Best Places to Stay in Sydney Australia

Guess where we live?
Guess where we live?

Actually, that wallaby and her baby do not live in Sydney, which may surprise some people. We don't have kangaroos hopping down our streets, in fact Sydney actually looks like this:

Many people book a hotel in Sydney unaware they're going to be staying in the middle of a forest of skyscrapers. The city does sit right on the beautiful harbor - so if you stay in the heart of the city, you'll be well placed to take a ferry ride or cruise to view the Opera House. But you will be a long way from a beach or a kangaroo!

If you want to be near a beach, then you need to look for accommodation outside the central business district.

Is Bondi the Best Beach?

The famous Bondi Beach
The famous Bondi Beach
Sydney has many other beaches which are just as beautiful, but less crowded
Sydney has many other beaches which are just as beautiful, but less crowded

Most visitors to Australia want to see the sun and sand. So while Sydney's Eastern Suburbs are the most expensive, they're also the place most tourists prefer.

Bondi is the most famous beach, but it's overcrowded for that reason. You can check out how busy it gets on the North Bondi webcam. Also, the bars can get rough at night. It's popular with backpackers, but families tend to go to one of the many other beaches along that stretch of coast. They all have the same soft sand as Bondi and most of them are much prettier!

Clovelly is family-friendly because it has a safe surfside pool, plus it has a long breakwater to protect sea bathers from the surf. Bring a snorkel and you can also see some amazing marine life! Bronte has more surf but it also has huge grassed areas for picnics and barbecues. If you want the liveliness of Bondi without the rough element, Coogee is a good choice: it has a great vibe, lots of cafes and restaurants, a long sandy beach to rival Bondi's - and an express bus to the city.

You can save money by staying a little away from the coast, in Randwick, Kensington or Kingsford – the beaches are a short bus ride or walk, and there's good bus transport to town.

One of Sydney's surfside swimming pools
One of Sydney's surfside swimming pools | Source

Surf's Up - The Northern Beaches

Surfers will hotly dispute which Sydney beaches offer the best surf, but my surfer friends all live in the Northern Beaches, not the Eastern Suburbs. Top choices are Curl Curl, Narrabeen, Dee Why or Palm Beach (where the television series "Home and Away" is filmed). Getting to other parts of Sydney from these suburbs is an absolute pain in the neck as there's no train line - but if you're a surfer, they're worth the effort!

A compromise is to stay in Manly, which is on the North Shore but serviced by a regular ferry service across the Harbor. It has the best of both worlds. At one end of its main street, the Corso, there's a quiet Harbor beach. Walk to the other end and you'll find a long ocean surfing beach. On the way you'll be tempted to stop in a wide array of pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

The Western Suburbs

If you’re not a beach bunny, then you'll find it much cheaper to book accommodation to the west of the city, away from the beaches. There are few hotels but you will find plenty of options on AirBnB. However, be careful!

The Western Suburbs are where most Sydneysiders live and bring up their kids, but they're not really suitable for vacationers - you're likely to find yourself in suburbia, with no cafes or restaurants, no night life, and poor public transport.

Staying closer to the CBD, though, is a good value-for-money vacation choice - because the Inner West is where the young and trendy live, so most of those suburbs have good nightlife and great eateries. There are buses to the city and you're close enough to town that a taxi fare won't be astronomical. The Inner West starts around Five Dock/Concord and extends towards the city, as far as Glebe. My favourite inner west suburb is Leichhardt, which is historically the Italian quarter of Sydney and still has a strong Italian influence, reflected in the quality of the coffee and cakes. If you like Portuguese food, go for Petersham - you'll be in heaven! Glebe and Newtown have an "alternative" feel.

There's something for everyone in Sydney!

