Sydney

Living in Sydney

Sydney Coogee BeachSydney is the capital of New South Wales and is Australia’s largest city. It has a population of around 4.76 million and is located on the coast of Australia’s south east. It is Australia’s most internationally recognised city, so much so that many people believe it is Australia’s capital. It isn’t. But it is Australia’s financial centre.
Sydney Map Location

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Liveability Survey, Sydney is the seventh most liveable city in the world. It is easy to see why.

Sitting on the Parramatta River, the city boasts a stunning harbour complete with Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, two of the main tourist attractions in the area. The harbour itself offers ferries that run like buses. It’s a great way to explore the place.

About 5 km from the city centre, on the east side, is Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most famous beaches. A little further away, Sydney also has Coogee Beach, another favourite with the locals. Both are beautiful, I can’t tell much difference between the two.

Another favourite beach, this one on the north side of Sydney which can be easily accessed with a short ferry ride, is Manly. So, three great beaches and we haven’t left the city. For those who want to jump in the car for an hour, there are even more options. Palm Beach where golden sand meets lush evergreen bushland and The Entrance where the magnificent Tuggerah Lake meets the Pacific Ocean. Both are to the north of Sydney.

Sydney also offers galleries and arts, cafes and restaurants, festivals and theatre as well as some great national parks and, to the west, The Blue Mountains with its Eucalyptus trees and breathtaking gorges.

What’s the weather like?

Sydney Annual Weather ChartSydney has, on average, between six and seven hours of sunshine each day. Summers can get very hot and dry and winters are mild.

Occasionally, the temperature can swing wildly. One day it could be over 30°C but the next as low as 16°C.

Possible severe weather around the Sydney area could include thunderstorms, large hailstones, gale force winds and apparently, rarely, the odd tornado. Bushfires have been known in the area.

Sydney, for me anyway, is a “love it or loathe it” kind of place. I have to be honest, it isn’t where I would want to live. Just a bit too busy and crowded, two of the reasons I left England. Sydney is also the most expensive place in Australia for housing.

But that’s just me. Many people absolutely love Sydney; they love the crowds, the action and the bustle of the business centre. There is always something happening in Sydney.

The Districts of Sydney:

Sydney Map and Districts
Sydney can be broken down into five main areas:

  • Inner Sydney – including City and Inner West
  • North Sydney – including Northern Suburbs, North Shore, Northern Beaches, Hills District and Forest District
  • South Sydney – including St George, Sutherlandshire District and Macarthur
  • East Sydney – including Eastern Suburbs and South-Eastern Sydney
  • West Sydney – including Cantebury-Bankstown, Greater Western Sydney and South Western Sydney

Questions about Sydney?

If you have any question about living in Sydney, please please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or if you know this city well, why not tell us what you think of it or maybe even help out by answering some of the questions people have about the area. I’m sure anybody thinking of moving here would be very grateful for any help you can give them.

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{ 512 comments… add one }
  • Emily K June 23, 2017, 9:21 am | Link

    Hi BobinOz,
    I just found your site and am thankful to have found recent posts to this nature. Hoping some of your Sydney followers can help!

    My husband and I are moving with our 2 children (ages 7yrs and 3yrs) to Sydney in January. We are moving from Santa Barbara, California and plan to stay in Sydney for 2-3 years. His company is relocating him to work in their new office in the CBD.

    I have spent time researching the many of Suburbs and think that we will want to be on the North Shore or possibly the East Shore (Bronte area), but narrowing it down to 3-4 Suburbs has been tough for our upcoming trip when we will decide where to live. Here is our punch list:

    1. 30 minute or less commute to CBD; with easy access to public transport preferably by train or ferry.
    2. Great Government/Private Catholic Schools (and preschools) at an easily walkable distance.
    3. Close walking proximity to grocery store, shops, restaurants, parks….
    4. Proximity to the beach, preferably a good surf beach. My husband is a big surfer.
    5. 2-3 Bedroom; 2 bath home/townhouse/apartment with small yard/ outdoor area for approximately $900/wk.
    6. Safe, family-friendly.

    Basically I will have no extended family, friends, job or car and want to be somewhere that I can meet other moms and make friends. Somewhere with sense of “community” would be ideal!

    • BobinOz June 23, 2017, 8:34 pm | Link

      North Shore is very expensive, whether or not you can still get a two bedroom apartment for the kind of money you want to pay, I don’t know, but you can check rental prices through the links on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      For your other questions, I’m going to have to leave this to the locals, but it would be a very good idea if you were to skim through all of the comments already made here as there is much chatter about the suburbs. Just below your comment here, Paul has made a comment that may be of interest to you and there are many other comments below that will be worth the read.

      I’m in Brisbane, I’m afraid I don’t know the area well enough to advise. Good luck with your move though, Bob

      • DanSydney June 27, 2017, 11:21 pm | Link

        Manly should be less than a 30 minute ferry ride, has a number of surfing beaches within minutes, lots of shops and good schools.

        Bondi is the other one that comes to mind since it’s on a rail line, but to be honest I don’t know much about the area other than that tourists go there.

