Once a tough, working-class neighbourhood, Balmain now rivals Paddington in Victorian-era desirability – with the added advantage of being surrounded by water and city-bound ferries. Darling St traverses the spine of Balmain’s peninsula, and makes for a decent pub crawl. Balmain’s frangipani-scented streets contain dozens of historically significant buildings, most of which are privately owned.
The most notable is the graciously proportioned Hampton Villa. Nearby is the squat, shingle-roofed Clontarf Cottage; and the semiderelict St Mary’s Hall. Darling St has the Watch House; Waterman’s Cottage; and Cahermore.