What is "Kings Cross" District Of Syndey Australia Really Like?

I watch the old Australian soap opera “Prisoner” (“Prisoner: Cell Block H”) and on many occasions they make mention and even have a location plot there. I see from Wikipedia it is some sort of a “red light” district.

Is it some sort of a tourist site as well? What’s it like today?


I haven’t been there for at least ten years, so I don’t know what it’s actually like nowadays. The perception is that it’s still fairly sleazy: drugs, prostitutes, drunken street violence etc.

I stayed in a hotel there as an eighth grader in the mid to late 80’s.

Is the X-Rated Pizza still there?

Whatever that was, it must have been the best thing ever.

I’ve been there a couple of times in the last few years.

I felt a lot safer there than I have in plenty of other places. There are so many bouncers standing in doorways that anyone who started trouble would get jumped on very quickly.

The owners of the strip joints and brothels don’t want negative publicity, they don’t want their customers scared off, they want everyone to be relaxed and spending freely. So the goons are all quiet and professional, but look like people you really don’t want to mess with.

There tend to be cops wandering around in groups, too, just to make sure. So there are no beggars, and any junkies will be on their best behaviour. Probably the safest place in Australia, as long as you aren’t making trouble.

ETA: I was just being a tourist and wandering around having a look. Day or night doesn’t make a difference, it’s quieter during daytime though.

Also, there’s a very good Australian crime film starring the late Heath Ledger that’s set in and around the Cross. It’s called Two Hands. It really captures the flavour of the Cross and that part of Sydney in general. I highly recommend it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Hands_(1999_film) (Don’t read the synopsis, contains spoilers)

I would say the cross has always been a fairly safe place to visit and whilst still definitely a red light district Sydney now has a legal casino, prostitution is legal, out west is the geographical centre of Sydney as well as the drug centre, it’s hardly the magnet for sleaze these days it once was.

When was it a “magnet for sleaze?” I ask 'cause I was watching the old Aussie soap “Prisoner” (“Prisoner: Cell Block H”) and they make it out to be very sleazy. That soap ran originally from 1979 - 1986

It’s also been heavily gentrified and points quite close to the cross now contain high priced apartments and fancy restaurants. There’s very little of the old cross left.

It’s very similar to San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

It was the low-life capital for many decades, then became a sort of sleazy nightlife capital for a few more (the place to go for nightclubs, but also for prostitution, drugs, organised crime, etc.) and while all of that’s still about (it’s got a fascinatingly high concentration of strip clubs, for example), the suburbanisation of Sydney and the influx of ethnic crime centred in other areas has dulled the lustre somewhat since the '80s.

Additionally to that, its proximity to the city and very-high-tone addresses such as Potts Point mean that gentrification’s creeping in.

If you want to organise a buck’s night that takes in a couple of strip clubs, a piss-up and a fight at the Bourbon & Beefsteak Bar (now renamed the Bourbon Bar, I believe), a negotiated liaison, a couple of lines of coke, a piss in a doorway and to finish the night off with a kebab or a pizza slice at five a.m., the Cross is still your best place to do it.

But if you wanted to go to a high-end nightclub, buy a kilo of H or pay off a cop, there are better places to do each of those things these days.

I visited Australia just before the Olympics in 2000. My dad had retired, had some money, took us there for a two week trip.

I love Australia. LOVE IT. Cannot wait for a chance to go back!

If King’s Cross in Sydney is a scary area? Then, Sydney is Heaven. Were there some street people? A few. No one pushy. Were there hookers? Yeah, but the nastiest thing I heard was from a young lady who asked “would you like a nice time?” to a guy PUSHING A BABY CARRIAGE with his WIFE.

He said “No thanks.” She said “Have a good one” (or whatever is the generic for Australia. Good on ya? Whatever–it was a gentle offer and gentle refusal)
I’m sure there are nasty parts of Sydney, and usually with my family, we get lost and end up there*. Kings Cross wasn’t bad at all and one of the few places with good food.

I realize YMMV, but still.

*And we did get lost. Many times. On foot. My line when we’d finally ask for directions from someone who was laughing, watching us “Hi! If you can’t tell, we’re not from around here!”

A couple of points:

  • there’s a very different complexion to the cross between, say, four in the arvo and three in the morning

  • it depends what you mean by a “bad part of town”. There are many places in Sydney where you’d be more likely to be offered the chance to donate to the Worldwide Fund for Not Getting Stabbed, but that’s largely due to the visible policing at night and the fact that the activity there’s generally confined to a few hundred metres on one road leading North from the actual crossroad that gives the area its name.

That’d be right. It is a very common farewell meaning have a good day/shift.

Last time I was there a prostitute asked me, “Would you like a girlfriend?”

I said “Yes, that sounds like fun. I’ll go back to the hotel and ask my wife if it’s OK with her.” She laughed and told me to “piss off.”

Naked people and piping hot cheese. Sounds like a recipe for distaster to me…

Have wandered through the Cross at various times of the day and night. It’s not scary, but it’s a tad sleezy. Not Tenderloin level of sleeze, though.

Kinda fun, what I remember of the couple of nights I spent in a drunken stupor there.

I always used to stay at Kings Cross- we had a ball. Then it became very sleazy. Every where smelled of urine, it was dirty and hookers and pimps all over the place.

That was 20 years ago.