  • Sherry June 21, 2017, 2:51 pm | Link

    Thanks Bob for the great work on your site.
    I am currently in Adelaide and planning to move to Sydney. I need some advise on the best suburb to go for (towards north/northwest side). Here is my criterion list:
    – Best public primary school
    – Spacious independent house (3 to 4 bedroom) with pool and backyard with the rental budget of upto $800 per week
    – Within 30 to 40 minutes of commute time from CBD
    – Within 45 minutes commute time from beaches ( Bondi, Manly etc. )
    – Near to shopping malls
    I have shortlisted below suburbs:
    – Hornsby
    – Castle Hill
    – Epping
    – Carlingford
    – Baulkham Hills
    – West Pennant Hills
    – Parramatta
    – Lane Cove
    Can somebody suggest which one I should go for?

    • BobinOz June 21, 2017, 8:01 pm | Link

      Thanks for the kind words about my website, I always enjoy a bit of praise 🙂

      You probably are not too surprised to hear I can’t help you with this, being a Brisbane boy, but hopefully a local will see your question and help you out. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to skim through the comments already made, there is much talk about the suburbs and what are like to live in. Good luck with your move, Bob

    • Paul June 22, 2017, 6:16 pm | Link

      Hi Sherry,
      The good news is that Sydney has an abundance of good schools both public and private in the suburbs that you’ve mentioned so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Thanks for the good information about what you are looking for as it really helps give you a better answer. Have a look at the relative rental prices for each of those suburbs on Realestate.com.au to compare. Most of those suburbs will take you longer than 40 minutes to commute to the city at morning peak, and much longer getting home in evening peak, particularly if you are in a car. Lane Cove is the closest, but has no train access, however probably will get you into the city in under 30 minutes by bus or car. Lane Cove is also closest to the harbour and beaches such as Manly and Bondi. Hornsby has reasonable access to the Northern beaches at about 30 minutes from Freshwater / Dee Why, and is right on two different train lines. Epping is the next closest but will probably take you at least 30 mins to commute into the city by train, and 40 mins in a car. Carlingford, Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill and West Pennant Hills are all further away again, so longer commute times, and no train access. Based on your criteria I would also have a look at the Eastern Suburbs, as you can get into the city by train, light rail, bus or bicycle within 30 minutes. $800/wk might be a bit light-on for a free standing house with a pool though…I think that’s also true for all the other suburbs that you mentioned. Maybe foresake the pool for reasonable rent?

  • Sam June 20, 2017, 10:24 pm | Link

    Hi there!,
    Thanks for setting up this website BobinOz! it is really really helpful in trying to put together a plan. My company are discussing moving me to Sydney on a 457 (which I am very excited about!). Our office is in Macquarie Park so this is where I start to try to pin down some potential locations for myself and young family to live. I have seen from some of the other comments that roads can pretty bad, but wonder if Macquarie Park is far enough away not to be too bad to get to? We would like a suburb within about 30-40 mins drive of my office, close to a good primary school and with a village sort of feel but not a million miles from shopping. Not too far from the beaches would be ideal, however, I have also seen comments on rent being expensive and particularly so the closer you get to the beach so maybe this will not be an option for us. Do you have any suggestions of areas to start my search? I noted some previous comments on Hornsby Asquith and Mt Colah which I will have a look at, are there any a little closer to the coast that you might recommend I have a look at? Many thanks 🙂

    • BobinOz June 21, 2017, 6:55 pm | Link

      Hi Sam, congrats on getting the move with your company, very exciting 🙂

      I’m afraid I will have to leave the locals to help you out here, I’m up in Brisbane, my knowledge of Sydney is, at best, limited. Hopefully somebody will be able to help you out with the areas you have suggested, to get an idea of rents though you can find out how to research them on my page called Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      Good luck with your plans, Bob

    • Paul June 22, 2017, 5:50 pm | Link

      Hi Sam
      I’m over qualified to answer this question as I worked in Mac Park for 10 years until very recently. It depends a bit on which direction you are coming from at morning peak, and leaving from at afternoon peak, but both of those times are very congested around Mac Park. As I’ve said before in these posts, Mac Park is very well serviced by 3 railway stations, and that is by far the best option for travelling there, provided you don’t need a vehicle during the day. If you can catch the train I’d say anywhere on the Northern Line is a good place to look for accomodation. Even suburbs on the south side of Epping on the Strathfield – Hornsby line are worth a look, but you have to change trains at Epping. If you are stuck with driving a car, then it becomes more problematic. To be nearer the beach, you need to go further towards the Harbour or Northern Beaches. Suburbs near the harbour are very expensive to rent, eg: $800/wk for a 2 bedroom flat/apt in places like St Leonards, Crows Nest or Naremburn, or even more for places like Mosman or Neutral Bay. The Northern Beaches are a lot harder for getting to Mac Park. People who worked for me at Mac Park who lived on the Northern Beaches (suburbs north of Manly) were leaving home at 5:45am to avoid the traffic, and some resorted to riding motorbikes to cut down the commute time of over an hour in a car. It really is a horrible commute coming from there. I used to live in Pennant Hills which has a train station and was relatively easy to get to Mac Park (I would often ride my bike through the bush trails to get there – 20 minute commute – same in car) but the evening commute was often double that of the morning and very congested. No easy answer I’m afraid, but I’d probably stay on the Upper North Shore area as you’ve suggested, unless you have a lot of money. In essence the big trade off in Sydney is either, live near your work in a fairly ordinary suburb and have an OK commute, or live near the beach/harbour and have a horrible commute. The best piece of advice I received when moving from Melbourne to Sydney 15 years ago was “live near where you work”, even more so now.

