Tiny, seldom-discussed little suburb sits in a sneaky-good position that may not be beautiful, but is quite convenient and decently-priced.

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Summary: Compact in size yet conveniently-located, little Allawah to the south-west of Sydney’s CBD is an unassuming pocket of mostly residential homes fanning out to the south of its long-running train line. It boasts a deceptively-high population for its relatively tiny physical area due to its abundance of low-rise unit and apartment buildings, which lie interspersed between the occasional higher-end, prettier street of typically-older but well-maintained freestanding homes.

With little in terms of landmarks or through-traffic to draw in crowds or visitors, it’s a mostly quiet and peaceful little streetscape that’s decently-priced for the combination of its position and rail connectivity, too. It’s home to a single strip of amenities which is decent given its size, while both large-scale shopping centres and the beach are not far away. It’s not exciting, but is safe, practical, and pretty convenient for city workers and families alike – a true “sleeper” suburb of Sydney worth considering.

Suburb Ratings:

Public Transport

Affordability (Rental)

Affordability (Buying)

Things to See/Do


Pet Friendliness

Key stats

Region: Southern Suburbs

Population: 6,000

Postcode: 2218

Ethnic Breakdown: Chinese 29.5%, Australian 8.8%, English 8.0%, Nepalese 6.2%, Irish 3.2%

Time to CBD (Public Transport): 25 minutes

Time to CBD (Driving): 30 minutes

Nearest Train Station: Allawah

Highlights/attractions: Allawah Hotel

Ideal for: Families, small families, professionals

When it comes for hunting for value when looking for spots to live that aren’t ridiculously far from the Sydney CBD, sometimes you have to search outside the “brand name” aisle of the Sydney suburbs supermarket.

While the narrative is always that living in Sydney is unaffordable, you can still get something (relatively) decent for the price in return for a willingness to sacrifice glamour or trendiness for practicality.

Allawah, to the CBD’s south, is a prime example of this – it’s not gorgeous or pretty as a whole, but possesses a number of strengths in its favour to make for a pretty well-priced spot with most of inner Sydney within reasonable striking distance.

Allawah suburb review

One of the reasons that even locals may not have heard of, or at least visited, Allawah before is that it’s a suburb that’s mostly devoid of landmarks and reasons to pay it a visit in general.

Even some of the more obscure suburbs of Sydney typically have at least one flagship attraction or landmark; a decent shopping centre, a well-equipped major park, some seaside or mountain lookout points, etc.

Allawah has none of these – the closest thing being its semi-historic and admittedly quite cool Allawah Hotel which dates back to the 1920’s – and as a result people might disregard it outright.

However there’s a decent amount of substance and positives here that makes it worth considering for those who want to be pretty central without sacrificing public transport connectivity.

Allawah Sydney

If you’re after excitement in a local streetscape, Allawah is not really the place to be. It’s highly-residential and quite family oriented, with little in terms of entertainment outside of the aforementioned pub or taking the kids to one of its small parks. Expand your vision outside the direct confines of the suburb’s borders however, and things soon become far less dire.

The most obvious way to kick things up a bit is heading from Allawah directly into the city. While its train station is not a major stop, it still sees a frequent helping of services along the T4 line which can have you into Central within just over 20 minutes, and Town Hall not much longer than that.

Allawah main street

That’s a great commute by Sydney standards, and it comes with a cheaper pricetag for property than most other suburbs a similar journey away in other directions of Sydney.

Driving isn’t nearly as pleasant; both of its major routes into the city deal with multiple traffic chokepoints, and although it’s easy to jump on the M1 (via Brighton-le-Sands), well, you’re still dealing with the M1 during peak which is always “fun”.

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Allawah modern apartments

Sydney Airport is also extremely handy relative to Allawah; in the best possible scenario that can mean just a 10-ish minute drive to catch a flight, or double that in busier periods.

