A delightful neighbourhood, Balmain charms with its heritage pubs, beautifully restored cottages and terrace houses, enticing shopping on Darling Street, and weekend markets. A great way to travel to this harbourside peninsula is by ferry from Circular Quay under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Some of Australia's best-known writers, actors, film directors, musicians and artists call Balmain home. Stroll along the streets and discover Balmain’s heritage, from its working-class roots to the many restored Georgian and Regency buildings and some of the harbour city’s oldest pubs.
You’ll savour moreish pub fare. The London Hotel dates back to 1870. The Bald Rock Hotel was built in 1876, the Royal Oak Hotel in 1879 and the Riverview Hotel in 1880. Since 1881, the 3 Weeds in neighbouring Rozelle is a firm local favourite. The elegant Exchange Hotel was constructed in 1885. The owner is turning the ground floor into a wine and cheese bar.
Other great options include the Balmain Hotel, Dick’s Hotel and Unity Hall Hotel, which has jazz on Sundays. You’ll find a tempting range of restaurants and cafes too, including the acclaimed One Ford Street and Chon. Treat your sweet tooth to one of patissier Adriano Zumbo’s avant-garde desserts.
On weekends, explore bustling Balmain Markets and Rozelle Collectors Markets for fashion, food and bric-a-brac. You can bring your bathers for a dip at Australia’s oldest pool, the Dawn Fraser Baths. There are also occasional guided tours of Goat Island, rich in indigenous and convict heritage.