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 21/2/2022

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.

 

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 travellers.

This post contains affiliate 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 major attractions are spread across a few key 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 list, 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)

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 enjoy walking as much as we do!

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

Martin Place Sydney on a weekeday afternoon


Who should stay in the CBD?

This area is a fantastic choice if you want to walk to most of the major sites, or if you are partial to a bit of shopping.

Transport is a breeze, with several train stations and major bus routes on your doorstep.

Small bars and dining choices have expanded over the last few years and the area, particularly in the north, offers plenty of choice.

What should you know before you book?

Outside business hours, the area around Pitt Street Mall and Hyde Park can get pretty dead. Unlike other world cities, Sydney’s shops shut early, with the average being 6pm. There are fewer after hours 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: The northern end of the CBD takes in the area bordered by Bridge Street to Park Street, Macquarie and Kent Street.

Within a 10 minutes 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 too pricey for hostels. If you are on a tight budget, I suggest you choose another location.

Barangaroo House
The Barangaroo dining strip borders the CBD

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 properties in this part of town; the other is at Martin Place. However, I think this one is the better choice 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 – Little National

The thing I like more about the Little National are the communal areas, the guest only rooftop bar has great ambience and is a lovely spot for an evening drink. The lounge area is plush, super comfortable and offers a free guest library, all day tea, coffee and sparkling water.

Little National Hotel Guest lounge
Little National Guest lounge Credit: Little National Hotel

There is also a good workspace making this an excellent choice for business travellers or anyone who wakes up hours before their partner like I do!

Check out photos of the rooms and availability of Little National

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

5 Star – Hyatt Regency Sydney

Sydney’s largest premium hotel has recently done a major refresh with fresh nautical colour scheme and black and white images of the harbour a feature.

Hyatt Regency Hotel Sydney Room
Harbour view room Credit: Hyatt Regency

Harbour view rooms offer a Darling Harbour aspect, the perfect vista for enjoying a Sydney sunset.

Check reviews, availability and prices for Hyatt Regency Sydney

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 kept the art déco features and added a 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.

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

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

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 top 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 Swissôtel

Splurge – Kimpton Sydney – An art deco lovers paradise

While it is not much to look at from the street, this art déco glamour is hiding some pretty unique interiors. The building was previously the headquarters of the Water Board and opened in 2017 to rave reviews.

Kimpton Margot Sydney
The Kimpton Margot Sydney – Credit: TravMedia (Okeefe Architects)

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, and 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

I think the Rocks are an excellent choice for anyone on a quick visit. If you are a first-time visitor, you will love being right by the harbour. Many hotels here offer water views, making them more expensive than other locations.

George St Sydney at Night


Who should stay in the Rocks?

Sydney’s oldest streets and beautiful historic 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.

If you enjoy a morning run or walk, this is the perfect place to start the day!

Things you should consider before you book a hotel in The Rocks

Some streets in the Rocks can be quite 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. 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. We have shared a full review of Sydney Harbour YHA on our other site.

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 in this boutique hotel are charming; I especially like the library. Some 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 Rydges (previously 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 minute’s 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

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.

Park Hyatt Sydney
Credit: Park Hyatt Sydney

The Park Hyatt has everything you would expect from a 5-star hotel and a lot more. With a rooftop swimming pool and the perfectly positioned dining room, this is a superb choice for honeymooners, milestone birthdays, and A-list celebs.

Check the prices and read reviews at Park Hyatt

Darling Harbour & Pyrmont

Previously a working-class port, Darling Harbour and adjoining Pyrmont were 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, the Maritime Museum and more cafes and restaurants than you can possible eat at in a week!


Who should 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 recent development at the southern end, Darling Square, has made it a foodie hotspot too!

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 they have paid extra attention to comfort with great quality linens, fantastic showers and Apple TV. 

Ovolo Hotel
Ovolo Hotel

There are self-service washers and dryers available; this is one thing I love when I am travelling, and it’s 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

Aiden Hotel

With gorgeous one of a kind botanical murals by local artist Jessica Le Clerc on the walls of each of its 88 guest rooms, this beautiful hotel is a welcomed addition to Pyrmont.

The hotels offers a range of creature comforts including an excellent bed, pillow menu and luxurious bathrooms. Add extras like a Dyson hairdryer and a Nespresso machine and Moda water taps for refilling sparkling and still water on each floor.

