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Two ladies in a deli. One pointing at cured sausages, other being the deli assistant picking it out for her.
Photograph: Supplied/Grozik Polish Deli

What’s good in the neighbourhood: Campbelltown

There's something for everyone in this diverse, welcoming city filled with hidden gems just waiting to be explored

By Time Out in association with Campbelltown City Council
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Campbelltown is a buzzing hub of creativity. There’s so much to take delight in, from Polynesian food and microbreweries through to a quirky Polish deli and a play centre for special needs children and adults. Experience the unique arts and cultural offering at the renowned Campbelltown Arts Centre, or immerse yourself in untouched bushland surrounds. Visit one of Sydney’s most inclusive regions which has much more to it than meets the eye.

Where to go in Campbelltown

Mama's Polynesian Soul Food restaurant
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown City Council

Mama’s Polynesian Soul Food

For a taste of the Pacific, look no further than Mama’s Polynesian Soul FoodAunties work hard behind the scenes in this family-run restaurant to dish up traditional Polynesian comfort meals made with love. Experience island culture with Mama's range of savoury, coconut-spiked dishes. Sample the lu'au, a smooth, steamed snack combining taro leaves with coconut cream, or sapa sui, a Samoan take on chop suey, its glistening glass noodles served with a side of cassava. Wash it all down with otai, a fresh watermelon drink, while for dessert, colourful Kiwi donuts will delight both kids and grown-ups. 

Afghan Royal restaurant Campbelltown
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown City Council

Afghan Royal

Sayed Hussainizada opened his restaurant after pleasing the crowds with his food at local community events. Don’t expect to find watered-down, westernised dishes here: you’re in for the real deal, thanks to the resident Afghani chef. Expect bold flavours and subtle spices competing for your attention with each meal a celebration of Afghan culture. The aromas of the garlicky Borani Bonjon with its layers of fried, golden eggplant, tomato and capsicum will have you salivating. Be sure to mop it up with naan bread. Or try the bolani periki, a traditional, stuffed Afghani flatbread with a thin, crisp outer layer, served with fresh lemon to drizzle over and a yoghurt dip. 

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Man holding burger.
Photograph: Supplied/Suzie Dukes

Suzie Dukes Burger and Grill

If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned American-style feed, Suzie Dukes is the spot for you. This casual eatery in Ingleburn Village specialises in handcrafted burgers made with fresh ingredients including soft milk buns baked daily at the bakery next door. Bite into a buttermilk-fried chicken burger complete with house slaw, pickled radish and Sriracha mayo. Or for those who can’t go past an OG cheeseburger, Suzie Dukes' comes with a smashed beef pattie, melted American cheese (from the nation where the cheese, like the politicians, is bright orange), pickles, onion, mustard, and of course, ketchup (or should that be catsup)? Wash it down with a shake – and follow it up with a massive nap.

Man holding beer.
Photograph: Supplied/The Beer Shed

The Beer Shed Brewing Co

There’s nothing quite like visiting a brewery and trying the beers in the place where they are made. The Beer Shed Brewing Co is a microbrewery offering a regular rotation of eight in-house brews and two guest taps, with owner, Jai and head brewer, Justin, experimenting each week with different flavour profiles. Be sure to sample the pineapple brew, which has made its place onto the menu as a permanent fixture. Or try and make it down on a weekend as the Beer Shed comes to life on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights with plenty of food trucks joining the party so you can pair your pint with a delicious local meal.

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Two ladies in a deli. One pointing at cured sausages, other being the deli assistant picking it out for her.
Photograph: Supplied/Grozik Polish Deli

Grosik Polish Deli

It’s important to support locally owned businesses, but duty becomes pleasure with shopkeepers like Bozena Duma. Her Grosik Polish Deli is a sanctuary of cold cuts, Polish sausages, freshly baked breads, cakes, doughnuts, pierogi and more. Bozena will immerse you in her Polish heritage and culture through music and recipes. She’ll even teach you how to cook using the produce and different products in her store. She exudes passion, and you’ll have a hard time not getting wrapped up in it and wanting to buy the entire store. 

Aboriginal tour guide in national park
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown City Council

Dharawal National Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Appin

The pristine eucalypt and shale forests, woodlands and waterfalls within this national park south of Helensburgh lie within the traditional land of the Dharawal Aboriginal people. There are several protected historical sites within the park, including Indigenous drawings and axe-grinding grooves. You can explore these sites, native animals and the towering walls of Hawkesbury sandstone throughout Dharawal National Park on the walking tours led by Indigenous guides, which happen on the second Saturday of the month. Aunty Deirdre, who guides the tours, shares stories of the local Aboriginal tribes and helps visitors discover the park’s waterfalls, sandstone gorges, swimming holes and rock shelters. 

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Man smiling in front of a painting.
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown Arts Centre

Campbelltown Arts Centre

Art Campbelltown

For over three decades Campbelltown Arts Centre evolved along with its community. It proudly has its roots in the City of Campbelltown, and has seen its growth from a big country town with a grassroots community arts society to a city boasting a diverse community and bold cultural scene. The centre hosts exhibitions and community workshops for you to access which include Little Orange. Little Orange acts as a working studio for contemporary Western Sydney artists who identify with a disability, providing a platform for these artists to develop and launch their careers. Since its creation in 2014 the studio has fostered high-quality artistic practice through the provision of materials, mentorships, business training and access to industry professionals.

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Mountain Biking Trail
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown City Council

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Mountain Biking Trail

Things to do Sydney

A literal breath of fresh air for mountain biking enthusiasts, the Mount Annan Mountain Biking Trail is where lovers of the outdoors can dart along one or more of their exhilarating trails.  It doesn’t matter if you’re ready to ride the Tour de France or if you’ve just graduated from training wheels, there are circuits for all skill levels, including a Family Loop and a Kids Loop. The trail is free to access and is one of the few authorised trails in NSW. Make a day of it at the Australian Botanic Garden and check out 400 hectares of natural woodland, wildlife, walking tracks, barbecue areas, Australian Plant Bank, public art, café and other events and experiences too. 

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Five year old playing in a tyre swing
Photograph: Supplied/Campbelltown City Council

The Shine Shed

The Shine Shed All Abilities Play Centre provides an inclusive, encouraging environment for children and young adults with special needs. It’s the only play centre of its kind in Australia that caters to both children and adults, a place for people to have their sensory needs met, develop skills and socialise in a fun, nurturing and supported environment. Facilities include a wheelchair swing, adapted zipline seat, swings, trampoline, spin pods, foam pit, cubby house, climbing walls, and sensory room with an activity wall and bubble columns. Owner Lisa Fruhstuck created the Shine Shed prompted by the lack of options for young adults and school leavers with special needs. Lisa’s family and friends got involved and helped to design and build a lot of the equipment according to the highest safety standards too. 

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