With more than 150,000 immigrants settling in Australia every year, Sydney is has a spate of vertical growth with a large number of apartments springing close to the CBD. Rental prices have gone up substantially. An average two-bedroom apartment close to the city will cost more than $450. Students and travellers staying for extended period tend to find cheaper options towards inner west ( Dulwich Hill, Stanmore, Marrickville) and towards the south coast ( Miranda, Cronulla, Sutherland etc).
If you are planning to move to Sydney for a long-term period it is worth a while to understand the culture of various suburbs and make a choice based on your budget and lifestyle. Also, not all universities are close to the city, therefore, make sure if you are planning to stay close to your university you look for accommodation in nearby suburbs.
Most quality hotels in Sydney are located in CBD and are very close to most points of attraction. If you want to stay close to Opera House and Circular Quay you can book Inter-Continental, Marriott, Four Seasons, Shangrila and Westin. Hotels close to Darling Harbour include Ibis, Novotel, Madian, Holiday Inn & Star Hotel.
Not all areas are connected by train. Living close to CBD most locations is accessible by trains. An extensive bus network connected Sydney with all parts of the city. Look for bus timetables on Sydney Buses Website. The train network timetables can be found at CityRail.
Suburbs within 2km of CBD
Pyrmont, Kirribilli (across harbour bridge), Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Woolloomooloo, Glebe, Redfern, Chippendale
An interesting way to explore Eastern Suburbs is to hop on Bondi Explorer. The map below gives the route map of the bus. You can catch this bus from Circular Quay Train Station or Town Hall. The bus takes yours through New South Head Road along the beautiful suburbs of Double Bay, Rose Bay and Rushcutters Bay. You can hop off at Vaucluse to explore the heritage Strickland House. At Watson Bay, you can eat at Doyle's on the beach or enjoy nice fish and chips at the pub next doors. Bondi has plenty of eat-outs and bars in all price range.
Take a walk along the beach from Bondi to Coogee and get on the bus to bet back into the city via Centennial Park.
Suburbs within 2-5 km of CBD
Camperdown, Newtown, North Sydney, Annandale, Lilyfield, Balmain, Neutral Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Darling Point, Paddington, Moore Park, Kensington, Kingsford, Bondi Junction, Woollahra, Edgecliff, Double Bay, Rose Bay
Other major suburbs
Parramatta, Bankstown, Liverpool, Blacktown