      • Sam June 22, 2017, 7:57 pm | Link

        Thanks so much for your advice Paul, really appreciate you writing. Wow! $800p/wk for 2 bed apartment eeek! I need a 4 bed House. I had a look for rental houses in Cherrybrook and Castle Hill saw an average of around $800/$900 p/wk – what is your opinion of those areas, probably too far away going from your info ….I read that the biggest downside of Castle Hill is no train line yet which from your post is a huge downside in getting to Mac Park, I’m not keen on a 1 hour + commute. I will have a look at some closer areas, will definitely check out Pennant Hills and see what rental prices they have. I am a keen cyclist so maybe that is the answer, or, cycle to the train station. Lots more to think about, thanks again!

        • Paul June 22, 2017, 10:55 pm | Link

          Hi Sam
          Castle Hill and Cherrybrook are both good areas with good amenity (shops, cafe’s etc) but both are a not well serviced by public transport (bus only). This will change in the next few years when the new train line opens up, but I’m not sure if that is within your time horizon. Cherrybrook particularly is not that far from Mac Park, however you have to cross the dreaded Pennant Hills Rd, which holds Cherrybrook drivers on the western side hostage for up to 20 minutes to get across from one side to the other. It would probably be quicker on a bike, however the hills will be murderous on the way home which will be mainly up-hill. If you are well fit…no problem! Or get an electric assisted bike 🙂
          Pennant Hills is really well situated, has the train and is pretty convenient to Mac Park, especially if you can live on the East side of Pennant Hills Rd. Streets such as George St, Cecil Ave, Azalia, Blackbutt, etc are really undervalued IMHO. The road that goes through Pennant Hills park turns into a National Park fire trail and is normally passable by mountain bike (not when there is a storm due to flash flooding) and is really great exercise plus you might see some local wildlife.
          Hope that helps.
          Paul.

          • Sam June 23, 2017, 7:27 pm | Link

            Thanks again Paul, all this information, and reading your comments on other peoples similar questions is fantastic, so so helpful. Yes, and as much as I like cycling, ‘murderous hills’ would be too much. Decisions – Train it is then, and have an area to look closely at. Wish me luck, I have a meeting at work on Monday to discuss package and timing!! eeek!! exciting! 🙂

  • joy June 15, 2017, 10:10 pm | Link

    i love this!! wish to be part of this

  • Linda June 7, 2017, 9:17 pm | Link

    I was wondering if I could work in Australia. I’ve planed to get my work and holiday visa, i’m working in one of the resort in bali. which city do you suggest me for tourism industry? Thank you…

    • BobinOz June 8, 2017, 5:48 pm | Link

      Yes, if you have a visa like the work on holiday visa, this does allow you to work under certain restrictions, but doesn’t guarantee you will get a job. Have a look at my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship to research job opportunities.

      We have many tourist areas, I couldn’t list them all, so I would search for hospitality work and go where the most opportunities are found. Good luck, Bob

  • Angela May 2, 2017, 7:49 pm | Link

    Hi,

    We are currently living in Perth, WA. We emigrated 3 years ago, from Berkshire in the UK. We really appreciate Perth as a great place for a family. The beaches are stunning and the weather is glorious as it’s sunny most of the time. Summer can be too hot though. However, we are considering moving to the east coast for better work opportunities for my husband. He is a Construction Project Manager and the bigger cities of Sydney and Melbourne offer him the large, prestigious jobs he is used to in the U.K.

    The dilemma is which city? Which area? In Sydney, The Shire has been suggested as a more affordable family friendly area that is commutable and beautiful. I need an area that is green, breathable and beautiful. Any thoughts on this area? Good public high schools? I know we would have to up our budget for a house. I was estimating around $1 million (which seems loads but peanuts around Sydney 😲).

    Alternatively, the only place I really know outside of Melbourne that may suit my requirements is Fern Tree Gully. We visited the area and walked up the commemorative steps to the top of a step hill. Not sure what this type of area is like to live/commute to and from. Any thoughts or other suggestions? Lush & green areas but that are commutable with good shopping centres, etc within driving distance.

    Suggestions and insights greatly appreciated. Thank you,

    • BobinOz May 3, 2017, 8:53 pm | Link

      Paul made a comment just below here, April 29, 2017, 6:59 pm, comparing Sydney and Melbourne which you might find interesting to read. I think you have been unlucky in your timing of arriving in Perth, boom has quickly turned to bust in the last few years.

      For sure, you will find more opportunities in both Sydney and Melbourne, but which city? And where? You will find enormous amounts of help in the comments on this page for Sydney and also on my page about Melbourne and no doubt somebody local will help you out with your questions here at some point.

      Hopefully you will find the right answer for you and your family.

    • Mark May 3, 2017, 9:27 pm | Link

      I cnat speak for Sydney but for Melbourne yes 19 new suburs dus ti statr being built constriction at pace everywhere…Ferntree Gully mmmm Not so sure on living there, areas around Berwick Endevour Hills yes. Have a look towards the Mornington peninsula that ticks all your boxes and you’ll get a house and is within commute of …well at the longest the CBD..i have met, spoken with 4 families your now the fifth in as many months moving from Perth to better climes I think everyone went for Melbourne…We are UK some 18 months ago and went straight for Melbourne.

