Boasting an array of neighborhoods such as the Rocks, Harbour area, and downtown, Sydney has another neighborhood that is often overlooked but certainly worth at least a short stroll. Easily accessible by foot or train, the neighborhood of Redfern is characterized by its bohemian vibe. Largely populated by both professional and amateur artists and a large number of university students, one can expect to see colorfully-painted buildings, apartments with lavish gardens, an abundance of cats, and quirky shops.
(Central Park and surrounding shopping center)
Perhaps one aspect of this neighborhood that shocked me the most was the number of cats wandering around the streets and the carefree attitude of the residents in regards to this. When my study abroad peers asked our international study abroad coordinator about this debacle, she smiled and told us that the residents of Redfern allow their cats to roam freely “so they can feel their art”. In the United States (or at least in Wisconsin), if an owner permitted their cat to wander wherever they wanted to around a neighborhood, that would be considered borderline animal neglect. However, Redfern’s laid back, artistic nature makes it so that owners’ cats wandering about is a norm (furthermore, I heaved a sigh of relief when I was informed that the cats are well taken care of and fed and washed on a regular basis).
(An instance of an apartment with a garden)
Because I am living at Urbanest throughout the duration of my study abroad program, I have had ample time to wander around Redfern and have to admit that this neighborhood is growing on me. During my first few days, I neither loved nor disliked Redfern (How could I form a proper opinion when the only place that my jetlagged, sun exhausted self had been venturing to for the first few days was Woolworth’s for groceries?). After the jet lag wore off and my body became more accustomed to the powerful Aussie sun, however, I decided to walk around more and what I discovered impressed me. I especially appreciated the assortment of cafes, quirky shops, colorful buildings, and prevalent greenery.
Currently, I would have to say that my favorite two shops are Ally’s for clothing with a creative flair and affordable prices and Doughnuts for Life for doughnuts with names humorously referencing pop culture. My personal favorites are the “Slim Shady” and “Love Life” kinds. Redfern Park is a wonderful place to go either solo or with a friend to relax by the fountain or chat with the other residents.
(“Doughnut Time” doughnut shop)
As a writer, Redfern’s relaxed aura and creativity appeal to me greatly and I could undoubtedly see myself living here for far longer than my allotted three weeks. The city as a whole has cast a spell on me and Redfern is no exception. Just get me an opal card, cat, ample pen and paper, and an apartment with a garden and I’d be set for years (hey, a girl can dream). Until then, I’ll be sipping flat whites and blogging.
See you all later, mates!
~ The Caro Chronicles