Located just outside Sydney's bustling central business district, Surry Hills is an inner city Sydney suburb. While it is mostly residential in area, Surry Hills can be an outstanding staging point for taking advantage of all that the greater Sydney area has to offer. Ongoing gentrification efforts have left Surry Hills an area of great character, where historical landmarks abut buildings crafted with the latest in sustainable architecture. Surry Hills offers explorers a chance to see the history of Sydney while remaining close enough to today's attractions.
Perhaps most interesting is Surry Hill's most famous (or perhaps most infamous) former resident. Kate Leigh, the "Queen of Surry Hills" was one of the most prominent figures of Sydney's criminal underworld for more than 30 years. In the 1920's through early 1950's, she operated a number of illegal pubs, organized prostitution, and was a premier dealer in cocaine after it became an illegal substance in the mid-20's. She was infamous for appearing in court decked out in diamonds and fine clothes as a display of her wealth, and served time in prison on 13 separate occasions. Just as legendary as her notoriety was her charity. During hard times, she gave generously to the unemployed, and is widely remembered as being highly patriotic during WWII. Kate Leigh was a complex and intriguing woman who lived in interesting times.
Today's Surry Hills has long since grown out of the difficulties of the early 20th Century, and has seen ongoing renewal. Since the early days, the Surry Hills area has been an eclectic and multicultural enclave, and this spirit survives and is celebrated.The Surry Hills Neighborhood Centre, housed in the Surry Hills Library building, sponsors markets in the Shannon Reserve park (Crown and Foveaux street area) on the first Saturday each month. These markets are established for the sale of recycled, second-hand, and handmade goods, and the varied cultures at home in Surry Hills are on display.
The Neighborhood Centre is also the sponsor of the annual Surry Hills Festival. The Festival is the highlight of the year (typically held in October) and attracts musical and artistic talent from all over Australia. Dog shows, art shows, and the fantastic food of the region round out the entertainment during the Festival. The entire family can find something to intrigue them at the Festival. There are face painting and storytelling activities (among other things) targeted at the children; exercise workshops in the "healing teepees" to remove the stress of the day; presentations and forums on ecologically-conscious living in today's world; and an indigenous festival to promote appreciation of Australia's cultural background.
Enjoying the great outdoors is part and parcel of time spent in Surry Hills. Just to the east of Surry Hills is Moore Park, which incorporates indoor and outdoor fitness centers, a fitness boot camp, tennis courts, netball, and much more. The park is also home to Moore Park Golf Course and night golf range. Just beyond Moore Park is Centennial Park, with an enjoyable series of ponds ready for your relaxation and enjoyment. Avid golfers can also take a short trip to the south of Surry Hills to play The Australian Golf Course.
Should you need a higher level of culture during your stay, the landmark Sydney Opera House is less than 4 km from Surry Hills. Far more than just a photo opportunity (though it does look great on a postcard!), the Sydney Opera House hosts a theatre company, a symphony orchestra, and a ballet company in addition to the namesake opera performances. More than 1500 performances are hosted annually, with over 1.2 million people attending in all. This is a must-see stop during your time in Surry Hills.
Of course if you're at the opera house, you're already in that other icon of the city, the gorgeous Sydney harbour. Scale the landmark bridge to appreciate one of the most glorious scenes on earth.
Whether you choose to make Surry Hills a destination in itself or to use it as a prime jumping-off point for a Sydney holiday, you won't be disappointed. Lose yourself in the history, celebrate the culture, and embrace the present in Surry Hills, New South Wales.
Phone: (02) 9281 0828 | 93 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, NSW
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Phone: 0404 751 925 | 151 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, NSW
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