Dense Asian dining meets rolling, impressively green back streets for one of Sydney’s most interesting suburban contrasts.

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Summary: Perhaps THE premier hub for Asian dining in all of Sydney, Eastwood consists of an ultra-dense central district packed to the brim with restaurants and services, coexisting alongside high-end, premier residential back streets for quite the suburban contrast. It’s a place that has experienced marked demographic change over the past few decades, and now provides an interesting mix of legacy stores and homes along with pockets of brand-new development added in.

It’s well-connected in terms of public transport by both road and rail, and has an extremely good array of suburban greenery which – along with its upper-tier education options – make it highly desirable for families as well. Some parts of its central area could use a slight facelift and it faces some significant issues in terms of both traffic & parking, while prices for its often-massive freestanding homes in particular may prove prohibitively expensive for most.

Suburb Ratings:

Public Transport

Affordability (Rental)

Affordability (Buying)

Things to See/Do


Pet Friendliness

Key stats

Region: North Shore

Population: 18,000

Postcode: 2122

Ethnic Breakdown: Chinese 38.4%, English 11.2%, Australian 10.1%, Korean 8.2%, Irish 4.2%

Time to CBD (Public Transport): 35 minutes

Time to CBD (Driving): 30 minutes

Nearest Train Station: Eastwood

Highlights/attractions: Endless dining options, multiple parklands, Brickyard redevelopment

Ideal for: Families, retirees, professionals

Median property prices: House – $1,600,000; Apartment – $750,000

Median rental prices (per week): House – $690; Apartment – $450

In terms of suburbs of Sydney that have evolved more “organically” than having their hand mostly forced by developers, Eastwood on the North Shore ranks fairly highly on the list.

More ‘oldschool-arcade’ than ‘modern shopping centre’, it’s home to a more social and communal feel than some of its overly-sterile and highly-developed counterparts with similar demographics elsewhere in the city.

This comes with a geographical position that’s quite desirable to make for an intriguing initial overall package as a place to live.

Eastwood Sydney

Eastwood sits in a highly central location on the middle-north shore that makes it fairly convenient for accessing multiple major parts of Sydney within a reasonable timeframe.

Major hubs for work and retail such as Macquarie Park, Parramatta and Ryde are highly viable while living here, while its rail connectivity offers around a 35 minute train trip directly into Town Hall as well.

Add in frequent and diverse bus services, and about the only thing it loses out on is access to beaches, although it’s technically possible to jump on the M2 and head to say, Balmoral, in a pinch.

Eastwood CBD

“Unofficially” divided into a ‘Korean Side’ and ‘Chinese Side’ split down the middle by its train tracks, its focal strip surrounding Rowe Street is a buzzing hub of fresh seafood markets, nail salons, karaoke joints and a nearly-endless array of restaurants that make for some of the best-value Eastern dining in Sydney.

Noodle houses, Korean BBQ joints, a cavalcade of eastern-style bakeries – you name it, and it’s here.

Eastwood NSW

This is a suburb in which bubble tea stores take the place of cafes; an Inner West-style al fresco dining scene this may not be, but it’s still highly centered around gathering and enjoying a bite to eat – just with different cuisines as the focus.

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It’s busy, but in a good way; Eastwood’s centre feels far less hectic than, say, its closest counterpart in Burwood while offering almost as much in terms of overall stores and shopping as well. It’s also more of a place in which people tend to be taking their time, rather than merely rushing past each other.

This extends to the surrounding streets to cover an exceptional array of amenities for daily use.

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While its signature Eastwood Shopping Centre feels like the raw embodiment of “80s Sydney atmosphere” and is probably long-overdue for renovations/upgrades, Eastwood still provides all essential stores with major supermarket brands such as Woolworths and ALDI (a couple of blocks over) in addition to banks, bottle shops, post offices and the like.

Eastwood shops

It’s also an area that – refreshingly for a higher-end suburb on the North Shore – doesn’t immediately die once the sun starts to go down.

