The view from the Balmain ferry

Start your day out to Balmain with a ferry ride. Travel from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour to Balmain East and you can walk the length of Darling Street, window shopping, stopping in for a coffee or tea, and admiring glimpses of the water views as you stroll along tree-lined streets past some of Sydney’s oldest cottages.

  • Darling St Balmain
  • Harbour sunset, Balmain

About Balmain

Just across the water from Darling Harbour, the Balmain peninsula is truly a sight to behold with its many parks lining the shores.

Balmain was one of the earliest Sydney suburbs to be settled by Europeans, becoming an industrial hub and a major Sydney port, with shipbuilding, engineering, and coal mining taking off in the late 1800’s. Its working class background, coupled with an influx of immigrants in the 1950’s and the resulting gentrification of the 1960s developed the eclectic, vibrant Balmain it is today. Balmain is colourful, artistic and home to some of Australia's best-known writers, actors, film directors, musicians and artists.

The architecture of Balmain is thanks largely to its working class past, with well-preserved ‘workers cottages’ lining its streets and laneways. Take a self-guided walk of the area and discover Balmain’s history for yourself. There are many well-preserved Georgian and Regency buildings, as well as some of Sydney’s oldest pubs, where you can stop in for a pint. Visit the Bald Rock Hotel, built in 1876 and the longest continually licensed pub in the area, the Riverview Hotel, known for its upmarket bistro fare, and the 3 Weeds, a firm local favourite since 1881. The hip and revamped Balmain Hotel and The Workers are also great options. Both old-school pubs have been given quirky retro makeovers with menus to match, so you can enjoy top drops and quality pub grubs with a new-school twist.

Food and wine is at its relaxed best in Balmain, with some of Sydney’s top cafes and restaurants in residence. Try one of patissier Adriano Zumbo's avant-garde desserts, feast on a Middle Eastern brunch at Kazbah, have an incredible Turkish dinner at Efendy or indulge in some of Sydney’s best pizza at Rosso Pomodoro. On the weekends, Balmain is ideal place to go for breakfast and then while the day away; check out the Balmain Markets and the Rozelle Markets with their eclectic mix of fashion, food and bric-a-brac.


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