How to Choose Where to Stay in Sydney

Choosing where to stay in Sydney and finding the right hotel and the right neighbourhood can be one of the most time-consuming decisions of your trip planning. Which area is best? Which hotel best fits your budget? Well, we are here to help.

Updated 6/11/2021

For most people, a holiday in Sydney is a significant investment in both time and money. Unless you are Aussie, chances are you have spent 8-20 plus hours on a plane to get here.

Choosing the right neighbourhood for your Sydney stay can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your visit. I hope this quick rundown of Sydney’s best neighbourhoods helps you make your choice.

Table of Content

To help you decide where to stay in Sydney, we have put together our thoughts on the most popular neighbourhoods in the inner city and the pros and cons of each.

If you are in a hurry scroll to the bottom of this post for my recommendations on the best places to stay in Sydney for different types of travellers.

This post contains affiliate links. We may receive compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you click on or make a purchase using these links. Our full disclosure policy is here.

The main hotel areas in Sydney – Getting the lay of the land

Sydney is a very spread out city; it covers a large geographic area. Hotels and main attractions are spread across a few main spots around the harbour and central business district and into inner-city suburbs, areas the city council likes to refer to as villages.

These villages include Surry Hills, Elizabeth Bay, Potts Point, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Chippendale, Redfern and Newton. Add to these beach suburbs like Bondi and Manly.

Sydney’s main accommodation hubs are in the following areas

  • Central Business District or CBD
  • The Rocks and Circular Quay
  • Pyrmont and Darling Harbour
  • Central and Chippendale
  • Surry Hills and Paddington
  • Kings Cross and Potts Point
  • Newtown and Redfern
  • Bondi Junction and Beach
  • Manly Beach

Each of these areas has pros and cons which we will expand on below. We have also added some of our favourite hotel options in each spot.

To be included in our lists the hotels need to have good transport connections, offer free wi-fi and have an average guest rating of over 8 on Tripadvisor. 

I would happily book any of the hotels listed below and have stayed in or inspected all of them.

Central Business District (CBD)

Martin Place at lunchtime

The CBD is smack bang in the middle of the city and surrounded by shops, bars and transport. This area is home to government offices, multinational companies and is the central shopping district.

As for the key attractions, you can easily walk to The Rocks, Circular Quay, Chinatown and even Kings Cross if you like walking as much as we do!

The bulk of the big brand hotels chains are located in this area. There are also several serviced apartment buildings.

Who should stay in the CBD?

This area is an excellent choice if you want to be able to walk everywhere or if you are partial to a bit of shopping. 

There are excellent transport choices with several train stations and all the main bus routes. In the last couple of years, quite a few small bars have graced the streets of the northern part of the CBD around Wynyard Station making nightlife more interesting.

What should you know?

Once the shops close some parts of town can get pretty dead, and unlike other world cities, Sydney shops shut early with the average being 6 pm. There are fewer dining options here too, and you are unlikely to have a pretty view from your window.

Where to stay in the Sydney CBD

Northern End – I class the northern end of the CBD as the streets bordered by Bridge Street to Park Street, Macquarie and Kent Street. This takes in the streets around Wynyard, Martin Place and St James stations.

Within a 10 min walk from this part of the CBD, you can reach The Rocks, Pitt Street Mall shopping and Sydney’s brand new dining precinct Barangaroo. There is also a great range of small bars in this part of town.

Train stations at this end of the CBD: Wynyard, Martin Place and St James

There are not a lot of budget options in this part of town, and real estate here is a bit pricey for hostels. There are some cheap 2-star options on Hunter Street but none I would recommend. If you are on a tight budget, I suggest you choose another location.

Budget – Travelodge Wynyard

Travelodge properties are standard, functional tourist hotels and this one is no different, but the location and the price make it a reasonable option. There are two Travelodge’s in this part of town; the other is at Martin Place. However, I think this one is the better option for leisure travellers as you can walk to The Rocks or Barangaroo in less than 10 minutes.

Check availability, reviews and current prices of Travelodge Wynyard

Mid Range – Radisson Blu

I like this hotel for a variety of reasons, but the super friendly doorman and porters are way up on the list. They greet everyone with a smile, and nothing is too much trouble. Over the last couple of years I have made multiple group bookings at the Radisson Blu, and every time it’s been great.

