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Darling Harbor or the Rocks for Sydney?

Old Aug 17th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Darling Harbor or the Rocks for Sydney?

I need help in deciding where to stay next month (September) in Sydney? Darling Harbor or the Rocks? Most of the places that I have looked at are either extremely expensive or only have double bed rooms and I am traveling with my adult daughter so wanted twin beds.
I temporarily have held a hotel on Walsh Bay called the Sebel Pier One hotel but am wondering whether it is worth the price and location?
We will have no car so will use public transportation to do daytrips to Blue Mountains,shopping,museums,Bondi Beach etc.
Any thoughts or recommendations?
We are staying for 6 mights so most places are running between 1200-1500AD for the stay.

Thanks for any help!
dutyfree is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2013, 04:40 PM
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There are a number of options at the Bed and Breakfast Sydney Harbour which might suit you. (We and friends of ours have stayed there and we all loved it.) The rooms listed below all have at least two beds and breakfast is included. The rates will range from AUD 1050 to AUD 1440 for 6 nights.

The Bed and Breakfast Sydney Harbour is located in The Rocks which, IMHO, is a better location than Darling Harbour, where I have also stayed on occasion.

Here are the options for rooms that would meet your criteria:

Barton Room (1Q + 1T) Shared bath with one other room
AUD 175

Lachlan Room (1Q + 2T) Private bath down the hall. (This is where we stayed and it was great.) AUD 240

Flinders Room (1Q + 1T)Shared bath with one other room.
AUD 175

Macquarie Room (1Q + 1T) Private bath with one other room
AUD 240.
longhorn55 is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2013, 09:06 PM
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Darling Harbour sounds great but it's nobody's darling, kinda dull, down below out of the way from what action there is up and down George Street below Town Hall. The Rocks is way better.

But it doesn't have to be one or the other - there are nice and affordable places in a number of areas, Potts Point (although you have to deal with Kings Cross to get there, not everybody's favorite), or Rushcutters Bay, Darlinghurst where Oxford Street goes past Taylor Square and it turns into Paddington, even Glebe and possibly East Balmain (a short ferry ride from Circular Quay) and elsewhere - just look a bit further and check with and to see about nearby public transport options.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2013, 12:11 AM
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Sebel Pier One is located right on Sydney Harbour, I believe it rates at least 4-star if not 5, hence its price tag. It is a short stroll to the main part of The Rocks area, an historical area of Sydney and therefore a major tourist attraction. It holds street markets on the weekends.

Adjacent to The Rocks is Circular Quay from where you can take buses to the various beach suburbs including Bondi Beach.

In terms of Blue Mountains, perhaps you can enquire with the hotel if day tour operators pick clients up from the hotel. Blue Mtns is 2-3 hours west of Sydney by car/bus.

On the contrary, Darling Harbour is filled with modern buildings, hotels, shopping centres and exhibition centre. It is also close to Chinatown.

Hope the above info helps.

swagman is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2013, 01:07 AM
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Australia is simply a very expensive country. Consider, for example, how far everything not produced locally has to come for a start.

While the decrease in value of the Aussie dollar will help, it still will be expensive. I have home exchanged in Australia on 3 separate trips and the prices are always a shocker--about double what you would pay in the US (although my last trip was there when the Aussie dollar was at its height so that should be less now).

Just be prepared to pay more than you are used to.

Either Darling Harbor or The Rocks are fine as locations. You can take ferries everywhere in Sydney or use the underground or buses. Very easy to get around.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Thanks for the info. I have found whether it was the AYH hostel/$900 or even the Ibis/$1100, everything seems to be pretty close in price down there. This is why I am so confused?
Should I be looking closer to Circular Quay then?
dutyfree is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Looking at those price quotes, I am glad I home exchanged.
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Old Aug 18th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Circular Quay. Since you're staying 6 nights, check out Meriton Serviced Apartments. Anything in the downtown area is good and very close to the harbor (ferries, transportation, great restaurants. Sydney is expensive.
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Old Aug 19th, 2013, 12:29 AM
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The Russell, a "boutique" hotel in the Rocks, gets mentioned now and then. I think most of the rooms are different (a variety of shapes and sizes) and some are en-suite and some are shared bathroom. However, it seems to get good marks. I've never stayed there but my (adult) daughter did a couple of months ago and had no complaints. May be worth checking out and certainly the location would be good -
As suggested by Grasshopper, if you're staying for 6 nights, it may be worth checking out serviced apartments.

