Welcome to part 2 of our Eye on Sydney series! This week we’re looking at Sydney’s garden district, the North Shore. A prestigious, historic and naturally beautiful area that’s just minutes from the CBD, it’s no surprise that Sydney’s North Shore has a median house price that continues to surpass the surrounding districts. Its schools are some of the most reputable in Australia, drawing the offspring of the rich, famous and influential.
But as with any suburb profile, this list isn’t exhaustive. What we’ve done is gathered a pool of information from various sources, and included our own individual experiences to provide you with a top-level profile that can help you when picking your new neighbourhood.
Use our advice as a starting point, and always be sure to check out the area you want to buy before you hit up the auctions or the real estate agent.
Eat, drink and be merry
For somewhere trendy and bustling, a cocktail at Manly’s Daniel San goes down a treat on a Friday night.
For seafood, pay Johnny Lobster a visit for high end fish and chips.
A taste of Asia can be found at Harry Phat’s, just above Manly’s Hotel Steyne, and be sure to grab the soft shell chilli crab.
Got your mind on a vegetarian feast? Head to Sprout Café, and tuck into some Green Toast for breakfast and a coconut milk smoothie. Yum.
High-end and affordable are not often used in the same sentence on the North Shore, but with Michelin-starred Tim Ho Whan in Chatswood, it’s possible. Dumplings galore!
CANT TALK BUSY EATING 😳 #greentoast #sproutwholefoodcafe #omg #pesto #goatscurd #avocado #amazing #foodporn #delicious #eatrealfood #lifetastesgood #wholefoodcafe #organiccafe can be served #glutenfree #breakfast #vegetarian or add #poachedegg #sydneycafe #healthycafesydney #eatrealfood #jerf #wholefoods #organic
And to finish off your week, a Sunday session at The Greens delivers million dollar Sydney skyline views.
• The Rice Den for Asian fusion in St Leonards
• Mamak for amazing Malaysian in Chatswood
• The Bather’s Pavillion in Mosman for a special occasion
• About Life in Cammeray for more organic vegan food
Parks and Beaches
Sydney North Shore Parks
They don’t call if the Leafy North Shore for no reason – Sydney’s North Shore is a green haven. Imagine gorgeous tree-lined streets, hundreds and hundreds of playground and national parks, rivers, and of course, those beautiful Sydney beaches. There are literally far too many to mention, but here’s just a few of my personal favourites. If you’ve got one that trumps this list, please do share!
If you’re on the Lower North Shore, the Lavender Bay to Kirribilli Harbourside Walk gives you spectacular views. But stick to the north side of the harbour to avoid the crowds, and stop off at Wendy’s Secret Garden – it’s truly a magical oasis.
In complete awe and bewilderment with Wendy's Secret Garden 🌱💕👵🏼 Today I had the opportunity and privilege to visit the Garden, learn the history behind the creator's amazing will, who voluntarily transformed a place into a hidden oasis of greenery wonderment, peace and art. 🌵🌿💆🏼🔮🗿🌲🌳 Wendy Whiteley is a visionary, for creating a patrimony for our future generations, teaching us a great lesson about the extent of being selfless and leaving something good behind. Wendy dealt with grief during the transformation of the Garden, with the loss of her husband and daughter. I can't think of a more positive way of dealing with such hardship. 🕊🌾 I wonder how content she must be with what she's achieved. She has inspired me profoundly 👁💡👁 🙌🏼 Hands down the best place I've been in the whole of Sydney and the best artist, whose work of art restored fauna and flora in Lavender Bay and touched the soul of every single person who has stepped inside her masterpiece "Wendy's Secret Garden" 🙌🏼 💖💖💖 #wendyssecretgarden #secretgarden #lavenderbay #dream #garden #nature #harmony #volunteer #artist #view #secret #selfless #inspirational #visionary #art #visonaryart #landscaping #flora #fauna #greenery #plants #raisingvibrations #favorite #place #spot #photography #instagram #love #gardengoals #sculptures #artist 🍄🎨🎑
For a beachside bushwalk, hit up Bandangi Reserve. It’s an open forest full of Sydney Red Gums, Peppermint and Red Bloodwoods. Stunning. There’s also Ferndale Park Bushwalking Loop, the Rail to River Walk and the Lane Cove National Park.
