Where to stay in Sydney and the Surrounding Areas

Sydney Australia is a beautiful and diverse city, offering an array of accommodation options for travelers of any budget. As someone who lived in Sydney for a few years and have stayed in many hotels around the city, I can confidently say that finding the best place to stay can be overwhelming.

I’ve talked to many travellers who have had difficulty deciding which hotel to choose. I understand the importance of staying in a comfortable, affordable place that you can trust. That’s why I’m here to share my knowledge with you and help make your decision easier.

Sydney is a fairly large city and choosing the right place to stay is difficult, if you choose the wrong hotel it can put a real damper on your trip, plus Sydney can be fairly expensive.

Throughout this article we will give you options for the best places to stay in Sydney from the cheapest places to stay such as backpacking hostels to the most expensive high class luxury hotels (and of course everything in-between).

As well as providing some things to do in the area and the best places to eat!

sydney opera house, a multi venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site

We will provide some ideas on where to stay in Sydney with family, the best suburbs to stay in Sydney, where to stay in Sydney without a car and the best areas to stay in Sydney.

We will also include where to stay in Sydney for tourists from Sydney city, Bondi, Manly beach and the Blue Mountains. So let’s take a look at a few different types of Sydney accommodations and why they are the best places to stay in Sydney.

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Where to stay in Sydney CBD – Best place to stay in Sydney for tourists

Sydney is one of Australia’s largest cities and is best known for it’s famous tourist attractions, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Sydney is also often mistaken for the capital of Australia.

The massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the esteemed Royal Botanic Gardens nearby.

Wondering where to stay in Sydney for one night? The CBD is the easiest to access and you can take in the sights even on a short day trip or a cruise stop over.

Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs. Sydney city is a great spot to do a bit of shopping, make sure to check out Pitt Street mall, which is a closed off street, lined with shops.

This is also the best area if you are wondering where to stay in Sydney when going on a cruise.

The famous Opera Bar is a great spot to grab a drink after a long day and enjoy the sunset, while taking in the views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House up close.

Word of warning, be careful of the seagulls, they are known to fly by and take food out of your hand! If you’re looking for a bite to eat with an incredible view, check out Hacienda Sydney.

You definitely don’t need a car if you are staying in Sydney city, almost everything is within a few minutes walk away or you can catch a cab, an Uber or a tram for short distances.

The below hotels cover the main city area, hotels near the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Rocks. Sydney city is also the best area to stay in Sydney for nightlife, as well as best area to stay in Sydney for backpackers as there are more options.

Best Places to Stay in Sydney Central Business District

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Sydney CBD:
Nomads Sydney
Big Backpackers Hostel
Maze Backpackers – Sydney
Sydney Harbour YHA (great views of Sydney Harbour)

Budget Hotels in Sydney CBD:
The Grand Hotel
Macleay Lodge Sydney
Wynyard Hotel
Highfield Private Hotel

Mid-Range Hotels in Sydney CBD:
Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney
Mercure Sydney Wynyard
Hotel Palisade
The York by Swiss-Belhotel

Family Friendly Hotels in Sydney CBD:
Mantra 2 Bond Street
The Tank Stream Hotel
The Grace Hotel Sydney
Regents Court Sydney

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Sydney CBD:
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
Park Hyatt Sydney (great views of Sydney’s Opera House)
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney (great views of Sydney Harbour)
InterContinental Sydney
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Panorama view of Sydney harbor bay and Sydney downtown skyline with opera house in a beautiful afternoon, Sydney, Australia.

Where to stay in Darling Harbour  – Where to stay in Sydney with family

Darling Harbour is one of the Sydney CBD’s busiest waterside precincts. Filled with cafes, restaurants, a shopping complex, a food hall, IMAX cinema, maritime museum, Madame Tussauds wax figure museum, Sea Life Aquarium and the Wild Life Sydney Zoo as well as the tranquil Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Making Darling Harbour one of the best places to stay in Sydney for families as it will keep the kids entertained for hours! It’s also a great place to stay if you are in Sydney on a budget and need cheaper accommodation.

I’d recommend a few well earned drinks at Bucket Boys Bar Darling Square (especially for parents after a crazy day with the kids) they specialize in craft beers and micro brews.

Nakano Darling is also a great spot for the whole family, they specialize in incredible Japanese foods and drinks.

