This harbourside suburb is one of Sydney's coolest shopping neighbourhoods with the highlights scattered along Darling Street. On Saturdays travel on foot from Balmain to Rozelle markets, passing Alfie's Store,...
Splendid views from Balmain ferries
A ferry ride on beautiful Sydney Harbour is a wonderful way to get to Balmain. Travel from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour to Balmain East and you can walk the length of Darling Street, window shopping, stopping at a charming cafe or heritage pub, and admiring glimpses of the harbour as you stroll along tree-lined streets past some of Sydney’s oldest cottages.
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 1800s. A combination of its working class roots, an influx of immigrants in the 1950s and gentrification of the 1960s developed Balmain into the eclectic, vibrant suburb it is today. Some of Australia's best-known writers, actors, film directors, musicians and artists call Balmain home.
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 restored Georgian and Regency buildings and 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 retro makeovers with menus to match, so you can enjoy quality pub grub with a new 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, savour French cuisine and live jazz at Little Darling Diner or indulge in some of Sydney’s best pizza at Rosso Pomodoro. On the weekends, Balmain is an ideal place to go for breakfast and then while the day away; check out the Balmain Markets and the Rozelle Markets with their delightful mix of fashion, food and bric-a-brac.