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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Open a bank account in Australia
{ 458 comments… add one }
  • 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.

  • 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…

        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?


    • 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


  • 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.

  • 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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