You and your family can also enjoy a free fireworks show over Cockle Bay every Saturday night at 9pm and every Friday night during the school holidays. Darling Harbour is also within walking distance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay for more foodies options.

Best Places to Stay in Darling Harbour

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Darling Harbour:
The Downing Hostel
Sydney Backpackers
Nomads Sydney
Maze Backpackers – Sydney

Budget Hotels in Darling Harbour:
Darling Harbour Boutique Hotel
Napoleon On Kent
Glasgow Arms Hotel
The Pod Sydney

Mid-Range Hotels in Darling Harbour:
Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Darling Harbour
Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour
Metro Apartments On Darling Harbour
Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments

Family Friendly Hotels in Darling Harbour:
Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
Mantra on Kent
Seasons Darling Harbour
Novotel Sydney Darling Square

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Darling Harbour:
The Star Grand Hotel and Residences Sydney
The Woolstore 1888 by Ovolo
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
Hyatt Regency Sydney

Sydney, Australia - Sydney downtown skyline at Darling Harbor bay, business and recreational arcade, at sunrise.

Where to stay in Manly – Best suburbs to stay in Sydney

Manly is the best neighborhoods in Sydney, if you want to be close to the city but not right in the middle of hustle and bustle and have access to one of Australia’s amazing beaches.

Manly is just across the water from Sydney CBD, it can be reached the long way via roads or you can catch one of the many ferries from Sydney Harbour.

Manly is known as a surfers paradise close to the Sydney city, some might say that Manly is better than Bondi as it is not as busy and the main beach strip at Manly is in fact longer than Bondi.

Manly is one of the best places to stay in Sydney for couples, it’s so laid back and relaxed, giving couples plenty of quality time together.

Manly has multiple laid-back pubs and cool bars such as Nomad Brewing Co and family-friendly cafes and restaurants such as Garfish Manly, the overall vibe of Manly is very chilled out and relaxed.

You can learn to surf at Manly Surf School, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding or hang out at Fairy Bower Pool which is pretty popular with families, as it’s an enclosed rock pool making it a little safer for the kiddies.

If you’re a fan of hiking or bush walking, I’d recommend the 10km Manly to Spit Bridge walk, this walk takes approx 3-5 hours (depending if you walk solidly or enjoy a leisurely pace) to complete and offers incredible views of Sydney Harbour.

Best Places to Stay in Manly

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Manly:
Manly Beach Hostel
Manly Bunkhouse
Stoke Beach House
Boardrider Backpacker and Budget Motel

Budget Hotels in Manly:
Manly Beachside Apartments
Sandy Bottoms Guesthouse
Stay at Hotel Steyne

Mid-Range Hotels in Manly:
Ideal 1BR Studio near the Beach with Pool
Q Station
Marine Parade
Manly Waves Studios & Apartments

Family Friendly Hotels in Manly:
Manly Paradise Motel & Apartments
Quest Manly
Tusan Villa Little Manly
Stunning Ocean Front Manly Shelly Beach

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Manly:
Manly Pacific Sydney MGallery Collection
The Sebel Manly Beach

Manly Australia - Sailboats moored in the Manly district bay on Summer day near Sydney Australia. Manly is a beach-side suburb of northern Sydney in the state of New South Wales Australia.

Where to stay in Surry Hills Sydney – Where to stay in Sydney for foodies

Surry Hills is a well known area in Sydney for its stylish cultural and cafe scene. Terraced houses on Crown and Cleveland streets showcase hip coffee joints, fashion boutiques and amazing eateries.

Trendy pubs, wine bars and galleries dot the area around Surry Hills Library. Once a month, Surry Hills Markets lure shoppers for snacks and vintage goods.

The food scene in Surry Hills is incredible, a few of my favourite places are: Butter, who specialize in fried chicken, high-end sneakers and vintage champange (what a quirky mix!).

Firedoor is just plain cool, it offers an intimate dining setting and everything is cooked by fire – it’s a great spot in winter as the open oven and kitchen area really warm up the whole restaurant.

Belvoir St Theatre is a well known attraction in Surry Hills, it fosters iconic shows from natural talents to international writers.

In 1984 a group of 600 incredible theatre lovers all came together to buy the theatre to save it from becoming an apartment block.

Belvoir St Theatre is home to international talents such as Cate Blanchett, Leah Purcell and many many more.

Surry Hills is also home to a number of art gallerias, one that is particularly famous is Brett Whiteley Studio.

