Sydney: Australia’s Tenth Most Liveable City

Well this, I have to say, was a big shock for me. Sydney second from last out of the 11 cities in the survey? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive fan of Sydney, if anything I have a sort of love/hate feel for the city.

The first couple of times I visited Sydney I really didn’t like it much, way too crowded and busy for me. I left the UK to get away from crowded and busy.

Then when I visited at the tail end of last year, I literally saw The Other Side of Sydney, and I loved it. The thing is with Sydney, if you are Mr Loadsamoney, and I’m talking millionaire status, you can live in one of the best areas in a fantastic house with stunning views.

If you are Mr Average or even Mr Slightly Above-average, living in Sydney isn’t going to be so pleasant as far as I can see.

Some areas of Western Sydney, for example, I’m told can be really rough. Western Sydney though is huge, and as one of my readers pointed out to me, 10% of all Australian residents live in Western Sydney.

Sydney, New South Wales.

Sydney Opera house frontI think the reason I’m shocked about Sydney’s low showing in this survey is that I’ve spoken to quite a few people who live in Sydney, and many say they would not live anywhere else. Some go as far as to say it’s the best city in the world!

So the idea that people who are actually living in Sydney have voted their own city down in this poll is quite surprising. But clearly there are a lot of things that the people who live in Sydney don’t like about their city.

From my limited experience though, here’s what I would probably say I like about the city. I thought the public transport was pretty good, especially the ferry hopping and if you purchased a daily or weekly pass, it was quite cheap too.

Sydney, I’m sure, is good for employment and economic opportunities and it undoubtedly has the most vibrant cultural entertainment scene in Australia, so I really do expect to see these in the top three.

When it comes to dislikes though, I think there are quite a few that could make the top three. Traffic congestion; the safety for people and their property; the cleanliness of the city; its affordability for sure must get the thumbs down along with the lack of good quality affordable housing.

But what do the people who know, those who live in Sydney, say about their city?


What Sydney residents like about Sydney:

  • Having good employment and economic opportunities;
  • The weather;
  • The entertainment scene.

Sydney residents were not so keen on:

  • Being an affordable place to have a good standard of living;
  • Its maintenance, cleanliness and the pollution;
  • The roads and traffic congestion.

There you have it, good for jobs and entertainment, but expensive, congested and not as clean as it could be.

Time for YouTube. Here’s my pick from my Sydney search, let’s start with This is Sydney…

Now, let’s go hit a few bars…

In previous posts in this series, I’ve found some pretty good timeline videos, here’s another one and it’s called The City of Sydney – by day and night…

That’s Sydney! Ok, anybody fancy the beach?

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Phil Robeson January 11, 2014, 1:42 am |

    My dad was an Army officer so we moved around a lot when I was kid, including three years in Brisbane. Most of my adult life however I’ve lived in western Sydney and have loved it. I can still enjoy the beaches or the harbour if I want, but I wouldn’t trade it for living with down to earth people who work in real jobs. I love the openness of outer suburbia, the bush almost at your back yard, riding horses across paddocks, walking in the mountains, paddling down rivers, racing cars at the track, flying light aircraft, enjoying the camaraderie of being a volunteer firefighter, eating at quaint little pubs, shooting a few rounds at a friendly range, going camping or four wheel driving, meeting friends at the club, and even still being able to go to a drive-in. I’ve never been more than 30 minutes from where I’ve worked and I can afford an investment property (OK, I admit that’s in Redcliffe QLD). The ‘power poodles’ of the toffier end of Sydney may malign the west; but they don’t know what they’re missing.

    • BobinOz January 13, 2014, 2:13 pm |

      Great write-up Phil, thank you. Obviously a clear vote and big thumbs up for Sydney, including western suburbs.

      I’m jealous of those quaint little pubs, we don’t have those around here.

  • Emily Lander September 3, 2013, 7:27 am |

    Good to see all these balanced comments but its still Queensland.

