Sydney Accommodation and Travel Guide
Who says everything about Australia is about geographical behemoths like Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef? Nor is it entirely about booze, meat pies and hats with hanging corks. These classic Australian features are impressive in their own right but what will happen if you slap those elements onto the grill, sprinkle a bit of sophistication, add a dash of creative spunk, and let it simmer for a while? A delicious serving of Sydney is what you will create, succulent prime cuts for everyone!
A strong dose of Australia’s classic rustic flavour meets pristine refinement –that’s one way of describing Sydney with its innovative architecture, beautiful parks and relaxed lifestyle. And guess what? There’s plenty of art, alcohol, local musicians, seagulls and an even greater sense of humour overall. in our Sydney accommodation guide you will find a friendly city blessed with a seaside location and gorgeous weather, making it a traveller’s dream destination.
In Sydney you will discover that it’s a place of remarkable sights and breath-taking moments. Bask in the majesty that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, be enthralled by the extraordinary design of the Sydney Opera House, enjoy leisurely strolls in Hyde Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens, experience the diversity of Newtown, and elevate yourself with a birds-eye view of the entire city from the imposing Centre-Point Tower. These are among the highlights exhibited by the largest and most populous city in the Land Down Under.
Essentially, Sydney is a reflection of Australia itself–a multi-dimensional entity comprising of a diverse range of delights, evidenced in the tremendous selection of great food and wine from various backgrounds, and featuring some of the world’s kookiest personalities and innovators. Referred to as Oceania’s epicentre of diversity and artistic brilliance, this namesake is exemplified by works displayed in institutions such as, The Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art. These sites coupled with captivating exhibitions displayed by the Museum of Sydney, are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Residents of Sydney or more popularly known by the term, ‘Sydneysiders’, and tourists take full advantage of Sydney’s coastal location. Sure, the weather can be a bit bipolar sometimes (one minute sunny, the next pouring with rain) but don’t let that dishearten you from exploring the city. The splendid beaches are natural paradises consisting of an endless supply of sunlight, the bluest skies and plenty of sun, surf and splash.
Darling Harbour, a natural harbour adjacent to Sydney’s CBD, provides numerous options for any occasion, whether it is an enjoyable, bonding day out with family members, those seeking a crazy night of party-romping, or a romantic evening with a significant other. There are plentiful restaurants, bars, malls, the Sydney Aquarium, and an exhibition centre amongst various other spots that will cater to satisfy your specific requirements. In addition, the nearby Paddy’s Markets offers visitors an opportunity to delve into a world of bargains and souvenirs galore. Sydney’s Chinatown is another popular area, reflective of Australia’s vibrant multiculturalism and containing some of the city’s best eateries. Other attractions include The Star, a newly refurbished and revamped entertainment conglomerate, housing some of Sydney’s most prestigious restaurants, a luxurious hotel and of course, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s largest casinos.
Sydney is also conveniently located to make it possible for additional getaways by car or train to sanctuaries such as the Royal National Park and Blue Mountains, where travellers can further experience the beauty of Australia. Venture into Sydney, recline in a comfortable chair, pop open a few chilled beers, and enjoy a laid-back lifestyle that revolves around beaches, appetising treats, good laughs and a spectacular atmosphere, all to the tune of the sweet, simmering sound of meat being sizzled on the barbeque.
Well ain’t that a beauty?
Where to Stay in Sydney
It can sometimes be useful to think of city centres as quilts. You know the kind: handed down through generations, stitched by many hands, creating a patchwork of shifting aesthetics, materials and styles. Each one is different: people walk at different speeds; roads contour to local topographies; doors are square here, arched there; buildings are ancient or modern or both.
Unfurled between the thumping ferries of Circular Quay and the federation sprawl of Central Station, Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) is defined by its transience. A relative few permanent residents live in the area, but by and large, it’s what it says on the tin: a place for doing business.
Glass and steel towers burst from the roofs of sandstone buildings. Laneway galleries pop up scarcely announced while exclusive clubs, comfortable accommodation and restaurants beckon the unassuming wanderer.
The CBD is also home to the majority of Sydney’s big attractions. The Harbour Bridge weighs down its northern edge, a sturdy steel arch over a glistening harbour, the historic Rocks beneath it, a maze of ancient laneways and buildings. Nearby, the iconic Sydney Opera House stands resplendent, like a grand old multi-masted ship and the Royal Botanical Gardens hug the harbour shore, offering heavenly strolls and picnics amidst thousands of exotic floral species. And, all the while the clown face of amusement park Lunar Park (1 Olympic Drive Milsons Point) smiles from across the water.