Evening dining is a “thing” here, while night markets are a common occurrence and decently-sized pubs like the Eastwood Hotel and Landmark Hotel serve as quality venues for a drink, bite, or watching some sport as well.

Eastwood pubs

All this combines to make Eastwood feel far less pretentious than some of the other premium suburbs slightly to the east for which the region is perhaps better-known.

Add in its nicely-kept park/oval with its ANZAC memorial up top, and you’ve got one of the more eclectic hub areas for a mostly residential suburb in Sydney that’s interesting and well worth a visit at the least.

It is, of course, highly Asian here at its core, and may feel like a little bit of culture shock for those coming from elsewhere; there’s the occasional language barrier issue at restaurants, for example, but this is seldom anything malicious or intentionally exclusive.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this slice of Eastwood is highly indicative of the suburb as a whole, but that couldn’t be further from the case.

In terms of streetscape, if rapper Drake were writing this he’d likely say that it goes from “0 to 100 real quick” – or, in Sydney terms, it may be better to say that Eastwood goes “from Haymarket to Lindfield” within about 5 minutes.

Eastwood homes

Head a block or two back along major arteries like Blaxland or Shaftsbury Roads, and what initially is mainly clusters of older, low-rise apartment blocks and the occasional townhouse/villa complex soon gives way to a land of massive and impressive homes with immaculate gardens within the span of just a couple of streets.

In contrast to its bustling and often noisy central hub, it’s immediately far more peaceful as long as you’re a street or two back from the aforementioned roads or other majors such as First Ave which runs up the hill.

Eastwood’s back streets are characteristically wide and tree-draped, with local authorities keeping them well-maintained and clean as a whole.

Eastwood houses

Block sizes here are typically very large in general, so even the smaller houses can end up with a very big front and back yard.

They’re well-maintained and generally boast a high level of house pride, with even the “worst” homes on each street still kept in tip-top condition.

This culminates in some utterly massive corner-block houses that border on ‘manor’ territory. In many ways, Eastwood offers a compromise between access to the massive home sizes of a Lindfield or Killara without compromising on access to services or dining.

Eastwood mansions

If you’ve got mass amounts of cash to throw around yet not wanting to live somewhere utterly boring it’s easy to see the appeal it offers in this regard. There are elements of “Hills District” mixed in here as well, which may either appeal or be a turnoff, depending on your inclinations towards large-scale suburbia.

The level of greenery Eastwood offers deserves special mention. As a whole, it scores about as high marks for nature as a landlocked suburb with decent access to amenities possibly can.

Eastwood parks 1

In addition to heavy doses of greenery lining its streets, Eastwood’s home to a huge array of parks and reserves both big and small, wild and manicured, seemingly around every corner.

Eastwood parks 2

From the long and leafy Jim Walsh Park with its mix of roominess, picnic and playground equipment to the family-friendly Granny Smith Memorial Park (yes, a tribute to the famous Apple which originated in the Ryde area) to its multiple ovals and sports amenities, Eastwood delivers in terms of high quality green spaces.

Eastwood parks 3

Simply-put, kids and pets alike will be spoiled here, while those who like to keep things leisurely can also take advantage of several great little suburban nature trails and walking tracks as well.

Follow the Terrys Creek Walk, for example, and you’ll get a nice little dose of bushland with a namesake creek running through that’s right in the middle of suburbia. Overall it makes for a suburb that’s actually enjoyable to be out and about in, rather than simply sticking to your house.

Eastwood nature walks

While most of Eastwood’s residential streets are a mix of grand Federation style brown-brick homes alongside large modern constructions, there’s also a slice of the suburb that feels like it’s from another world entirely.

In the north-west of Eastwood lies a concentrated pocket of mass-produced medium and high-density housing courtesy of its Brickyard development that’s both “cookie-cutter” feeling yet simultaneously quite interesting as well.

Eastwood brickyard

Developed around the site of a former brick yard used quite literally for the manufacturing of bricks, elements of its heritage have been retained – including towering chimney stacks, and condominiums built on top of old-time red brick.