  • christian gilbride August 31, 2013, 9:31 pm |

    hi cathy, i agree with emily, been here for nearly 2 years and as yet my only real moan is the traffic, crime is everywhere and there are no thick and fast rules, what i will say tho is when i have been warned of certain places by the guys i work with, compared to the UK they are very tame indeed, don’t be worried hun be very very excited, we were and still are, its a wonderful place to live, once you get your feet under the proverbial table you and hubby can find your own likes and dislikes, every experience is different and unique to that person, i’m sure without doubt you and your family will love it here xxx

    • BobinOz September 1, 2013, 10:08 pm |

      Well, I hope your mind has been put to rest a bit Cathy, Sydney is not a “bad” city, I keep talking about love/hate, maybe you will be one of those who love it. Arrive with an open mind, take it as you find it and see what happens. It would be great if you can let us know what you think when you get there.

      Christian, that’s a very good point as well, I’ve found the same thing. When people talk about bad areas here, they ain’t seen nothing! Some areas in London and the UK are genuinely incredibly scary, you wouldn’t want to walk alone during the daytime let alone at night. I’ve not found anywhere as bad as that here in Brisbane, sounds like you haven’t found anywhere that scary over that way either.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Cathy Paul September 2, 2013, 5:43 am |

        Thanks for the reassurance guys, we definitely will be coming out with an open mind and make the most of the new experiences. I’m currently reviewing all the different suburbs around where my husbands new job will be and I’m pleasantly surprised that there are more than a handful that are nice, child friendly suburbs that aren’t rough and with affordable housing (we just wont eat, over rated anyway!! lol).

        After speaking to a few people they have also said that australian’s version of rough are nothing compared to ours, someone said today that he new some people in oz and their version of a rough area was people who didn’t have a swimming pool!!

        I’m really not a city girl, we live in a small town in the southwest on the coast, about 20 miles from Bristol, so everything will be new to me. I’m coming out of my comfort zone and looking forward to all the new challenges in experiences that will be on offer – lifes for living and we all have choices, it’s not a fait accompli and if it doesn’t work out for any reason then we’ll have a rethink at that time! xxx

        • BobinOz September 2, 2013, 2:11 pm |

          I’m sure it will work out Cathy, good luck!

  • Cathy Paul August 31, 2013, 7:54 pm |

    Oh no I’m a little worried now, we’re coming to sydney in January with our two kids 4 and 7, his job is in girraween. We were originally heading for Perth but then he was offered a job on a 457 in sydney so we thought what the hell lets go for it. I’ve been trying to read up about the area and talk to people who have been/lived there etc and I was really excited about coming, but I’m now a little nervous and worried about the safety aspect!! Oh well I guess there’s only one way to find out – eek!

    • Emily lander August 31, 2013, 8:54 pm |

      Hey Cathy, no worries as they say. Some areas like London or any other city are dodgy but reading what you said it doesn’t look like you or your family will be whooping it up in the cross or western suburbs anytime soon ! It truly is a great city offering many different lifestyles. It is however very very expensive ! Good luck and best regards.

      • Rupert September 1, 2013, 12:57 am |

        Don’t worry about a thing Cathy. Sydney is fabulous. It’s like London in the 1970s! All cities have crime and traffic congestion, but I’ve experienced neither, so go figure. Emily’s right though, it is expensive here, but I always look at it as paying a premium for having such a great lifestyle. Sydney rocks! Good luck and welcome to Australia…

  • Rupert August 31, 2013, 3:04 pm |

    I totally and unreservedly love Sydney! It has now been my home for 14 months and I have never felt happier, calmer, and more at ease with myself and my surroundings. It’s not perfect, of course not, but where is? I consider myself very fortunate to be living in such a wonderful city. And it’s getting better all the time…