Back from the Botanical Gardens, the State Library (Macquarie Street) and Art Gallery of NSW (Art Gallery Road) overlook the Domain (Art Gallery Road). This lovely carpet of green is a fortress of solitude. The park is a historic site for soapbox oratory, a tradition that continues on Sunday afternoons. It also plays host to many of the city’s free live performances, from fireworks accompanied classical music to soul greats like Al Green.
For more of historic Sydney, follow Macquarie Street from the Opera House and Botanical Gardens. Here you’ll find the Australian colony’s earliest institutions, including the beautiful old mint, hospital and government house. At its end, Hyde Park’s leafy walks breathe fresh air into the heart of the city. Australia’s largest Church, St Mary’s Cathedral (St Marys Road), occupies a prime position just across the road, along with the Australian Museum (6 College Street East Sydney), considered to be one of the best natural history collections in the world.
In the CBD’s core, around Town Hall station, underground tunnels link the major shopping spots, from Centrepoint Tower (1/86-100 Market Street) to the Queen Victoria Building (455 George Street). The latter, with its sandstone arches, sweeping atrium and copper-capped domes was considered by designer Pierre Cardin to be, “the most beautiful shopping centre in the world.” And nearby, entertainment venues abound, from the State Theatre (49 Market Street) to the edgy, indie Metro Theatre (624 George Street), while Chinatown offers tasty Asian eats and other oriental wonders.
A short walk west of Town Hall station, another harbour inlet, Darling Harbour, offers many other attractions. A pedestrian, recreational precinct, clubs, great accommodation, waterside restaurants, an IMAX theatre, a maritime museum, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, an aquarium and a zoo cluster around its waters.
Rydges World Square (luxury): Conveniently situated on bustling Pitt Street, this hotel offers premium accommodation for travellers. The guest rooms have been thoughtfully designed to feature king beds, ensuite bathrooms, flat-screen televisions and high-speed internet access. Dining and shopping options are literally next door with World Square boasting an array of restaurants and boutique stores.
Shangri-La Hotel (luxury): The epitome of luxury accommodation, the gleaming Shangri-La pampers travellers with a delectable selection of comfortable guest rooms, world class customer service, modern amenities, and sweeping views of Sydney Harbour. In addition, the in-house Altitude Restaurant and Blu Bar combine stunning scenery with mouthwatering cuisine and drinks.
Travelodge Hotel Sydney (midrange): This hotel’s warm atmosphere, great location and comfortable guest rooms embraces guests like an old friend. Stay here if convenience is what you seek -just a 2-minute walk from fashionable Oxford Street and all its lively bars, restaurants and shops. Main attractions such as Hyde Park, Chinatown and Darling Harbour are also within walking distance.
Teeming with luxury and history...The Rocks
The Rocks district is a maze of timeworn passageways and cobbled stone laneways. Littered with ancient Aussie pubs and colonial attractions, it’s the best place to get a feel of historic Sydney.
Along with Circular Quay, The Rocks was the site of Sydney’s early settlement and is often the first stop for visitors. Its main attraction is the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Bridge Climb; though expensive is a great way to experience the bridge while indulging your senses with an exhilarating climb and spectacular views of the city and harbour.
For a true taste of the Rocks, however, recline in age worn splendour at one of a bevy of colonial drinking holes. The 1845 dated Hero of Waterloo (81 Lower Fort St), is arguably the best: a comforting womb of sandstone and timber that will have you drinking and dreaming of grittier times.
Some of Sydney’s best galleries and shopping opportunities are also available, with the cutting-edge Museum of Contemporary Art or MCA (140 George Street) overlooking boutiques from the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Quay Suites West (luxury): Guests will feel like royalty at this place. From the relaxing Roman-style swimming pool on the 24th floor, dive into views left, right and centre of the city’s iconic Opera House (2 Macquarie Street) and Sydney’s Circular Quay. All rooms have breath-taking views of the CBD and harbour depending on what floor you stay. Come dusk, you’ll want to turn off all the lights to let in the glistening scenery below.
Harbour Rocks Hotel (luxury): Situated in the heart of the Rocks, this 4.5 star hotel is close to major attractions such as Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House. Guest rooms have been tastefully planned with comfortable beds, visually-pleasing interior decor and modern amenities. This is ideal accommodation for travellers seeking convenience with a splash of splendour.