If you want to try your hand at creating your own art work while enjoying a fine drop of wine, check out Cork & Chroma St Leonards.

Best place to stay in Surry Hills

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Surry Hills:
Big Backpackers Hostel
Secret Garden Backpackers, Sydney
The Village Surry Hills

Budget Hotels in Surry Hills:
Shakespeare Hotel
Royal Exhibition Hotel
Central Private Hotel

Mid range Hotels in Surry Hills:
Hotel Harry, Ascend Hotel Collection
Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar
Crown Hotel Surry Hills
Manor Boutique Hotel Sydney

Family Friendly Hotels in Surry Hills:
Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Surry Hills
Rydges Sydney Central
Adge Apartments

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Surry Hills:
Crystalbrook Albion
202 Elizabeth

Sydney, Australia - Entrance to typical Australian houses decorated with flower pots in Surry Hills NSW Australia

Where to stay in Potts Points – Where to stay in Sydney Australia on a budget

Potts Point is known for it’s nightlife, especially the scandal clad nightclubs and bars of Kings Cross (Sydney’s red light district).

During the day you can enjoy a buzzing cafe scene along the Woolloomooloo finger wharf or head to Macleay Street for bistro brunches.

Points Point and Woolloomooloo is encompassed in history as this is where naval ships first moored in 1856.

Nowadays it’s a hub for trendy restaurants, cool bars and boutique shopping, along with Hayes Theatre, which puts on small-scale musical theatre and cabaret.

Alibi Bar and Kitchen which is located within the walls of Woolloomooloo’s infamous Finger Wharf in the Ovolo hotel, it’s a 100% plant based bar and restaurant.

If you’re on a budget or love a good pie or gourment hot dog, then Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is perfect for you!

Yellow Potts Point offers contemporary vegetarian plant based food and good wine, make sure to make a reservation as they book out fast.

The Bulter encompasses an eclectic oasis of forest-like garden dining area which offers Ibero-American cuisine, along with panoramic views of the Sydney city skyline

Kings cross is mainly known as Sydney’s late night entertainment disctrict, with it’s pumping nightclubs, comedy clubs, cutting-edge theatre to chic restaurants.

Kings Cross Market on Sunday’s are filled with craft vendors and food stalls. Nearby, Llankelly Place is a foodie hub of hip multicultural eateries, while Victoria Street has backpacker pubs amid terraced houses. Potts Points offers cheap accommodation Sydney.

Sweetheart’s Rooftop is located on the rooftop of Potts Point Hotel and is a great space to enjoy some pre drinks before heading out for a night of dancing, or a great spot for a nightcap before heading home. They also offer an outdoor quintessentially Australian menu.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t in the middle of the craziness that is King’s Cross, i’d highly recommend Ezra.

Which located on Kellett Street, set back from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross. It’s a Tel Aviv inspired resturant that offers Sydney style Ashkenazi, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours within two stunning garden courtyards and kitchen counter dining.

Best place to stay in Potts Points

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Potts Points:
The Pacific House
Mad Monkey Potts Point
Mad Monkey Backpackers Kings Cross
Original Backpackers

Budget Hotels in Potts Points:
Cozy M Hotel
Mariners Court Hotel
Devere Hotel
ibis budget Sydney East

Mid range Hotels in Potts Points:
Nesuto Woolloomooloo
King size studio with water view, walk to the city
Designer Pad with a View
Hotel Challis Potts Point

Family Friendly Hotels in Potts Points:
The Sydney Boulevard Hotel
East Sydney Hotel
Sydney Potts Point Central Apartment Hotel
No 9 Springfield

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Potts Points:
Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Larmont Sydney by Lancemore
Spicers Potts Point

Sydney Australia - Woolloomooloo historic wharf with restaurants and hotel. Woolloomooloo district cityscape on sunny day

Where to stay in Bondi- Best neighborhood to stay in Sydney

The sweeping white-sand crescent of Bondi is one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. It offers reliable waves  that draw surfers in while, nearby, locals swim in the Icebergs ocean pool year-round.

Trendy, health-conscious Sydneysiders love to head to laid-back cafes around Hall Street in Bondi, while young and cool backpackers frequent the area’s casual pubs.

Wondering where to stay in Sydney for a weekend, Bondi is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a weekend of relaxation.

Walkers and joggers use the clifftop Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, with its dramatic scenery. Th track is carved into the sandstone cliffs and offers uninterrupted views of the ocean.