We spent our wedding night here and would go back in a heartbeat. Breakfast is excellent, and they recently added a Vegan option to their high tea.

Check out prices and availability for Radisson Blu

Boutique – West Hotel

Barangaroo is Sydney’s newest dining destination, and the West Hotel is located right on the doorstep. Just a few minutes walk from King Street Wharf and the Barangaroo restaurant strip the hotel is part of the Hilton chain of properties.

You are within walking distance of Darling Harbour, QVB and Circular Quay. As for public transport, Wynyard Station is a few minutes walk away, and there is also a ferry wharf at Barangaroo.

Check availability, reviews and current prices of West Hotel

Splurge – QT – 5 Star and Special 

Quirky and sexy are words you hear a lot when people are describing this hotel. Opening in 2016 the QT space used to be part of the iconic menswear store Gowings.

They have retrained the art deco features and added a whole bunch of sass, including the staff uniforms, to make this one of the unique hotel experiences in Sydney.

Check reviews, availability and prices for QT Sydney

CBD South End – From King St. to Bathurst St.

Hyde Park Fountain Sydney
Hyde Park runs the length of Elizabeth Street from Market St to Liverpool Street.

This end of the CBD is the perfect part of town for shoppers, Asian food lovers, budget travellers and also a good choice for families. While it is a 15-20 minutes’ walk from the waterfront, you have Hyde Park, Museums and Darling Harbour only a short stroll away.

Train stations at this end: Town Hall, Museum

Hotels in the southern CBD area

Budget – Hyde Park Inn – Top Choice for Families

The Hyde Park Inn is a good option if you need 3-5 beds in one room. It is also usually excellent value for money. The hotel is only 50 metres from the exit of Museum Station making it an easy train commute from the airport. The rooms, while nothing fancy are spacious and have a small kitchenette for when everyone is too tired to bother going out to eat.

The park across the road offers plenty of space for kids to run around and if you are lucky enough to get a room on high floors, you have great views over the park. Free parking is sometimes included so be sure to ask if you are bringing a car to Sydney. This is an excellent choice for larger families and groups.

Check the prices and availability of Hyde Park Inn

Mid Range – Swissotel – family-friendly and perfect for shopping

The Swissotel has kids rooms that feature kid-size furniture and linens in bright colours for young children. The hotel is also well located if you are travelling with teens who are keen to hit the shops. There is a heated outdoor pool to keep everyone entertained.

Hyde Park is just a 2-minute walk away, five minutes in the opposite direction and you will reach Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay Wharf. A great choice for shoppers and families.

Check the current prices and availability of Swisshotel

Splurge – Kimpton Sydney – An art deco lovers paradise 

While it is not much to look at from the street, this art deco glamour is hiding some pretty unique interiors. The building was previously the headquarters of the Water Board and opened in 2017 to rave reviews. The rooftop pool and heritage fit-out have been beautifully done. A great choice for singles and couples, it’s well placed for transport and shopping as well as walking distance to Darling Harbour.

Formerly known as Primus Hotel

Check out prices, availability and lots of gorgeous shots of the interior of the Kimpton

The Rocks and Circular Quay

Sydney Hotels in the Rocks The Russell Hotel
Wander along the Cahill Expressway path to grab a birds-eye view of the Rocks

I think the Rocks are an excellent choice for anyone on a short visit. There are a couple of small hotels that are worth checking out as well as the cities best hostel. Many hotels here offer views making them more expensive than other locations.

If you are a first-time visitor, you will also probably love being right by the harbour.

Why should you stay in the Rocks?

The Rocks are our old town. Beautiful historic Sydney buildings share the spotlight with the Harbour and Opera House, and visually they make a formidable trio.

There are some great old pubs, plenty of dining options and transport to the rest of the city is less than ten mins walk away from even the furthers reaches of the Rocks.

This is an excellent choice for early morning runners and a lovely palace to explore in the dawn hours before the city comes to life. The area is even more attractive now with Barangaroo on its western border providing ample green space to explore.

The parkland at Barangaroo is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing.