Sydney's New Year fireworks are world famous - if you want to see them, you'll need to book your hotel a year ahead!
Sydney's New Year fireworks are world famous - if you want to see them, you'll need to book your hotel a year ahead!
show route and directions
A markerSydney CBD -
Sydney NSW, Australia
[get directions]

B markerBondi Beach -
Bondi Beach, Australia
[get directions]

C markerRandwick -
Randwick NSW, Australia
[get directions]

D markerCoogee Beach -
Coogee Beach, Australia
[get directions]

E markerLeichhardt -
Leichhardt NSW, Australia
[get directions]

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Comments 60 comments

nutritionalcoupon 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

Vary beautiful place I want to visit dream Sydney Australia


kjrzeek1 profile image

kjrzeek1 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

I have always wanted to go to Australia, and this hub is great. Hopefully I will get there one day soon. Thank you.


aboutaustralia profile image

aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

Great info for first time visitors to Sydney. You really explained the layout of the city in an easy to understand way from the point of view of access and transportation. Great work! Voted up!


JasonHunt profile image

JasonHunt 5 years ago from South Florida

I'm definitely going to Bondi Beach, but I'll be sure to check out Coogee too, as you suggested. Thx!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney Author

@Courtney, lucky you going to Sydney Dance Company! Cheap accommodation is hard to find in Sydney, I'm afraid. Your best bet is share accommodation, but you may not be able to get one until you arrive. You could try homehound.com.au.

You need a work permit to work in Sydney - although I have to admit, if you're willing to work for low pay in a bar or cafe, you can probably find something.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney Author

Not much to do at night, Wendy? Where on earth in Sydney do you live?


wendy 5 years ago

I had been in sydney 5 years. I'm very love here and i found aussie very friendly manners.there is one thing is for sure , nothing much to do in the everning,ha.....


Courtney Palmer 5 years ago

Fantastic hub guys!! .. so much info for us people that don't know Sydney!! .. I need some good info from someone now! .. I am moving to Sydney in January to attend the Sydney Dance Company and I need [relatively] cheap accommodation, and also a job, could you's pleeeaase help me out for both ?!! Thanks! x


carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Great info, we hope to visit there one day. We know several people who have spent weeks and even months in Australia and everyone loves it there. Thanks sharing your expertise!


Mieka profile image

Mieka 5 years ago

I lived in Sydney for 6 months, in the CBD. I loved it there, and it is easy to reach everywhere else you want to go from there. I stayed at the Base Backpackers. It is a party place, but a great for meeting a lot of fellow travellers and have a good time.

Great hub!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney Author

Craig, it depends on your age and interests, but if you only have a week I'd recommend staying at Bondi or Coogee, enjoy the surf, some lazy brunches at the beachside cafes and eat fish and chips on the beach. There's a great clifftop walk from Bondi to Coogee.

Take a day trip into town for a harbour ferry trip to Manly (cheaper than a harbour cruise and you'll enjoy Manly Beach).

Personally I don't think there's a lot to see in Melbourne, but you must take at least one weekend to tour the country north of Melbourne - including Daylesford to experience the famous Springs, Ballarat to see the recreated Gold Rush town, and the beautiful Grampian mountains. A tour to Phillip Island to see the fairy penguins is another must.

For accommodation, go to the wotif.com website.


craig 5 years ago

Planning a trip to Sydney on route to Melbourne, I intend to stay for a week before spending four weeks in Melbourne. Any info on where to stay in Sydney and what to do in both locations for a solo traveller would be great. Cheers


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

I love taking the ferries at Sydney harbour to a few places nearby with scenic view. Simply awesome !


Nancy 5 years ago

Thanks for this great hub. It's always great to hear from others who experienced the trip firsthanded. Thanks for the tips. :-)


holidayfan profile image

holidayfan 5 years ago from Sheffield

Thanks for the advice, I'm going to Sydney and planning to stay in Coogee


Lisa 6 years ago

Sydney’s beach works and other attractions have great admiration among people all over the world. Interesting and very informative!!! All love to get through Sydney...


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 6 years ago

Fantastic! I am desperate to get to Oz and I love reading hubs about it. Great photos, interesting information. Thank you for sharing it.


businesstrader profile image

businesstrader 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great hub. I actually live about 20 mins from Sydney and this makes me want to visit bondi beach right now!!!


felix127 profile image

felix127 6 years ago

I like Sydney and Bondi!