This walk is around 6km and takes approx 2-3 hours depending how fast you walk and if you want to stop off and grab a bite to eat or a coffee before heading back to Bondi. 

Overall it’s a fairly easy walk, however there are a few stepp sections and a number of steps so ensure you’re wearing the right footwear, have some water and put on sunscreen.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the absolute babes… I mean professional lifesavers that are featured on “Bondi Rescue”, an Australian TV Show about lifeguards are Bondi.

They patrol the Bondi beach area to make sure swimmers and surfers are safe. Make sure you’re swimming within the flags that the lifesavers set up, they are there to keep you safe.

A lot of people tend to head to Bondi to relax on the beach but some head to Bondi to learn to surf. Let’s Go Surfing is a great company that offers surfing lessons for all different levels. 

Speedos, located in North Bondi, currently holds the title of the “most instagrammable cafe in the world” due it is photograph worthy meals.

They are known for their raw meals and tastiest vegan, gluten and dairy-free option. The view of the beach from their store in North Bondi is pretty phenomenal too!

If you’re looking for a fine dining option, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar Bondi is perfect. It’s located on the headland of South Bondi, right above Icebergs ocean pool.

They offer fresh seafood and boasts traditional and contemporary tuscany flavours by owner Mauric Terzini’s who utilizes his Italian upbringing and heritage. And honestly, the view of Bondi beach and Beyond is incredible, especially as the sun sets.

Best Places to Stay in Bondi

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Bondi:
The Village Bondi Beach
Wake Up! Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach Backpackers
Noahs Bondi Beach

Budget Hotels in Bondi:
Ultimate Apartments Bondi Beach
Hotel Bondi
The Baxley Bondi
Beach Road Hotel

Mid-Range Hotels in Bondi:
Hotel Ravesis
Holiday Inn & Suites Sydney Bondi Junction
Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments
Bondi Beach Studios Suite

Family Friendly Hotels in Bondi:
Beach Retreat
The Blue Hotel Bondi
Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach Sydney

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Bondi:
QT Bondi
Meriton Suites Bondi Junction
Tamarama Apartments

People relaxing on the Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia. Bondi beach is one of the most famous beach in the world.

Where to stay in the Blue Mountains – Cool places stay Sydney

The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and approx 37 small villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens throughout.

Katoomba is one of the few major town in the Blue Mountains which borders the Blue Mountains National Park and its bush walking trails.

Located only a 5 min drive away is Echo Point look out which affords views of the popular Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.

Scenic World Blue Mountains is a popular attraction within the Blue Mountains, there are 2 main experiences you can enjoy here.

(1) The world’s steepest passenger train which travels down into the forest on a 52-degree rail incline, at the bottom you can explore the Jamison Valley rainforest.

(2)The Scenic Skyway which is like a “sky train” that glides between clifftops, 270 metres above the valley floor.

Another popular attraction are the Jenolan Caves, located in Jenolan, approx an hour away from Katoomba.

The Jenolan Caves are considered to be one of the world’s oldest cave system. I’d highly recommend taking a guided tours of the caves to really enjoy them.

The Blue Mountains is definitely an area I would recommend having a car as most of the towns are far a part and without a car, you might feel very isolated or unable to see much of the area. If having a car is not an option, the Blue Mountains does run a Hop on Hop off bus service that is super handy for tourists.

If you’re heading up to the Blue Mountains for your honeymoon or just want to enjoy a fine dining meal, Darley’s Restaurant is perfect.

It’s located in Katoomba at the century-old Lilianfels House. Darley’s offer 5 and 7 course set menus, paired with exceptional wines and they ensure that their produced sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant – locals supporting locals.

You’re in the Blue Moutains, so why not sit back and take advantage of the view at The Lookout, Echo Point. Here you can take in views of the Jamison Valley and the famous three sisters while devouring some delicious Australia cuisine. 

The Lookout actually offers three different dining options:

(1) the Milkbar, perfect for visitors on the go,

(2) Restaurant 1128 with stunning views and Heritage menus, and

(3) BAR NSW, renowned for its wine and beverage list sourced solely from New South Wales.

The hotels listed below are throughout the Blue Mountains area (mainly in or around Katoomba), so please pay attention to the location to ensure it is suitable for where you are looking to stay in.

