For people looking for Sydney accommodation Potts Point is a trendy, buzz area in which to stay. Potts Point is always alive with action and lots of energy. And if does ever get too quiet, it is only a short distance from other venues in the CBD, Oxford St, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Rushcutters Bay, and Paddington. The iconic Opera House is also within walking distance.
The area sits on a thin peninsular forming the eastern side Woolloomooloo Bay and dividing it from Elizabeth Bay. Because it sits elevated on the high point of the peninsular, the area used to be called Woolloomooloo Hill. The entire precinct has a strong maritime heritage and the navy that still maintains a strong presence.
There is a big variety of quality accommodation ranging from basic back-packers quarters to boarding houses, serviced apartments, and intimate boutique hotels as well as five star luxury hotels. Short and longer stay bookings are both possible. There are accommodation options for all budgets.
Eateries are endless with a tempting assortment of cuisines. Most are in Macleay Street or Victoria Street, but many also hidden in the side streets and alleyways. Entertainment is on 24×7, including music venues, jazz clubs, discos and massage parlours along colourful Darlinghurst Road.
The suburb is well served by trains, buses and taxis, however walking is the best way to absorb the verve, vibrancy and variety. Stroll along leafy Victoria Street, one of the areas most attractive avenues. The north end of this street offers stunning views of the city. Movie units often film in the street because of its strong character and wonderful views. Embarkation Park, a totally man-made reserve, lies immediately adjacent to Victoria Street, sitting atop a public car park that fronts on to the Great Cowper Road below. The park remembers the days when soldiers, leaving to fight overseas in the first and second world wars, marched their way through the streets to boards ships docked in Woolloomooloo Bay.
A stroll under the thick tree canopy along Victoria Street is a must-do. The north end of the street offers stunning views of the city. Movie crews are often seen filming on this spot with the city as backdrop. Embarkation Park lies adjacent to the street crowning a car park below; it name pays homage to Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf which was the main loading point for troops boarding ships for overseas destinations.
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) still maintains its sizable Fleet Base at the tip of the Potts Point. Over the years, the base has been physically connected to small islet, Garden Island that once lay a hundred meters or so from the mainland. The base is now known as the Garden Island Dockyard. It includes a large dry dock and other maintenance facilities, active wharves, administration buildings and a RAN Heritage Centre that is open to the public. The Heritage Centre is open daily from 0930 to 1530. It is only accessible by boarding the Circular Quay-to-Watsons Bay ferry and getting off when it stops at Garden Island. Private vessels are prohibited to enter naval waters in both Woolloomooloo and Elizabeth Bays immediately surrounding the naval yard.
To walk to the city, head to the north end of Victoria Street and skip down the McElhone Steps to the Great Cowper Road. Walk past the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf then up the stairs on the western side of the bay, past the New South Wales Art Gallery and through Domain Park to either the Parliament House or State Library in historic Macquarie Street. A walk to the CBD takes a leisurely 20 minutes. A sizable stream of well-dressed professionals can be seen each morning strolling purposefully up to town for their day of toil.
The well-worn McElhone Steps date back to the 1800s and were named after John McElhone (1833-1898), a rowdy, roughneck merchant and politician that was nevertheless honest and respected. In keeping with his hot-headed nature, McElhone often called on his chauffeur, Bill Inglis, a former professional boxer, to become handy during the rough and tumble of electioneering. Around 1881, McElhone built his four-level family home in Rockwell Crescent at Potts Point. His incessant questions in parliament exposed many shams and public spending rorts. He became a hero of the people. John McElhone is not to be confused with Arthur McElhone for whom the small park opposite Elizabeth Bay House was named.
The infamous set of steps has suffered many a drunken sailor and much fumbled lovemaking and other excited behaviour. John Olsen, a leading Australian contemporary artist, has celebrated the steps in an abstract lithograph. He resided in Victoria Street during the 1960s after having lived in Spain for three years. He was commissioned by the Art Gallery Society of Victoria at one time to prepare a work and decided the steps as a subject.
John Verge also designed Tusculum, another heritage listed building located a short walk from Elizabeth Bay House in Tusculum Street, Potts Point. Tusculum now serves as the headquarters for the Royal Australian institute of Architects.
World famous movie director Baz Lurhmann owns the Italianate mansion named Iona in Darlinghurst. This grand, two storey home is surrounded by a high walls. Sturdy iron gates lead to a circular drive and quiet gardens. It was built around the 1880s. The property was formerly co-owned by a fund manager during the 1990s, but he suffered hard times and was forced to sell the property. At one stage, Iona served as a private hospital.
One of the early landowners in the area was Sir John Wylde (1781-1856). He came to Australia in 1816 from England to serve as deputy judge-advocate. He received at least two land grants from the government. One of them was for 50 acres at Potts Point. He erected a mansion for himself and Wylde Street was named in his honour. He divested much of the land to Joseph Potts, who worked as accountant for the what was then known as the Bank of NSW, now Westpac. The suburb is thought to be named after him. Sydney Accommodation in Potts Point has come a long way since then.
Fraser Brown works as a professional blogger who is known as a Sydney Accommodation consultant and is particularly recognised for focusing on Sydney vacation and information jobs