      • Mark May 3, 2017, 10:01 pm | Link

        Apologies on spelling was typing in my phone and did not see the correction needed in upper lines.. I am all fingers on a small phone keypad.. Should learn . The first line should have read. I cant speak for Sydney but for Melbourne yes, 17 new suburbs due to start being built, construction at a pace everywhere.
        While I am back though I think Paul’s comment below is excellent on Melbourne so I guess he has Sydney sewn up too. The cold weather here is a pittance to UK though.. Have a look if Melbourne is of interest at a post by Kirsty on the main Melbourne page…

        • Angela May 12, 2017, 12:35 am | Link

          Thank you for the replies and for explaining the strange spelling. I’m doing this on my phone without glasses on, so the results may be dodgy on closer inspection later.

          I’ll have a look at the suggestion for Melbourne, thank you. I must admit that the pull of Sydney beaches and blue skies is strong but the property prices are fierce. I keep getting this image of Melbourne being grey and cold in my head. Maybe I have it wrong. I need beauty in the landscape, green rolling hills, dramatic coastline. Would I get that in Melbourne outer areas or do you have to travel to the Great Ocean Road?

          How easy is it to grow veggies in the garden in Melbourne or Sydney? Here in Perth I kill everything because it’s sandy and dry!

          Look forward to reading any input.

          • Mark May 12, 2017, 11:25 am | Link

            OK. Good news I have a bigger phone 🙂 Typing errors will get better.. Dont tell my PA though…. Your cold and grey of Melbourne sounds more like a description of Skegness or if I may be allowed Bob, Sarf End (Southend on sea). Seriously it is on average over the year I guess without looking figures up, colder here than Sydney I guess. Its 10.53 as I type this. I have just driven into the city with the roof down, needed cap on as sun hot on head and sunglasses …Its a glorious day..I am at the Rod Laver arena as I type (Meeting at 11.30) and its lovely, blue skies above, buildings in the CBD I cant look at for sun blasting off them…
            Now its not every day but last year I didnt wear a sweater once, thick shirts and maybe a waterproof odd occasion…

            As for landscape green rolling hills and dramatic coastline again anywhere South Eastern Suburbs ..Mornington Peninsula offers a fair bit of that certainly coastline…beauty in the landscape. Yes it has that. I know Berkshire quite well and Id say anywhere out to Cockatoo or the Dandenong ranges which can be seen from the peninsula area offer anything the Surrey Hills or South Downs has to offer. Perhaps not as hilly as the downs in places. Have a look at Arthur’s seat, that’s one dramatic hill. Even the celebs love it down there Google Madonna on Mornington peninsula, she stayed there her whole trip to Melbourne. Anyway I am not here to sell it, just to give my view of it…

            Veggies mmmm I am a shop bought, but if it helps. The house we bought had a chicken run, never grown veg in it I believe.. Chooks now gone, Pool area for our children..The guys clearing it found tomatoes growing and even a marrow. We can only guess self germinated from things fed to chickens ..Again the Peninsula which is a darn big area, I reckon accounts for a large lump of Australia’s wine production and olives. There is PYO everything here cherries strawberries, olives, apples, the list goes on.

          • Paul May 22, 2017, 9:04 pm | Link

            Hi Angela,
            Yes please read all the threads here about Sydney vs Melbourne. UK people may find Melbourne more like home due to the colder, greyer winters, however they are still pretty mild compared to the Ol Dart, and Melbourne can still be brutally hot in summer…just like Perth. Sydney has beautiful weather in winter (generally) but can be quite humid in Summer. You eventually acclimatise but can be a bit punishing for people use to a colder climate. Bob can tell you about summer in Brisbane for the English ex-pat! I would say that if you are looking for greenery and bushy beauty, Sydney is the clear winner as the harbour and vast National parks reach deep into the suburbs. Where I live is on the outskirts of the Lane Cove National Park and we have wild native bush, with the birds and animals, on our doorstep, yet still only a 30 minute commute to the city. When I lived in Melbourne I was always disappointed with how little original bush and wildlife was left from the environmental vandalism of the 19th and 20th century, although still small remnants around Studley Park, the Dandenongs, and lower Yarra Valley. $1 million will buy you very little in Melbourne and nothing in Sydney, unless a 1970’s 2 bedroom flat in a dodgy suburb is what you want. Sydney and Melbourne both have loads of jobs in construction due to the apartment building booms in progress, but be careful because they may end up just like Perth soon…ie bust. Brisbane could be worth a look as they are also experiencing a construction boom and real estate is much cheaper, but same risk of a an impending bust exists. If it were me, I’d look at the Sunshine Coast in QLD. There are major infrastructure construction projects underway, and it is one of the most beautiful locations on the planet. Also much more relaxed than any of the major capitals.
            Hope that helps
            Paul

    • Patty May 21, 2017, 2:25 am | Link

      Hi!
      I am an American – looking to visiting Australia in November .
      Next year I am planning on re-recreating a Fashion Event for Curvy women I produce here in New York City. Also live in either Melbourne or Sydney for a few months out of the year
      I am not really the tourist type.
      I would like to have the local experience. Coming from New York City – I like the busy but lovely neighborhoods really appeal to me.
      I have a few questions –
      How difficult would it be to produce event?
      Also which city is better Melbourne or Sydney to produce such an event?
      And which city is best to meet single Aussie men in their 40s.
      LoL – that is my major reason for going!
      Success friendly types .
      I am not really into the club sence – more like qualt pubs and cafes.
      Please feel free to ask me more questions if you need more details .
      Thank You!
      Great site!

