North Sydney, Sydney - Region Information

North Sydney is a satellite commercial centre just across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Sydney city. It has few visitor attractions as it is an office centre for a wide range of major companies in computers, communications, insurance, travel and so on.

Catering for 'suits' that flood the area on working days, it has a large number of cafes, restaurants, pubs, club and several discos. It 'dies' on weekends apart from a few restaurants and pubs which are supported by nearby residents.

The most significant place of interest is a museum at Mary MacKillop Place, which tells the story of Australia's first and only Catholic Saint. A tour includes a visit to her tomb in the adjoining chapel. Open Sundays to Fridays 10am to 4pm, Saturdays 12pm to 4pm. It is in Mount Street, left at the post office on the Pacific Highway.

Two short blocks away in Napier Street is the Don Bank Museum devoted to the history of the local area (left into Charles Street off the Pacific Highway, then right). There is short term meter parking in the area for cars costing $6 an hour. Bring coins. Buses from the city stop on the highway nearby.

One of the most popular pubs for business people in the area is in one of North Sydney's prettiest old sandstone buildings. The Greenwood was once a boy's high school teaching technical subjects. Its vaulted ceiling halls now house bars and a good restaurant. It forms part of the attractive Greenwood Plaza shopping complex which is directly opposite North Sydney railway station, with direct access underground.

North Sydney Accommodation - Get accommodation close to the city with out the hustle and bustle! Limited history makes this area more modern and a great place to eat, drink and picnic. North Sydney contains some of Sydney's prettiest suburbs and is a great holiday alternative from staying in the city. Book accommodation and tours now.

There are entrances from Blue Street (in front of the railway station), Miller Street and the Pacific Highway. A large parking station is under the complex, off the highway. Have your parking ticket stamped at the bar or one of the shops and you get two hours free parking if you spend $10 or more (three hours on weekends). Street parking is very limited.

If you are staying in the area, Greenwood is a good place to shop for essentials as well as boutique lines. It has a good delicatessen and a fish shop with fresh, quality seafood.

The North Sydney area has a few good hotels which provide an alternative to Sydney city accommodation, particularly if the visitor has business to do in the area. It has a frequent train service to the city, and plentiful buses. Taxis between the two cost $12 to $15. But traffic in peak times is really bad and can add substantially to the cost. Street parking in working hours can be a nightmare for visitors, though there are parking stations. Hotels have their own.

North Sydney is surrounded by some of the prettiest harbourside suburbs - Kirribilli, Milsons Point and McMahon's Point, each of which has a village atmosphere and is fun to visit. All three have beautiful views across the harbour to the city.

Kirribilli and Milsons Point are either side of the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Both are served by Milsons Point railway station. McMahons Point is best reached by ferry from the city or bus from North Sydney railway station.

North Sydney is also the gateway to the Lower North Shore which follows the headlands and inlets of Sydney Harbour towards Manly. It includes the dormitory suburb Neutral Bay, the exclusive residential suburb of Mosman which has fine boutique shopping and good restaurants, trendy Balmoral with its harbour beach and good food, and ends at The Spit with its waterfront restaurants and sailing clubs.

This is a very attractive area with some impressive homes, leafy streets and plenty of goods views of Sydney Harbour. Almost all of the best spots are off the main road so a street directory is essential. You can get seriously lost without one in this part of Sydney.


Kirribilli boasts several restaurants, cafes and the Kirribilli Hotel, a 'locals' pub which serves excellent food. Most are on or just off Broughton Street which is just below the station exit, parallel to the bridge approach road. A 10-minute walk will bring you to one of Sydney's favourite small live theatres, The Ensemble, which has a very pleasant restaurant jutting out over a small bay called Careening Cove.

Right next door is the Sydney Flying Squadron, a small club which races very fast 18-footers which carry more sail than any other single-hull boat their size. The club, which welcomes visitors, has a restaurant overlooking the water and inside and outside bar areas. Its serves brunch on Sundays.

