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10 Best Suburbs in Sydney

May 27, 2020 | Guest Post by: Eibhlis Gale - Coleman

Sunkissed Bondi beach, the colossal infrastructure of the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House - basking elegantly in all of its architectural glory. Sydney is a city overflowing with both cultural and natural riches, likely why the New South Wales capital attracts millions of tourists each year. 

When planning a trip to Sydney, you are spoilt with the vast array of suburbs to select from. Accommodation and location are renowned factors in making or breaking any holiday. But, as Sydney hosts a particularly diverse selection, it is wise to book accommodation with your priorities for your trip in mind.

Let's discover the top 10 Sydney suburbs:


Coogee - view of the beach from the coastal path

#1 Coogee

Bondi's little sister, Coogee is a coastal suburb offering laid back cafes, pubs, and bars overlooking the beach. An ideal base if you are looking to balance downtime and nightlife, Coogee's quieter vibe means you will not have to fight for a spot on the beach like you do at Bondi. Similarly, the neighborhood could cater to families or backpackers - making it a versatile addition to Sydney's accommodation scene.

Coogee is less than 10km from Sydney's CBD and resides in the city's Eastern Suburbs. A 20-minute car ride or 45-minute bus trip, it is easy to navigate transport to sightsee in the inner city. Coogee is also the starting point for the 'Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk' - a famed 6km path along some of Sydney's East's most impressive beaches and coastline.


Cafe in Newton, Australia

#2 Newtown

Newtown is an alternative and trendy suburb, perfect for those who like a student atmosphere. The area offers outstanding vegetarian, vegan and ethnic foods - a culinary hotspot for tourists and locals. An artsy neighborhood, Newtown is ideal for vintage shopping, adventurous dining, and partying. The sociable layout of the area is a magnet for solo travelers, who will quickly meet new people in the bars and hostels.

Positioned in Sydney's inner west, Newtown is less than 5km from the CBD and major tourist hotspots. The downside is that the area does not offer proximity to any beaches. So, if sunbathing and swimming are priorities on your visit to Sydney, you may want to consider the city's eastern neighborhoods instead. Additionally, you may wish to avoid Newtown if you would prefer a family-friendly or quiet atmosphere - the lively nightlife means that it is often noisy and busy at night.


View from lookout point in The Rocks

#3 The Rocks

A network of historic cobbled lanes, underground whiskey bars, museums, and street markets - The Rocks are one of Sydney's most famed suburbs. Situated perfectly between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, choosing The Rocks as a base guarantees proximity to spectacular views and viewpoints.

Less than 2km from the CBD and 500m from Circular Quay, the Rocks makes an ideal base for those who value a central location and prioritize sightseeing. Therefore, for those with shorter stays, you may find booking accommodation in The Rocks an excellent way to maximize your time in Sydney. The ferry network accessible from Circular Quay is also perfect for popular day trips such as Taronga Zoo, Manly, or Cockatoo Island.


Bridge with colorful flags in Darling Harbour

#4 Darling Harbour

Sophisticated and extravagant, Darling Harbour is likely a suburb that you have heard of already. The area plays host to some of Sydney's most upscale bars, restaurants, and clubs - all dotted accessibly along the glittering u-shaped harbourside. Darling Harbour is ideal for couples and makes for a romantic accommodation choice, especially when planning to indulge in evening dining. Visitors won't be short on things to do, as the neighborhood is home to attractions such as Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and Wild Life Sydney Zoo.

Approximately 1km from Sydney's CBD, Darling Harbour is a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its proximity to multiple shopping malls and an abundance of tourist attractions should appeal to those looking for a taste of Aussie city life. However, for those chasing affordable nightlife and dining experiences, Darling Harbour may prove limited in options. Similarly to Newtown, it also lacks easy access to beaches - which could prove a deal-breaker if this is an aspect of your trip that you value.


Yellow wall with blue door in Surry hills

#5 Surry Hills

Surry Hills is the darling of Sydney's inner-city neighborhood. Its stylish array of wine bars, restaurants, boutique shops, and bars attract the likes of celebrities amongst the flocks of tourists and locals. The location suits those wishing to embrace the city's nightlife, culture, and culinary scene out of the main tourist's path.

2km south of Sydney's CBD, Surry Hills is a walking distance from the city's main attractions. Despite a lack of accessibility to the city's beaches, ample green space surrounds the area where visitors can enjoy the sun and relax - including Moore and Centennial Parklands. The Sydney Cricket Grounds and Allianz Stadium are additionally a mere 20-minute stroll away from the center of Surry Hills, which is a bonus for any visiting sports fans.


