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Searching for a hotel to stay in Sydney before a cruise from the Overseas Passenger Terminal? I researched for a hotel before our New Zealand cruise thoroughly and ended up staying at The Holiday Inn Old Sydney (now Rydges Sydney Harbour) in The Rocks but there are a few options.
Where is the Cruise Ship Terminal in Sydney?
Sydney has two dedicated cruise passenger terminals: the White Bay Cruise Terminal at Rozelle and the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.
White Bay is mainly used by smaller ships and many of Sydney’s home ported ships are based here whereas the Overseas Passenger Terminal can accommodate some of the largest cruise ships in the world.
How to get to the Cruise Terminals in Sydney
White Bay Cruise Terminal
Most cruise lines offer transfers from Sydney Airport to White Bay Cruise Terminal. On ship port days, Captain Cook Cruises run a direct ferry service between White Bay and Barangaroo. As this terminal is further into the harbour, you get to sail right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Overseas Passenger Terminal
To get to the Overseas Passenger Terminal from Sydney airport, you can take the train to Circular Quay (17 minutes) or take a taxi which takes about 30 minutes depending on traffic. It’s a short and easy walk from Circular Quay train station to the terminal.
Taxis and cars can drop off or pick up passengers right in front of the terminal but parking is not permitted.
Where to Stay in Sydney Before a Cruise – Overseas Passenger Terminal
|Park Hyatt||5||$$$||Y||400m||N||Book Here|
|Four Seasons||5||$$$||Y||600m||N||Book Here|
|The Russell||3.5||$$||N||500m||N||Book Here|
|Rydges Sydney Harbour||4||$$||Y||200m||Y||Book Here|
|Sydney Harbour YHA||5||$||N||700m||Y||Book Here|
Holiday Inn Old Sydney – Now Rydges Sydney Harbour
Rydges Sydney Harbour is located in George Street, The Rocks, a stones throw from the Overseas Passenger Terminal. It is literally across the road, down a pathway and then you are there. It took us less than 5 minutes with all our luggage and children. It’s also a great place to explore and has plenty of restaurants to choose from. This guide on Things To Do in The Rocks has plenty of information.
Sydney is an expensive place and that includes accommodation. Rydges Sydney Harbour is mid-range and provides good value for where it is located.
The rooms are bright and airy with a comfortable bed and your choice of pillows. The hotel is in an historic building dating back to 1926 and has a bit of a dated feel to it.
The roof top has wonderful views of the Harbour Bridge but we couldn’t see the Opera House as a cruise ship was in port. The pool is small and unheated but there’s a hot tub for the cooler weather. There aren’t many sun loungers around the pool but plenty of tables and chairs to sit on.
The Playfair Terrace Restaurant overlooks the atrium lobby and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had dinner there, which was tasty and good value as we had the deal of the day. The buffet breakfast was great and included espresso coffee, fresh juice, eggs cooked to order, and a great selection of hot and cold foods.
All the staff were friendly and helpful, especially those on the front desk and in the restaurant.
Still closed for renovations in November 2023
The Russell Hotel is also in George Street and less than a five minute walk to the Overseas Passenger Terminal. They offer luggage storage and may be able to let you check-in early if they have availability. This historic hotel dates back to 1887 with the oldest pub in Sydney, Fortune of War, offering a 10% discount to guests.
The cost is quite cheap if you choose a room with a shared bathroom but they also have rooms with ensuite facilities. Each room is different in this boutique hotel but note that not all of the rooms do not have air conditioning so it could get hot in the summer. Room amenities include free wi-fi, room service, tea/coffee making facilities, bathrobes and hairdryers.
The rooftop garden terrace is a wonderful place to take in the surrounding views or you can relax in the Sitting Room which features a library and games.
A daily continental breakfast is included in the price of your room.
The Overseas Passenger Terminal is 400m from the Park Hyatt Sydney which is about a 5-minute walk. This luxury 5-star hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, and room service.