Things you should consider before you book
Some parts can be a walk to the city centre. It can get a little loud along George Street on weekends so choose a room away from the street if you are a light sleeper. Choose your hotel carefully if you have mobility issues as many properties are heritage listed and do not have lifts.

Hotels in The Rocks and Circular Quay

Budget – YHA Sydney Harbour – the best budget view in Sydney!

The only hostel at this end of town the Sydney Harbour YHA is not the cheapest hostel in the city, but it is by far the best in my opinion. With glorious rooftop views and modern, clean facilities, it is an excellent choice for budget travellers regardless of their age.

Sydney Hostels YHA Sydney Harbour Balcony view
The view from the rooftop of Sydney Harbour YHA

Family rooms sleep five and feature a double bed and bunks. Most dorms also have ensuite bathrooms, so you are not sharing with many others.

Check out reviews and current prices of YHA Sydney Harbour

Boutique – Harbour Rocks Hotel

This is a perfect choice if you like your hotels small and friendly. It’s positioned just behind George Street in the Rocks just minutes from the water.

The public spaces are charming; I especially like the library. Some of the rooms have great views, and there is also a lovely rooftop terrace. The hotel does not have a guest elevator, but they take your bags to your room via a service lift.

If you love heritage style hotels as much as I do, then you might want to check this one out.

Check availability and current prices for Harbour Rocks

Mid Range – Rydges Sydney Harbour

Perfectly placed for exploring The Rocks, one of the best things about the Holiday Inn in the Rocks is the fantastic rooftop pool area. The views are amazing! The rooms are functional if a little dull and the beds are comfortable.

The Rocks Market is right outside the door on weekends, and there are two pubs within a minutes’ walk. The hotel is well placed for exploring on foot and only a short walk to Circular Quay.

Read reviews and check prices of Rydges Sydney Harbour

Spluge – Park Hyatt The Rocks Sydney – THE place to impress 

Park Hyatt The Rocks Sydney

If you are coming to Sydney for a honeymoon or special event, then stop looking, you can’t go past this hotel. The service and views would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.

The Park Hyatt has everything you would expect from a 5-star hotel and a lot more. Sadly I have not stayed here yet, but I have chipped in for a couple of gift bookings for friends, and everyone has loved it. A great choice for honeymooners and A-list celebs.

Check the prices and read reviews at Park Hyatt

Darling Harbour

Previously a working-class port, Darling Harbour was redeveloped for the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations. These days it’s a favourite spot for family dining and weekend festivals. It’s also home to several popular attractions including the Star Casino, Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World.

Who should you stay in Darling Harbour? This is a fantastic spot for families to stay with lots of activities and kid-friendly dining options and green space to run around right on your doorstep.

The new development at the southern end, Darling Square, has made it a foodie hotspot too!

Darling Harbour for families

What are the cons? The area is connected to the city via the light rail or ferries, but neither option is a quick trip. It is an uphill walk to Pitt St Mall and the other city sites.

Hotels in the Darling Harbour

Ovolo Darling Harbour – great for couples and groups of friends

This hotel, a warehouse conversion, opened in 2016 and has become a firm favourite of mine in this part of the city. The soundproof rooms are well fitted out, and extra attention has been paid to comfort with great quality linens, fantastic showers and Apple TV. 

There are self-service washers and dryers available; this is one thing I love when I am travelling, and it’s particularly important for longer stays in Sydney as there are very few options for affordable washing anywhere in the middle of town. They also offer a free minibar that is topped up every day.

This is one hotel where it pays to book on the hotel’s own site as there are a bunch of extra freebies added for direct bookings. The location makes it a bit of a hidden gem, but it’s only 300m from the light rail station and a short walk to Darling Harbour.

Check prices and read reviews of Ovolo Darling Harbour

The Darling at the Star Casino – great for a splurge 

It is a few years since I stayed at the hotel in the Casino and I have not stayed in this most recent remodel however it looks fantastic, and by all reports the service is excellent. If you like late-night entertainment, this is one of your best choices in the centre of town because The Casino complex sits just outside Sydney’s ridiculous lockout zone.

It’s also a good spot for cashed-up foodies with some delicious dining in the complex.