If you like Thai food, try the Canteen at Sailors Thai - 106 George Street in the Rocks - one long communal table (just grab a couple of seats) - good food and great fun. (Note the Canteen is upstairs, the more upscale and expensive restaurant is downstairs).
tt7 is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2013, 03:31 AM
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At the Rocks, you can also check out the Holiday Inn.

Around Circular Quay, the Marriott, Quay Grand/Pullman, the Establishment and Ivy, the last 2 are boutique hotels.
swagman is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2013, 04:33 AM
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I wish the comments about Sydney's expensiveness would acknowledge that this is relative to US currency. The US dollar in 2000 was worth $AUD 2, now it is close to parity.

Dutyfree: Darling Harbour is a non-place, expensive, characterless and with nothing to recommend it. Stay in the Rocks area or the CBD. The Rocks area is very noisy on the weekend, it's a drinking area on the weekend. The city might be a better bet.
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Old Aug 19th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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Australia is expensive relative to anyone's currency. I have stayed there when the US dollar was up. I have stayed there when the US dollar was down. It is just expensive for the reasons previously discussed.

NZ, by the way, is much cheaper.

You figure.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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We stayed at Sydney harbour B&B for 3 nights a few years back and thought it was excellent value. I wouldn't call it luxurious but it was comfortable, had character, great breakfasts and was in a convenient location.
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Old Aug 19th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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I just plugged 6 days in Sept to Hotwire and there were quite a few 4 to 5 star hotels in the Rocks & CBD from AUD$750 to AUD$1100, I'm sure priceline would be even cheaper

You can figure which hotels they are, if you are prepared to research them, also you have to be sure you are not likely to cancel.
Geordie is online now  
Old Aug 25th, 2013, 12:54 PM
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I would also advise that you stay in either The Rocks or the CBD dutyfree. Darling Habour isn't quite as dreadful as I had been led to believe, but it isn't where I would want to stay, either. I think the CBD really might be your better choice, and you really may prefer serviced apartments.

I've stayed with friends in Sydney since my first visit in 2003, so don't know if the hotel we stayed in is even there anymore! But it was in the CBD and we found it very accessible to everything, and a bit more restful in the evening.
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Old Aug 25th, 2013, 06:18 PM
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There's probably also some confusion about the use of the term Darling Harbour as a location. Locals tend to think of the side where the casino is, whereas I realised recently that hotels near Chinatown are often listed as Darling Harbour--perhaps to suggest there are water views. If a hotel is on the city-side, it's well located.
Susan7 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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I have stayed in the Darling Harbour area and loved it. I also like the Rocks but haven't stayed there.
nelsonian is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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OP, you need to get out your Sydney city map so you can see what we, and you, are talking about.

Susan7 is right . The eastern (city ) side of Darling Harbour is Cockle Bay, and is much more conveniently located for transport, easy walking to the CBD centre (QVB ) and Chinatown.

Circular Quay and The Rocks are in the dress circle tourist location and accommodation, in the main, is priced on a similar scale to that in the prime location in any major international city.

I agree with Grassshopper - stays of more than a day or 2 are better spent in a self catering Apartment. Sydney is extremely well serviced with a range of these purpose built apartments. They not only have more room than a traditional hotel room, laundry & kitchen facilities allow you to save on one of the major expenses - food.

Sydney is very walkable, and has excellent public transport, so if you are unable to find something in your price range in the Circular Quay/The Rocks, I'd suggest you have a look at the Hyde Park Inn, Pullman Hyde Park,( formerly Marriott), Travelodge in York Street.

Another in The Rocks that American tourists review favorably is The Lord Nelson. You might also try Sydney Bed & Breakfast.

If a hotel is offering one bed, contact them direct and ask for two - many King beds are simply two king singles coupled together. had some good specials this week.

Lastly, when looking at prices of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in Australia, remember the price you see advertised is the price you pay. No extra taxes, no compulsory tipping.

If an additional service charge is levied (Sundays & holidays in some rearaurants, credit card fees in some places) this is advised on the menu and at the point of sale.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 02:53 AM
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We stayed at the Radisson Blu on Pitt street and it really was a great location and fabulous hotel! Close to both Darling Harbor,The Rocks,Circular Quay,etc.
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