Red door with metal balcony in Paddington

#6 Paddington

Also situated in inner-city Sydney, Paddington offers a more residential and quieter atmosphere than that of Surry Hills. A stylish suburb filled with boutique shops, trendy cafes, and Victorian-style terraces with ornate metal balconies - Paddington holds a unique degree of charm. A weekly market selling locally sourced clothes and items further add to the area's sense of community.

Less than 3km from the CBD, Paddington is excellently located to use as a base for city sightseeing. A 500m walk to Allianz Stadium and Moore Park, it is additionally a good neighborhood for sports fanatics or those who prefer to be close to green space. For an inner-city area, Paddington is relatively close to a beach; Seven Shillings Beach is only 4km north as an 8-minute car trip or 30-minute bus ride. Family-friendly and ideal for those seeking a retreat after a busy day of sightseeing, Paddington is undoubtedly one of the best options for neighborhoods to stay in Sydney.


View of Sydney Bridge in North Sydney

#7 North Sydney 

North Sydney is a neighborhood of skyscrapers and unmatched viewpoints, situated on the far side of The Harbour Bridge. Home to Sydney's iconic Luna Park and North Sydney Olympic Pool, the area is a hotspot for tourist attractions and has the feel of a miniature city. A walk along The Harbour Bridge into the CBD is unmissable, especially when timed to coincide with sunrise or sunset. The 20-minute stroll treats visitors to stunning vistas of The Opera House, Circular Quay, and Sydney skyline.

Roughly 5km from Sydney CBD and 3km to The Rocks, North Sydney is ideally positioned for easy access to the city by train, bus, or foot. The neighborhood would cater fantastically for those with shorter stays due to its proximity to the CBD and Sydney's main attractions. This proximity is also handy for those looking to enjoy Australian nightlife - as Sydney's leading clubs and bars are clustered around the CBD. Holding all the benefits of an inner-city stay, combined with a quieter evening scene for those wishing to retreat after a busy day, North Sydney is an excellent option for all types of travelers.


Orange van on Manly beach

#8 Manly

Manly is a coastal suburb in Sydney's north, connected to the CBD through a reliable ferry and bus network. Manly Beach flawlessly encapsulates Aussie beach culture and is well-known for its surfing culture. The neighborhood, buzzing with a constant holiday atmosphere, is ideal for those looking to separate themselves from city life in Sydney and enjoy beach living. Despite being a family-friendly area, Manly would likewise suit those wishing to experience Australian nightlife and offers a plethora of bars with happy hours along the waterfront.

Approximately half an hour from Sydney CBD via the scenic ferry, Manly is a reasonable location for sightseeing. Although it may suit travelers who wish to venture into the city center less, relying solely upon the ferry for transport could grow tedious. Manly's incredible beach access is the main benefit of staying in the neighborhood.


Sydney Airport in Mascot

#9 Mascot 

When planning around unsociable flight times, Mascot offers the best proximity to Sydney Airport and excellent transport links to the rest of the city. You may wish to consider accommodation in Mascot at the start, or end, of your trip if you are a solo traveler or family who wants to avoid traveling long distances in the early hours. Alternatively, booking accommodation in Mascot is a great option to rest immediately after a long-haul flight - as the suburb is less than a 10-minute drive from the international arrivals terminal.


Crowded bondi beach​

#10 Bondi

A reluctant addition to this list, Bondi is likely the most popular neighborhood in Sydney. Brought to fame by the TV show 'Bondi Rescue', the promenade overlooks both sand and surfers. Home to a lively backpacker and party scene, crowds flock to the area for its beach and nightlife. The neighborhood is also home to the Bondi Icebergs, a sea pool that overlooks Bondi and is famous across social media platforms such as Instagram.

Accommodation in Bondi is an excellent option for travelers who value nightlife, easy socializing, and beach access. Around 10 km from Sydney's CBD, the neighborhood is additionally not too far from the city's major attractions and sightseeing opportunities. Bondi's downsides, unfortunately, stem from its wealth of positive attributes. The area is continuously heaving with tourists and locals alike, which could be off-putting for those wishing to relax and enjoyably experience Sydney. If this is the case, you may want to consider including Bondi in your itinerary as opposed to a base for your trip.


About the Author: Eibhlis Gale - Coleman is currently travelling fulltime on a gap year. She has lived in Sydney for the past ten months, working as an au-pair and occasional pet sitter. Eibhlis is also a staff writer for The online publications: All I Can Tell You and The Teen Magazine. Follow her on Linkedin.

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Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

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