SidneyMorgan profile image

SidneyMorgan 6 years ago from Australia

In 2010, Sydney was ranked 10th worldwide by consulting firm Mercer on quality of living.


alishaneuron profile image

alishaneuron 6 years ago from Colorado (U.S)

Fascinating! So interesting.


TopUniverse 6 years ago

Excellent. I want to visit lovely sydney in australia.


Artoflegendindia 6 years ago

Nice hub. your hub is informative.I like your hub.I really appreciate with your hub.


sarahsherlock 6 years ago

I love Sydney - your hub makes me want to go back!


kingkhan78 profile image

kingkhan78 6 years ago

interesting hub thanks for sharing


RoseGardenAdvice profile image

RoseGardenAdvice 6 years ago from San Francisco

A very descriptive hub - while reading yr hub, I felt like I was watching a video of Sydney... it is a beautiful place and you are right about all those beachs - surfers paradise! Thanks .. really well written.


MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 6 years ago

I have always wanted to go to Australia and now I know where to stay . Thanks


MayG profile image

MayG 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I have lived in Sydney, and you are spot on. Great pics too. Balmain is worth visiting. Darling St. Balmain is full of old buildings and great shops - it's inner west on Sydney harbour but it does not have a beach. Short ferry trip. Great place to watch NYE fireworks though, without as big a crowd as some of the other places. Manly beach is my favourite of the beaches that are easy to get to, but Palm Beach is where I'd like to have a holiday house!!


MartyWare profile image

MartyWare 6 years ago from New South Wales Australia

Top Hub, I grew up in Sydney and as a child I was very adventurous. Sydney is really fun, especially if you know where to go!

One of my students has a website all about Sydney and day trips that you can do. As far as I know it has about 70 pages now!

I think many would find it usefull.

http://www.ideal-sydney-getaways.com

Enjoy!

Marty Ware

The SEO DAD


jessica_alias profile image

jessica_alias 6 years ago

Thanks for posting this wonderful piece..

Maybe it will help me if I visit Sydney someday.. Well done.


tuarangi profile image

tuarangi 6 years ago

This is great info since I am planning to go the coming year! My nephew has traveled all over the world and when I asked him to name one favorite place he mentioned Sydney although it was almost impossible to choose he said.


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Beautiful photos and great information about a great city. Living in this city can be frustrating at times with traffic, etc but its beauty far outweighs its problems. Thanks for a lovely hub about Sydney, one of the great cities in this world.


Sydney Getaways Guy 6 years ago

Cool Hub Marisa, I'm with you... backpackers and YHA's are the way to go. The northern beaches have some great places to kick back so does cronulla but what about a walk-in overnight stay on the beach in the Royal National Park? (Burning Palms) or maybe some day trips to some Sydney Secret beaches


beccas90 profile image

beccas90 6 years ago from New York

Just have to get to Australia and especially Sydney - the whole country looks beautiful and varied. The surfside swimming pools look like fun.


defed profile image

defed 6 years ago

I liked your hub, it was really informative.


stephane86 6 years ago

I have never been to Australia but dream of going there one day. I liked your hub, it was really informative.


Sydney Getaways Guy 6 years ago

I really enjoyed the content that you provided here and also the fireworks section. There are great harbour walking trails to views these type off attractions if you want any info get in touch with me?


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia

For special occasions I splurge and get an apartment at Star City Casino, that way the city is at your finger tips, you can easily walk around the CBD/Darling Harbour and explore the city without having to worry about transport. I also enjoy having my own balcony with a beautiful view of the Harbour Bridge etc.


ahmadraza212 profile image

ahmadraza212 6 years ago from Pakistan

very nice dear keep it up


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Thank you Marisa, I will be sure to stop in when I visit.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney Author

Gosh, Winsome, that's a tough question! I usually head for the cheap and cheerful ones. I've been to Castel Mola several times - nothing fancy, just good basic Italian food, especially the pizzas.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Very nicely organized Marisa. Which of the Italian restaurants in Leichhardt do you recommend?