Best Places to Stay in Blue Mountains

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Blue Mountains:
Blue Mountains YHA
Blue Lyrebird Living Blue Mountains
The Flying Fox Backpackers
No14 Lovel St

Budget Hotels in Blue Mountains:
Gardners Inn Hotel
Leisure Inn Spires
Echo Point Discovery Motel
Blue Mountains Heritage Motel

Mid-Range Hotels in Blue Mountains:
The Willows at Kurrajong
La Maison Boutique Hotel
Grand View Hotel
Binderaga Pine Forest

Family Friendly Hotels in Blue Mountains:
Ingenia Holidays Nepean River
3 Sisters Motel
Alpine Motor Inn
Zig Zag Motel & Apartments

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Blue Mountains:
Eagle View Escape
Spicers Sangoma Retreat – Adults Only
Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa
Chalets at Blackheath

Katoomba Australia - Tourists taking pictures at Blue Mountain National Park Three Sisters lookout view point in Katoomba Town Sydney New South Wales Australia.

Sydney airport accommodation – Where to stay in Sydney near the airport

If you’re staying in Sydney overnight or need to freshen up before a connecting flight, then staying near Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport is likely to be the best spot for you.

Some of the Sydney airport hotels do offer a free shuttle from the hotel to the airport, send them an email to check which hotels offer transfers and book in if you need to.

Make sure you take notice of your airline or which terminal you are arriving into or leaving out of as Sydney has a few different terminals and a different section of the airport for domestic and international travel.

The international terminal 1 (T1) is where all international arrive and depart from.

The domestic terminal 2 (T2) handles airlines such as Rex, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, FlyPelican and Link Airways.

Domestic terminal 3 (T3) handles Qantas and Qantaslink domestic flights.  

Best Places to Stay near Sydney Airport

Budget Hotels near Sydney Airport:
ibis budget Sydney Airport
Quest Mascot
ibis Sydney Airport
Travelodge Hotel Sydney Airport

Mid-Range Hotels near Sydney Airport:
Aerotel Sydney (Arrivals B, International Terminal 1)
Holiday Inn Express Sydney Airport
Citadines Connect Sydney Airport
Novotel Sydney International Airport

Family Friendly Hotels near Sydney Airport:
Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel
Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport
Meriton Suites Mascot Central
Holiday Inn Sydney Airport

SYDNEY Australia - :Qantas Airways jet plane at Sydney Airport Sydney Australia.Qantas Airways is the flag carrier airline of Australia by fleet size international flights and destinations.

Affordable Luxury Hotels near Sydney Airport:
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport Hotel & Conference Centre
Pullman Sydney Airport

Hopefully we have been able to cover off all types of Sydney accommodation options from Hostels to luxury hotels that don’t cost the earth as well as how to decide where to stay in Sydney, the best Sydney hotels, cheap hotels Sydney, best places in Sydney (to stay and to visit), the best places to stay in Sydney Australia and many more.

FAQs About best area to stay in sydney australia

What are the best places to stay in Sydney?

From luxury hotels to budget hostels, there are a variety of great accommodation options for travellers in Sydney. Popular spots include the Park Hyatt Sydney in the Rocks district, the Ritz-Carlton Sydney near Circular Quay and the InterContinental in Double Bay.

For visitors on a tighter budget there are several excellent backpacker hostels around Kings Cross or Glebe.

Is there any lodging with an ocean view?

Absolutely! Several of Sydney’s top hotels offer stunning views of the harbour and ocean, including holiday resorts like Pullman Quay Grand and Shangri-La Hotel close to The Rocks. Other popular options include Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour and Swissôtel Sydney right by Hyde Park.

Are there any unique accommodation experiences in Sydney?

Definitely! If you’re looking for something different why not try camping out on Cockatoo Island, staying at an artsy warehouse loft or renting out a boat for some harbour glamping?

Final Thoughts: where is the best area to stay in sydney

Sydney is the perfect place for a traveller who wants to explore Australia with its vibrant culture and fascinating history.

With so many options when it comes to where to stay, from chic boutique hotels to vibrant hostels, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs and budget.

Don’t wait any longer – book your accommodation in Sydney today and start planning an amazing adventure.

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  1. To be honest, I had no idea that Sydney’s accommodation could be that expensive. Although these prices are way too high for budget travellers as us, but the rooms look so stunning!

  2. We stayed at a hotel called Four Seasons and it offers quite good services. We hired a 4WD van from Aussie Campervans and traveled throughout Sydney and nearby places.

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