Check out reviews and photos of the Darling at the Star

Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour – a good option for families

The Novotel Darling Harbour is a good option for families; the standard room has two double beds, perfect for families travelling with children. Located behind the Harbourside shopping centre and within walking distance of the Maritime Museum, Aquarium, and Wildlife world. The light rail and the ferry stop just a few minutes walk away.

Read the reviews of the Novotel Hotel Sydney at Darling Harbour

Vulcan Hotel – perfect for budget travellers 

Only an easy 10 min walk from Darling Harbour the Vulcan is an option if you are travelling on a budget but want to stay in the city area. The superior twin rooms sleep 4.

Check prices and availability of the Vulcan Hotel

Central Station

Central Station Where to Stay in Sydney

Central Station is the main train and regional bus hub of the city; it is also the primary location for budget accommodation. To the western side of the station, you will find youth hostels, Paddy’s Market and Chinatown with all its delicious, cheap eats. On the east is Surry Hills where bars, exciting food and hipsters rule.

Why should you stay near Central Station? This is a budget central and a great spot for anyone arriving in Sydney by bus or train. Perfect for backpackers with lots of tour agents and hostels and bars where you can meet other travellers. Close to Chinatown and Surry Hills, it is easy to find cheap food.

What are the Cons – Like all transport hubs the streets here are not very picturesque, and some parts can feel a little seedy.

Hotels near Central Station

Budget – YHA Railway Square

Fancy sleeping on a train at a train station? This 63 bed YHA is located above the pedestrian tunnel at Central Station and includes an 8-bed dorm in a converted railway carriage which is a pretty cool novelty.

YHA Railway Square Hostel Sydney
The communal area at YHA Railway Square

There are also good public spaces, laundry facilities, a pool and family or ensuite rooms available. After the YHA in the Rocks, this would be my choice for a hostel bed in Sydney.

Check out the rooms and prices of YHA Railway Square

Mid range – Adina Apartment Hotel Central – great for self-catering 

We had a staycation here for my birthday a couple of years ago as we saw a show nearby. I was impressed with the size of the apartments and felt like I could have easily had an extended stay.

With full kitchens and the markets within walking distance making it easy to prepare some of your own meals to keep costs down. While the area is not picturesque transport to all parts of the city is right at your door. Despite the traffic outside the hotel, I found the room quiet. Studios, one and two-bedroom apartments are available.

Check the prices of the Adina Apartment Hotel near Central

Paddington and Surry Hills

Surry Hills and neighbouring suburb Paddington are perfect spots for foodies or anyone looking for a more local experience than the main tourist locations above. I have lumped them together here due to geography however they are quite different in atmosphere.

If you are someone who prefers to pretend you have moved to a new city rather than being a visitor in the main tourist hotspots you might want to check out these inner-east suburbs or villages as the local councils promote them.


Located about halfway between the CBD and Bondi Beach Paddington is home to small independent shops, lots of lovely cafes, several historic pubs and newer bars as well as the Victoria Barracks and Paddington reservoir and Saturday Paddington Markets.

Why should you stay in Paddington?

If you like the idea of being surrounded by great dining options (but not exactly inexpensive), no less than a dozen pubs, numerous boutique art galleries, designer stores and some of the inner cities prettiest streets you will enjoy having your base here.

Cons: No big ones for me, there are no big iconic sites nearby, and dining can be a little on the pricey side.

Hotels in Paddington

Boutique – Mrs Banks Hotel

One of the newest hotels in Paddington the Mrs Banks Hotel offers 30 rooms in a beautifully renovated art deco style building that was a branch of the Commonwealth Bank in its previous life. Opening in September 2017 the rooms are well-appointed, and the service is outstanding. Little touches like complimentary Tims Tams, water and Nespresso, are much appreciated.

The location is perfect with buses to the city and the beach almost at the door. You can walk to town if you fancy a little exercise. This is a great choice for couples and solo travellers.

Take a look at the photos and reviews of Mrs Banks Hotel

Pet Friendly – Hughenden Boutique Hotel

Build in the 1870s this Hughenden is a pet-friendly hotel with several rooms for those travelling with their furry friends. The hotel offers a variety of room sizes, some with small kitchenettes, Most rooms have recently undergone renovation. The hotel is also just a few minutes walk from Centennial Park perfect for dog walks or early morning runs. The service is super friendly, and one of my favourite buses the 389 runs right by the door.