Rendezvous Stafford Hotel Sydney (luxury): A beautiful boutique hotel nestled in the historic Rocks with spacious guest rooms, a heated outdoor pool, fitness centre and indoor spa. This is ideal accommodation for guests aiming to stay somewhere close to Sydney’s top attractions, close to a bevy of shops and restaurants.
Perfect for sight-seeing...Circular Quay
Sydney Cove, the wide, bright grin of water between the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, is one of Sydney’s most winning features. Once the primary port of the city, it is commonly referred to as Circular Quay, which technically is the row of wharves at its southern end forming the nerve-centre for Sydney Ferries – shooting them out like pin balls to the harbour’s many magical attractions.
Circular Quay is the start of Sydney in so many ways. Upon arrival from England, after a long disease-riddled voyage, it was here that soon to be Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, parked his shipment of convicts and jailers and established Australia’s first European settlement, a decidedly rag-tag affair that barely survived its first two years.
Phillip declared it to be the finest harbour in the world. Pick any one of the airy cafes that line the path to the Opera House and see if you can bring yourself to disagree.
Circular Quay has grown into a dining and entertainment hub hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, with a particular focus on fresh, locally caught seafood. Doyle’s at Circular Quay (Lower Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, 5 Hickson Road) is one of Sydney’s finest and first harbour-side restaurants. The Quay’s south bank comprises a broad walkway with many fine eateries leading to the Opera House, and the waterside Opera Bar (Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House), overlooking it all, is arguably the most spectacularly situated bar in Sydney.
Families, or anyone interested in outdoor activities, can take a harbour cruise or strap into a jet boat for blood-pumping harbour speed and a slightly blurred view of the scenery. While leisurely walking tours are a great way to familiarise yourself with the city’s history, a Harbour Bridge climb will give you altitude and clarity.
That said, day or night, it’s nice to just amble about the Quay, and a motley crew of dreadlocked drummers, painted didgeridoo players and the occasional chainsaw juggler are there to entertain you.
Sir Stamford at Circular Quay (luxury): Taking its name from the legendary hotelier, Sir Stamford Raffles, the Sir Stamford does its best to live up to the great man’s legacy. Seconds from Sydney’s most central park, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sir Stamford exhibits one of Australia’s largest private fine art collections. That said, 550 crystal chandeliers glistening above champagne flutes makes for a tasteful dining experience at the hotel’s restaurant, The Dining Room or “High Tea” experience at The Bar. Rooms possess modern amenities and comfortable beds.
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel (luxury): With a phenomenal location, minutes from the Opera House and Circular Quay, the newly refurbished Marriott Hotel offers scenery, style and five star accommodation. The Hotels pearly facade pokes through surrounding skyscrapers for amazing views, and neutral rooms and nautical-coloured furnishing create a calming ambiance.
Four Seasons Hotel (luxury) This luxury accommodation is located on Circular Quay’s doorstep, shining as a beacon of sophistication and style. Four Seasons is a world-renowned five-star chain of hotels, and Sydney’s instalment lives up to its revered reputation. All suites boast spectacular views of the iconic Sydney Harbour and the vibrant nightspots and shops throughout the Rocks are ripe for exploring. Within the hotel, guests are invited to take full advantage of the oversized, grand-contemporary style rooms replete with all the five-star trimmings such as high-speed broadband, twice-daily housekeeping service and refrigerated private bar.
For a grand harbourside experience...Darling Harbour/Pyrmont
Undeniably one of Sydney’s glitzier districts, Darling Harbour’s ring of clubs, restaurants, attractions and theatres are the gaudiest of Sydney’s jewels.
Wandering across the historic Pyrmont Bridge is the best way to orient yourself. Look down on the decommissioned warships of the Maritime Museum (2 Murrary Street Darling Harbour) and breathe in the smell of the sea. Occupying a narrow canyon between high-rise hotels, Darling Harbour is terraced by restaurants and nightclubs.
Gigantic and impossible to miss, IMAX Sydney (31 Wheat Road Darling Harbour), the world’s biggest cinema, is located on the south bank of Cockle Bay. The mesh dome of WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo (1-5 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour) is nearly as prominent and offers the best place for recent arrivals to get their first look at Australian animals. Feedings are regular and koalas can be handled for a small fee. Sharing a marquee is Sydney Aquarium (1-5 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour), which claims to be Sydney’s most visited attraction. Extending under the harbour, its glass tunnels and moving walkways provide an eerie experience of Australia’s fascinating marine life.