    • BobinOz September 1, 2013, 9:59 pm |

      That sounds like love 🙂

  • christian August 31, 2013, 1:50 pm |

    hi bob, has been a while so hoping you and your family are well, i spoke on your site a while back prior to leaving the UK and arriving in Australia and i thought i may comment on this subject. when we first arrived 23 months ago we moved to campbelltown as my friend lived in the area and i had no clue about the local area, it didnt take long to find out i didnt like it too much, not to say its a bad place, far from it, but it certainly wasnt the Australia i was looking for, big shopping malls, wide streets, american signage, fast food outlets outweighing all other amenities and not one good pub, all very controlled and for good reason !!! my wife landed a good job in the city so with the rent and travelling costs we decided to move to the inner west (rozelle) we have been here 6 months and to be honest within this human jungle i find it even more solitary, people in the city tend to be very private and although i try to be hospitable to the neighbours there is a feeling everyone is far too busy to be bothered to extend their friends list !!! it is a nice place if you want to eat out 7 days a week or brows thru endless shops selling endless quantities of junk that you need not have, but as you said, a bit of a love/hate relationship has manifested and to be frank as we spend more time in the area we find it more and more tiresome, maybe we are too old (47) to enjoy the hip bars and out there night scene, we rent a shoe box at 800 dollars a week and find it hard at times to save for the future…….although the amenities are plenty and varied, a stones throw away from the city, we dont use them half enough to condone the cost, and yet again im trying to find the Australia that i pictured a few years ago, this may actually only exist in my head but the search continues, unfortunately im bound to the area with my job at the Airport, we may look towards the central coast, woy woy area but then the cumute will be a nightmare, my job takes me all over Australia and without trying to insult anyone (only my opinion) if find everywhere i go a lot friendlier, more beautiful and cheaper than sydney, by all means visit sydney, it is quite a unique place but your hard earned money will not go far in an already expensive country, and friendships are tough to forge outside your immediate family and work colleagues !!! the most important thing for us now is to secure our residency, i am sure once in the bag the options in this wonderful country will be vastly improved, ps the house i am renting at the moment was sold for 1.4 million dollars in 2011 and ive looked everywhere in and around the house to justify this cost and cannot find an answer other than location, you will not buy anything worth living in around the inner west for less than a million dollars and that, unfortunately is out of my and most working peoples reach and to be frank, a sensible person would refuse to condone that cost unless they believe a thousand dollar handbag is a steal haha !!! will udate you when we actually find our utopia, love n kisses, the gilbride family.

    • BobinOz September 1, 2013, 9:57 pm |

      Sorry to hear you are struggling with Sydney, when it comes to love/hate, sounds like you are approaching the side of hate. Sydney isn’t for everyone, I personally don’t think it’s for me (until I do become that multi-millionaire) so I can understand what you are saying.

      As you will also see from further comments, some people absolutely love Sydney. There you go, love/hate.

      From your point of view, I think your plan should be to move away from Sydney whenever you can, you say you are tied by your job, but are you tied by the conditions of your visa as well? If not, try and get another job, I do highly recommend Brisbane 🙂 I think that will be the Australia you have in your head.

      Good luck Christian, I hope it all works out, do stick with it as I’m sure you will find what you’re looking for here in Australia eventually.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Emily Lander August 30, 2013, 10:11 pm |

    Yes ,a very beautiful city but no fun if you are the poor kid with your nose pressed against the window looking in !! If you cant afford to have a good standard of living,its dirty and polluted , you don’t feel safe and you cant get anywhere in your car .My god after your high powered job and the 2 hour traffic crawl to get anywhere boy are you going to need to be entertained! The sun ? Meh, its sunny everywhere in Australia.
    Know which state I prefer , begins with Q and ends with Land- all the way !x

    • BobinOz September 1, 2013, 9:21 pm |

      If I were a millionaire, maybe add the word multi- to that, then I might well consider living somewhere fancy in Sydney. I’m not though, so I’m with you on this Emily, that’s why I also live in the state that begins with Q 🙂

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