Picture the Inner West of Sydney – what comes to mind? College-aged hipsters in flannel shirts with beards? Trendy, multi-hyphenate artists who work in lofts and wear bright pastel outfits? Needless to say, Balmain is full of a diverse group of beings. And yet if you ask a local why they chose Balmain, it's always the same response – the sense of community. So set aside your preconceptions and join us as we discover the unique warmth and openness of the Inner West in Balmain – it may just surprise you!
There's nothing quite like a stadium atmosphere…
And the Inner West certainly has a passion for sports. Home of the mighty West Tigers, rugby league is akin to a religion in this region of Sydney. Formed by a joining of the Balmain Tigers and the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1999, this club has a short but proud history, culminating with their first Grand Final Title in 2005, led by Robbie Farah, Scott Prince and Benji Marshall. On any given weekend, scores of fans will be flocking to Leichhardt Oval, dressed from head to toe in Black, Gold and White. You haven't been to a footy match until you've seen the Tigers play!
Being so close to the original European landing in Sydney…
It's no wonder that Balmain is rich with history. The first place to step back in time is the Dawn Fraser Baths. Named after the beloved local swimming legend in 1964 where she first learnt to swim, this is the oldest pool and aquatic facility in Australia, dating back to the 1880s. The pool contains salt water and is subject to the whims of the tides – which is perfect because at low tide, a beach appears for kids to build sandcastles. But don't go expecting primitive facilities just because this establishment is historic – the Inner West's penchant for sustainability bleeds through hot showers powered by solar heating.
Fancy a bite afterwards but want to keep the history lesson going? Then let us recommend a wide variety of 19th Century pubs (yes, we know – of course the oldest buildings in Australia are pubs). The London Hotel is the oldest, build in 1870 from that classic Sydney Sandstone. Here one can enjoy a cold brew and a view of the Harbour Bridge – and as an extra special treat, the patio is dog-friendly – what's not to love! If you fancy a pub crawl, then let us add a few more to the mix. The 1876 Bald Rock Hotel, the 1879 Royal Oak Hotel, the 1880 Riverview Hotel, and 1881 3 Weeds Hotel are just some of our personal favourites – and, of course, after all those recommendations, it would be remiss of us not to mention to drink responsibly.
You saved plenty on your accommodation…
Or 'Artist Loft', as you affectionately dubbed it. And in true, starving-artist fashion, you felt like buying some ingredients that were natural, organic and sustainable. Lucky for you, environmental buzzwords are a specialty of Balmain and nowhere is this more true than The Source Bulk Foods. Committed to reducing waste and our impact on the environment, this grocery store invites you to purchase over 350 raw products and place directly into your own bags. Grains, powders and the ever-popular nut butter are just some of the items that will go great in a mason jar (when in Rome, right). Regardless of which dietary minority you fall into – paleo, gluten free, organic or vegan, to name a few – you can be sure that there are plenty of healthy, wholefood options for you. But don't feel that you have to be strictly nutritional, without any tasty treats – Source Bulk Foods also have chunks of organic dark chocolate. Who said healthy eating had to taste bad!
Spend Less, Do More
Your Cheaperthanhotels Team
38 Victoria Road, Rozelle
220 Evans Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039, Australia