AirBnB is the best way to experience Sydney's neighborhoods. For our short stay in the Manly area, northeast of the harbor, we enjoyed this modern beach cottage owned by an architect named David and his wife Louisa. David and Louisa were welcoming hosts; they left out a smorgasbord of breakfast ingredients plus coffee every morning and always had a ton of great suggestions for local activities, restaurants, and bars. The house is near a main bus line, just a short walk to Manly Beach and Manly Wharf, but leave enough time to barbecue or drink a bottle of wine on the deck. And if the rain comes, crank the window open in the upstairs bedroom so you can fall asleep to its sound. Birds will wake you up in the morning.