      • BobinOz May 22, 2017, 5:51 pm | Link

        Well, I’ve never put on a fashion event for curvy women or tried to meet Aussie single men in their 40s :-), so I’m afraid I will have to pass on those questions.

        Of the two cities though, I would have thought Melbourne would be the best choice. I don’t think there is any doubt that it has the better and more diverse nightlife. I’m sticking my neck out a bit here, making a statement like that on my page about Sydney, so I do expect some Sydneysiders to disagree and of course, we would love to hear from them.

        That’s my view though, I believe Melbourne is probably the cultural and artistic capital of Australia. Of course, I’m sure you will know this, but you will need some kind of visa that allows you to visit and work here in order for you to put on this show, but you would need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent about that. For more information, see my page about Visas.

        Good luck with your plans, Bob

        • Patty May 22, 2017, 11:40 pm | Link

          Hi,
          Thank you for you reply.
          You are been helpful.

          Maybe a single gal follower will be able to answer my question about dating

          This is wonderfully informative site !! I am sure I might have more questions as time goes by.
          Thanks Again,
          Patty

      • Paul May 22, 2017, 8:41 pm | Link

        LOL! Hi Patty, Great post. Not sure I can help with this one, although both Sydney and Melbourne enjoy a high divorce rate, so should provide a bumper crop of single men in their 40’s. There are also plenty of curvy women in Australia so fertile ground for your fashion shows. Maybe you can talk to AusTrade about some kind of cultural exchange that will get you out of the normal working visa situation.
        Pretty sure that my advice is useless here…but good luck with it 🙂

        Paul

        • Patty May 22, 2017, 11:32 pm | Link

          Aus Trade Cultural Exchange.
          Thank you Paul!
          That was very helpful indeed.
          Since I do not quailfy for the normal work visa – I am over 30.

  • Amy April 18, 2017, 1:51 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Firstly thank you for a fantastic site, it is helping me no end in my move planning!

    My husband and I are moving to Sydney in June. We both have been offered roles with our current companies and so are both arriving with jobs on 457 visas.

    I know you will not be able to answer this being based in Brisbane but I hope some of your faithful followers from Sydney will be able to!

    We think we have narrowed down the neigbourhoods we are interested in living to Kirribilli, Neutral Bay and Cremorne. I know no one can advise on where ‘best’ to live but I am just trying to get a sense for the differences between these three areas? We are late 30’s / early 40’s and no kids. We enjoy being active, outdoor life and eating and drinking! If that helps in anyway to understand more about where might be good for us!!

    Second question….we are working in the CBD and so plan to cycle into work. I know you can cycle across the harbour bridge but understand there is no ramp onto it yet (although it seems it was announced in December there is now a plan for this!) During rush hour is it a nightmare to carry your bike up the steps do you think?!!

    Thanks so much in advance,

    Amy

    • BobinOz April 18, 2017, 9:44 pm | Link

      Yes, as you say, not a question I can answer, so hopefully a local will help you out. I have stayed in Cremorne though, really liked it, you can read about it here…

      http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/10804/the-other-side-of-sydney-north-shore/

      Hopefully a local will be a long sometime soon.

    • Paul April 28, 2017, 7:19 am | Link

      Hi Amy,
      I think there is one very large difference between the suburbs you’ve mentioned, although being a bike rider might be the answer. Cremorne is beautiful, as pointed out by Bob, however you are stuck on a peninsula of land that has only one exit…Military Road. One of the most frustratingly choked and slow pieces of road in Australia. It gets even worse on the weekends. If you can ride a bike up the steep hills of the lower north shore, then a) you must be pretty fit and; b) you will beat every car into the CBD by a significant margin. You mention that you like the äctive lifestyle, so I’d say carrying your bike up the steps to the bridge cycle path is just part of that lifestyle, and I have not had any problems with congestion on the steps. I am also a keen cyclist and it is definitely the best way to get around at peak hour (provided it’s not raining). If I were to pick, I’d be looking at Kirribilli and Neutral Bay, because its easier to get out of them on the weekend, and there is plenty of restaurants and cafe’s to keep you going. Tip, also have a look at McMahon’s Point, Blues Point and Lavender Bay.
      Hope that helps.
      Cheers
      Paul

      • DanSydney May 14, 2017, 1:03 am | Link

        Kirribilli has more of a city feel. There are lots of lovely old terraces, some of which look like something out of a Bronte novel, and it has a little village of shops, including cafes and restaurants.

        Neutral Bay and Cremorne have a busy main road that doesn’t really have the same village feeling. However, there are beautiful parts near the harbour that would give you a bit of a quiter lifestyle.

        • Tony May 23, 2017, 12:53 pm | Link

          Amy – try Mosman. I have friends who moved to Mosman and love it for a car-free, active lifestyle and easy access to the city. Bike over bridge to city no probs. You’ll make it work like hundreds of us do each day.

