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Kings Cross

A central district of Sydney famous for its liberal attitude to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

TravelCurious Tip

What Kings Cross may lack in world famous attractions it more than makes up for in character – the most rewarding way to experience the district is often just to wander!

Located two kilometres East of Sydney’s Central Business District, Kings Cross is easily accessible by subway and is the place to go if you are looking for a more bohemian vibe. It is cheaper than most of the city’s more central districts, and as such is popular with a younger, backpacking-oriented crowd. These tourists and Sydneysiders bring a carefree, liberal atmosphere to Kings Cross, in keeping with the historically countercultural style of the place.


Sin City

Originally called Queen’s Cross to mark Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, the name was changed after being continually confused with nearby Queen’s square. The area flourished in the early 20th century, though perhaps not in quite the way the authorities would have liked – it became a centre for the production and trade of “sly grog”, illegal alcohol distributed by rival brothel owners. By the 1960s, Kings Cross was firmly established as the city’s red light district. Prostitution thrived with the weekly arrival of thousands of American soldiers on R&R leave looking for cheap entertainment. Organised crime proliferated as well, largely under the command of Abe Saffron, “The Boss of the Cross”, who brazenly operated illegal casinos within a few metres of local police stations.


Cleaning up its Act

These days, the Cross still has a slightly seedy feel to it, but is well worth a visit nonetheless. The iconic El Alamein fountain, a WWII memorial whose dandelion design has been copied around the world, sits at the entrance to Fitzroy Gardens. Also popular is the Coca-Cola billboard, affectionately known by Sydneysiders as “The Coke Sign”, which has been here for over forty years and is the largest billboard in the Southern Hemisphere.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Sydney
Hyde Park
An oasis of calm in Sydney's busy city centre, famed for its fig-lined avenues.
St Mary's Cathedral
Situated next to Hyde Park, St. Mary's is the most important church in Sydney - it's also the longest in Australia.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Covering almost 75 acres, Sydney's are celebrated as some of the best botanical gardens in the world.
Sydney Tower Eye
The tallest building in Sydney offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the city.
The Strand Arcade
This 19th century arcade is at the heart of downtown Sydney, and full of delightful boutique shops.
State Library of NSW
Officially the oldest library in Australia, with a grand exterior to match its distinction.

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