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Language: English | Currency: Dollars($) | Local time: DST | Avg. Flight time: 22.0 hrs
Sydney is a big city and where you stay can have a huge impact on your holiday. Neighbourhoods such as the CBD (Central Business District), the Rocks and Darling Harbour will put the city’s top attractions on your doorstep, but be warned: you’ll probably pay an eye-watering cost for the privilege of proximity.
The CBD is the beating heart of the city, crammed with restaurants, bars and public transport options. It’s the city’s suited-and-booted business hub and plays host to major financial institutions, including Australia’s stock exchange and reserve bank. International brand-name hotels dominate the accommodation offerings here.
On the western edge of the CBD is Darling Harbour, a picturesque waterside district. With kid-friendly sights nearby, including the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Darling Quarter Playground and the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, it is about as family-friendly as it gets. Plus, this area is well geared up for tourists, with ample accommodation options ranging from splurge-worthy five-star hotels to spacious self-catering apartments.
If you want to be in the historic heart of Sydney, the Rocks – the site of the city’s first European settlement – is a good choice, with small boutique-style hotels, Georgian architecture and a ferry service to Sydney city centre.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to the more expensive central precincts, don’t fret; there are plenty of cheap hotels in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs.
If you’ve come to the city in search of a good time but don’t have the budget to splurge on upscale accommodation, look for cheap hotels in Sydney’s Potts Point neighbourhood. A beloved foodie hangout, Potts Point is littered with inviting cafés, restaurants and bars, and attractive Art-Deco residences. The accommodation here isn’t the most expensive in town, but neither is it Sydney’s cheapest.
If you want to spend even less but still be nearby, backpackers’ favourite Kings Cross – which offers shoestring travellers some of Sydney’s best-value rooms, good public transport access and a lively nightlife – is just a few minutes’ walk away.
For budget travellers hoping to venture out on day trips to Greater Sydney or New South Wales, the area around Central Station makes a good base. Some of the city’s finest hostels are located here, as are cheap-as-chips eateries and backpacker tour agents.
If beach time is your raison d'être, head for Sydney’s oceanfront suburbs. Bondi is the obvious choice, though there are just as many surf breaks and sand-side cafés to be found in the northern neighbourhood of Manly.
Families searching for quieter stretches of shoreline in the eastern suburbs should look further south beyond Bondi to the sleepier swathes of sand at Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee, all of which are generally less crowded.