Check out the rooms and read reviews of the Hughenden

Surry Hills

Only 1 Km from the CBD and sandwiched between Central Station, Paddington and Darlinghurst Surry Hills is home to 23 pubs, leafy streets of Victorian terraced houses and an eclectic mix of residents.

Who should stay in Surry Hills? 

OK, so Hipster is considered a derogatory term these days but for many locals that is the image that comes to mind when they hear Surry Hills. Think cold brew coffee, food that provides much Instagram hype and plenty of creative types strolling to work.

Seriously though there is lots of great food here, plenty of places to get a good drink and it’s walking distance to the city if you are an active type, there are also excellent public transport connections.

Cons: 30-40 minute walk to the harbour and main sites

Hotels in Surry Hills

Little Albion Guesthouse Surry Hills
Little Albion Guesthouse suite

Boutique – Crystalbrook Albion

Hidden away in a quiet laneway is this gorgeous small guest house that punches way above its weight in both service and style. A considerable amount of thought has gone into the design, adding lots of little touches that make you feel really welcome from the honesty bar to the selection of milk from Almond to skim and everything in between.

Cyrstalbrook Albion Guesthouse Surry Hills
One of the beautiful suites at Crystalbrook

 The staff are so welcoming and helpful making sure you have everything you need. The decor is a mix of the 1920 and 1970s with some exciting art choices and giving a unique feel to the place.

Check out more photos of the gorgeous Cyrstalbrook Albion

Mid-Range Adge Apartments

Modern two bedrooms and two bathrooms apartments just a few minutes walk from the action on Crown Street. These apartments have lots of great inclusions like good quality coffee machines and apple docks. Some apartments have balconies, and all have laundries. I am not a fan of the multicolour flooring but other than that this place is a great choice and only a few minutes walk from Oxford Street.

Check out the photos of the property (and the funky carpet) and find current prices

Self Contained – Adina Apartments

We have had three stayed here over the years for hens nights and birthdays. The apartments are well located for more extended stays with plenty of local eats at your doorstep.

Adina Apartment Hotel Surry Hills

The spacious apartments feature full size kitchens and bathtubs. There is a courtyard swimming pool and barbecue area.

Check out the most recent reviews at TripAdvisor before you go ahead and book.

My friend Jean over at Travelling Honeybird has written a guide to Surry Hills that is packed with good tips if you are thinking of staying here.

Kings Cross and Potts Point

Kings Cross main street
Kings Cross

Once the city’s red-light district these days, the Cross and surrounding areas of Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay are far more sedate.

My favourite thing about this part of town is that it has managed to retain some of the beautiful Victorian homes that sprung up in the 19th Century when the colony finally had some wealthy residents. The streets are also full of trees, and there are lots of lovely harbour views waiting to be found.

I always feel safe here, but some guide books might still refer to this area as a little rough, but I find it less so than some of the streets at the western end of the CBD near Central Station.

Challis Ave Kings Cross
Challis Ave Kings Cross

Who should stay at Kings Cross/Potts Point? 

This is a great location for couples looking for some nightlife. The area has handy transport connections with both a train station and several main bus routes. 

Hotels are less expensive, and there are some outstanding two 3-star boutique options here. The leafy back streets are filled with cute cafes, small bars and restaurants and lovely homes from the early 1900s.

Elizabeth Bay
The view over Elizabeth Bay from Elizabeth Bay House

Before you decide – This area would not be my first choice for families as there are not many child-friendly activities in the area and some of the streets are quite steep for little legs and prams.

Check out our favourite Budget hotels in Kings Cross 

Hotels in Potts Point and Kings Cross

Boutique – Hotel Challis

This hotel is a restored terrace house has few bells and whistles but the location is fantastic, and the King rooms are well priced for Sydney. It’s an 8-minute walk to Kings Cross Station or a 25-minute walk to the Quay.

Read reviews and check the prices of the Hotel Challis

Budget – The Jensen

Located on leafy MacLeay Street, the Jensen is a great choice if you are happy with a shared bathroom situation. Personally I am a bit past this but the hotel is lovely in every other way. The individual bathrooms and just a few steps from your room so it’s not a big deal for most people.

