Deciding Where to Stay -- The best location for lodging in Sydney is in The Rocks and around Circular Quay—a short stroll from the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the ferry terminals.
Hotels around Darling Harbour offer good access to the local facilities, including museums, the Sydney Aquarium, and the Star City casino. Most Darling Harbour hotels are a 10- to 15-minute walk, or a short light rail trip, from Town Hall and the central shopping district in and around Sydney Tower and Pitt Street Mall.
More hotels are grouped around Kings Cross, Sydney’s red-light district. Some of the hotels here are among the city’s best, and it’s also where you’ll find a range of cheaper lodgings and backpacker hostels. Kings Cross can sometimes be unnerving (and noisy), especially on Friday and Saturday nights when the area’s strip joints and nightclubs are jumping, but it’s close to excellent restaurants and cafes around the Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, and Oxford Street areas.
If you want to stay near the beach, check out the options in Manly and Bondi, though you should consider their distance from the city center and the lack of trains to these areas. A taxi to Manly from the city will cost around A$55 and to Bondi around A$35.
Making a Deal -- The prices given for expensive hotels are mostly the rack rates, the recommended retail price, which guests can pay at the busiest periods if they book at short notice or walk in off the street. Check out www.lastminute.com.au and www.wotif.com for discounted rates.
Apartment hotels are also worth considering because you can save a bundle by cooking your own meals; many also have free laundry facilities. Almost all hotels offer nonsmoking rooms; inquire when you make a reservation if that’s important to you. Most moderately priced to expensive rooms will have tea- and coffee-making facilities and an iron and ironing board. Coffeemakers, as such, are rare in Australian hotels, which instead offer tea bags, instant coffee, small plastic milk cartons, and a kettle. Some smarter hotels have in-room espresso machines.
Check www.yha.com.au for a full list of its eight Sydney hostels (some are listed in this section).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.