it doesn’t get better than Brewtown on O’Connell Street; café, coffee roastery, and artisan bakery all in one. Enjoy the morning by sipping on a delicious brew or indulging in one of their decadent cronuts. If you’re still hungry, head to Black Star Pastry on Australia Street, consistently voted one of Sydney’s best.
On a sunny afternoon, the best place to head is The Courthouse Hotel, just up the road on Australia Street. The beer garden is always busy, and if you’re lucky enough to find a spot under the big frangipani tree, order a jug of ale and settle in for a few hours.
For a night out, The Factory on Victoria Road is a theatre space that hosts comedians and live music. It’s in a dimly-lit, industrial part of town, which is great for atmosphere, but it’s a good idea to catch a ride there rather than walk. Just up the hill is the Enmore Theatre, host to some of the biggest acts to tour Sydney. This heritage-listed building is a beautiful old space, full of character, and has been keeping Newtown nights interesting since 1908.
The award-winning Redfern Park, home to the training ground of the National Rugby League side South Sydney Rabbitohs, is a vibrant park used by the diverse local population. Afterwards pop down to the Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar for a great range of flavoured teas and a selection of sandwiches and salads.
Camperdown Park, a community meeting spot in Newtown which sits just behind King Street, hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Newtown Festival comes around each November to kickstart summer; browse the arts, crafts, performances and fashion on offer, and cap the day off getting to know the local food and beverage vendors.
Victoria Park Pool is so close to the University of Sydney that you can see it from the library. This council-run centre offers a discount to students and has a gym and lots of space to dry off in the sun after your swim. A 360 membership card will get you access to all of the City’s pools and fitness centres.
Newtown Library, located just off King Street, is your best bet for reading and studying. It features a constantly changing collection of books and DVDs, free Wi-Fi, a local history collection, and a dedicated LGBTIQ section.
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown is one of Australia’s best-known hospitals and has been delivering healthcare services to Sydney since 1882.
FREE & FRUGAL
In Newtown there are almost as many Thai restaurants as there are bus stops, each as inexpensive and delicious as the next.
For something a little different, drop by Lentil As Anything. This “pay what you feel”, notfor-profit vegan restaurant lets you determine what you pay, and is completely staffed by volunteers. Try their comfort food like curries, stir fries, and soups, and know that your money is going to a worthy cause. They even offer weekly yoga classes.
Carriageworks is a large multi-arts centre on Wilson St in Eveleigh, just next door to Newtown. Housed in the old Eveleigh Rail Yards, it’s a beautifully converted industrial space that hosts local and international exhibitions as well as workshops, performances and public events. On Saturday mornings between 8am and 1pm the city’s best farmers’ market takes over. Buy your weekly fruit and vegetables, or just explore, making sure to taste the range of baked goods and artisan products on hand.