Turn left down Broughton Street from the railway station exit, right into Willoughby Street and left into McDougall Street. You will see both places on the right.

The one-way street system demands a street directory. But if you are walking, run right from the Kirribilli exit at Milsons Point station and walk to the harbour down Broughton Street. It turns sharp left and becomes Kirribilli Avenue, which leads to the official Sydney residences for the Prime Minister and the Governor-General or visiting international dignitaries. Sadly neither are open to the public.

Milsons Point

Milsons Point is home to the North Sydney Olympic Pool. The pool is very good but crowded with local business types keeping fit before and after work and at lunchtime. It has no roof. Turn left at the Milsons Point exit from the railway station and walk 5 minutes towards the harbour. The pool is walled in red brick. Just beyond the pool you will find the biggest amusement park in Sydney, Luna Park, one of Sydney's great tourist icons. Its entrance is a huge smiling face with a halo of sunbeams, which makes a great background for photographs.
The Kirribilli Ex-Services Club, which is actually in Milsons Point, offers one of the best views of the Harbour Bridge and the western side of the city towards Darling Harbour. Set high above Lavender Bay which separates Milsons and McMahons Points, the club has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water. It welcomes visitors and has a big bistro, a restaurant and a large bar area, all with a view. It has a dance band on Sunday afternoons playing jazz and swing, and the food is good value.

The club is 5-minutes walk from the railway station. Go down the street (Cliff Street) on the left side of The Duxton Hotel, which is opposite the Milsons Point exit. It veers right and the club is about 200 metres down on the left. There is parking under the club off the street below.

McMahons Point

McMahons Point has a string of restaurants in its main street, Blues Point Road, offering al fresco meals from brunch to dinner, and two pubs - one very much a traditional `local', and the Commodore, a modern meeting place for mostly younger business people. Blues Point Reserve (park) and the road were named for a Jamaican ferryman who took people across the harbour to The Rocks in the 1830s.

It is a 15-minute walk from Milsons Point station. Turn right from the station (Alfred Street) and left at the first cross-street (Lavender Street). The first set of traffic lights is Blues Point Road. The restaurant area, and eventually the harbour, is to the left. The walk down Lavender Street to Blues Point Road gives you a good view of the city across the harbour.

There is nothing of major historical significance in the area, but the views are great, it is a lot quieter than The Rocks and near Eastern Suburbs, and you will not go hungry or thirsty. There is very little traffic on weekends.

Neutral Bay

When you come off the Harbour Bridge from the city, the second set of traffic lights are at Miller Street. Turn right and follow the road uphill until you reach a large park on your right. Just at the start, there is a fine oval (stadium) which is a venue for football in the winter and cricket in the summer. At the end of the park, turn right into Falcon Street at the traffic lights.

This road crosses a bridge over a multi-lane expressway heading further north from the city and turns into Military Road at the overpass. The road does a quick left-right and you are in Neutral Bay. At the first set of lights you will see the Oaks Hotel on the left corner. This is one of the area's most popular pubs and meeting places. Turn left at the lights and try to find a place to park in the nearby side streets. There is an underground car park at the supermarket complex just before the pub in Military Road, left down a ramp. Buses stop almost at the door.

The pub is named for the massive English Oak tree in its courtyard. Well over 100 years old, the tree has more heritage listing and protection orders than any other tree, and most buildings, in Sydney. It provides shade in summer and thoughtfully sheds its leaves in winter to let in the sun. The area around the tree is full of tables and an outdoor cook-it-yourself barbecue. The hotel has several very large lounge bars inside as well. It specialises in fine steaks and fish which you cook yourself. A salad buffet comes with the meal. The lazy can order a gourmet mini pizza. It is open for lunch and dinner daily.

