Places to stay in Sydney for tourists and locals: The top 10 spots for a staycation

1. THE RESIDENCES, CENTENNIAL PARK

As 'Sydney' as it gets, this unique accommodation is a private heritage delight in the city's showpiece park. The Residences are two 1880s Victorian homes that promise a wow-factor dinner party and sleepover for six and eight respectively. Restored to their original glory (with modern, designer kitchens and bathrooms added), both Residences have gardens fit for a memorable cocktail party. Spend the day exploring Centennial's manicured gardens on foot, bicycle or horseback before returning 'home' to a culinary delight worthy of the surroundings. Think a degustation menu from ARIA, a spit from Feather and Bone, paellas, food trucks, pizzas, Arabic mezze plates or canapés and a formal three-course dinner.

theresidencescentennialpark.com

2. TANDARA, LANE COVE NATIONAL PARK

Share your romantic staycation with water dragons, lorikeets, sugar gliders and bandicoots at Tandara in the Lane Cove National Park, just 10 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD. Here you can 'rough it' in the bush with a king bed, marble bathroom, TV, fridge, barbecue, nearby café/kiosk and Wi-Fi in a luxury tent set on the edge of a sandstone cliff overlooking the valley. Take a wildlife tour, go kayaking, bushwalking and cycling or just chillax and breathe in the serenity from your private deck over a glass or two of something special. The Lane Cove River Tourist Park also has powered and unpowered campsites and cabins.

lanecoverivertouristpark.com/tandara-sydney

See also: Tandara full review - glamping in Sydney

3. YACHT STAY ON SYDNEY HARBOUR

Ideal for significant celebrations such as small weddings and wedding nights, anniversaries, birthdays and confident marriage proposals, an overnight staycation on a luxe yacht on Sydney Harbour is hard to beat. Sydney by Sail's Bed and Breakfast gold and platinum packages include a two-hour sail around the harbour before the skipper moors in a secluded bay and leaves you for an evening of romance under the stars. Gourmet seafood, deli or vegetarian dinner platters and breakfast boxes are included. Wake to the sights and sounds of the harbour before the skipper returns all too soon to sail you home.

sydneybysail.com

4. QT BONDI

If you don't get to Bondi regularly - or ever - and have never stayed at a QT hotel, this is the perfect staycation combo. The iconic stretch of sand and surf should be experienced at dawn and dusk and the only relaxing way to do this is to stay the night. Or two. The funky QT brand is always a trailblazer and until March next year they are offering themed package stays centred on unlimited "ommmazing" yoga at nearby Power Living, a family surfing lesson with photos, and a walking tour with local history buff and former Bondi lifeguard, Lawrie Williams.

qthotelsandresorts.com/bondi-beach

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See also: Traveller's QT Bondi full review

5. THE OLD CLARE HOTEL, CHIPPENDALE

Following a multi-million dollar overhaul, the Old Clare is now a new 62-room boutique hotel. The aesthetics of the Old Clare pub and Carlton & United Brewery Administration Building have been retained and if you close your eyes you can still smell the Resch's, KB Lager and Kent Old Brown that were brewed nearby. These days it's more craft beer and cool cocktails but the heritage is strong in this one. The Old Clare is home to three top-end restaurants, Automata, Silvereye and Kensington Street Social, all run by innovative chefs with stellar CVs.

theoldclarehotel.com.au

See also: The new Old Clare hotel

6. CAMP ON COCKATOO ISLAND

A waterfront campsite on a UNESCO world heritage-listed island in the middle of the planet's most beautiful harbour, just 15 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay. This is the only island in Sydney Harbour where you can stay overnight, and if camping isn't your style, there are heritage houses, apartments and glamping options. Pick up a map at the Visitors Centre and explore the convict and maritime history, head up to the Clifftop Walk and get up early and enjoy the vivid sunrise behind the Harbour Bridge.

cockatooisland.gov.au

See also: Cockatoo Island - Sydney's own island escape

7. PRIMUS HOTEL SYDNEY

The city's newest five-star hotel in the old Sydney Water Board headquarters in Pitt Street opened in December with 173 swanky rooms and suites and unmatched art deco glamour. With plush furnishings, a rooftop pool and bar and neighbours such as the Town Hall, Hyde Park, Queen Victoria Building and St Mary's Cathedral, this is a CBD staycation par excellence. Explore those parts of the inner city you've always wanted to and finish the day with a drink at the Lobby Bar and dinner at The Wilmot restaurant. Or get classy with one of the Primus High Tea options.

primushotelsydney.com

See also: Primus Hotel full review - dazzling rooftop a highlight

8. Q STATION, MANLY

Harbour views, Aussie bushland, restorative salt air and ghosts are just a few of the Q Station staycation temptations. The former North Head Quarantine Station offers various accommodation styles with views of the harbour, the grounds or the historic buildings. Join a yoga class, work out at Latitude 33 Wellness Centre, take a daytime History Tour or a night-time Ghost and Paranormal Tour investigating the horrors of the early days here, explore the Sydney Harbour National Park or swim, snorkel and kayak at Quarantine Beach. Ride a bike into Manly and but make sure you return in time to have dinner with a view at Boilerhouse Restaurant and Bar.

qstation.com.au

See also: Q Station - one of Australia most haunted locations?

9. AMAROO BY CONTEMPORARY HOTELS, WHALE BEACH

This modern, two-storey, four-bedroom home boasts a chic, stylish interior plus stunning views of the golden beach and the blue Pacific from nearly every room. The bright, sunlit property can comfortably accommodate eight adults plus a couple of kids. This 'end' of Sydney is all about the magnificent beach, with its powerful swells, 40-metre sandstone cliffs and surrounding real estate porn. Splash in the ocean or large pool, lounge on the sundecks and dine al fresco in summer or cuddle by the cosy fireplace in winter.

contemporaryhotels.com.au

10. LUXE RENTALS

Stayz, Airbnb and Luxico all offer lodgings that give you the chance to staycation in a part of Sydney you don't normally see. For example, The Darlinghurst, from holiday home rental outfit Luxico, is a lavish three-bedroom property with a state-of-the-art entertainment system, fully-equipped modern kitchen and a huge bathroom with free-standing tub in an uber-cool part of town renowned for its hip galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Have a leisurely coffee at The Bunker before walking to the organic markets at Taylor Square on Saturdays to pick up fresh ingredients for tonight's dinner party and three couple sleepover.

stayz.com.au; airbnb.com.au; luxico.com.au

See also: Eight Sydney highlights that most tourists miss

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