  • Clinton Eckersall April 17, 2017, 12:40 pm | Link

    Hi All, I am moving to Sydney with my wife and two young children in May. We have driven through the south, west, north and eastern suburbs and really enjoy the look and feel of the north (just above the “spit”) for accommodation and schooling. The only challenge is that I will be working in mascot and am concerned about the commute into work. I have lived in Johannesburg and Manila before so traffic doesn’t scare me too much and I generally leave home before 06:30 and the office at 18:00. I have looked at a couple of apps and it shows me a driving time of approx 45 minutes, is this accurate (excluding accidents and the like) and is there anyone on this forum that does the same commute that can offer me their thoughts. Thank you, Clinton

    • Paul April 28, 2017, 7:11 am | Link

      Hi Clinton,
      I’d say that 45 mins from the spit junction is about right. If you left any later you can add another 20 minutes to that time.
      Cheers
      Paul.

  • Raymond April 14, 2017, 10:42 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I’m a 23 year old New Zealand Citizen from South Africa, recently graduated with a Degree in Graphic Design (AUT New Zealand Tertiary education). I’ve accumulated quite a bit of a student loan (maybe you have seen students with similar issues). I also have a keen interest in design/technology and innovation.

    I’ve currently narrowed my choices down to Melbourne or Sydney as viable options, but I’m unsure of which is the best (I have people I know in Melbourne), but Sydney seems much more innovative and more likely for me to see and learn new things (It’s also the most expensive as I’ve heard).

    Your website is a great resource of information
    Cheers

    • BobinOz April 17, 2017, 9:37 pm | Link

      Well, there’s a question. People have been debating for many many years which is best, Sydney or Melbourne. There is no best out of the two, they are just different.

      Both cities are quite expensive, but Sydney more so than Melbourne. It’s always good to go somewhere where you know people, but on the other hand your gut is telling you to go to Sydney. I wish I could help you with this, but I can’t. Whichever you choose, I hope it turns out to be the best decision for you.

    • Paul April 29, 2017, 6:59 pm | Link

      Hi Raymond,
      Having lived in both locations for more than 15 years each, I can say this: Sydney has the best climate on the planet, the best job opportunities, and some of the most beautiful places to be, but it can be a hard place to live due to; a) high rents and property prices; b) shocking traffic congestion; lack of transport infrastructure if you live away from the central ring of 10km from the CBD. I also think Sydney has a very shallow culture compared to Melbourne.
      I often say to my friends…”Melbourne is an inch wide and a mile deep, Sydney is the opposite. Melbourne is more alternative and “arty than Sydney, has a very healthy economy, very deep sporting culture, better public transport and job opportunities, cheaper rents and housing, but the cold weather that can make you cry in winter. Having said that, the weather is still super compared to the the UK, or most of continental Europe, or North America. Hope that helps
      Paul

  • DanSydney March 31, 2017, 2:41 pm | Link

    Just a heads-up for anyone wanting to ask a question. I’m a Sydneysider who was answering questions about living in the city, but I stopped answering questions because they became too vague. You can’t really answer a question like “what’s a good place to live in Sydney?” There are hundreds of good places to live. The more specific you are about what you’re looking for, the more us Sydneysiders can help you.

    • BobinOz March 31, 2017, 7:06 pm | Link

      That’s a very valid point DanSydney, it really is impossible to give any kind of meaningful advice to people about where to live without knowing specifically what they want.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked where is the ‘best’ place to live in Australia, there is no best place, there are just many different places to suit different preferences.

      Anyway, that aside, I really do appreciate that you are willing to help some of my readers who want to know more about Sydney and what it’s like, because being in Brisbane myself, I simply can’t answer these questions. So, glad to have you around, thanks, hopefully you’ll get some descriptive questions come through soon.

    • Raymond April 27, 2017, 11:23 pm | Link

      Hi Mark

      My wife and 2 children are moving to Sydney in July. I’m on a 457, I’ll be working in the city and we are looking for a place to settle in the Greater Sydney suburbs. Though I’d like to, I shan’t ask for great places to live in Sydney. What would be great is a recommendation of suburbs that have good primary schools (private, catholic or Christian), within 45 min-1hr commute using public transport and reasonable rental prices. Are there any places in the South western, greater western and northern suburbs of Sydney you could recommend for a family with young children?

      • Paul April 28, 2017, 7:30 am | Link

        Hi Raymond,
        Having put 2 girls through private Catholic schooling, I’d advise to have a look at the public system, which is very good in Australia. Private schooling is very expensive, which is great if you can afford it, although looking back on the last 14 years, I’d say not great value. There’s a lot of other things you can do with $250k…like try to buy an eighth of a house. The Northern suburbs of Sydney are jokingly referred to as the “Bible belt” due to the large preponderance of middle class Christian’s who populate those areas…and possibly by the absence of Mosques. There are a lot of Christian schools just about everywhere in Sydney, but particularly in the North West. Catholic schools here are funded by the government and provide a standard of education roughly similar to the government schools, but you still pay private fees. There is also a wide variation in the perceived prestige and fees charged in the various Catholic Schools. Sydney does not have “reasonable rental prices”, but if you are very well paid that should not be a problem. Baulkham Hills is at the geographic centre of Sydney, is about a 50 minute commute to the city (by bus) and is also the heart of the bible belt. I’d start there and work your way either north or south, however if you can find a place near a train line, that is gold for commuting in Sydney, the roads are a joke.
        Hope that helps.
        Regards
        Paul

        • Raymond April 28, 2017, 7:40 pm | Link

          Thank you Paul. That was a very helpful and reassuring response. I had been looking at Kings Langley and surrounding areas as it seemed spacious and similar to the Chilterns where we currently live. The commute is about the same and the rents are ‘reasonable’.
          As for schools, we are open minded about private/catholic or public. As we have to pay the $4/5k for public schooling we thought it’d be rude not to find out whether an extra 1-2k made a difference in the quality of education in the area. We are now informed and shall look at all options.