A lot of people, most of them in their 20s and 30s, live in Neutral Bay and work in North Sydney or the city. They gather at The Oaks to eat and meet. It does not attract many under-20s, but some patrons have been coming there for 30 years, so there is a wide age range and everyone is comfortable. Neutral Bay is nothing to look at, but it is full of activity.

From there the main road is peppered with restaurants and cafes for a kilometre on both sides. If you do not have a street directory, this is the easiest way to get to Mosman and Taronga Park Zoo. Just keep driving until you see large signs pointing to Mosman on the right. About 3 kilometres from The Oaks, Military Road veers right and become the main street of Mosman.


In recent years has become the most expensive residential suburb in Sydney. It has some very fine fashion and art shops in its long main street (Military Road) and a big range of restaurants. Most of the finer homes are in the side streets.

The main road is not very pretty apart from the shops, but the surrounding area is leafy and attractive. Following Military Road through Mosman will bring you to the Buona Vista Hotel, which is a very popular local pub. Set in a 'V', the pub marks the start of the road to Sydney's deservedly famous Taronga Park Zoo. Take the right fork, Bradleys Head Road, and you will come to the zoo entrance on your right. Try to visit the zoo during the week as parking is much easier and there are fewer people to contend with.

The zoo has some 4000 animals and birds, many of them in enclosures protected by moats rather than bars or fences. Locals say the animals have the best and most expensive view in the world as the zoo is set on a steeply sloping headland overlooking the harbour to the city. There is a Friendship Farm where children can touch some animals, and a huge seal pool. It is worth at least half a day.

Taronga Park has a harbourside entrance, but it is a steep walk uphill. If you come by ferry from the city, take the bus up the hill and walk down unless you are feeling in real need of exercise. Food and drinks are available. If you are at all interested in animals, this zoo is a must. It boasts some rare species including the giant Panda and white Rhinoceros.

Balmoral Beach

Go back to the beginning of the main street of Mosman and turn right following the Manly sign into Spit Road. Take the third street right at traffic lights, which is Awaba Street. It goes down a very steep hill and ends in the middle of The Esplanade at Balmoral Beach. This is one of the 'very trendy' harbourside beaches in Sydney, good for a swim and people watching.

Balmoral is on a very steep slope across the water to the entrance to Sydney Harbour. There are great views of North (Manly) and South Head (Watsons Bay). There are prettier ways of getting there from Mosman, but not without a street directory.

Balmoral Beach has a long, narrow park between the road and the beach, which is a great place to sit awhile or have a picnic. About the centre of the park is what used to be a bathers pavilion, so people could change into the cover-all bathing costumes of the early to mid 1900s. (Wearing a bikini on the beach for women as late as the 1960s could get you removed, and if you refused to go or cover up, arrested for indecent exposure.)

The pavilion now houses a quality restaurant, called the Bathers Pavilion. Across The Esplanade, there are several more. Balmoral is great for brunch on a sunny weekend day. The beach has an enclosed safe swimming area. Split by a small knoll just north of the pavilion, it becomes Edwards Beach to the north.

The Spit

Drive back up the hill to the main road, Spit Road, and turn right to Manly. About two kilometres on the road goes steeply downhill to a spit of land called The Spit. The water either side is Middle Harbour, the main northern reach of Sydney Harbour. There is a large park and a big parking area on the left as the road 'bottoms out' before it reaches the Spit Bridge, the main road to Manly.

On the right there is strip of land with several restaurants, a couple within sailing clubs like the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Marinas and yacht moorings surround The Spit on both sides. Park on the left and walk across the road to the right at the traffic lights to the clubs and restaurants. You can either go into a club for a drink and a snack, or try either an independent restaurant.

The Spit Bridge swings open at regular intervals as it is too low to the water to allow yachts to pass. Their masts are too tall. That creates something of a traffic jam on weekends particularly, which gives you something to watch while you enjoy the view. The area around The Spit has some spectacular homes built on huge foundations on the steep hillsides.