If you’re looking for a rest, the nearby Chinese Garden of Friendship (Harbour Street, next to Tumbalong Park) is an enclosed oriental fantasyland, both beautiful and serene. The Star (80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont) dominates the western side of Darling Harbour, a state-of-the-art casino catering to an array of needs, including shopping, eating and gambling, naturally. The venue’s Lyric Theatre also hosts extravagant musicals and dynamic cabarets and regularly welcomes to the stage musical legends such as Bon Jovi and Tony Bennet.
Behind Darling Harbour, the suburb of Pyrmont, while offering little in the way of specific attractions, is a pleasurable place to stroll. Rows of beautiful 19th century sandstone terraces sit in the company of huge steel and glass experiments in shape and form – apartment blocks and offices housing the city’s white-collar work force and high-tech companies, like Google. Stop into exquisite patisseries, aromatic cafés and old pubs with designer interiors for quality sips and sups and upper-class inner-suburban atmosphere.
Astral Tower and Residences (luxury): The party never stops at this 24-hour funhouse complete with in-house nightclub, two onsite theatres, restaurants, bars and even a signature cocktail shaken and stirred for guests. Depending where your room is, you can enjoy impressive views of Pyrmont whilst draining the bottles of the stacked mini-bar.
Waldorf Apartments Hotel (luxury/romantic) What you see is what you get at the Waldorf Apartments, Sydney. The rooms include modern kitchens, luxury bathrooms and spacious lounge areas suiting businessmen in and out of meetings, and holidaymakers keen to see the sights. When you receive two free cocktails upon arrival, breakfast in bed for two and free parking you can understand why this accommodation is highly recommended.
The Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour (midrange/business/families): Spectacular location and views, this pretty much summarises the Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour –unmissable, siting harbour side and overlooking the CBD. Where its prime position shines, the rooms come up lacking, quite small and simple, though comfortable enough. Its affordability for location is hard to beat for families and first time travellers to the city. A bar and a bistro provide nourishment on site, with the lavish breakfast buffet a button-bursting delight. Wi-Fi is available in the lobby, though at a fairly hefty cost and an onsite business centre offers sojourning suits the perfect place for a meeting.
Haymarket lies in a long wedge across the south end of the CBD, consisting primarily of Central Station and embracing sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Chinatown. The Sydney Entertainment Centre (35 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour) and Capitol Theatre (13 Campbell Street) bring big-ticket entertainment to the mix, while the nearby Powerhouse Museum (500 Harris Street), in Ultimo, a hands-on temple to technological innovation, is an established family favourite.
Chinatowns’ numerous food outlets offer lip-smacking belly-filling relief for homesick Asian expatriates and any appreciator of Asian cuisine. Try the Japanese noodle soup (ramen), a delicious, filling and cheap AU$6 Vietnamese pork roll and much, much more at Eating World (25-29 Dixon Street), a bustling food court just outside the northern pagoda gate on Dixon Street. Or wander down into the basement Dixon House Food Court (Corner of Dixon and Little Hay Street), where the décor is authentically ugly, the atmosphere always buzzing and you can load up on a tasty Asian meal for less than AU$10 at any one of dozens of steaming food stalls.
Yum Cha is a weekend morning treat for many Sydney-siders, and the Marigold Restaurant (Levels 4/5, 683-689 George Street) in Chinatown is one of the city’s greats. Sit down with friends and fill your guts with Chinese tea and serving upon serving of delicious dim sim delicacies.
But for the best experience of Sydney’s Chinatown visit on Friday’s between 4 and 11pm, when Dixon Street comes alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of Asia during the Chinatown Night Markets, with Asian food, clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts, street performers and more…
And if your inner-oriental shopper needs more, come back in the morning for Paddy’s Markets (Market City, Ground Level, 9-13 Hay Street), Sydney’s largest market, where everything from vegetables to cheap Aussie souvenirs and buxom manga figurines can be found.
Aaron’s Hotel (Budget): Located at the backend of Chinatown, just minutes from the CBD, Aarons Hotel is convenient to Sydney’s largest Entertainment Centre and close-by attractions, the Aquarium and Darling Harbour.All rooms (standard, deluxe, executive) have separate bathrooms, a mini fridge, flat screen TV and shower.