Read reviews and see if the Jensen is for you


The iconic “I have a Dream” mural on King Street Newtown

Who should stay in Newtown?

Foodies and lovers of alternative arts will enjoy a stay in Newtown. Think street art, craft beer and cafes as far as the eye can see; there are so many places to eat along the high street here it would take you a few months to cover them all.

Newtown was once a grungy university suburb home to every subculture you can imagine, but these days it has been significantly gentrified. While it has retained its bohemian feel, for now, the introduction of the lockout laws has attracted a more mainstream crowd to the area on weekends which might endanger that.

Newtown only has one hotel, and the reviews of late have been mixed so I would rather not recommend it just now. It’s a great area to look for an Airbnb or holiday rental though.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach in spring
Bondi Beach

Who should stay at Bondi Beach?

If you want to spend more time on the beach than checking out the sites that this is a good option. Plenty of dining options (a great choice for vegetarian and vegan travellers). It attracts a young backpacker crowd and can be a lot of fun if you fit the demographic!

Check out our Insiders Guide to Bondi for lots more on the popular part of town.

Before you book you should consider: Traffic getting in and out of Bondi is a nightmare most of the time. While there are plenty of buses up to the Junction, it can take ages to get there. From here it’s only a 10 min train ride to the city, but some days it can take 30 mins on the bus from the beach to the station.

Hotels in Bondi

Self Contained – Adina Apartments Bondi Beach 

Adina Hotel in Bondi
Adina Bondi Beach is surrounded by great dining options

If you plan on staying a while these apartments are perfect for giving you a holiday during your holiday. All the comforts of home including full kitchens and comfortable lounge furniture. It’s an easy walk to the beach, and there is a nice small pool that is undercover and good for hot days. The layout of some rooms is a bit confusing, but overall the bigger rooms are a good option for families.

Take a look inside the apartments at Adina and see if they are right for you

Want a bit more room? Perhaps one of these holiday rentals will work?


Manly Beach in March
Manly Beach in spring

Who should stay in Manly?

In the 1930s when marketers began flogging Manly to local Sydneysiders as a perfect getaway destination they coined the phrase “7 miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care”, and they were spot on. You do feel quite remote from the city centre which for some can be a good thing.

If you are looking for the Aussie beach culture lifestyle that is so often portrayed in the media, this might be perfect. There is plenty of dining options for evenings, and the city is a lovely 15-30 min boat ride away.

Before you book: You need to take a ferry and factor up to an hours return travel to do most of your sightseeing. If you are a larger group, you also need to consider the costs of the tickets.

Related: The Best Things To Do In Manly

Where to stay in Manly

Self Contained – Quest Manly at the Wharf

You will find the Quest Manly directly across wharf Quest Manly is a large (53 room) property with water views and plenty of room for large families.

Quest Manly is opposite the harbour and wharf.

The apartments here are bright and sunny with great harbour views. They offer studio, and one and two-bedroom apartments that can accommodate a max of 6 people and are close to supermarkets, shops and cafes.

Read reviews on check prices of Quest Manly

If you would prefer a self-contained apartment try one of these

Where to stay in Sydney with kids

I have an entire article about the best places in Sydney to stay with kids that you should check out if you are travelling with your family.

So of all these areas where would I stay?

The best areas to stay in Sydney according to Sydney Expert

  • Which areas in Sydney are the best for a very short stay (1-3 days)? The Rocks and Circular Quay
  • Where is the best place to stay in Sydney for families? Darling Harbour or the CBD
  • Which is the best area for food lovers to stay? Surry Hills, Paddington or Potts Point
  • The best places to stay in Sydney for budget travellers? Potts Point or Kings Cross
  • What are some good choices for honeymooners? The Rocks or Manly
  • Best places to get a local view of Sydney? Newtown or Paddington
  • The best location for solo travellers? Potts Point, CBD or The Rocks
  • The best area for a shopping holiday? The CBD

None of the hotels listed in this post has paid us to include them. Instead, we chose based on personal experience and feedback.