OnlinePharmTech profile image

OnlinePharmTech 6 years ago from Hawaii

I love Sydney!!! I love the smell, food, and the energy of City.


kraji profile image

kraji 6 years ago from Slovenia

Nice hub! I was in Sydney 2 years ago and there you can find a lot of interesting places. I was there only 2 days and I liked walking trails on the east side of sydney where you can find also some nice beaches.


Marty1 profile image

Marty1 6 years ago from New South Wales Australia

Hot places to stay in Sydney never ceases to amaze me but less than one hour down the road is the most majestic piece of New South Wales I've ever known.

After taking a leisurely drive throught the Royal National Park and hitting the coastal scenery at Otford its the next two towns of Stanwell Park and Coalcliff that are the most out of the way and relaxing places to stay out of Sydney.

To learn more about the northern Illawarra check out this page; http://www.ideal-sydney-getaways.com/illawarra.htm...


RickSure profile image

RickSure 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I used to live in Coogee and I have to agree that it is a better option than Bondi.


travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

Hello Marisa

I enjoyed reading your article and your excellent information for visitors to this great city. I have just published an article on Best Sydney Beaches http://hubpages.com/travel/best-sydney-beaches and I hope you don't mind but I linked the two as I figured they were complementary.


ManchesterGirl profile image

ManchesterGirl 7 years ago

I have recently come back from Sydney and absolutely loved it, I am planning on going back next year. Bondi Beach was beautiful and I also advise people to visit the Gold Coast, about an hours flight away from Sydney. It is beautiful and the miles and miles of sandy beach is definitely a must see! I stayed in Surfers Paradise and although it is quite a tourist trap, which has a busy nightlife, the beach and lovely restaurants and bars make up for the hustle and bustle.


salt profile image

salt 7 years ago from australia

excellent hub...


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 7 years ago from Sydney Author

Nico, if you haven't booked yet, you may find you don't have much choice - most of the best places are booked out already. The main action on NYE is in the centre of the City and Kings Cross.


Nicolicous 7 years ago

This is to all the Aussie's out there...

I'm going to be in Sydney for NYE, what's the best place to stay? Is the Star City Hotel and Casino fun? I'm a single girl looking to find something comparable to the Hard Rock hotel in the US, lots of young people, fun, hip, but more upscale than a hostel.

Any suggestions?


Resolver2009 profile image

Resolver2009 7 years ago from Bournemouth, UK / Oslo, Norway

This hub is amazing. It really makes me feel as if I am back in Sydney. I miss it so much...


Target Visibility profile image

Target Visibility 7 years ago

hey this is a great hub! If you want to find out more about Australian cities, visit okbravo.com. It's a really good travel site that will help you plan your holiday in OZ. Thanks for the info Marisa!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

From another Australian. This is spot on information about Sydney the beautiful perl of the east.


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

I have not been to Australia. I will certainly remember your hub should I be able to visit the place.


cfangerow profile image

cfangerow 7 years ago from United Kingdom

What great info! One of these days I will make it to Sydney - just as soon as I find the right house sitting job there!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Lucky us we have family in Bondi, Kirribilli and Paddingtion so my trips to Sydney are delightful....thanks for this hub Marissa - btw if and when the family are away or we want to stay in a hotel for whatever reason we always use wotif.com and they have never let us down in the 8 years we have checked in through them ...cheers


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I had a friend downtown for many years and was spoilt rotten every time I stayed in his 34th floor apartment on the hill in the centre of Sydney. I miss being able to get in the lift and be right in the thick of it in a minute, or strolling in the park in 2 minutes.

Lizzie, I stayed in an apartment in Glebe when working in Sydney for a few months. I loved the location and the bridge, plain as it is.


Marlene F. profile image

Marlene F. 7 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

I have always wanted to visit Australia. Unfortunately, the flight alone is a few thousand dollars. If I ever win the lottery I am going to use this Hub to find myself a place to stay. Thank you for being so kind!!!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

Last time we were in Sydney we stayed in Glebe - its very convenient to the ight rail which takes you right into Darling Harbour - good food too. Id stay there again - we got free parking for a vehicle too which you dont get in the CBD

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