• Harold Reid Reserve, a natural waterfront bushland with lots of native animals the kids will love
• Balls Head Reserve for more fantastic views of the city
Sydney North Shore Beaches
Bondi is where the tourists go, but Manly is where the locals hang. And with its large Norfolk Pine trees, beach volleyball nets, a safe children’s beach, and a good shopping precinct with alfresco eating, it’s not hard to see why. It’s a family friendly beach where posing isn’t the main objective, which makes Manly beach a relaxing day for everyone. If a quieter beach is more your vibe, Avalon has a welcoming yet calmer atmosphere. Your parents will probably thank you for taking them here to skip the crowds.
Gives these beaches a visit too:
• Mona Vale
• Dee Why
• Cobbler’s beach (if you’re a nudist)
• Balmoral Beach
• Edward’s Beach
You know what I’m going to say here – Luna Park. Love it or hate it, Sydney’s Luna Park is a classic attraction that draws the young and the old. It’s free to get in, but not free to ride.
North Sydney Olympic Pool is similarly an icon, sitting just under Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. This pool’s seen 86 world records set in its water, and was one of the most advanced of its kind back when it was first built. Relax, swim or soak up the sun inside the walls of this art deco charmer.
And of course, there’s Sydney Harbour Bridge. If climbing this icon isn’t on your bucket list, replace it with whale watching. The northheadland of Sydney’s harbour features towering clifftops, panoramic views othe city, and of course, the opportunity to watch nature’s gentle giants perform their own aquatic dance. There are a number of whale watching cruises available for booking in Circular Quay and Manly if you have no luck from your look out point.
And of course, what school holiday would be complete without a trip to Taronga Zoo? Sydney’s famous zoo is a favourite amongst young and old, and easily accessible by ferry from Circular Quay, or by car from Military Road.
Worth a visit:
• Kirribilli House
There are two main retail centres on Sydney’s North Shore – Hornsby and Chatswood. You’ll find a very suburban Westfield in Hornsby, and a more upmarket Westfield in Chatswood. If food shopping with a spot of retail therapy is in order on a Saturday – check out Hornsby. If you want to treat yourself to some designer goods – Chatswood is more up your alley.
And for an elegant mall experience outside of the CBD, check out Top Ride City. But have a game plan, otherwise you’ll never leave.
Of all Sydney’s train stations, Sydney’s North Shore line has to be the most pristine and timely. Trains from the Northern and Western line are how thousands of people commute to their CBD jobs every day, otherwise there’s the sacrilegious toll you pay to cross the Harbour Bridge.
While most suburbs are easily accessible via public transport, it’s important to remember that although you can walk to the station, Sydney’s North Shore is hilly. If you’re planning on a move North, make sure your family’s okay with an early morning hike!
Thankfully, Sydney’s Lower North Shore is accessible to the city by car within just 20kms. Of course, this doesn’t apply to peak hour.
Sydney North Shore House Prices
In late April of this year, the Domain Group announced that Sydney’s median house price had fallen below $1 million. Except for one area of Sydney – the Lower North Shore – which increased by 12.2 per cent for the March 2016 quarter. As of April 2016, the median house price for the Lower North Shore is $2.3 million. For a house on Sydney’s Upper North Shore in St Ives, you’re looking at around $2 million for a 4-bedroom house.
If you’re looking to raise a family, Sydney’s North Shore is one of the safest areas in the city. On top of that, back in 2008 Ku-ring-gai reported the highest quality of life in Australia. They’re on to something up north, that for sure. It’s an exceptional lifestyle, but not without an exceptional price.
Are you looking to buy a home on Sydney’s North Shore?
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• Domain Group March 2016 data
• Weekend Notes
• Wiki Travel
• Real life experiences