Sydney/Lower North Shore

The Lower North Shore is the metropolitan area on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour and is surrounded by Middle Harbour to the east and Lane Cove River to the west. The region extends as far north as Chatswood, where beyond that is the Upper North Shore


View of the bridge from Clark Park, Lavender Bay
Balmoral Beach, one of the many harbour beaches in the region

If you have ever walked the steps of the Sydney Opera House and wondered what lies on the other side of the harbour, it is time to explore the Lower North Shore. Connected to the city by Sydney Harbour Bridge, the region offers travellers spectacular views of the harbour, hidden harbour beaches and a peak into the lives of some of Sydney's most affluent residents.

The commercial and geographical centre of the district is North Sydney, a large business hub with skyscrapers (housing mostly financial services companies), shopping malls and a small nightlife scene. Just south of North Sydney is the harbour and the densely populated suburbs of Milsons Point and Kirribilli. It is here where you will find the northern foundations of the bridge and a waterfront promenade with excellent views of the city skyline and the Opera House. It is also where you will find Luna Park, a historic theme park by the water.

To the east is the visually stunning Mosman peninsula which includes the suburbs of Neutral Bay, Cremorne and Mosman. Through out this area are quiet harbour beaches, natural bushland reserves and magnificent mansions with private jetties. It is also where you will find the world famous Taronga Zoo.

To the west lies historically significant suburbs such as Lavender Bay and Wollstencraft. Most of the houses are Victorian era terraces made of sandstone. There are also some natural headlands that off an opportunity for short hikes.

Finally, the north of the area and reaching the upper border of the region are the commercial centres of Crows Nest, which has a popular food and bar street, and Chatswood, a mega shopping zone with 3 large shopping malls and a long shopping street.

Get in

By car

The Sydney Harbour Bridge carries 6 lanes of traffic, a bus lane, two rail tracks, a footpath and a cycle path.

There are harbour crossings that connect the Lower North Shore to the city: the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. For North Sydney, Milsons Point and Kirribilli you have to take the bridge, and take any of the first set of exits to your left as you come off the bridge. For points further north, you can use the bridge or the tunnel. Then for Cremorne and Mosman, take the 'Military Road' exit and head east. For Chatswood, continue on the freeway until you reach the Chatswood exit.

By train

The North Shore Line (T1) serves the central core of the region between Milsons Point and Chatswood. Trains for the Lower North Shore depart from Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations in the city. Services run every five minutes or so during the day.

Sydney Ferries, the best way to access the harbour front suburbs of the Lower North Shore

By bus

Regular State Transit buses run from the city throughout the Lower North Shore. From Chatswood there are regular bus services to the City, North Sydney, Crows Nest, Bondi Junction, Parramatta, Eastwood, Ryde, Macquarie University, Gladesville, Northbridge, Mosman, and the Northern Beaches.

By ferry

The region is well connected to the city by 6 ferry lines. North Sydney, Kirribilli and Neutral Bay are on F5, the Neutral Bay Line, while Taronga Zoo has direct services between Circular Quay and the zoo on F2. The southwest of Mosman and Cremorne Point are serviced by the Mosman Bay Line (F5). In the west, Milsons Point and McMahons Point are on the Darling Harbour Line (F4) and Greenwich Point is on the Parramatta Line (F3). To the far west, Lane Cove is connected to Circular Quay and Darling Harbour by Captain Cook ferries.

By foot

You can walk across the Harbour Bridge from the Rocks, directly into Milsons Point. It takes about 20 minutes brisk walking. Be careful on hot (or rainy) days since there is not much shade or shelter along the way.

By bicycle

There is a dedicated cycleway on the western side of the bridge, fully separated from cars and pedestrians. On the city end, follow the Kent St Cycleway north, or enter from Observatory Hill. From the Milsons Point end, the entry is the stairs west and south of the station. Once you leave the bridge, there is only a patchy network of bicycle lanes and the roads can be narrow and steep. Plan your route in advance.