It’s an entirely unique example of suburban redevelopment we haven’t seen the likes of anywhere else in Sydney that walks the line between the industrial and Pleasantville, which feels kind of surreal and totally different to the rest of Eastwood as a whole.

Eastwood townhouses

Eastwood’s other standout feature for many is going to be its educational facilities.

Both the suburb itself and some of its neighbours in Epping, Cheltenham, Carlingford and the like are home to some of the most highly-regarded schooling options in the state, renowned for catering to high-achievers and churning out more of the same.

Eastwood schools

It’s become highly sought-after for families as a result, and is one of the key reasons property prices have continued to balloon in the area along with a generally safe environment and low overall crime rate.

“Eastwood’s streetscape goes “from Haymarket to Lindfield” within about 5 minutes.”

Crime-wise, Eastwood has some minor issues but ranks “above average” statistically; most of its stats come from traffic-related incidents, which leads us directly into the handful of negatives which contribute to holding the suburb back slightly.

Eastwood’s road situation is fairly grim overall. It’s notoriously bad in terms of the combination of traffic, pedestrian access and parking; combine the three, and it can take ridiculously long just to get from one side of the suburb to the other during peak times.

Eastwood traffic

Its centrally-located schools don’t help matters, and despite the efforts of local authorities to prop up signs suggesting people “Try to cross in groups”, it can be quite an awkward mess at the best of times.

Major intersections that become clogged, a lack of adequate traffic signals and lights, and the desirability of its town centre all work in harmony to make for utter pain for Eastwood drivers.

Eastwood crossing

Anecdotally, there’s also a seemingly a culture here of not stopping for people crossing pedestrian crossings – we’ve been almost knocked over several times each time we’ve visited here in the past.

The bigger roads such as Blaxland and Balaclava Roads are also highly busy and noisy, making living alongside these a less than peaceful proposition and to be avoided if possible. The addition of more newer apartment blocks and other high-to-mid density living in recent years continues to exacerbate matters as well.

The other obvious downside to living here is the price of admission.

While Eastwood boasts a pretty diverse housing profile – there are several decent complexes of townhouses, and a fair few low-rise unit blocks – its proclivity towards big homes on big blocks means freestanding home prices can be excessive.

Eastwood apartments

While the median for a house here currently hovers around the $1.6 million mark, many of the properties on offer greatly exceed this amount and can blow it out of the water entirely.

On the other hand, for those content with apartment living, Eastwood is home to one of the biggest gaps between freestanding home prices vs. units of any of Sydney’s suburbs.

The mix between having multiple older unit blocks and a smattering of new constructions means it’s reasonably priced both for buying and renting; you can get a solid 2-bedder for around the $750,000 mark, or rent one for $450 per week.

The Verdict

Eastwood certainly is ‘unique’ amongst Sydney’s suburbs, and unlike many others it definitely does have a distinctive character of its own. Few others can boast such an eclectic mix of exotic dining, transport access, amenities, spacious living and education while also being so green and pleasant overall.

Its position gives it a flexibility for working in multiple locations rather than being restricted to a single one without enduring a ridiculous commute, and its buzzing and lively atmosphere combined with mostly peaceful living just a few streets away is an interesting mix that you can partake in (or not) at your leisure.

It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea given it’s largely restricted to one “continent” worth of dining and cuisine; there’s not much diversity in restaurants outside of the greater Asian sphere, but if you are a fan you’ve got the best possible place in the city to enjoy it right on your doorstep.

The blend of parkland, education and safety is great for families who can afford it – but can be out of reach price-wise for those who can’t – yet Eastwood still has enough to appeal to the younger crowd and couples as well. Unlike other “family oriented” suburbs, it’s lively enough to provide more things to do on a weekend without having to go elsewhere.

Traffic and driving is an obvious black mark, and while there’s a lot of allocated parking in theory, it still seems to be lacking in practice. Depending on your background, language and integration issues here may also be a factor; or it may simply help you feel more at home instead.

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