Base Backpackers Sydney (budget/backpackers): Nestled between the busy districts of Town Hall and Darling Harbour, Base Backpackers Sydney is no-frills accommodation in a great location. 24-hour reception and swipe security minimise lost property whilst the communal kitchen and laundry facilities add an extra bang for your buck. A good spot for party-goers, be prepared from noise pumping from the Scary Canary (hostel bar) next door til the wee hours of the morning and fellow drunken patrons missing the mute button.
It doesn’t get more central then Sydney’s Central Station. Railway Square YHA is just outside Central station. From its boutique ‘carriage dorms’ set inside decked out old railway cars, to its historic housing in a 1904 built parcel shed, the hostel oozes grungy Sydney cool. Shared dining and lounge areas, complete with big screen TVs and DVD collections, make the perfect places to mingle with other guests.
Trendy and hip...Inner City
Cool. Quirky. Pulsing. These three words sum up Inner Sydney to the letter. Every region within its bounds bears its own unique charms that are infectious for travellers and locals alike. Whatever your poison, you will find it here.
The iconic flashing neon Coca- Cola sign brightly welcomes your arrival to The Cross, Sydney’s red-light district. This is a strip that never sleeps – so no matter what time of day you dare to venture forth, you will find a colourful mash up of the sleazy underworld and innocent debauchery. If you can push through its heavy lashings of grime, crime and drunken louts, this is actually one hell of a place to party.
Hipsters dwell in Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington. This cluster of ‘burbs off cutting Oxford Street are proudly preened into some of Sydney’s trendiest. Here, there’s a high chance a student, artist, bohemian, designer, musician, barista or barman will be sipping lattes in the same café. Darlinghurst is the home of the creative, the colourful and the camp. Surry has reinvented vintage style, so for the best second-hand rummaging in the city, Crown Street is the crème of the crop. Paddington is effortlessly cool, enveloping Sydney’s diverse cultural scene. Oh, and there are tonnes of bars, restaurants and cafes, each with their own unique flavour.
Woolloomooloo and Potts Point attract the upper-crust, boasting stunning harbour views, high-end eats and plush shopping spots. But beware: price points are a little higher. Redfern and Broadway are grittier on the surface, but appearances can be deceiving. Simmering under the grimy veneer hides a bouquet of offbeat nightspots and galleries for you to pick and choose from.
The diversity of Inner Sydney’s residents hinges on its eclectic offering of dining, entertainment and culture that make it a region that welcomes everyone.
The Blue Sydney (luxury/romantic): The luxurious Blue Sydney is a very urban and modern complex on the jutting Finger Wharf at historic Woolloomooloo Bay. It’s only a ten minute walk to CBD and Kings Cross, five minute walk to Botanic Gardens and The Domain. There are 100 rooms and 36 loft suites to book from. There are special ‘Romantic’ and ‘Spa’ Packages for those who want to shut the blinds and get pampered.
Diamant Boutique Hotel Sydney (midrange to luxury/business): One of Sydney’s most stylish accommodation options, the Diamant Boutique Hotel is located in Sydney’s renowned nightlife precinct, Kings Cross and only a 15-minute drive from Aussie hotspot, Bondi Beach. With a reputation for being easy on the eyes, the hotel’s rooms have been elegantly designed, providing scenic views of the city and 42-inch flat-screen TVs.
Eva’s Backpackers (budget/backpackers): Renowned for its cleanliness, the only bug you will catch here is of the travel variety. The rooftop terrace is a lovely spot get acquainted with fellow travellers, whilst the clubs of the Cross are within staggering distance. Noise from the vibrant streets can be quashed with a set of ear plugs and the fresh-faced young staff members are incredibly helpful and hospitable. Eva’s is hot property, so be sure to book in long before you arrive.
For foodies and great vibes...Surry Hills
Tucked into the nooks and crannies of Sydney’s hippest suburbs you’ll discover a handful of historical sites, fashion boutiques and galleries galore, enveloping Sydney’s diverse cultural scene. Oh, and there are tonnes of bars, restaurants and cafes, each with their own unique flavour.
