Moving to Sydney: Tips and Tricks for Moving to Sydney
So you’ve decided to move to the Harbour City? Great choice! Sydney really does have it all. With incredible beaches, world-class entertainment, top education facilities, and great career prospects, there’s everything you need to live in comfort, health, and happiness.
Here’s what you need to know about moving to Sydney so you can quickly settle in to your new, cosmopolitan lifestyle.
First up, let’s face facts. Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, with the highest cost of living in the country.
On the other hand, Sydney has the best job opportunities in the country. With a strong economy and a diverse range of industries – from corporate head quarters to medical care, hospitality and tourism to construction and the public sector, there’s something for every worker.
Like anywhere, with a bit of research and insider knowledge you can find what you need to suit your budget, starting with your new home.
Renting in Sydney
Sydney is an expensive city to buy or rent in. When you’re looking to rent in Sydney’s inner suburbs, a studio or one bedroom apartment at the cheaper end of the scale can cost between $400 and $600 per week. It depends on location of course – don’t expect harbour views at these prices. However, given the proximity of inner city suburbs to the beach and CBD, you won’t be far from the lifestyle perks of Sydney.
One of the best ways to share the costs of renting is to find a private room or advertise for flatmates. Two excellent websites are Flatmates and Flatmate Finders. On both sites it’s a simple process of finding like-minded people to share with, via personal profiles and individual requirements.
If you’re moving to Sydney to study, most universities offer on and off-campus accommodation. These can sometimes be cheaper than private rentals, but you’ll need to check based on your own needs.
Buying Property in Sydney
Sydney’s property market is complicated. Depending on what you’re looking for that can be a blessing or a curse. Sydney’s previously been celebrated for its fantastic investment potential, especially within coastal and inner city suburbs. Part of that is the lifestyle appeal of Sydney, which isn’t likely to change any time soon.
The flip side is that Sydney property is not affordable for lots of people. At the time of writing, Domain reports Sydney’s median house price is in excess of $1 million, while apartments hover around the $740,000 mark.
If you’re willing to commute when you need to get to the city, or you’re looking for a more suburban lifestyle, Sydney’s suburban hinterland is vast. The northern Hornsby region, Parramatta and Blacktown in the west, or Miranda in the south all offer the local essentials, and much more affordable property.
There are lots of other factors to the price of housing in Sydney. If you’re considering buying, we recommend doing some deep research before you make any decisions.
Sydney inner suburbs guide
Sydney is literally bursting with fabulous suburbs to choose from, so we can’t cover them all here. Here’s a look at popular picks fairly close in to Sydney CBD.
You should know that all of these suburbs have very limited parking available, and owning a car this close to the city is a real headache. GoGet Car Share offers a way out. By combining car share with public transport, you can join the tens of thousands Sydney GoGet members that don’t own a car. It can save you thousands of dollars a year, which really helps when moving to an expensive city like Sydney.
Just a couple of kilometres from the CBD, Pyrmont is an entertainment hub for those who like to be near the heart of the action. With The Star Casino, access to Darling Harbour, and heaps of dining options, it’s a great suburb to mingle if you’re single, as well as make new friends.
Pyrmont is mostly an apartment suburb. There are still old terraces on some streets, but they fetch a mighty price.
For families, Erskineville is close to the city, yet retains a village vibe. Charming cafes offer great coffee, the local pubs are excellent, and you’ll love Sunday strolls in nearby Sydney Park. Close proximity to the vibrant cultural hub of Newtown is also a bonus.
Erskineville is an increasingly popular inner-city suburb for young families moving to Sydney. Nearby schools include Erskineville Public and Alexandria Community. Plus you’ll be close to Newtown Performing Arts High School.
If you want a character apartment perched on a steep street, surrounded by views, boutiques, and restaurants, Paddington is one to consider. Paddo is home to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens and Sydney Grammar School. It’s also a healthy, but very commutable 30 minute walk to the CBD.
Paddington is also worth considering if you want decent beach access but don’t actually want to live in a beach suburb when you move to Sydney. On the city’s eastern edge, Paddington has easy transport to Sydney’s eastern suburb beaches, like Bondi and Bronte.
To live close to Bondi Beach without paying through the nose, Bondi Junction is a great option, and is packed full of apartments. It’s a hub for shopping and dining itself, so you won’t need to stray far from home for everything you need.
Bondi Junction is also close to the University of New South Wales, easily accessible by bus or bicycle.
Another option by the water on the other side of the harbour is Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with Manly Beach one of the star attractions. Here, you’ll find easy-going residents with an engaged community. There’s a decent range of accommodation, getting cheaper as you move further away from the coast.
Shopping, dining, and surfing are at the top of the agenda for weekends. If you’re moving to Sydney with a family, local schools include St Mary’s Catholic School and Manly Village Public School.
Sydney outer suburbs guide
If the suburban life is more your style (or price range) Sydney has plenty of options to consider. Here are a few areas you could consider when moving to Sydney.
