Sydney/City South

The City South district is home to Australia's largest Chinatown as well as its largest train station, Central station. It is south of City Centre, to the east of Darling Harbour and City West and also adjoins both City East and Eastern Suburbs toward its eastern boundaries. It has three main lineal axis, Pitt Street, George Street and Sussex Street. If you are arriving in Sydney by long distance bus or train, this is the area where you will be dropped off.


Sydney's Chinatown Friendship Arch

The district has some of the cheapest hotels in the city, and is full of good value restaurants, Internet cafes, pubs, markets, and discount shopping. The area also stays open relatively late compared to the rest of Sydney, which makes it a good place to find a late supper.

Sydney's current Chinatown moved to the Haymarket area in the 1920s, and its official status was recognised in 1980 when the community raised funds to erect the traditional archways found at both ends of the pedestrianised Dixon Street. While it is the biggest Chinatown in Australia, the original enclave is noticeably small due to limited immigration during the White Australia Policy era, and has rapidly grown outwards past the old boundaries because of booming immigration from Hong Kong in the 1980s/90s and now China in the 2000s. Nowadays Haymarket is no longer the main Chinese-majority neighbourhood, with satellite Chinatowns popping up in Ashfield, Eastwood, Hurstville, and Chatswood among others.

Other small immigrant communities have also emerged around the area, from the Spanish Quarter on Liverpool Street, to Thai Town on Campbell Street and Korea Town centred around Pitt Street and Liverpool Street.

Get in


By train

Take the train to Central or Town Hall stations. Walk north (towards the harbour/city) along George St from Central, or south (away from the harbour/city) along George St from Town Hall. Turn onto Hay St for Chinatown.

By light rail

The light rail] stops at Haymarket. It's a good option if you are coming from Pyrmont or the Star, but from the City or Darling Harbour it is probably just as quick to walk.

By bus

By car

Some streets in the Haymarket area gets extremely congested on weekends and at peak hour. One wrong turn at these times can add 15 minutes to your journey. However, there is plenty of parking in and around the area. Parking in Darling Harbour or the Entertainment Centre carpark is also an option. Parking is around $25 a day in Market City. Look for $15 all day deals on weekends in some of the lots around the south of the area.

Get around

Walking is the best way to explore the crowded streets of Chinatown. Be sure to watch out for traffic and the light rail.


Central Station is situated in southern Sydney


Stroll around the district exploring the colourful Chinese meets Australian culture. If in the mood to play, head to the upper floor of Capitol Square (adjacent to Capitol Theatre) to play an extensive set of Asian arcade games.

Chinese New Year Parade




Chinatown is particularly famous for its Chinese stores, mainly in Dixon Street and Sussex Street, selling imported clothing and homewares, Chinese herbs, and exotic foodstuffs such as pressed duck, Asian greens and dried mushrooms.


Market City which also houses Paddy's Markets

Shopping centres

Sydney Central Park apartments and shopping centre


This area has an incredible range of restaurants and is one of Sydney’s best dining precincts. There are over 60 restaurants and food court stalls around Chinatown and Haymarket, offering many Chinese regional specialities, plus Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and Malaysian cuisines. Many establishments serve the ever popular yum cha, irresistible sweet and savory snacks that are wheeled around on trolleys, generally between 10AM and 2PM. As a rule, avoid any restaurant in Chinatown with touts outside begging you to come in - the food is more often than not overpriced and not good. For a complete contrast, visit near by Liverpool Street, where there are some excellent Spanish restaurants.



Outdoor dining in Chinatown is popular, but largely promoted by touts




The area around Central Station and Haymarket has many choices of backpacker accommodation, including Wake Up and two YHAs at Sydney Central and Railway Square.



Stay safe

The George St area between Town Hall and Central can be a little rough very late at night. It's always busy though, so the usual precautions should see you stay out of trouble. Try to avoid Belmore Park (on Eddy Avenue in front of Central Station) at night as it seems to attract a lot of drug addicts and homeless people.

Central Bus Station isn't the best introduction to Sydney at any time of day, and is unpleasant after dark. If you are arriving late, have plans for how you are getting away safely.


There are many Internet cafes around the area. Newsagents have terminals, internet stores advertise high speed and gaming access. World Square has coin operated terminals, along with a couple of the other shopping centres. Around central station there are several options (although not on the station itself). Expect to pay a couple of dollars to check email, or try to get around $6 for an hour of usage.

In addition the public libraries in the area offer Internet access.

Go next

Wander westwards to Darling Harbour. Take a long walk (more than 30 minutes) up George Street to get to Circular Quay.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, December 14, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.