          • Paul April 29, 2017, 1:41 pm | Link

            Hi Raymond
            Kings Langley is a fairly good choice if you want a nice quiet suburban place to live. The downside will be that it is not close to any public transport, except buses, and they have to fight with the same traffic as the cars. There is a new rail link being built that will pass close to Kings Langley, although it won’t be finished until 2019/2020. If I were you I’d also have a look at Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Asquith and Mt Colah. These suburbs are on the Northern train line, are very beautiful and close to the bush, well serviced by Hornsby shopping centre, and quite reasonably priced (for Sydney).
            Hope that helps
            Paul

            • Raymond April 29, 2017, 9:48 pm | Link

              Thank you Paul

              I’ll cast my net a little wider.

              Regards

            • Raymond May 31, 2017, 10:01 pm | Link

              Hi Paul. Back again as things are moving rapidly and I need to get a move on with finding a long term solution to a home in sydney. I have been looking at Cambelltown and surrounding areas and wondered if I could get your opinion on the commute and suburbs to aim for in the area. Kings Langely is still top of my list though having looked at Hornsby, and Asquith.

              • Paul June 2, 2017, 5:03 pm | Link

                Hi Raymond
                I think Kings Langley is a good choice for everyone in your family except you. If you are commuting to the city, it’s going to be a 2.5 hour round trip for you (minimum) per day if you are travelling in peak hour. Campbelltown is even further away, but at least has a train line, so the commute time is a bit shorter, at around 1 hour each way and you can noodle on your phone or read a book while you are at it. Hornsby on the other hand is a 45 minute commute by train either way and would be my choice out of the 3. It is also close to some of the best schools in Sydney, both government and private. I can’t emphasize enough what a disaster Sydney is for car commuting to the city (and most other places) and it’s worth your future sanity to work how to avoid it.

                • Raymond June 2, 2017, 6:13 pm | Link

                  Thanks Paul. My commute for the last 7 years has been 3 hours a day into London. I’d like to get away from that so I see where you are coming from. I’d convinced myself that a 15 minute bike ride to Marauong would get me on the 7:16 to Wynyard arriving for 8:16-30 daily making no real change to the time I spend on the train now.

                  I will look again at Hornsby and surrounding areas.

          • Mark April 30, 2017, 9:28 am | Link

            Hi Raymond I am absolutely no good on Sydney being down in Melbourne but looks like Paul has that well covered for you..So why the post you ask..? private schooling is not as bad as may first appear especially if you are already forking out for state system. ..The fees for Private school rarely ask for anymore, to explain state school you will have books to buy uniform then money for the camp, incursions at school even, various other things you get asked for…private school you still get the same books uniform to buy but there is then usually no extras eg camp is included as as incursion and excursions and other things..That $ difference soon gets whittled away at. plus of course the benefit of usually smaller classes.

            • Raymond May 1, 2017, 9:18 pm | Link

              Thank you Mark

              I’ve been in touch with a few private schools and they’ve confirmed they consider 457 visa holders as home students. That means we pay the same a locals in a private setting and, as you rightly said, when compared to public school fees, the difference is manageable.

              However, one Catholic school I spoke to adds the government fees on top of their standard fees. Not surprising as I read on the forum that some/most in NSW are subsidised by the government.

              Regards

  • Rahul March 23, 2017, 3:01 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I got an offer for Sydney of 70K, I want to live with my spouse and no children. Please help is this offer Okay to live in Sydney.

    Please suggest.

    • BobinOz March 23, 2017, 9:19 pm | Link

      It’s going to be tight, very tight. 70K is an average Australian salary, slightly below if anything, and Sydney is above average for the cost of living. Particularly housing and accommodation.

      You need to do a full budget if you are considering this offer, and pay special attention to where you’re going to live and how much that will cost you each month. You can do that on my page called Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia and you can do the rest of your budget with help from The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

    • Paul April 28, 2017, 7:35 am | Link

      Hi Rahul,
      Provided your spouse is working too and has a similar income, you should be able to make ends meet. Rent in Sydney is going to set you back around $500 to $900 per week for an average one or two bedrrom house/flat depending on where it is. The closer to the CBD, the Harbour or the beach, the more expensive it will be.
      Hope that helps.
      Cheers
      Paul.

  • Amy Clarke March 12, 2017, 7:09 pm | Link

    Hi bob my husband has been offered work in Sydney northern beaches .. we have a pretty good life here in tbe U.K. But it has got us thinking we have lived abroad before an never really wanted it thought about oz .. the wages are low I think compared to the prices we have seen in reguards to rent etc … also do we have to pay for schools what are the hidden costs etc the company will pay for our visa and flights , another thing I’m dreading with two year old 🙈 Will it be worth it is aus really that much better ..

