The rumours are true: Sydney is a very pretty city. It’s got those picturesque beaches and blue waters to the east, and is bordered by national parks on almost every side (the Blue Mountains being just a 90-minute drive away). The city is also home, of course, to the iconic Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Most vantage points will be a good one.

Sydney’s suburbs all afford different experiences, though. You have neighbourhoods surrounding the CBD like Surry Hills, Potts Point and Darlinghurst, which are home to top restaurants, bars and cafes. The Rocks and Circular Quay will have the best harbourside views – both day and night. The inner west – including Newtown, Enmore and Marrickville – has thriving creative culture, live music and nightlife. And the eastern suburbs are home to those postcard-worthy beaches, from Bondi and Bronte to Clovelly and Coogee.

Wherever you end up, you’ll have a great time. Here are some of our favourite Airbnbs in Sydney, whether you’re checking in as a first-timer to the city, a returning visitor or a local wanting to explore more of what your hometown has to offer.

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The Arc, Bondi

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Staying in Sydney’s most famous beach suburb is already going to cost quite a bit more, but if you can find eight mates or family members to split with, this sleek modern home (by Pinnacle Design Architects) is a bit of a steal. The luxe concrete, marble, exposed brick and glass finishes are balanced by foliage, pot plants and windows opening out to trees. There’s a plunge pool if you’d rather swim at home than at the beach, or Bondi’s sandy shores are just a 10-minute stroll away. Sleeps 9 / from $1898 a night / two-night minimum / book here.

The Glasshouse, Paddington

This luxurious inner-city stay comes with a hefty price tag – but it all makes sense when you walk on the heated marble floors, sit by the open fire, relax in the stone bath, sip the sparkling water on tap, and sleep on one of two soft king beds. It’s only minutes to the CBD and other exciting suburbs like Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, but between restaurants like 10 William St and the shopping strip of Oxford Street, there’s no reason to leave Paddington, either. Sleeps 6 / from $1507 a night / five-night minimum / book here.

The Writer’s Loft, Newtown

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Couples or solo travellers looking to explore Sydney’s cool inner west will be right in the heart of it at this self-contained Newtown apartment, opposite local institution Dendy Cinemas and a stone’s throw from the bars, cafes, pubs and shops of King Street. The loft channels some of the neighbourhood’s creative spirit, too, with art along the walls, plants hanging from the ceiling, a collection of books and homewares on the shelves and cosy nooks for reading or journaling. Sleeps 2 / from $320 a night / two-night minimum / book here.

Tiny Boneca, Rushcutters Bay

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This award-winning micro-apartment makes the most of its 24-square-metre space. A floor-to-ceiling slatted wooden screen slides from one side of the flat to the other, revealing a double bed on one side, or covering it to open up the small kitchen on the other. It’s on the Kings Cross side of Rushcutters Bay, meaning it’s within walking distance of top bars and restaurants in nearby Potts Point and Darlinghurst, or you can take a short bus ride to the CBD. Sleeps 2 / from $429 a night / six-night minimum / book here.

The Little Black Shack, Great Mackerel Beach

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Wake up to sunrise over Pittwater at this restored timber and sandstone cottage on Sydney’s northern beaches. To access the Mackerel Beach stay, board the vintage Palm Beach ferry with everything you need for a weekend hidden away – there are no shops or roads once you arrive. Two bedrooms – one king, one queen – feature panoramic views, while the covered outdoor sandstone kitchen includes a woodfired oven and charcoal barbeque. An outdoor shower adds to the escapist appeal of this rustic slice of paradise. Sleeps 4 / from $1467 a night / two-night minimum / book here.

Converted Warehouse Loft, Chippendale

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Even a small minimalist apartment can have the joys of a two-storey. This flat on the fringe of the city centre features high ceilings, a bed on the loft, a galley kitchen and floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows onto a balcony with city views. It’s a walk to Central Station, Carriageworks and other restaurants, galleries and venues around Chippendale, as well a quick trip on public transport to iconic Sydney sites. Sleeps 2 / from $346 a night / book here.

The Attic, Kurraba Point

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You get a different vantage point of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the north side of the harbour, and this studio is just a stone’s throw from Kurraba Reserve for those postcard-worthy views; it also has sweeping waterfront scenery right outside the window. The open-plan set-up includes a living space and king bed, plus a kitchenette and bathroom with a half bath. It’s a bit of a trek to public transport, but street parking is available if you want to drive around. Sleeps 2 / from $299 a night / two-night minimum / book here.

Logan Brae Retreats, Blackheath

Exterior of the Woodlands Cabin at Logan Brae Retreats in Blackheath, Sydney

If you’re craving the calm that only a weekend in seclusion can bring, this retreat in the Blue Mountains (just over two hours’ drive from Sydney’s CBD), might be exactly what you’re looking for. Choose from four accommodation options: The Machinery Shed, Hilltop Cabin and Woodland Cabin each sleep two, while The Lodge can accommodate up to eight guests. Bathtubs (both indoor and out), fireplaces and king-sized beds bring the luxury, while full kitchens ensure you’re set for a self-contained stay. Plus, there are views for days from the spacious wooden decks. Sleeps up to 8 / from $982 a night / book here.

Calabash Bay Lodge, Berowra Waters

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Calabash Bay Lodge is only accessible by boat; drive to Berowra Waters Marina (about 60 minutes from Sydney’s CBD), park your car and enjoy the easy 10-minute boat trip along Berowra Creek (or book a seaplane if you want the rock star treatment). The modern lodge has four bedrooms, an open-plan living area, a kitchen (with two ovens and a wine fridge) and a deep bathtub, while outside there’s a deck with lounges, a barbeque and a small yoga room (where a local instructor can teach a private class). Plus, the property’s own private jetty and an easy-to-use run-around boat you don’t need a licence to operate. Sleeps 4 / from $1424 a night / five-night minimum / book here.

Additional reporting by Alice Jeffery

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