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Likewise, for a mix of large-scale shopping and (mostly-Asian) dining, Westfield Hurstville and the more-hectic hub of Hurstville in general is literally only a couple of minutes drive away.

Westfield Hurstville

Getting to other parts of Sydney from Allaway via public transport is a little more clunky, but still doable, with connections/transfers at Wolli Creek for rail, and Hurstville Station with the added bonus of greater bus connectivity as well.

Add in the beachfront areas like Brighton-le-Sands/Monterey/Ramsgate and their foreshore parks not far a drive away either, and the proximity to a variety of locales makes up for some of Allawah’s shortcomings quite easily.

Allawah shops

Allawah itself is also not totally lacking in amenities; in fact, its one main strip for dining and services is relatively well-equipped for how small the suburb is as a whole given there’s multiple other, bigger, residential suburbs with even less to offer elsewhere throughout Sydney.

This strip along Railway Parade is not the glamorous or pretty Inner West-style cafe scene, but is functional enough.

Allawah restaurants

It’s home to several little local restaurants covering a few cuisines, a very solid cafe/coffee house, bottle shop, post office and several other services, along with a couple of cute little grocery stores.

They’re again nothing major, but are enough to get by in a pinch and nice to have without having to head over to Westfield for only minor purchases.

Allawah Hotel

The aforementioned Allawah Hotel itself is particularly noteworthy, as a historic venue with a refurbished and quite cool interior with an open-plan layout.

It offers tasty food for the price, the standard diverse array of pub drinks, and a nice outdoor sitting area to take advantage of. Again, given some far bigger suburbs of Sydney lack even a single pub, it’s a differentiating factor that may not sound like much but is still worth noting.

Allawah greenery

It’s also about as far as noteworthy attractions go within Allawah itself. While nature-wise the suburb is adequately green and has decent if unspectacular tree cover with plenty of generic Aussie gum trees, its only other real public spaces are its two parks which range from “small” to “tiny”.

Joy Mead Park is a pint-sized pocket oriented around basically providing a little playground for kids, and not much else; the closest thing to a “flagship” park Allawah has is Meade Park which again is still small but at least has a decent amount of amenities packed within.

Allawah small park

While it’s not big or beautiful, it’s fairly central to the suburb and offers a good amount of play equipment for the kids, barbecue and picnic equipment, and a decent bit of flag grassed space for kicking a ball around – and that’s about it.

There are a couple of other tiny reserves dotted throughout the ends of residential areas, but these are likewise small-scale.

Allawah large park

You’ll have to make the 20-ish minute walk (or several-minute drive) down to somewhere like Claydon Reserve in neighbouring Ramsgate for something that’s a bit more visually pretty and unique, with an outlook over the water.

Allawah reserve

As a result, Allawah is adequate if not amazing for those with kids. It’s home to a single school in the St George Christian School which is combined primary and secondary, and a small kindergarten, but the bulk of the area’s educational options are located over in Hurstville. This includes multiple highly-regarded private schools, which typically achieve high results.

Allawah schools

On the plus side for both families and adults alike, Allawah is highly safe. Its crime rate is a paltry 0.04% per capita, which places it among the top quarter of safest suburbs across Sydney – not surprising, given its largely sleepy and overall friendly streetscape, particularly in its handful of quite charming low-density streets.

Allawah’s streetscape in general is probably best defined as “mid-density” overall. There’s no highrise development here, but it’s instead heavily populated with both older and more modern low and mid-rise unit blocks with only a couple of levels each.

Allawah units

Some of its back streets and alleys are a little neglected; however this is mostly just a result of their age rather than cleanliness, as the streets of the residents themselves are the opposite, and kept very trim and tidy.

Allawah back streets

Many of these are those typical function-over-form older Sydney red and beige brick complexes that are common in the St George area that might not be as flashy as newer/modern blocks, but are typically solidly-built, pretty roomy, and have stood the test of time.

Some of them are a little tired on the outside, but for daily quality of life it’s more a matter of “it’s what’s inside that counts.”