Cleveland, Crown and Foster Streets celebrate a variety of international dining from cheap eats to three-course meals. Nada’s (270 Cleveland Street) and Fatima’s (294-296 Cleveland Street) are amongst some of the earliest Lebanese restaurants in Sydney. Trendy Italian restaurant, Table 20 (182 Campbell Street), Japanese sushi bar, Katsu Yachiyo (208 Devonshire Street) and The Original Maltese Café (310 Crown Street) are all testimony to amazing ethnic heritage.
For a few tunes and good vibes the Hills are pumping with upcoming talents and trendy tunes. The Beresford (354 Bourke Street) has an original art deco front bar, an upstairs area for live bands and DJ’s, plus a beer garden out back. Also, from the guys who brought you Pocket and Stitch comes Button (65 Foveaux Street) famous for cocktails and free pistachios to nibble!
For galleries, look no further than the White Rabbit (30 Balfour Street, Chippendale), an independent gallery as well as bar. Shopping is big in Surry hills, not in the mall sense, but for reinventing vintage style. A bevy of high-end boutiques juxtapose quirky stores that make this place one that’s for everyone.
The Sebel Surry Hills (midrange): Situated only minutes away from Central Station and lively areas such as Chinatown and Darling Harbour, the Sebel is a favourite among travellers for its service, convenient position and comfort. The hotel offers 271 accommodation rooms, including Superior and Deluxe rooms in addition to 10 spacious and diverse boardrooms able to cater up to 220 people. The Sebel also places an emphasis on cleanliness and efficiency. Staff members are friendly and helpful, catering to your queries in a timely fashion.
The Westin Sydney (luxury): The luxury Westin Sydney in the core of Sydney’s bustling CBD is dripping with history and sophistication. High ceilings and antique window fittings offset spectacular views of Sydney while warm colourings and light filled rooms heighten the calming atmosphere. Separated by a spectacular glass atrium, the sleek accommodation within the Tower Wing includes modern stainless steel décor and marble bathroom complete with deep-plunge tub.
Cambridge Hotel Sydney (midrange): A great place for weary travellers to recuperate with a good night’s rest. The aesthetically pleasing rooms are comfortable, spacious and most importantly, clean. It’s a bonus that this accommodation is near major Sydney attractions such as Circular Quay and Hyde Park. Oxford Street is also within proximity, granting guests access to a multitude of niche shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Student, artist, bohemian, designer, musician, barista, barman – there’s a good chance they’ll be sitting at the same café. Darlinghurst is the home of the creative, the colourful and the camp. Don’t feel sidelined if you’re none of those, somehow Darlinghurst includes everyone into its small 800 metre radius. This neighbourhood is an open gallery, you needn’t take too much time to notice what’s on the walls, but it’s definitely time wasted if you rush through it.
On-trend ideas and inspirations – some local, some imported – colour this flavoursome part of the Inner City. There are more rags than riches with a self-conscious attempt to be effortlessly cool. In over a century, ‘Darlo’ has exchanged its colonial affluence for a gritty and creative dynamism and we’re all for it.
The diversity of its residents hinges on its eclectic offering of dining, entertainment and culture. There is a refreshing sense of community seen at local cafes and art galleries.
Another community lies by the tourist attraction of Sydney’s rainbow flag bearing district, Oxford Street. There is a boutique retail industry that survives on its loyal Darlinghurst friends. It’s a place for cheap eats, such as Stanley Street, exclusive bars on Darlinghurst Road, and an oh-so-hip gelato hangout (Messina) on 241 Victoria Street. In addition, art bookshops (Ariel Books -42 Oxford Street), fetish shops (Tool Shed -81 Oxford Street) and artisan bakeries allow you to read, whip and eat all in a days’ visit.
Morgans Boutique Hotel, Sydney (midrange/leisure): If comfort at a reasonable price is what you’re looking for, check in at Morgans. Comprising of 26 spacious apartments each equipped with a kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, free-to-air TV, internet, air-conditioning and video intercom security, Morgans is conveniently located near the CBD and Sydney’s most heralded entertainment and restaurant districts.
The Kirketon Boutique Hotel: (midrange/business/romantic): Kirketon Hotel Sydney is a 40-room hotel in the heart of trendy, inner city Darlinghurst. The hotel is a few steps away from the bars and clubs of Darlinghurst and only a few blocks away from the Kings Cross Nightlife. Considering the hotel’s centrality, it is surprisingly quiet and calming. The rooms are more suited to a business or honeymoon traveller, Minimalist style without the cheesiness of other hotels.