Get around

By car

Away from the railway line and ferries, a car can be a good option for getting around the Lower North Shore. North Sydney and Milsons Point are business districts, with parking at a premium on weekdays. The shopping areas of Chatswood and Crows Nest generally have 3 hours of free parking available. Other tourist spots and the harbour can have parking metres or paid parking.

By public transport

The public transport system in the Lower North Shore is mostly designed to get locals from the area directly to North Sydney and the city. Therefore, connections between the hotspots (Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach for example) are not that easy. Because of this, day trips to places are excellent (e.g. city to Taronga Zoo by ferry and city to Balmoral Beach by bus) and many travellers will prefer to do day trips from the city to one place. If you do want to get around using public transport, it is best to use Google Maps or a similar tool that can help you determine the best combination of trains, buses and ferries to get you around. For the most part services are on time and not crowded.

By foot

Exploring the harbour on the north side is ideally done by foot. There are walking trails and paths along the water. The overall region is too large to walk, so you'll have to combine walking with some other form of distance transport - public transit, car or bike.



Giraffes at Taronga Zoo, Mosman.

Harbour parks, walks and picnics

Middle Harbour, from above

Harbour beaches

Clothing optional

Clothing optional Obelisk Beach




The entrance of Luna Park, Sydney

Swimming Pools

People Watching



Chatswood can feel like one big shopping mall. Westfield, Lemon Grove, Chatswood Chase and the Mandarin centre merge along the Victoria Avenue into a seemingly endless stretch of fashion, food and just about everything else. The major chains are all there, with many of them having more than one outlet. There are also many smaller shops and centres lining the main shopping mall. Chatswood Chase is an upmarket shopping center with designer clothing stores and the upmarket department store David Jones. Chatswood Westfield is a mainstream shopping center with cheaper clothing stores. Chatswood Mandarin is a smaller shopping center with an Asian food court, a number of electronics stores, and a Chinese supermarket on the ground floor.

North Sydney has plenty of shopping options during the week, but feels eerily quiet on weekends when most businesses shut shop.

Crows Nest and Lane Cove have a good selection of local shops to browse, and both have a good community feel.


The Lower North Shore has plenty of great eating options. Milsons Point has a good selection of Italian and Thai restaurants and cafes, many overlooking the Bridge and Harbour. North Sydney has plenty of food courts for office workers, although not much for evenings and weekends. There are numerous restaurants with a variety of cuisines in Crows Nest near the junction of Pacific Highway, Falcon Street and Willoughby Road, and in McMahons Point, along Blues Point Road. St Leonards mostly has cafes for office workers. Chatswood has a fantastic selection of East Asian restaurants, and the shopping malls have plenty of quick options. Neutral Bay and Mosman have also countless options all the way down Military Road (and if visiting the zoo, it would probably be advisable to try this rather than use the cafes at the zoo).

North Sydney

Packed with office workers during the week, you will find most options (although not all) are closed during the evenings and on weekends.

McMahons Point

It is a great option to walk down Blues Point Road from North Sydney and choose a good restaurant. The architecture and atmosphere is very pleasant, and outside seating is popular. Unlike North Sydney these cater mostly to residents and are open evenings and weekends.

Neutral Bay / Cremorne


There is almost no limit to the options to be found in Chatswood. The two shopping malls provide large food courts, and there are plenty of authentic Asian restaurants within a few minutes walk of the train station.

Crows Nest / St Leonards

Lane Cove / Longueville

An eat street with more local appeal.



Bars and clubs

The suburb of North Sydney is known as a playground for young Sydneysiders, in particular for teenagers and people in their early twenties. There are a number of nightclubs and pubs located within walking distance of North Sydney train station.



Stay healthy

Go next

Take a ferry south or go over the bridge to the city centre. Head east to Manly and the rest of the Northern Beaches or west to Macquarie Park. Up north is the Upper North Shore.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 31, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.