There are a tremendous number of places to stay in Sydney, and fierce competition helps keep prices down. Finding somewhere is usually only a problem around Christmas, throughout January, in late February/early March during the Gay Mardi Gras, and at Easter: at these times, book ahead. All types of accommodation offer a (sometimes substantial) discount for weekly bookings, and may also cut prices considerably during the low season (from May–Sept, school holidays excepted).

The larger chain hotels in The Rocks and the city centre generally charge upwards of $200 for a double room, although rates vary with demand: book early and you can often get a bargain. At such hotels, weekend rates are usually twenty percent higher than weekday rates, a pattern also found at boutique hotels, which get booked out in advance for Friday and Saturday nights. Rates in Kings Cross are much cheaper.

An increasing number of mid-range boutique hotels and guesthouses are smaller, more characterful places to stay, charging upwards of $150. Serviced holiday apartments can be very good value for a group, but are heavily booked.

Despite the number of hostels all over Sydney and the rivalry between them, standards are variable. Generally you get what you pay for: a couple of extra dollars may get you a less cramped dorm or airier room. Almost everywhere includes sheets and blankets in the price. Rates increase by around 10–20 percent from mid-December through to early February (especially at beachside hostels), but drop considerably in winter when three-for-two-nights deals and free breakfasts are common. Office hours are restricted, so it’s best to arrange an arrival time.

Big cities usually offer few options for camping, but Sydney is an exception, with walk-in camping right in the middle of Sydney Harbour at Cockatoo Island, and several more distant drive-in sites.

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