Budget-friendly hotels in Sydney for a soul-stirring city break

Sydney isn’t just about high-end brunches and glitzy, luxury hotels. This vibrant city is bursting at the seams with budget-friendly accommodation for all types of travellers.

Whether you prefer the serenity of a beachside locale or the excitement of the CBD’s cafés, restaurants and leafy streets, you’ll find plenty of options in Australia’s biggest city. Spend your weekend in a Federation-style house, watching boats glide towards Harbour Bridge from your own breezy balcony.

Soak up Sydney’s cosmopolitan ambience at the shops, eateries and bars of Martin Place just minutes from your hotel, or drop in on a free walking tour of the city. You’ll relish sinking into the fresh bedding or whipping up dinner of choice in your self-catered space at the end of the day.

Cheap Sydney hotel in Martin Place for a bit of history


With so much to see in the city, you’ll appreciate Travelodge Sydney Martin Place’s location right on the palazzo-style square. Start your morning with a hot coffee prepared in your own kitchenette, which you can sip in the sitting area of your space or seek sunshine in the hotel’s rock garden courtyard.

Chase your brew with a stroll down the busy streets towards Circular Quay and Sydney’s famed landmarks. You can hop aboard a ferry for a morning trip past Kirribilli House, weaving your way through little coastal enclaves. Another ride will take you to Manly Wharf, from where it’s a five-minute stroll to the beach. You can sit on the sand and watch the waves roll in, or take the North Head Walk for stand-out views of the city for free.

On your return to Martin Place, stop in at the GPO Grand. Once the old General Post Office, this bustling eatery now hosts a modestly priced gourmet burger menu. If you’ve got some extra cash, order a platter of fresh, salty oysters and charred, smoky squid to enjoy beneath the towering pillars.

The Sebel Sydney Martin Place

8.2 Very good (4562 reviews)

Budget accommodation in the buzzing CBD


The Mariners Court Hotel lets you absorb the thrill of the CBD without paying a premium. After just an eight-minute walk from Kings Cross station, you’ll be checking into your room and throwing open the door to your own private balcony. That leaves the afternoon free for wandering the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. If you’re lucky, you might spy the colony of flying foxes that live among the flowers and fountains.

On your way back to the hotel, stop in at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Much of the museum is free, so you can save your dollars for late lunch at the gallery restaurant. Tuck into fresh plates of garden-grown veg and farm fare brought in from the Central Tablelands.

If you’d like to keep things casual, swing by local favourite Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for a cheese dog or meat pie on the go. Carry your dinner back to the hotel’s rooftop deck in time for sunset. Take note of the breakfast room while you’re at it because come morning, it’ll be the spot for digging into a complimentary buffet of hot dishes.

Mariners Court Hotel

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (1721 reviews)

Spa-like wellness centre at a surprisingly cheap Sydney hotel


Near vibrant Darling Harbour and five minutes from the Convention Centre light rail stop, the Oaks Goldsborough Apartments are perfectly placed to optimise your stay in Sydney. Elegant living spaces combine chic, minimalist designs with a colour scheme reminiscent of the beach—think bleached wood furniture and bright floor-to-ceiling windows.

Before waking the kids with homecooked breakfast, take a quiet moment on your balcony for a coffee in the sun. When bellies are full, walk down the harbour promenade to take in the view of high-rises and gently bobbing boats. Buy a Sydney Big Ticket if you’re planning on visiting Madam Tussauds, the Wildlife Zoo and the Sea Life Aquarium. For a simpler afternoon, you can stop in at the Maritime Museum’s Yots Café for a frothy cappuccino.

If you’re not in the mind to make dinner, snag a table by the water at Mediterranea Restaurant. Light bites like wood-fired pizzas won’t run you too high, though you might be tempted to treat yourself to a mixed plate of sizzling prawns and grilled baby octopus drizzled with lemon. Alternatively, choose the completely free indulgence of a session in the hotel’s sauna or deep green lap pool.

Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites

7.9 Good (18638 reviews)

Luxurious heritage home with views of the Opera House


Cremorne Point Manor is known for being one of the oldest hotels in Sydney. Steeped in 19th-century grandeur and boasting jaw-dropping views, this federation house delivers far beyond what you’d expect from its modest price point. The walking paths of Mosman Bay are just beyond your door, but you might find that your charming room in a soft palette of white and dusky blues is a tempting setting for the afternoon. In choice rooms, you can even run a decadent bubble bath in a silver-footed standalone tub.

If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a kayak and paddle out into the harbour. You’ll be treated to leafy green banks and glimpses of Art Deco architecture as you navigate protected waterways. Alternatively, a quick ferry ride will bring you to Taronga Zoo. Groups of four can even share a ticket for a Koala Encounter, where you’ll get up close and personal with the slumbering critters.

As evening approaches, head back to the house to welcome the dusk from a table in the garden or your private balcony. Snuggle into fresh bedding and dream of the hot breakfast buffet that will await in the sunny breakfast room come morning.

Cremorne Point Manor

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1795 reviews)

The best of North Sydney


Flanked by colonial and modern houses, Glenferrie Lodge lets you experience the little inlets and quaint cafés of the North Shore while only a six-minute ferry ride from the CBD. After waking in your double, twin or family room, start the morning with a tart espresso and breakfast from the hot buffet. If you’ve booked the Family Ensuite Room, you can take your morning meal onto your own balcony shaded by spikey palm fronds.

If you have the whole brood with you, let the little ones romp around the colourful play area in the garden. Keep a watchful eye while you ease back on plush patio loungers under the shade of market umbrellas. For a change of scene, it’s a quick jaunt through small streets to the Mary Booth Lookout Reserve.

You can take the foreshore walk that connects the reserve with Jeffrey Street Wharf and Bradfield Park, ending with a late lunch at Aqua Restaurant just below the north side of the Harbour Bridge. From your perch on the glass balcony, take in the view as you wash down fresh scallops with a crisp Mitchell Riesling.

Glenferrie Lodge

8.4 Very good (2201 reviews)

Sports-bar vibes at a budget Sydney accommodation spot


Tucked away in the western suburbs, Hotel Greenacre lets you get away from the frenetic energy of the CBD. This local favourite is part motel, part sports bar, and has been attracting an appreciative crowd to its kitted out rec space for years. If you’re after a relaxed, social evening, join the locals for bar food and a cold Toohey’s New while you rack up a game of pool in the games room.

If you’d rather eat off-site, New Harmony Chinese is a two-minute walk away and features a wallet-friendly menu. Tuck into barbecue spicy quail with fresh chili and garlic, or Peking lamb pancakes for a twist on the duck classic.

You can spend the next morning exploring Western Sydney’s Olympic Park and colonial-era relics at the Newington Armoury. Your room will be a welcome resting place at the end of the day, with simple whites and teal accents mirroring the calm of the suburbs.

An in-room TV and fridge provide all the ingredients for a relaxed movie night in bed, or you can hit the arcade downstairs for a round of retro pinball. Make sure to check the bar’s calendar for events like poker nights and meat raffles.

Greenacre Hotel

7.4(636 reviews)

Koreatown adventures for a budget alternative


Shilla Lodge keeps you within reach of the city but far enough out to avoid downtown price points. Step off the train from central Sydney and you’ll find yourself in the arms of the Korean community that makes up suburban Strathfield. You’ll want to visit Hangang Korean BBQ for an authentic lunch of tender wagyu beef slices and crisp, tasty vegetables prepared in a complex, steamy broth. Pack up any leftovers to enjoy later on the lodge’s elevated terrace.

Stretch out on your soft, white bed to watch a film on the plasma TV, or head to the common area downstairs to ask reception staff about tips for the local area. You can reach Bicentennial Park in 10 minutes by car—ascend Treillage Tower for panoramic views of the wetlands, Homebush Bay and the downtown skyline.

You can stroll along the boardwalk as sunlight filters through the mangroves, or take in the Peace Monument and Sundial sculpture. After a full day exploring West Sydney, return to the hotel’s rooftop to watch night fall over the suburbs.

Shilla Lodge