The booming metropolis of Sydney is where a lot of travellers begin their Australia trips – and if you don’t, it will only be a matter of time before you end up in Australia’s largest city. Famous for its unique Opera House, gorgeous beaches and idyllic climate – there are so many reasons to visit the wonderful state capital.
Along with researching Sydney’s best attractions, you’ll likely be wanting to research where to stay in Sydney. Depending on what you’re after, there are a few great neighbourhoods to enjoy within the city. If you fancy kicking back on the beach, choose an eastern beach such as Bondi or Coogee. If you want the experience of city living, the CBD is probably the place for you – or if you want to stay somewhere fresh and alternative, opt for Manly or Newtown.
This guide will show you the best places to stay in Sydney and suggest some of our favourite hotels, guesthouses and hostels.
Table of Contents
Sydney Central – CBD
The best place to start looking for your Sydney accommodation is the CBD. While not the most aesthetically pleasing part of the city (the CBD refers to the area of the city in-between Central Station and the harbour), it cannot be rivalled in terms of things going on. Stay in the centre to be in walking distance to some of Sydney’s best attractions, including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and its many museums.
Why stay in the CBD
You’ll be right in the heart of the action of Australia’s largest city, with restaurants serving up every cuisine imaginable, bars for all budgets, and some of the world’s best shopping right on your doorstep. You’ll be close to some of the main attractions of Sydney by staying in the CBD, but also be in a great position to take public transport to any other area of the city.
Where to stay in Sydney Central
Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi offers a breathtaking stretch of blue sea and golden sands, not to mention that famous outdoor swimming pool – Bondi Iceberg’s Pool. Bondi is Sydney’s epicentre of hip, with acai bowl joints and trendy cafes lining nearly every strip. It’s also a great place to enjoy an ice cream or BBQ on the beach as you soak in the sweltering Sydney summers.
Why stay in Bondi
Stay in Bondi to enjoy both the beach and city life in one; you’ll be a stone’s throw from the world-famous Bondi beach, yet only be a short subway ride into the city. Bondi’s also a great suburb to enjoy a more relaxed, slower pace of life than the CBD – which of course is what many people go on holiday for!
Where to stay in Bondi
The easiest way to reach Manly is by ferry from Darling Harbour – and when you arrive into the northern beach suburb, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a completely different part of the country. While still technically a part of Sydney, Manly has its own unique vibe and atmosphere – which makes it a popular favourite for young travellers. Draws of the northern beach suburb are: spectacular – and often deserted – beaches, quirky cafes and delectable restaurants, and easy access to some of North Sydney’s most loved beaches and national parks.
Why stay in Manly
If you’re of a younger generation and want to be around similar people, Manly may just be the place for you. With lots of hostels and backpacker joints, it’s no wonder why Manly is loved by youthful travellers. However, it’s not just backpackers that enjoy staying in Manly; often, older travellers find it a great springboard to both explore Sydney’s northern beaches and reach the city via ferry.
Where to stay in Manly
Is this Sydney’s trendiest neighbourhood? With hip streets lined with vintage shops, vegan cafes and street art to make Melbourne feel envious, Newtown is an up and coming area of the city with almost weekly entertaining events and dynamic, fun things to do.
Why stay in Newtown
Newtown is the perfect place for backpackers, anyone who likes the funkier things in life or people who have visited Sydney before and fancy staying in a different area of the city. Accommodation in Newtown is also cheaper than standard prices in Sydney.
Where to stay in Newtown
Famed for being the Sydney destination that once housed convicts, today The Rocks is a thriving area of the city. There’s colourful history to uncover; with famous pubs that are some of the country’s oldest and fascinating streets that still echo tales of the 1800s. Nowadays, the streets of The Rocks are home to boutique stores and galleries, so it’s the perfect destination to enjoy the best of Sydney’s past and present. And don’t miss the spectacular views of the harbour, Sydney’s iconic Opera House and the harbour bridge.
Why stay in The Rocks
While The Rocks has its very own distinguishable charm, it’s also only a stone’s throw away from Sydney CBD and all of its attractions. If you stay in The Rocks, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the very best history that Sydney has to offer, while also being in close proximity to the state capital’s best restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities.
Where to stay in The Rocks
A popular favourite for residents of Sydney, Surry Hills is a much less touristy neighbourhood of the city, but still has a large amount of compel and charm. The streets of Surry Hills are tranquil and beautiful – which is remarkable considering how close the area is to Sydney Central Station – and they are home to an abundance of cafes, vintage shops and art galleries.
Why stay in Surry Hills
Surry Hills is a great area for those who want to enjoy all that Sydney has to offer but without the madness of staying in the thick of the city or in one of the tourist areas. The heart of Surry Hills is just 15 minutes’ walk to Sydney Central Station and another 10 to the CBD, meaning that everything is easily accessible, yet the accommodation options make the most of being in a more serene area of the state capital.
Where to stay in Surry Hills
Most famous for the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, this town is one of the city’s oldest beach suburbs and it’s been renowned as a rather unique place to stay in Sydney for decades. Visitors to this suburb can enjoy some of Sydney’s most spectacular coastal views, old-style buildings, historic saltwater baths and some of New South Wales’ finest restaurants and bars. And it’s all just 9 kilometres, or 20 minutes, away from the action of the CBD.
Want to enjoy more of Sydney? Check out this great Sydney itinerary for spending a few days in this epic, sunny city.
Why stay in Coogee
Staying in Coogee means that you can experience a completely different part of the city than the Sydney well-known by everyone. Instead of filling your social media with pictures of the Opera House and harbour bridge, save images of the delightful old buildings and beachfront of Coogee; which will make you realise that Sydney as a city has so many different levels!
Where to stay in Coogee
Antoine is a Canadian travel blogger who now lives in the Cayman Islands, where he works in marketing and travels as much as possible, both to local Caribbean islands and to destinations further afield. He has visited every continent except Antarctica and has experienced climatic and cultural extremes; and now he’s on a mission to show you the less visited side to places around the globe. Follow his adventures on his blog - www.travelinglife.com - or find him on Facebook.