Allawah older units

The heavy supply of these units to choose from means both that Allawah is probably more populated than you’d think, and also offering a pretty wide array of opportunities for fairly cheap housing in a place that’s quite close to Sydney city.

This applies to both buyers and renters as well – add it up, and Allawah serves as a very solid and budget-friendly base for commuting into the CBD in a pretty short amount of time for the dollars you’d potentially be paying.

Allawah older apartments

These unit-heavy streets are broken up by several roads lined with older and well-maintained bungalow-style houses where most of the long-term residents can be found.

Allawah houses

This includes single and double-story homes of varying architectural influences (notably Greek flourishes), along with an increasing number of brand-new duplexes which have been added in recent years.

Allawah duplexes

Some of Allawah’s newer homes are particularly large-scale, with streets like Woids Ave home to some of the biggest houses in the suburb that have an aspect looking out over the bay.

This is despite Allawah itself being quite flat and walkable overall; it’s not a suburb that’s any kind of hassle to get around, and its back streets see little through-traffic, making them generally quiet.

Allawah bigger houses

Price-wise, Allawah is above average in terms of value given its combination of safety and decent location, and is probably undervalued (by Sydney standards) due to its lack of brand-name recognition.

This is especially true for those content with apartment living; while its housing market hovers around a median of $1.2 million due to a relative lack of supply (not bad in itself), its abundance of unit blocks means prices are competitive for higher-density lifestyles.

Allawah modern houses

Median apartment rentals currently sit at $430 per week at time of writing, with prices as low as $400 per week for a 2-bedroom unit not uncommon for a place that’s also not terrible.

That’s very respectable for a 20-ish minute commute via public transport into the city. In addition, while many of the buildings that offer these cheaper rental prices are older, many of them have also been renovated so they’re nicer on the inside than their exterior facade might indicate.

“Allawah’s housing prices are very respectable for a place that offers a 20-ish minute commute via public transport into the city.”

This also makes it a decent entry-level spot for first home buyers who are content to enter the market with an apartment as a starter.

Allawah European houses

There’s plenty of potential here for grabbing a place around the $550k-$600k mark, which given its public transport connections and proximity to bigger shops and dining nearby, and even the beach while not being unsafe is a pretty good initial step.

Again: form over function can save you a lot of money, people.

The Verdict

As a suburb, it’s easy to see why Allawah is not talked about; there’s no beach, no flagship landmarks, no major shopping centre – but are having these directly on your doorstep really essential for a practical daily life? It’s up to you whether you feel throwing several hundred thousand more dollars for the privilege is worth it; for the average person, the compromise in living in places that are fine-but-not-spectacular is one that often has to be made.

Much as we said with neighbouring suburb Carlton – in truth, there’s not too much to differentiate the two other than size – this is a place that flies under the radar mostly due to the fact there’s no reason to visit; but that doesn’t translate to not making it a solid place to live. There are plenty of other, more dangerous or less convenient, suburbs in Sydney that go for higher property prices but result in a less enjoyable quality of life.

This all combines to say that we feel that Allawah is probably undervalued, despite it being “boring” and lacking in entertainment. Particularly for those who can afford a freestanding home, the community here and its smattering of amenities are a good double-hit of benefits versus places like Hurstville across the tracks which goes for several hundred thousand dollars higher in price and have a far more hectic traffic and crowd situation.

If you’re the type who needs a more active and lively suburb to get your juices flowing, then Allawah is obviously a poor choice. There’s not much “going on” here, however its pub is quite cool and even the fact it has a couple of decent restaurants and a cafe is respectable for its size.

It’s a particularly good option for budget-conscious renters/city workers who aren’t quite sure yet where they want to end up in Sydney long-term; Allawah is at least a good stop-gap for a year or two for determining whether you’re happy with southern Sydney as a place to live full-time – and if not, you’ve likely paid a reasonable price for rent during your decision-making process at the very least.

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