Penshurst sits in what we consider the “sweet spot” in terms of location in Sydney. It’s not too far south to feel isolated, and sits right next to a busy shopping and retail hub, yet still manages to feel secluded and tucked away regardless. There’s also a distinctly British atmosphere here on its northern side – think men in white playing cricket on the green, and red brick houses fringed by hedges. It might be a little too quiet for some and is lacking in major retail, but the overall livability here is very high.
Overall, Penshurst is a bit of a sleeper suburb in that you rarely hear many people talk about it yet it offers an extremely well-balanced option for daily life.
While there’s no real major attraction or specific reason to visit for outsiders other than a couple of niche specialist stores, what it does provide in terms of the ratio of livability versus price deserves a lot of praise. Most Sydney suburbs that are still within decent striking distance of Sydney city tend to sacrifice one major element – either a lack of public transport connectivity, ridiculous prices, crowds or tiny living spaces – yet Penshurst sits in an area that bucks most of these negative trends.
We’d go so far to call Penshurst and its neighbouring Mortdale two of the best-value and most well-rounded suburbs in Sydney at this point. They’re both not as astronomically overpriced as many of the other suburbs with similar benefits on offer, and both offer good balance.
While it’s technically part of the St. George area, Penshurst feels a world away from the likes of bustling Hurstville or the busy main roads of Kogarah. It’s quite open and airy as a whole, with nice wide streets and largely low-rise housing on one side, and most of its higher density low-rise apartments are concentrated on the other.
As a result there’s far less of a concrete-jungle feeling here. There’s more personal space in Penshurst as a whole, too, with the majority of its freestanding homes sitting on big blocks and possessing good-sized yards. Many of these blocks run back surprisingly deep, too.
For those who aren’t as cashed up for a full-blown house, the suburb’s got an abundance of rental apartments with prices that clock in below the Sydney average. Average prices here have actually even dropped a little since the ballooning peak years, and while it’s still not “cheap”, Penshurst is relatively affordable given it’s not at all dodgy and has heavy rail connectivity.
Around $1-$1.1 million can buy you a solid – if older and unspectacular – 3 bedroom freestanding house here, which is decent for Sydney standards. Apartment rental prices are even better value; the surplus of available rentals means you can snag a 2 bedroom for around the $420 per week mark.
That’s pretty good considering all of Penshurst’s benefits.
Its aforementioned rail station is an obvious plus – you’re looking at only a ~25 minute train ride into the city, which makes for a painless commute or shopping trip. Likewise, all the shopping and dining of Hurstville is only a single stop away, which helps make up for Penshurst’s own lack of bigger-box retail. Just hop on the train, get your fill of all the retail madness in Hurstville Westfield and surrounds that you need, then zip back to Penshurst for sanity and peace and quiet again. While it’s not exactly a bustling retail hub, Penshurst offers more than enough to get by. It’s home to a nice little shopping and cafe strip alongside the station on Penshurst Street, with a dappling of bakeries, cake shops, gyms and the likes thrown in for good measure.
IGA covers your supermarket (and alcohol) needs, while the Penshurst Hotel offers a nice spot for a drop of some bistro dining. On the other side of the station, the area around the Strand is smaller but has a couple of other boutique services and eateries as well.
It’s also pleasantly green as a whole. Streets and footpaths are greenery-draped, and there’s several good parks and reserves for exercise and play. Chief among these is Olds Park – a great, wide-open grounds for multiple sports including netball, football and basketball as well as running (although not off-leash dog friendly). Renown Reserve (for cricket) and Gifford Park (playground equipment) help round out these offerings as well. Being a landlocked suburb, Penshurst’s natural scene is lacking in water – there’s no seaside views or significant bodies of water – so if that’s your thing you may be disappointed. It’s not too far from the waterfront suburbs, however, and its southerly position means beachfront at the likes of Sans Souci is only a ~15 minute drive away.
Families will also find a lot to like here. In addition to the living space on offer, Penshurst is home to multiple public and private schools and is also quite safe. The moderate commute time to the city means more time for parents to spend with the kids of an evening than those suburbs further out, too.
While it’s not going to blow anyone’s socks off and lacks any major attractions or highlights, Penshurst’s just a solid, highly functional Sydney suburb with very few downsides. It’s highs may not be as high as some other suburbs, but its lows are also not as low – in the aggregate, it thus fares very well.
Those looking for a slice of nice suburbia that isn’t ridiculously overpriced and still offers rail connectivity should seriously consider here as a base, as you can visit pretty much everywhere other than the North Shore within a reasonable amount of time.
It’s clean, green, safe and quiet, yet without the snobbery of some of Sydney’s wealthiest alternatives, and there’s enough amenities clustered together in its main strip to still provide a feeling of community. Younger people will likely consider it boring, aircraft noise is a bit of a factor, and while it’s decently priced (for Sydney) it’s still not the cheapest for those looking to buy a freestanding home.
Otherwise Penshurst’s suitable for pretty much any other stage of life – we can definitely see how married couples, retirees, and families of all sizes would choose here as a balanced place to live. You’re also getting easy access to all the benefits of Hurstville without having to actually live IN Hurstville, while the Shire, city, and beaches are all relatively close too.