The North Shore
Starting in the north, the North Shore runs from North Sydney to Hornsby. It’s one of the more expensive suburban regions in Sydney, and is home to many of Sydney’s private schools. There are plenty of great public schools in the area though, so you won’t be forced into over the top school fees if that’s not your style.
Between Chatswood and North Sydney (closer to the CBD) it’s pretty tightly packed. Further north you’ll mostly find leafy suburban blocks. There’s a train line running the whole way up the Pacific Highway, which is great news for commuters.
The Ryde Area
The next suburban region on our list is named for it’s largest activity centre, the City of Ryde. You could sort of call it the mid-north-west. Moving to Ryde puts you close to the Parramatta River, several major shopping centres, and the Macquarie Park business district, Sydney’s second largest CBD. It’s also very close to Macquarie University.
While Ryde has a lovely suburban vibe, it’s not always well served by public transport, and you’ll need to learn to love the bus.
The Hills District
Head further north west and you’ll find the Hills District, stretching from West Pennant Hills to Rouse Hill. It’s super suburban, verging on bushland at times, but new development over the last 10-20 years has seen rolling paddocks of McMansions crop up. Families moving to Sydney should check out this district, as there are schools galore.
There are downsides though. It’s a long way to the City, and there are no trains to the region, only buses. That’s changing with the Sydney Metro North West project, which will eventually see a Metro line run from Rouse Hill to the CBD. It’s a medium to long term project, so unless you’re moving to Sydney long term, don’t bank on this being complete soon.
Parramatta is a growing centre for business and lifestyle, and offers a lot for new people moving to Sydney. There are plenty of parklands, schools, and corporate headquarters in the area, so it’s well equipped for families to live and work.
The public transport situation is good, and getting better. The state government is building a Parramatta Light Rail service, so you’ll eventually be able to get around even easier. It’s set to begin operation in 2023. For now, there are lots of buses and a major train station in Parramatta City itself.
Sydney’s South West
From Bankstown to Liverpool (and as far as Campbelltown if you’re happy to commute) the south western suburbs offer the most affordable living in Sydney. Major centres in the region are seeing significant growth, and there’s more employment available than ever.
If you do need to commute to the city, the area is well served by rail. When moving to Sydney you’ll want to check how close properties are to a train station.
Often referred to as just ‘The Shire’, Sydney’s southern suburbs punch above their weight when it comes to location. Close to Sydney’s southern beaches, there’s a mix of affordable and expensive housing in the area. Access to the CBD is good if you’re near a train station, but it’s a long bus ride if you’re not.
Finding Work in Sydney
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and its financial centre. As such there’s plenty of work in every industry, subject to the normal forces on employment. Once you’re resume-ready, search for your industry on sites like Indeed, Seek, and LinkedIn.
Most corporate jobs are found in the CBD, Macquarie Park, North Sydney, and Parramatta, approximately in that order. The public service is still mainly CBD based, but it’s gradually being decentralised, with Parramatta becoming increasingly important. Most jobs in creative fields are still found in the inner city, with lots of small and boutique agencies being based in the inner west and eastern suburbs.
If a home office is possible for you, check potential suburbs for the NBN before moving to Sydney. Working from home is an awesome option considering how bad traffic is in Sydney.
Getting Around Sydney
Traffic is the worst thing about living in Sydney, and you’ll need to adjust when you move there. The average commute in Sydney is around 71 minutes, the highest in the country. Owning a car can actually be a liability at times, as many inner city apartments don’t have parking.
The upshot is that public transportation is pretty good, with buses, ferries, and trains servicing almost every area, to a greater or lesser extent. The inner-suburban tram lines are constantly being lengthened, which is a big plus if you want to move to one of those areas.
Another plus is the fact that Sydney is home to Australia’s largest car share network, GoGet. Car Share lets members replace owning a car with access to thousands of conveniently located, easy to drive vehicles across the city. You’ll save on rego, insurance, and fuel (which we pay for) and have access to cars, vans, and convertibles by the hour.
When moving to Sydney you owe it to yourself to see if GoGet will suit your lifestyle.
Last but not least are your entertainment options in Sydney. Once you’ve moved to Sydney and started exploring, you’ll realise you’ve really hit the variety jackpot. You’ll get year-round access to explore dazzling beaches like Tamarama, Shelly Beach, and Camp Cove. Go boating on the harbour, fishing at Beulah Street Wharf, surfing at Bondi, and kayaking in Rose Bay.
When the cooler weather hits make the most of Sydney’s multicultural dining scene, world-class theatres, museums, and art galleries. If you’re a shopaholic you’ll never get enough of boutiques, markets, big brand names, and shopping centres.
If you’re a sports fan, Sydney hosts a better variety of sport than any other capital. While Melbourne might get the biggest crowds, there are more NRL, AFL, Rugby Union, Football, and Cricket teams based in Sydney than anywhere else. Along with supercars, horse racing, sailing, golf, and more, you’ll find something to cheer along to.
Moving to Sydney is a surefire way to never be bored again. Unless you’re stuck in traffic.