Monday, October 26, 2009

Has the Tide Turned for Sydney's Iconic Gay Street and Beach?

Photos and story by Delia Farrell, reporting as repeat visitor to gay and lesbian travel icons in Sydney and beyond.

Over the course of a dozen years and multiple stints at living in Gay Sydney, I have seen a lot of changes at both locations - none more dramatic than my current perspective after an absence of two years.

Many visitors - especially backpacking travellers from Europe and North America - are saying Sydney is "over hyped, too expensive, and has substandard public transport between the city and the suburban beaches."

While the backpacker numbers are down - they are off to the cheaper Asian beach locations - I have seen the same numbers on the gay end of the beach. Yeah, more room for us in the cafes, pubs, shops and on the north end of the beach which is best for male cruising and topless lesbians!

Previously, after a day of watching tanned bodies at the beautiful beach, gay and lesbian visitors alike would head to Oxford Street for a meal, a thirst quencher, top shopping and then pub crawling from one end to the other. Those were the days of many gay bars, one right after the other. And restaurants that stayed open late and on Sundays. Sadly, this is not the case anymore.

You can grab a decent meal at Snakebean, a BYOB Asian dinner, and step into the Stonewall or the Colombian for beer and mingling with the locals. But some of the stalwarts have recently closed for much needed refreshing and repainting.

So if you thought you'd spend all night on Oxford Street, think again. Think Newtown

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