Individual murals by local artist Jessica Le Clercin grace the walls in each room

The Aiden offers a very comfortable space to returnto after a day of sightseeing. The hotel is great for couples and singles. Digital nomads or business travellers will enjoy the ground floor work space and great wifi.

Check prices and availability of the Aiden Hotel

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 delightful 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

Central Station

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.

Central Station Where to Stay in Sydney

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 – Sydney Central YHA

The largest hosetl in Sydney, Sydney Central YHA is located 2 minutes walk from Central Station

Sydney YHA Where to stay in Sydney
A double room at YHA Central Sydney

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 Central Station

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 prime tourist locations above. I have lumped them together here because of 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, check out these inner-east suburbs or villages as the local councils promote them.

Paddington

Paddington Reservoir Garden Oxford Street Sydney


Who should stay in Paddington?

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 and the Victoria Barracks and Paddington Reservoir and famous Paddington Markets.

Paddington is home to some of the inner cities’ prettiest streets, the area is well supported by buses and only a 20-minute walk to the city.

Cons: No major drawbacks other than the fact there are no 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 déco 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 brilliant choice for couples and solo travellers.

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 they consider Hipster 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 within walking distance to the city. If you are an active type, there are also excellent public transport connection.

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

Hotels in Surry Hills

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 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 Crystalbrook 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.

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 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

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 kept so many of the beautiful Victorian homes that sprung up in the 19th century when the colony finally had some wealthy residents. The streets are full of trees, and there are lots of lovely harbour views waiting to be found.

Challis Ave Kings Cross


Who should stay in Kings Cross?

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

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

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

Elizabeth Bay
The view over Elizabeth Bay from Elizabeth Bay House

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 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

Newtown

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 kept 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 choice, plenty of dining options (a superb 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 Insider’s 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 minute 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

Manly

If you are looking for the Aussie beach culture lifestyle that is so often portrayed in the media, this might be perfect.

Manly Beach Norfolk Pine trees


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.There are plenty of dining options for evenings, and the city is a lovely 20-30 minute boat ride away.

Before you book: You need to factor up to an hour’s 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. The property is a large (53 room) property with water views and plenty of room for 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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19 thoughts on “How to Choose Where to Stay in Sydney”

  1. Hi, your site is very informative.
    We will be two couples staying in Sydney for a month and welcome suggestions on which neighbourhoods we might focus on for our home rental to experience the Sydney lifestyle, ideally close to water
    I enjoyed a previous stay in Double Bay, with balcony over harbour, ferry access and swimming at Murray Rose pool, but there aren’t many rentals.
    I wondered this time if the Coogee/Clovelly area might be nice choice for swimming and access to markets and restaurants? Transit in to circular quay might be consideration
    Or perhaps Elizabeth Bay, or Potts point or Paddington better choices
    Welcome your suggestions! Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Kathryn, Coogee is lovely but transit to the city needs to be a consideration, it can take quite some time and they recently changed a lot of bus services so a direct trip can be a challenge to find. Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point are personal favourites. They have a nice community vibe, lots of cafes and dining choices, good local market every weekend in Fitzroy Gardens (Kings Cross Market). You can walk to the city or choose from very regular bus and train services. Both can be a little edgy at times but thats part of the charm.

      If you want to be near the beach Paddington has the edge as you can jump on the 333 bus which runs every 10 minutes or so directly to North Bondi (https://transportnsw.info/routes/details/sydney-buses-network/333/30333)

      Personally I would not choose Coogee and pick either of the other three but that’s just me 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hi,
    Great article and it was most helpful understanding the different options for stay.

    We are looking to travel to Sydney next October and will not have a car. We are the type that don’t mind walking and exploring the tourist sites of Sydney, but would also like to be able to be near the beach. We will likely have 4 to 5 days. It feels like a combination of areas that you mentioned would work, however, we don’t want to have to transfer accommodations once we get there.

    Could you please suggest a location that you think might meet our needs?

    Thank you for your assistance!

    Reply
    • Hi Karen, I would consider Manly. It’s a 30 minute trip across the harbour to the main city sites but what a way to travel! There are lots of restaurants and cafes for dinner and you can spend sometime exploring the Northern Beaches which is one of the most beautiful and undervisited parts of the city.

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
  5. 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

    Reply
  6. 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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)

  7. 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

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    • 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

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  8. 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?

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    • 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!

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      • 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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