North Sydney – The Other Side of the Harbour

Harbour Bridge

To be honest with you, other than what I wrote in a previous post there probably isn’t all that much to see over this side of the harbour. In fact, other that standing on the harbour shore at Bradfield Park and looking over to the city, or the odd harbour side trek, this side of the city could probably be left out of most itineraries. However, being the exploratory person that I am, I decided that a trip over here would be of interest. Actually, you could say I came over here in two stages: first I visited Crow’s Nest and St Leonards, then I wandered around North Sydney itself.

Anyway, after I had finished my trek along the harbour shore (or most of it, minus some short cuts – I’m not that enthusiastic, and I also tend to try to pack way too much into my days anyway) I made my way to Milson’s Point station (via a pretty cool craft beer bar – The Kirribilli Hotel) and waited for the next train to come along. Mind you, that gave me an opportunity to take a video of the train as it came off the harbour bridge.

Okay, people probably think I’m weird taking videos of trains (and in some places you need to be really careful – or not do it at all, because authorities get really suspicious of people taking videos in subway stations, especially if your intention is to post them on the internet), and in fact I watched a video where train spotting was listed as one of the top ten most bizarre hobbies around. Okay, I’m not a professional train spotter by any stretch – these guys use professional video cameras, and have a detailed itinerary of what trains go where. Actually, I discovered such an itinerary of goods trains in Australia on the internet one day at work (though it has since been taken down and you have to apply for access). I even got trolled on one of my postings because I made mention of uploading videos of trains onto Youtube, but then again that guy probably had nothing better to do with his life (and sometimes trolls can be really fun to play with). However, after seeing this picture on one of my friend’s Facebook page, the whole oddness of trainspotting suddenly made sense.

Train Spotting
I think that says it all.

Anyway, enough of trainspotting and back to my story about my adventures through North Sydney. I caught the train up to St Leonard’s station, where I jumped off and had a look around. Well, I wandered out of the station to find myself in a small shopping plaza (mainly full of chain stores) that was surrounded my high-rise apartment blocks. This is one of the things that I’ve discovered about Sydney, that is the number of high-rise apartments appearing everywhere. Okay, that’s beginning to happen in Melbourne as well, but at first I found it a little odd that all of these apartment blocks are going up when Australia has plenty of space (and in fact there are regions less than 100 km from Sydney that could be considered wilderness). However, after considering the problems associated with urban sprawl (such as the time it actually takes to get to work in a morning – I live on the outskirts of Melbourne and it takes me a hour, but since I’m actually only 20 km from the city centre, it is more to do with the peculiarities of the South Morang line – the trains stop every station – than the actual distance) it actually makes sense to start developing high density accommodation in the inner city.

St Leonard's Plaza
Just a boring shopping strip

So, after a brisk walk out of the plaza, and onto one of the main roads, I was suddenly confronted with a dilemma – two pubs. Mind you, it wasn’t much of a dilemma because the St Leonard’s Tavern looked pretty much like a dump, and that was confirmed after reading some Yelp reviews on the other pub – Gilroy’s Hotel. So I decided to go over there and grab a quick drink – good choice. Okay, I actually don’t read Yelp reviews before going into a place, namely because I want to experience it myself rather than letting other people’s opinions taint it for me (not that I listen to them anyway). Anyway I sat in Gilroy’s Hotel for about half an hour, had a beer, and then decided to move on, heading down the street towards Crows Nest (and if you want to learn more about my opinion on Gilroy’s Hotel, there is always my review on True Local, and Yelp).

All I can say about the walk between St Leonards and Crows Nest is that it is basically one of those inner suburban areas with apartments, houses, and quite a few corporate offices with the ubiquitous coffee shop in the foyer (so the workers don’t have to walk that far to grab a cup of coffee, especially since these days people really, really don’t like drinking instant coffee – it’s sort of anathema).

I’m not sure why I wanted to go to Crow’s Nest – I guess it had something to do with constantly hearing about it on television (I believe there was once, and probably still is, one of the major television studios located here – just don’t ask me which one it is because I really can’t remember). Anyway I arrived on Willoughby Road, which is sort of one of those roads that is lined with cafes and bars. I did find one pretty cool bar here (the Small Bar) where I stopped off for a drink. Mind you, it turned out that the other bars along here were pretty ordinary (as well as the place I had some lunch), but it was a nice place anyway.

Unfortunately I’ve discovered that I didn’t actually take any photos along here (which is surprising because these days I seem to take photos of everything), however here is a Google Street view image.

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