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16 thoughts on “How to Choose Where to Stay in Sydney”

  1. Hi,
    Great article – lots of insightful info. I will be heading up to Manly for a few days for work but extending my time out there on the back end to relocate and visit the Sydney area. I am not a big fan of the tourist stuff or the “sites” but enjoy local craft beer (a lot) and going places where the locals go. I am trying to keep the room rate cheap so I have more money for the bars/beer/fun. Any suggestion would be much appreciated. I was digging the sound of staying at the Nelson but also liked the sound of Newtown. Maybe it would be wise to stay near Newtown since it wasn’t exactly recommended to stay there yet? Surry Hills doesn’t sound bad either. Thanks in advance.

    • Sorry for missing your comment – it landed in our spam filter. The inner-west sounds like a perfect spot for you. There are some great Airbnbs in Newtown that would have you in walking distance or a short train ride to several great craft breweries. I don’t recommend Newtown to most travellers because there are limited accommodation options for it is good for Airbnb.

  2. My family consisting of 2 kids (12 and under) are travelling to Sydney from Canada as a stop over (4 days). However, having difficulty deciding where to stay as looking for an area that will be fun for kids, various eating options ($-$$), shopping, close to attractions. Have been looking at Holiday Inn at Rocks, Swisshotel, Grace hotel and Novotel at Darling Harbour. Also, can suggestions for fun food places to take them that aren’t overly expensive.

  3. Nice and helpful article. Probably a link to the Sydney trains map suits my two weeks stay at a friend’s home . Thanks a lot

  4. Hello, my wife and I will be visiting Sydney in June. Due to our budget we’ll primarily be staying in Sydney and possibly staying around 10-11 days. Do you have any recommendations for hotels under $160 a night but in a nice part of town with plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping and not too far away from all the usual touristy stuff? I know I’m asking for a lot 🙂 Currently looking at The Grace, Tank Stream and Adina Sydney Town Hall. Would love any other recommendations for our stay as well.

    • Bondi Junction is good for transport and being able to get out and do some sightseeing. Bondi Beach is lovely, but the buses up to the junction (train) or the city can take ages, the traffic is pretty bad. It depends on what type of holiday you want. If you are planning to relax and spend a lot of time at the beach Bondi is great. There are plenty of places to eat and some lovely walks in the area.

      • Thank you for the reply, it is helpful. Maybe Bondi beach is not right for us. Planning to spend 4-6 weeks in Sydney and wanting to be in the heart of things. Will consider the other options you suggested. Hoping to get an apartment. Your site is great, I am going to use it to plan the trip (3-4 months in Australia and NZ)

  5. I will try staying at the the Rock too. After all been to Sydney past 20 years ago. Any good hotel to recommend ?So I think a lot of changes indeed. Looking forward. Your info really helps. Thanks

    • Hi Juliet,
      There is a range of options in the Rocks depending on your budget from an excellent YHA with harbour views to the very swanky Park Hyatt. I think my favourite is the Harbour Rocks Hotel; I love the public areas and location of this building, however, I have not stayed there yet. I have enjoyed a stay at the Rendezvous and it a good choice too I think. There is also The Rocks Bed and Breakfast place that I have had friends speak highly of

  6. I find your ‘choosing where to stay’ article very appealing. I read it after I made my reservations, but I think I choose right. I’m staying at The Rocks, then going for a trip in Australia and, after that, return and stay at Potts Point. But in your ‘cons’ you said that The Rocks could be ‘rowdy’ and Potts Point ‘seedy’. What do you mean by that? They are rough neighborhoods for walking at night?

    • Hi Luis,

      Thanks for your message – I probably need to do a bit of an update to this post. It was written a quite a few years ago, and things have changed a bit.
      Seedy = Potts Point used to be full of bars and attracted a late night party crowd. It was a little run down and attracted lots of night owls. This has changed dramatically over the last few years, and I would not really consider it “seedy” anymore. I would feel safe walking in this area at night using the usual caution you would apply anywhere.
      Rowdy = can be loud with drinkers after pubs close – to be honest this is usually only a problem on the weekends and then not a big issue these days. You would be unlikely to hear much once inside your accommodation, and the streets are certainly safe to walk. Off to do some updating now!

      • Hi. Once again your explanation was very helpful. It’s my first time in Australia and I’m very excited about it. Thanks again.

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