Newtown street art in Sydney, Australia
Australia City Break Travel Ideas

Australia: Wandering through Newtown in Sydney

As well as the obligatory cruise around Circular Quay and the Botanic Gardens, taking in Sydney’s most iconic views, it’s always fun to explore a new city neighbourhood. Last time I was in Sydney it was the cafes and iron lace of Surry Hills. On my most recent visit to Sydney I stayed in Newtown, which was described to me as Sydney’s version of Melbourne’s Brunswick Street.

Multi-cultural Newtown in Sydney, Australia

Certainly Newtown’s King Street on a Friday night was hopping with a multi-cultural community feel, plus colourful characters, and fabulously diverse places to eat and drink. In fact it is sometimes dubbed ‘Eat Street’.

Newtown is only a few stops on the train from central Sydney and boasts an impressively homogenous and attractive collection late Victorian / Federation period commercial architecture.

King Street, Newtown, Sydney, Australia

Similarly to Surry Hills, Newtown was originally a prosperous suburb that degenerated into a working class slum, then attracted immigrants after the second World War and has now transformed again into a bohemian neighbourhood beloved by Sydney’s young people for its pubs and cafes.

Antique shops groaning with furniture and bric-a-brac are common, rubbing shoulders with designer handbag stores, and vintage clothing emporiums like Mink Schmink and Mulberry Street.

Street art in Newtown, Sydney, Australia

There is some iconic Sydney street art, including this of Martin Luther King Jr juxtaposed with the Aboriginal flag. This was painted by Andrew Aiken and Julee Pryor:

Martin Luther King Jr street art in Newtown, Sydney, Australia

And truly the eating and drinking options are legion with everything from African to Asian food and everything in between. I sampled a few (on local recommendation) and loved the following:

Bloodwood – a few highly-rated Sydney chefs have collaborated in this highly popular bar/restaurant. We had to wait an hour (drinking cocktails) to get a table but the delicate kingfish carpaccio and the spicy ribs and aubergine dishes were only just superseded by the desserts. A grown-up trifle with marscapone and a Pavlova topped with mango mousse. Mm heaven.

Rice Paper – this Vietnamese restaurant specialises in fresh rice paper rolls, one of my favourite elements of Vietnam’s cuisine.

Luxe Bakery in Newtown, Sydney, AustraliaLuxe Bakery – just off King Street on Missenden Rd, this is the perfect brunch spot in Newtown. The eggs were perfectly poached and the hash browns to die for. A great space and the yummy sourdough bread that Australians love.

By Natasha von Geldern

What is your favourite Sydney neighbourhood to eat and drink?

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  1. I love Newtown!!! I used to live near here years ago. Damn I miss Australia so much. Good article!

  2. Never been here but sounds great!

  3. I’ve only been to Central Sydney, though not for too long, and it’s funny how I would not really have considered to explore any suburbs, as if they had nothing to offer… (Well, sometimes it’s the case) It reminds me of Berlin, where every part of the city has its very own vibe and is fun to explore (and witness the discussions as to which quarter is cool now, or the best, anyway:)…) and you kind of miss out when you don’t go there thinking there aren’t any major sights – but all these little parts are so alive and represent the life in the city so well that I feel they are as much a “must do” as anything else. And your post about Newtown reminds me of that. Apart from that, any place that displays Jandal/FlipFlop/Thong art, MUST be awesome:)

    • You’re so right Vera. I always thought Sydney was pretty and a bit brash and that was it. They changed the licensing laws a couple of years ago, which has led to a proliferation of small, funky bars that are more in the Melbourne style. I think that has made a difference. But Newtown was a revelation and did reveal such a different side Sydney. I really enjoyed getting to know it a little.

  4. I really need to go to Australia!!

  5. Because of your posts, Australia is creeping higher and higher toward the top of our list! Gotta go! Keep up the good work tempting us!

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