Making the move to Sydney? Australia’s biggest city continues to grow faster than the national average rate, welcoming hundreds of thousands of newcomers every year. Whether it’s the Harbour Bridge or the beautiful beaches of Bondi, it seems everyone wants to call Sydney their home.
Find out whether Sydney is the right spot for you with everything you need to know about New South Wales’ capital right here.
In a rush? Skip to the info you need:
- Pros and cons of living in Sydney
- Best Sydney suburbs to live in
- Moving to Sydney from other cities
- Sydney’s dining scene
- Culture in Sydney
- Sydney’s climate
- Getting around Sydney
Living in Sydney: Pros and Cons
With so much on offer, you’ll never be bored in exciting Sydney. And we’re not just referring to the Museum of Human Disease – there’s plenty more fun where that came from! But nothing is perfect (except for puppies, obviously), so we’ve listed the great and the not-so-great aspects of life in Sydney.
Pro: The weather is great
Most of Australia boasts pretty great weather, and Sydney is no exception. With pleasant, sunny weather for most of the year, and afternoon sea breezes providing some relief on hot days, you won’t have to withstand extreme temperatures here.
Con: It’s the most expensive city in Australia
Sure, there are plenty of great reasons to live in Sydney, but it’ll cost you. It’s the most expensive city to live in Australia, and has recently been ranked as the second most expensive city in the world after Hong Kong.
Pro: You get the best of both worlds
Sydney is where the city meets the sea, offering all the amenities, convenience, and excitement of city-life along with some of the country’s best beaches. When you’ve had enough of wining, dining, shopping, and café-hopping, these beautiful Sydney beaches will be ready for you:
- CBC to Bondi Beach: 20min drive
- CBD to Palm Beach: 1hr drive
- CBD to Manly Beach: 30min drive
- CBD to Bronte Beach: 20min drive
- CBD to Cronulla Beach: 45min drive
Con: The traffic is notorious
Sydney’s roads can get more congested than your nose during flu season. It was recently titled Australasia’s most congested city, with some roads found to be even slower than those in New York. If you’re not a fan of sitting bumper-to-bumper, driving in Sydney will only worsen your road rage.
Pro: It has an airport
If convenience and travel float your boat (or fly your plane), Sydney’s airport is just a 13-minute train ride from the city.
Early-morning starts and long drives out from the sticks are a thing of the past when Sydney’s domestic and international airports are so conveniently located.
Con: Houses are crazy expensive
Dreaming of becoming a home owner? It’s a tough market to crack in Sydney, where you’ll find Australia’s highest median house prices.
Even if you’re looking to snatch up a modest property on the smaller side, it’ll likely still cost you an arm and a leg.
Pro: It’s family-friendly
Often referred to as a network of villages, each of Sydney’s suburbs has a community centre with family-oriented classes, activities, day-care and new mothers groups.
As exciting as it is, Sydney is also a great place to settle down and start a family.
Pro: It has great education opportunities
Looking to broaden your mind or skillset? Sydney is the perfect place to hone your inner scholar. Some of the country’s most prestigious universities, technical institutions and schools reside in Sydney, including Australia’s first ever university, the University of Sydney.
Best Sydney Suburbs to Live In
From the inner city to sleepy suburbs and coastal spots, Sydney has a suburb to suit everyone. These are our top picks.
Potts Point – inner suburb
Art deco meets dive-bar in this small but popular inner-city suburb. Potts Point is known as the Paris of Sydney, boasting stunning art deco buildings and tree-lined streets, and home to artists and philanthropists. It’s also just minutes from Kings Cross, buzzing with neon-lit clubs and bars.
Lavender Bay – inner suburb
This waterside suburb offers sweeping views of the harbour, putting you in prime position for the Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks display. This suburb truly accommodates the Sydney lifestyle, offering a variety of cafés, restaurants, and bars.
Pyrmont – inner suburb
Propped on Darling Harbour, Pyrmont is your go-to for entertainment. Home to the Sydney Lyric theatre and the Star casino complex, you can enjoy theatre, opera, ballet, fine dining, clubs, and bars. If, like Alicia Bridges, you too love the nightlife and got to boogie, you’ll feel right at home in Pyrmont.
