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A quick overnight stay in Sydney recently saw us land an amazing spot on the harbour with some of the best views in the world. To be clear, it wasn’t the most salubrious of apartments: the chairs were very tired and the kitchen pretty ordinary (which might have mattered if we were going to use it), but it was clean, the bed comfy and the sheets crisp. For $185 for the night with parking included, I reckon we got our value just from the view alone.

Harbourside Apartments in McMahons Points is a towering slab of cream concrete, a product of 1970’s modernist architecture that really has little aesthetic appeal, but the big draw card is where it sits.

That is, right on the edge of Sydney’s glorious waterfront directly opposite Luna Park, which of course is right next door to the iconic Harbour Bridge with the ever-magical Opera House huddled graciously below. By staying there, you get to take in the harbour views in its various guises as it sparkles through various colour changes throughout the day and night. We managed sunrise, afternoon and of course at night when the harbour is lit up in all its glory and long trains drift across the bridge like a toy railway set. It’s a mesmerising view. I’m just sad I didn’t have my tripod with me so I could have got a lovely long exposure shot to make the lights really sing.

I think possibly we might have got a bit lucky because I elected for the cheapest room (tight-arse) so wasn’t actually expecting it to be on the harbour side. Perhaps they had space midweek. These photos are taken from the window. I’ve even got one taken from my bed.  The windows (which to be honest needed a visit from an abseiling window cleaner) only open about six inches, a safety issue no doubt, but that’s enough to get a camera lens up there without the glass and to get your phone out the window for an unfettered shot. I made sure I held on tightly as we were 12 storeys up and it wasn’t likely to survive the drop.

Just 100 metres down the road is the McMahons Point Ferry so you can zip straight across the harbour to Circular Quay on the ferry and maybe take in a show at the Opera House, or stay on the northern side of the bridge and take a sunset picnic in a nearby park instead. You can choose from Watt Park, Blues Point Reserve or Sawmillers Reserve – lots of little green spots abound.

Eating choices abound too. If you want to go a bit upmarket, longtime local Sails restaurant is right next door to the ferry so you can enjoy more sparkling views over a lovely dinner should you choose. We thought about it (I’ve eaten there before and it was very enjoyable) but instead our group opted for a more casual Lebanese meal a little further afield. Maybe next time and I can give an up to date review. Lots of other restaurant choices in McMahons Point as well including well known Moorish Blue, Italian or even gourmet pizza.

In the morning the main proper of McMahons Point beckoned for a relaxed outdoor breakfast (reading the paper from the apartment stay) with a good variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from and an array of interesting little shops and boutiques.

Of course I managed to find a lovely clothing store that was closing down – which meant everything was half price! It’s a charming area on the harbour with some beautiful and historic homes. Super close to the city but somehow feels a world away.

If you’re going to be in Sydney for a few days and are planning to spend a bit of time in your room, maybe this isn’t the place. There’s a lovely pool overlooking the harbour with a barbie and an alfresco dining area, but the rooms themselves are pretty small (well, we did opt for the smallest studio room) and there’s no indoor common space to sit around in. Most of the rooms are held by individual owners but the refurbishments made in those rented as as short term stays seem to be be consistent in the decor.

If you’re in the area, do not miss the chance to visit Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay. Here’s a write up from when we visited previously.

We often pop into Sydney for a night and I’ve forever seeking out places to stay in lovely areas that don’t cost a fortune – because Sydney! Another place we’ve stayed at in Sydney a few times is Cremorne Point Manor – an old guest house in Cremorne which has been reburbished and done up into a number of rooms. Not terribly large rooms and not terribly fancy, but clean and comfy and comes with breakfast and sometimes you can get a really good price – and it’s in a beautiful spot in Sydney.

Travellers’ Tip: Once we decided where to stay, I looked online on various sites for the best price then rang the hotel directly. They offered a higher price initially but did match the online price I’d seen.
And no, this is not a sponsored post. Just trying to be helpful to those trying to avoid paying a fortune staying in Sydney. It won’t work for New Years’ Eve though. The cost of the room jumps up to $850 a night then with a 5 night minimum stay. I’d recommend staying at another time and making your own fireworks.