    • Mark March 13, 2017, 6:38 am | Link

      Its a very big question you pose which is a complicated answer but yes in the main I would say all day long Australia is worth it, The salaries are generally higher and I am personally convinced the cost of living for us is less than UK. There are a number of variables. We dont rent, we bought rental seems higher here compared to UK. Some things are more expensive, some food items some utilities but then say council tax is probably around a third, fuel less.
      School fees are not easy to answer for PR visa holders they are apart from some contributions pretty what free but for Temporary visa holders some states charges NSW being one. You say the company is paying fights visas etc , you may need tu fund your furniture move eg possessions even TV car etc.
      As for is it worth it well, what an experience your little person and yourselves could have, something you have done. I’ve lived on three different in 4 different countries. I have a degree but also have gained a ‘degree in life’ I think you should ask what will you lose and if its negligible give it a go or in ten years time you will be wondering I wonder what if?

      • BobinOz March 13, 2017, 8:53 pm | Link

        As Mark has said, it’s a difficult question to answer, nobody can tell for sure whether you would prefer your life here and be better off or not. Sydney though is almost uniquely different from the rest of Australia, although Melbourne is almost as bad when it comes to housing costs.

        Houses in Sydney (and Melbourne) are ridiculously expensive and way out of whack with most of the rest of the country. And as Mark has suggested, 457 visa holders do have to pay for state schools in NSW, see…

        http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/11413/state-school-fees-for-temporary-visa-holders-in-australia/

        So it very much depends on how much money your husband will be earning in Sydney, where you will be living exactly and how much you will be paying for that. If you have concerns, maybe try exploring whether your husband could work from a different city? We have other fine cities where state education is free to 457 visa holders and housing costs are significantly lower.

        If it does have to be Sydney though, then you probably should sit down and do a proper budget to see how you would get by, my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything will help you with that.

  • Etta March 8, 2017, 12:14 am | Link

    Hi, I was wondering if we need work contracts/pay slips to rent a place. We’re a family of three moving on skilled independent visa (189) and we wont have jobs on arrival. Or will it be sufficient to show a bank account statement with our savings? Thanks in advance!

    • BobinOz March 8, 2017, 11:37 pm | Link

      There is no set formula for this, each landlord makes a decision on whether to rent to somebody simply based on the information presented to them. My advice is to give as much information as you can to support your case, so yes, bank statements, savings, proof of previous good rental or mortgage payments and just answer any other questions the rental agency might ask.

      Anything that works in your favour is worth mentioning.

  • Joen March 6, 2017, 3:45 am | Link

    Hi, Bob!

    What is the approximate cost of living in Sydney? Apartement and houses. I haven’t even graduated yet, but I have plans for the future, and those plans include either LA or Sydney for the most part. The cities and countries are very different but I’m mostly interested in the weather and a big, interesting city.
    Another question I also have is if it’s worth going to a UNI in either Sydney or Melbourn. Are they any good?

    Thanks!

    • BobinOz March 7, 2017, 7:26 pm | Link

      Sydney is our most expensive city by a long way when it comes to apartments and houses. See my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia to research current prices. As for the weather in Sydney, there is a chart in the above article.

      I couldn’t tell you whether you’d be better off in Sydney or Melbourne for university, there probably wouldn’t be much in it, they are our to the guest cities.

      • Joen March 8, 2017, 5:25 am | Link

        Thanks! Do you have a page on the subject of universities on this website? Or just schools in general?

        • BobinOz March 8, 2017, 11:53 pm | Link

          Yes, I have lots of information on schools, you will find it all on my page called Which school? Be sure to look at the additional links at the foot of that article.

          Unfortunately I don’t have anything specifically about universities, but I do have an expert who can help international students; read about that on my page called Student Visas. Good luck, Bob

          • Joen March 10, 2017, 5:25 am | Link

            Thanks!

  • Carlos March 4, 2017, 5:05 am | Link

    Hi Bob, I’m a Construction Project Manager from Mexico and we have received our Subclass 190 visa, we are planning to move in the next 6 or 9 months to NSW, so my question is, which suburb on Sydney or cities near Sydney do you recomend? I’m married with 2 girls, 6 and 3 yrs old.

    thank you

    • BobinOz March 5, 2017, 10:24 pm | Link

      Well, I can’t help with this, I don’t know Sydney well enough, I live in Brisbane. But people who do know Sydney do help out quite regularly, but you will need to give more information. What you want from a suburb? Where will you be working? What’s your budget?

      • Gloria March 22, 2017, 7:40 am | Link

        Pls we live in Spain and are planning to relocate to Australia, I would like to know the best place to live in Australia with my family, we need a place where they have good primary and secondary schools. My wife is a nurse and am an administrator.

        • BobinOz March 22, 2017, 8:59 pm | Link

          There is no best place, just different places. Have a look at my page A Quick Guide to Choosing a City in Australia.

          For what it’s worth, at the moment Sydney and Melbourne are extremely expensive for housing, but it’s where most of the jobs are. As a nurse though, you would probably get work in Brisbane or Adelaide, both are cheaper and are worth considering on that basis.

          Good luck, Bob

  • mike February 22, 2017, 2:16 am | Link

    Hi bob, I would like to know how to get a Job in Australia before moving in and the company that can help secure a work visa together like the complete package if there’s any, Any useful information will be really appreciated.
    Thanks

  • Allegra Orangi February 17, 2017, 6:14 pm | Link

    I was wondering what type of weather is there in sydney, usually

    • BobinOz February 17, 2017, 9:41 pm | Link

      Well, it’s the type of weather that is fully explained underneath the heading in the above article, which is in bold, and says ‘What’s the weather like?’

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