All visitors to Sydney want to stay near what is quite possibly the most beautiful harbour in the world. If you look at the grand hotels in the area it's going to cost big dollars, but Kelly Landry did some poking around and has come up with a much cheaper alternative in the city's historic Rocks area.
Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre provide budget accommodation, heritage interpretation and a hands-on archaeological education experience. It's the first budget accommodation inside the city's Golden Triangle and has the same million-dollar views for next to nothing.
Located at Cumberland and Gloucester streets, structural remains from 1795 and more than 750,000 artefacts from first settlers were found since excavation began in 1994. To preserve and showcase the treasures, the YHA is raised off the ground on pillars. An on-site archaeology education centre is available to education groups.
There are six mixed dorms, four each of female and male dorms, twin or double rooms with bathrooms and four family share rooms with bathrooms. Many have harbour or city views, but both of those are right on the doorstep for a closer look.
The $25 million three-level building has an enormous communal lounge area, complete with cafe and computers. A large kitchen has all mod cons and there's a movie theatre. It's all bright and cheerful and immaculately clean, air-conditioned, there's a barbecue, food store, television and tour desk.
It's a wonderful thing that such affordable accommodation is available in such a prime location. There are grand views of Sydney and its harbour from the roof and so many things are in walking distance.
In one direction you will be in the bustling CBD with its skyscrapers, shops and in the other direction is a complete change of pace in The Rocks. Whichever way you go there are cafes, restaurants, pubs, transport to take you to every part of the city, and Circular Quay, where ferries scurry across the harbour to the northern part of the city.
If you join YHA you can explore Australia and the rest of the world on a budget. There are more than 4000 hostels to choose from and it's worth checking out their website at www.yha.com.au.