Medusa Hotel (midrange/hip): With a quirky exterior and even more abstract-looking interior decor, this hotel provides funky accommodation for travellers. Customer service is terrific with friendly staff who are happy to assist with any inquiries. In addition, being situated in Darlinghurst makes it easy for guests to meander across the road for delicious meals or a night of partying.
For beach-lovers and ocean views...Eastern Suburbs
Welcome to Sydney’s own beach side Beverly Hills, where glitzy harbourside hamlets house the who’s who of the city – and some of the wannabes as well. Sydney’s biggest parklands and most famous beach reside here, plus some several lesser known sparkling sandy gems.
There’s Bondi Beach; A backpacker haven and home to a large population of Sydney’s ‘hipster’ movement. Everyone seems far too good looking as they stroll the promenade of Sydney’s most famous beach. Designer swimwear and Sydney’s answer to muscle beach – an outdoor training area – all make for an interesting gawk should you tire of watching the waves.
Over the hill from Bondi lies a local fave; beautiful Bronte. More scenic then Bondi and a touch more classy, its cafes and beachside park make for the perfect seaside picnic.
Double and Rose Bay are Sydney’s Hollywood Hills, each boasting spectacular harbor views almost worth their multimillion dollar price tags. Competing with the growing popularity of the CBD in the shopping stakes, the Bays also remain some of the most stylish and affluent suburbs in East Sydney.
Moore and Centennial Park offer leafy green refuge from the hustle and bustle of the nearby CBD. Picnic tables sit beside duck filled ponds, making for a perfect relaxing afternoon. Centennial Park is also a local pavement-pounding favourite so expect to see plenty of exercise enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. Next door to Centennial are Sydney’s Fox Studios, and a nearby Entertainment Quarter promises fun for the whole family.
Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach (luxury/romantic/business): The luxurious Plaza Hotel (luxury) is the crown of Coogee shores. Gracing the Eastern Suburbs with its’ grand façade, guests are impressed by beachfront accessibility and sweeping panoramic views. A marble foyer and balcony boudoirs add a touch of class to this swanky resort. Plus the hotel’s wireless internet, business centre and nine meeting rooms make corporate occasions seamless.
The Centre (midrange/leisure): This historic guesthouse is in an ideal location. Minutes away from the loud city centre, you will sleep soundly in this quiet corner of Randwick. The amenities on offer are pretty basic – there are no bells and whistles – but the staff is efficient and you’re left to your own devices. A gentle ambience sweeps this quaint building which makes for a pleasant change from the stressful city beyond its walls.
Vibe Hotel Rushcutters Sydney (luxury): Fringing Sydney’s CBD, The Vibe is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle without having to fly away to Hawaii. Sweeping views of the city and nestled in the heart of upper crust Double Bay guarantees a sure-fire relaxed retreat. This lavish accommodation comes with all the trimmings of a four star hotel including 24 hour reception, free WiFi and daily cleaning service.
A sensational summer getaway...Bondi
Bondi Beach; chances are if you’re travelling to Sydney – or anywhere in Australia for that matter – you’ve heard of it. It’s not necessarily Sydney’s best beach, but by far the city’s most famous.
There are not many places you can spot oiled up Adonis’s fresh from a beachside workout having a beer with a barefoot, bearded, beanie wearing hipster. The longer your hair and more rips in your clothing, chances are you’ll feel at home with a handful of larrikin locals.
Bondi is a place where rabbis shop at Russian delis, surfers swap stories with suit-wearing lawyers and busloads of tourists melt in the hot summer sun.
There are only so many bronzed beauties to gawk at in a day without feeling an urge to join the flocks and sunbake till sundown. A grassy seat-on-the-hill at North Bondi is a great place to catch the day’s final rays.
On Bondi Road, restaurants named after furry animals are a reoccurring theme. The Flying Squirrel (249 Bondi Road, Bondi) and Stuffed Beaver (271 Bondi Road Bondi) serve great eats and coffee – free come ‘Movember’ should your moustache impress!
To rub shoulders with the stars and their stylish local admirers, a cocktail come sunset is a must at Ravesi’s (118 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach). Or for boisterous buccaneers, Buckler’s Canteen, (130-136 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach) delivers amicable ale and its sea shanty décor houses an epic retro arcade.
Westfield Bondi Junction (500 Oxford Street) is one of Sydney’s biggest shopping mazes and locals spend months trying to learn the layout of this labyrinth of designer stores. Let the hubby hold the credit card as you window shop in awe – just don’t be surprised if you still see it maxed – as there is truly something for everyone in these debt defying walls.
