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Hostels in Kings Cross, Sydney - yes or no? If not, then where else?

Hostels in Kings Cross, Sydney - yes or no? If not, then where else?

Old Oct 15th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Hostels in Kings Cross, Sydney - yes or no? If not, then where else?

This isn't actually for me but a colleague is going to Sydney for New Year and is trying to sort out some accommodation. She wants either a hostel (with individual bedrooms) or a cheap hotel. She keeps being given contradictory advice with regard to King's Cross - some say yes, some to avoid it like the plague! I live in London my impression is that it's a bit like Soho but I really don't know.

Do you think that it's a good/safe place to stay or is it dodgy/noisy? Is it just a matter of taste?

Possibly more to the point, can anyone recommend any good accommodation?

Thanks a lot for any advice...
Tallulah is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2003, 05:55 PM
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Hi, Tallulah!
Well, I guess it's just a matter of taste, as you say. I always tell people that King's Cross is an okay place for a quick look (or a meal at Govinda's), but that you wouldn't want to stay there. It's advantage is that everything is always open; its disadvantage is that, as possibly the most densely-populated square mile in Australia, it attracts a lot of people who are there to make a quick buck anyway they can, be it with drug pushing, prostitution, or bag snatching. The place is full of hostels, and they are the lowest-priced places anywhere in the Sydney area (maybe Redfern would give it a run for its money), but, once again, the people your friend is going to rub shoulders with are not the sort of people you'd find at the Marriott. Sorry if that sounds superior, because I am certainly NOT recommending the Marriott -- in fact, I avoid the overpriced and over-serviced hotel chains like the plague, and I actually enjoy roughing it a bit when I stay anywhere -- but I guess there are limits. I'm not too crazy about stepping around syringes and vomit, and another poster here who visited King's Cross complained that she and her family were treated to someone using the footpath as a toilet. Is that like Soho in London?

Anyway, to the second part of your question -- cheap places to stay. If you want a hostel, you can't go past the Central Station (right at Sydney Terminal), which is in a big old restored building. It's not particularly cheap, however, especially for the singles and doubles. A better option, if you don't mind sharing a bath, is the Criterion on the corner of Pitt and Park Sts -- the location is just great, right in the heart of everything, and very safe, and when I asked last (some eighteen months ago) the price for a double room was around $AUD65. I always think this is the big bargain of Sydney, as other hotels in this great area (just near the Town Hall and the Queen Victoris Building, with Hyde Park, the Monorail, and the cinema strip all about a block away) charge twice or three times as much; furthermore, you can save money still further by buying take-out meals at the two large supermarkets (Woolworths and Coles Express) which are only a block away. At the end of the day, the prices for sandwiches, cakes, and sometimes even the hot food, often come tumbling.

Even cheaper, and still reasonably well-placed (near Central Station) is the Strawberry Hills Hotel, which has rooms for $AUD150 per week (!!!)and has a sign outside boasting a steak dinner every night for $AUD5. These places are NOT geared to the flush tourist, so they might just have a vacancy for New Year if you don't wait too long (the Strawberry Hills hotel has its own website on www.strawberryhillshotel.com.au). If you're too late, you could always stay in the suburbs and travel in by train -- there are hotels right at the station at Erskineville (10 minutes), Strathfield (15 minutes -- I think the name is Whelan's Hotel) and Lidcombe (25 minutes). These are unlikely to be fully booked as yet. Finally, if your friend wants to splurge in order to get a classy location, you might try the Palisade (at the top of the Rocks, and the rooms have views of Darling Harbour and the Harbour Bridge) or the Grand (right near Wynyard Subway Station, and only five minutes' walk to Circular Quay and the Rocks -- very near Janese's oft-recommended Menzies Hotel), both of which have rooms for a bit over $AUD100 a night.
Last suggestion: the hostel right at Manly Wharf. It's a thirty-five minute ferry ride across the Harbour from Sydney, and Manly is a great place to visit in its own right. I don't know anything about the hostel except its location, but I always think, as I walk past, that this would be a convenient budget place to stay.
Hope one of these will be of some use. All, may I say, better than King's Cross!
Alan is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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I've been to Sydney five times. I stepped off the Sydney Explorer bus in Kings Cross on my first visit, and have NOT been back to that area since! I only stepped off for a quick look and then got right back on the very next Sydney Explorer bus! But please realize, that was a number of years ago (1988) and I was a woman traveling alone. Kings Cross "may" have changed since then, but the previous post leads me to believe that it hasn't changed much! I'd avoid it except for a quick hop off the bus for a look, and then right back on again.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2003, 06:02 AM
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Hmmm...Kings Cross. Truthfully, it's just fine. There are other options for lodging, but if you ended up in the Cross you wouldn't be hassled or anything. Kings Cross has changed heaps over the past few years. Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull is doing some serious clean-up, and there are a few of the highest-priced, swish high-rise blocks there now (the Elan, Altair, Top of the Town, Horizon and soon to be Millenium). You're as likely to see a famous actor in the area as a junkie.

There are some good hostels on Victoria St. Potts Point (one block back from Kings Cross). The Norwegian hostel has only 9 rooms and is quieter than others, and well-kept. If your friend is coming from London and is not flush, but not skint, you may want to consider the Altamont Hotel in Darlinghurst (1 block away from the Cross) that often has nice rooms with bath for about $100AUD.

As for Alans suggestion of Sydney Central, it's a GREAT hostel, very clean, well kept, etc. Big, so there's lots of people to meet...and it's near Chinatown so there's lots of cheap food around.
PixieChick is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Thank you all SO much for your help - she's delighted with your advice. I have to say, Kings Cross sounds a bit like Soho 20 years ago..so it probably will get better!

Again, thanks.
Tallulah is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2003, 02:23 PM
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Tallulah, Kings X used to be good and a great place to crowd watch- its now that it is not.
I think anywhere hotelwise in Sydney would be fine after London's prices and I am sure that if you follow what Alan has to say your friend cannot go wrong. There are many very good hotels and cheap that you don't have to go to hostels. I am sure she will be fine.
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