Park Hyatt Sydney’s guest rooms are residential in style, offering contemporary luxury with natural interiors, luxurious furnishings & fittings, plush carpets, designer lighting and the latest technology throughout.
If your budget allows it, The Park Hyatt is my top choice for a hotel close to the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
Sydney Harbour YHA is an award-winning hostel situated 700m from the Overseas Passenger Terminal, less than a ten minute walk. However, if you have a lot of luggage, it could take a lot longer.
This budget accommodation has air-conditioned family, private and shared rooms, some with private bathrooms, and the use of a communal full kitchen.
The rooftop has views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and harbour. The lounge is available for all guests and free wi-fi is throughout the property.
This is a sustainable property with solar-powered hot water, rainwater tanks and a commitment to protecting the environment.
The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is in George Street, about 600m from the Overseas Passenger Terminal. The property features a swimming pool, spa, wellness centre, sauna, and fitness centre.
Their luxurious rooms have panoramic views over the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay and have been designed and furnished with the highest quality amenities. Each room features rich silk fabrics, mahogany wood details, and spacious marble bathrooms with an LCD TV, slippers, complimentary wi-fi and free Christian Lacroix toiletries.
Where to Stay in Sydney Before a Cruise – White Bay Cruise Terminal
White Bay Cruise Terminal is in Balmain, which is about 6 km or a 10-15 minute taxi ride (depending on traffic) to Sydney city centre.
As Balmain is a residential area, there aren’t any hotels close by. Therefore, it may be better to base yourself in Darling Harbour, The Rocks, or Circular Quay so you are close to the tourist attractions.
King St Wharf
|Adina Apt Hotel||4.5||$$-$$$||Y||100m||Y||Book Here|
|ibis Sydney||3||$$||N||200m||N||Book Here|
|West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton||4.5||$$-$$$||N||200m||N||Book Here|
|Hyatt Regency Sydney||5||$$$||N||300m||N||Book Here|
|Meriton Suites Sussex||5||$$||Y||500m||Y||Book Here|
All of the hotels recommended for the Overseas Passenger Terminal are in The Rocks, which is close to the major attractions and Circular Quay.
The Captain Cook White Bay ferry departs from King Street Wharf, Barangaroo, which is close to Darling Harbour. There are plenty of restaurants around this area and ferries run between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay or you can take the train or light railway. The area is close to Chinatown and the CBD.
Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney, Darling Harbour is right in King Street Wharf entertainment precinct and features a swimming pool, fitness centre and a sauna. All the air-conditioned apartments have elegant Italian furniture and a kitchenette or kitchen and some rooms have harbour views.
ibis Sydney Barangaroo is also in the King Street Wharf precinct and all the air-conditioned rooms have a refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities, a safety deposit box, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and toiletries.
West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton is located within a 5-minute walk from Barangaroo and features an open air garden and bar. The contemporary designed hotel also has an on-site gym. Guest rooms include complimentary WiFi, a 49-inch TV, Bluetooth speaker system and suites offer a separate lounge area and a luxurious bathroom with a large bathtub and slippers.
Hyatt Regency Sydney is a newly renovated hotel close to Darling Harbour in Sydney’s CBD. The guestrooms feature modern décor and deluxe amenities, including bathrooms with walk-in showers and comfortable workstations. You can relax in one of the hotel’s bars and restaurants including Zephyr sky bar, which has breathtaking views of Darling Harbour.
Meriton Suites Sussex provides 5-star luxury accommodation that has a range of facilities including a 24-hour fitness centre, indoor heated pool, hot tub and sauna, and free WiFi. The spacious suites feature a gourmet kitchen or kitchenette with a Nespresso coffee machine, designer bathrooms, a dining area and a living area with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. They are located in Sydney’s CBD and a short walk away from Barangaroo.
What to do in Sydney
Sydney has so much to offer and it can feel overwhelming to know what to do. This guide on the most interesting things to do in Sydney will help you make the most of your time in this wonderful city.
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