The Auburn area sits on the border between the Darug inland people and the Dharawal/Eora Coastal people. It was traditionally used as a marketplace for the exchange of goods, ritual battles, and law ceremonies. Today Auburn is a vibrant and bustling city with a diverse culture, diverse food, and diverse peoples still meeting and sharing. It is a city of unexpected surprises, colour, and life.
With a station located in the heart of the city centre, Auburn is easily accessible via the Sydney train network. To explore this town, make sure you get out and explore the experiences found within the backstreets and out of the city centre too. We spent the first half of the day doing exactly that.
Begin your day with something simple from the Auburn Fresh Juice Centre, down towards the station. Long with the obvious fresh juices, they make amazing and unique gelatos like the Rose and Saffron. Eat dessert first and treat yourself.
A short trip towards the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque. One of several standout pieces of religious architecture in the area and part of the beating heart of the city. The Mosque itself is beautiful and you can book a tour to explore more. We headed to the railway line adjacent to the Mosque to visit the diversity mural, made by local volunteers, which has a series of vibrant and really cool pieces of public art.
Our next destination and the journey to it shows some of Auburn's cultural diversity. We are headed towards the Auburn Botanic Gardens, a few kilometres out of the city centre, and home to an incredible Japanese Garden but along the way, we stopped to admire the Russian Orthodox Church, which is also another standout piece of religious architecture
Arriving at the Botanic Gardens, you are immediately transported to another world. The Botanic gardens is vast with lots to explore and is most famous for its Spring Cherry Blossoms which is something of a must-see, but the truth is the gardens are spectacular any time of the year. In Autumn the gardens are ablaze with colour, in winter the Camellias come into their own, spring is, of course, cherry blossom season and summer is all about deep cooling shade. The Garden entrance takes you straight into the Japanese section. Wander in through the traditional gates and explore a very well established and laid out traditional Japanese garden including waterfalls, a lake, pagodas, and bridges all laid out as a series of garden rooms.
The Botanic gardens isn’t the only area to explore, with a range of gardens parkland garden areas, the Scented Garden and a bushland walk. There’s even a wildlife sanctuary that showcases native fauna local to the area and you can get up close and personal with them. Directly opposite the gardens is the Auburn Bird Sanctuary, which is free to enter with a sweet collection of native birds. It’s busy so make plenty of time for countless photos as you explore.
Next head back into Auburn where its worth taking the time to explore the main street. Our first stop was Menzil Bakery which serves up traditional Turkish baked goods. Try a Simit, a light ring of bread loaded with sesame seeds, they come still warm and fresh from the oven. A perfect snack as you explore the main streets many offerings. It’s a mix of many various cultures, where you will see a variety of different religions and ethnicities lining the street, including Middle Eastern grocery stores and traditional bakeries, Pakistani, Afghan, Nepalese and Korean restaurants amongst Chinese butchers, Italian pizzerias and a broad selection of coffee.
The rhythm of life centres around food and culture so there’s plenty to take in. There are quite a few places celebrating traditional street food culture. As you wander the streets, grab yourself a Campos Coffee from Cook & Co, tucked down a side passage right next to what has to be the most colourful, beautiful carpark anywhere in Sydney. In and around the main street there’s a range of lovely Federation and Art Deco period buildings and some cool contemporary Architecture in between.
When your ready for something more serious, you have to try one of the local restaurants. We were told about a great spot which is award winning, Khaybar – serving authentic Afghan cuisine. The owner is very welcoming and offers his suggestions for what is best. They are all his mothers’ recipes, so the truth is they are all amazing and he is sure to tell you and he’s right. Auburn is the gastronomical heart of Middle Eastern cuisine and they delivered. Try an authentic tea and sweets if you have the room.
Auburn has so much to offer, so much to see and the people are warm, friendly, and welcoming. You get the sense you have only just scraped the surface and there really is so much to see.