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Situated only 15 minutes from the CBD, Chatswood in Sydney's lower North Shore is a place almost 25,000 call home. But long before Chatswood was given the name, after Charlotte Harnett, the wife of the then-mayor, the Cammeraygal people inhabited and looked after this land. After the White Australia policy was abolished and renounced in the early 1970s, immigration grew — particularly from non-European countries, and markedly from China during the 1980-90s.
Now, according to the 2016 Australian census, the most popular languages spoken here after English is Mandarin and Cantonese, and one-third of the population has Chinese roots. Other Sydney suburbs that share a similar demographic include Eastwood, Burwood and Hurstville (note the repetition of the “woods”).
If you’re new to the area and want to get an overview of the 'hood, just walk straight from Chatswood Interchange, down Victoria Avenue towards Willoughby – it’ll take you roughly 30 minutes. You see that, like other parts of Sydney, Chatswood has undergone rapid commercial development and massive renovations over the past decade. Shiny high-rise residential apartments have cropped up around the station, as well as brands like Starbucks, Apple, Zara, Uniqlo and Muji.
What's it known for?
People from all over Sydney may come here to shop at the buzzing Westfield, but Chatswood's food scene is an even more compelling reason to visit. A large Chinese population means an abundance of authentic Hong Kong, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Northern and Western-Chinese options. Hand-pulled noodles, soup dumplings, malatang, laksa noodle soup. Other East and Southeast Asian cuisines are also plentiful — Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian. Whether you're trying something new or missing the taste of a home away from home, Chatswood's got you covered.
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Why do the locals love it?
Locals have seen the landscape change a lot along the main strip in recent years, many businesses have been around for decades and counting. Although we might not speak the same languages or dialect at home, we all speak the same language of good food.
How do I get to Chatswood?
Hop onto the Metro North West Line, the North Shore & Western Line (T1), the Northern Line (T9) or Central Coast & Newcastle (CCN) train lines and you'll find your way here via Chatswood Interchange. Only 15 minutes from the CBD with plentiful parking on the street and in carparks, driving is also a breeze, but you can also catch a bus here — there are numerous routes that travel in from all directions.
If you're looking for nature, you can choose bush or beach: 10-20 minutes will take you to numerous lush reserves, national parks, and harbor baths; while 20-30 minutes will take you to either Manly or Bondi. Otherwise, head down to Lane Cove National Park and rent out a paddle-boat to cruise through Lane Cove River, or drive over to Northbridge Baths for a quick dip in Middle Harbour waters. Neighboring suburbs like Artarmon, Willoughby or Lane Cove may be more residential, but are also never far from a trail, park or pool.
Map of Chatswood
If you do one thing...
Swing by on a Thursday or Friday after work or school and walk up and down upper Victoria Avenue to eat your way through Chatswood Mall Market (9am-9pm). Bring friends, kids, the whole gang: there's something to satisfy everyone, from Taiwanese, to Singaporean, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Lebanese, Macedonian, Greek, Italian and more.