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Best Places to Stay in Sydney, Australia

Updated on July 22, 2017
Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright has lived in various cities in the United Kingdom, Africa, and Australia. She has travelled widely across the world.

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 huge city. Most "Sydneysiders" (our word for Sydney residents) live two or three hours' drive from the beach.

The centre of the city does sit right on the beautiful harbor—so if you stay in the business district, 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 are looking for a seaside vacation, then you need to know which suburbs offer easy access to the coast.

Is Bondi the Best Beach?

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

Eastern Suburbs Beaches

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. Remember, though, that getting to the seaside will take you two hours or more—if you want to cool off, you'll have to head for one of the local community swimming pools.

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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    • JohnPellow profile image

      John Pellow 5 months ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

      I love this beautiful Hub.Sydney is very beautiful and awesome place to visit.Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestion with us.

    • profile image

      Manzer Hussain 3 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      Vary beautiful place I want to visit dream Sydney Australia

    • kjrzeek1 profile image

      kjrzeek1 5 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 6 years ago from Sydney

      @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

      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 6 years ago from Sydney

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

    • profile image

      wendy 6 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.....

    • profile image

      Courtney Palmer 6 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

      Paul Cronin 6 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 6 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 6 years ago from Sydney

      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 website.

    • profile image

      craig 6 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 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Nancy 6 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 6 years ago from Sheffield

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

    • profile image

      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

      Natalie Watson 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 7 years ago

      I like Sydney and Bondi!

    • SidneyMorgan profile image

      SidneyMorgan 7 years ago from Australia

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

    • alishaneuron profile image

      alishaneuron 7 years ago from Colorado (U.S)

      Fascinating! So interesting.

    • profile image

      TopUniverse 7 years ago

      Excellent. I want to visit lovely sydney in australia.

    • profile image

      Artoflegendindia 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      sarahsherlock 7 years ago

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

    • kingkhan78 profile image

      kingkhan78 7 years ago

      interesting hub thanks for sharing

    • RoseGardenAdvice profile image

      RoseGardenAdvice 7 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 7 years ago

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

    • MayG profile image

      May Galnou 7 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 7 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.


      Marty Ware

      The SEO DAD

    • jessica_alias profile image

      jessica_alias 7 years ago

      Thanks for posting this wonderful piece..

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

    • tuarangi profile image

      tuarangi 7 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

      Marie Giunta 7 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.

    • profile image

      Sydney Getaways Guy 7 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 7 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 7 years ago

      I liked your hub, it was really informative.

    • profile image

      stephane86 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Sydney Getaways Guy 7 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 7 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 7 years ago from Pakistan

      very nice dear keep it up

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 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 7 years ago from Sydney

      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 7 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 7 years ago from Hawaii

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

    • kraji profile image

      kraji 7 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 7 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;

    • 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 8 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 and I hope you don't mind but I linked the two as I figured they were complementary.

    • ManchesterGirl profile image

      ManchesterGirl 8 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 8 years ago from australia

      excellent hub...

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 8 years ago from Sydney

      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.

    • profile image

      Nicolicous 8 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 8 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 8 years ago

      hey this is a great hub! If you want to find out more about Australian cities, visit 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 and they have never let us down in the 8 years we have checked in through them ...cheers

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 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. 8 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

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 9 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