The Swiss Grand Resort and Spa (luxury/romantic): The Swiss Grand Resort and Spa shoots an extreme injection of luxury into Bondi Beach. This is the ultimate decadent retreat just minutes away from downtown Sydney and Kingsford International Airport. Sit upon your private balcony and enjoy the magnificent view of world famous Bondi Beach before retiring to your plush king sized bed.
Bondi Beach Backpackers YHA (budget/backpackers): Minutes away from Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach, this is a solid stomping ground for travellers on a lean budget. These lodging are basic but clean (which can be a rarity in hostels). Little touches like the outdoor courtyard and rooftop barbeque area makes this a very pleasant stay. Choose from private or shared dorms, wash the sand away in the coin operated laundry and share travel tales in the communal dining and kitchen areas complete with a well-stacked DVD collection.
Meriton Serviced Apartments Bondi Junction (luxury/family): This sparkling block towers over the bustling Bondi Junction interchange and is near massive Bondi Westfield (500 Oxford Street) and Bondi Beach. With plush interiors, state-of-the-art facilities and harbour views to boot, this complex is equipped with all the essentials for lasting holiday memories. Listen to the sounds of the sea in your light-filled apartment and make full use of your gourmet kitchen, high-speed internet connection and internal laundry.
For a glimpse of glamour...Double Bay
A five minute ferry ride from Sydney’s CBD, the beautiful harbour side neighbourhood, Double Bay is Sydney’s very own Little Europe. Replete with all the trimmings of a little European village, there are leafy streets, historic buildings, endless coffee shops and elegant boutiques, which make for a charming spot for all holidaymakers.
Mention “Double Bay” to any Sydneysider and they will undoubtedly raise an eyebrow – indeed, this is where the cream of Sydney reside. Although competing with the growing popularity of the CBD in the shopping stakes, Double Bay still remains one of the most stylish and affluent suburbs in East Sydney. As a result, the boutiques and restaurants peppering the picturesque streets tend to cater to those with a little bit more money to spend. Wander down Transvaal Avenue and pick up those one-off pieces that may cost a month’s rent (but will be so worth it). Pamper yourself at the Angsana Spa at 15 Bay Street with a beauty treatment fit for Nicole Kidman (who coincidentally owns a house here). Sip on a latte at one of the many coffee houses that line the laneways.
Many historic homes add to the enchanting character of this elite neighbourhood. We recommend taking a tour through the Vaucluse House on Wentworth Road where 19th century Gothic style has been beautifully preserved. Intimate oasis-like coves pocket the areas shoreline, and a relaxing dip in the Riviera-style Redleaf Harbour Swimming Pool (536 New South Head Road) comes highly recommended.
Catch a glimpse at how the other half live in the oh-so-glamorous Double Bay.
Medina Executive Double Bay (midrange): Situated near the airport, in Double Bay, this apartment is close to Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney Parliament House, and State Library of New South Wales. Guestrooms are spacious, neatly arranged and also feature kitchens, refrigerators, and microwaves. It’s also a bonus that the staff are friendly and multi-lingual.
Savoy Hotel Double Bay (midrange/families): A cosy hotel that’s close to Elizabeth House, Sydney Parliament House and Fitzroy Gardens, the Savoy also features clean rooms that are ideal for a good night’s rest. Travelling families would love this accommodation for its affordability and proximity to transportation, shops and cafes.
Sydney Hot Spots
Enjoy tremendous views of Sydney by climbing the Harbour Bridge: www.bridgeclimb.com
Browse around hip Paddington for fantastic bargains and vintage gear: www.paddingtonmarkets.com.au
For delicious French cuisine in trendy Darlinghurst: www.seletpoivre.com.au
Seeking delicious Greek cuisine and a fantastic dining experience? Visit Aesop’s: www.aesops.com.au
Explore Sydney’s surrounds from your very own home on wheels. Rent a camper van from www.jucy.com.au
A wide range of appetising pizzas can be found at Basil Pizza. Find out more: www.basilpizza.com.au
Pamper your taste buds at one of Sydney’s best Thai restaurants: www.thanonkhaosan.com.au
Indulge in authentic Mexican food at this charming restaurant in Glebe: www.bajacantina.com.au
One of Sydney’s most popular Asian dessert stores: www.meetfresh.net