Harris Park – Greater Western Sydney
23km west of the CBD, Harris Park is filled with delicious ethnic restaurants and dessert bars. It also scores top marks for public transport, making it easy to access the city when you need to.
Kareela – Southern Sydney
Quiet and family-friendly, this sleepy, leafy suburb is home to a beautiful golf course, nature reserve, and a public school within walking distance of most homes. Kareela is a great affordable and safe option for young families.
Manly – North Sydney
Want to feel like you’re on vacation every day? Manly is a beachside suburb with a relaxed feel and friendly locals. With one of Sydney’s favourite beaches, you can enjoy surf, sand, and a laidback lifestyle.
Moving to Sydney from Other Cities
Moving to Sydney from anywhere in Australia can be a big change. Be prepared with these basics in mind.
Moving from Brisbane to Sydney
- Journey time: 10hr drive or 1.5hr flight
- Brisbane to Sydney removalist cost: $2,000 – $2,800
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Sydney is $330,000 more expensive than the median price of a house in Brisbane ($815,000 vs. $485,000)
- Rent: Renting in Sydney is roughly $130 more expensive than renting in Brisbane ($540 vs. $410 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Brisbane: More affordable cost of living
- What you’ll love about Sydney: The dining scene
Moving from Melbourne to Sydney
- Journey time: 9hr drive or 1.5hr flight
- Melbourne to Sydney removalist cost: $2,000 – $2,800
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Sydney is $162,000 more expensive than the median price of a house in Melbourne ($815,000 vs. $653,000)
- Rent: Renting in Sydney is roughly $110 more expensive than renting in Melbourne ($540 vs. $430 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Melbourne: The culture
- What you’ll love about Sydney: The weather
Moving from Adelaide to Sydney
- Journey time: 5hr drive or 1hr 50min flight
- Adelaide to Sydney removalist cost: $3,625 – $4,545
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Sydney is $375,000 more expensive than the median price of a house in Adelaide ($815,000 vs. $440,000)
- Rent: Renting in Sydney is roughly $230 more expensive than renting in Adelaide ($540 vs. $310 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Adelaide: The friendly locals
- What you’ll love about Sydney: The job opportunities
Moving from Newcastle to Sydney
- Journey time: 2hr 15min drive
- Newcastle to Sydney removalist cost: $1,750 – $2,450
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Sydney is $167,525 more expensive than the median price of a house in Newcastle ($815,000 vs. $647,475)
- Rent: Renting in Sydney is roughly $55 more expensive than renting in Newcastle ($540 vs. $485 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Newcastle: The laidback lifestyle
- What you’ll love about Sydney: The nightlife
Moving from Canberra to Sydney
- Journey time: 3hr 15min drive or 1hr flight
- Canberra to Sydney removalist cost: $1,625 – $2,275
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Sydney is $230,000 more expensive than the median price of a house in Canberra ($815,000 vs. $585,000)
- Rent: Renting in Sydney is roughly $75 more expensive than renting in Canberra ($540 vs. $465 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Canberra: The traffic (or lack thereof)
- What you’ll love about Sydney: The cafés
Removalist costs are based on the average cost of moving the contents of a 3-bedroom home. Prices will vary depending on your needs.
Sydney’s Dining Scene
Whether you’re craving a fine-dining experience or hunting down a casual bite to eat, Sydney is brimming with restaurants and eateries to suit all tastebuds and budgets. A melting pot of cultures and cuisines, discover the many flavours of Sydney and pay visit to some of its top dining precincts.
Kensington Street Precinct – 1 Kensington St, Chippendale
You’ll be spoiled for choice at this lively precinct. From authentic Asian eats to fine French fare and delectable desserts, you’ll want to visit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Cannery – 61 Mentmore Ave, Rosebery
This massive 4500-square-metre warehouse precinct gives you a greengrocer, a butcher, a baker, a bottle shop, a coffee roaster, plenty of cafés and restaurants, and a cooking school to sink your teeth into. Grab a feed and pick up your groceries for the week – it’s all here.
The Streets of Barangaroo – Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it at this funky waterfront dining and shopping precinct. With casual and fine-dining options including seafood, steak and burgers, enjoy a bite then head to one of the bars to make a night of it.
Culture in Sydney
Sydney is home to some of the most spectacular arts and culture in the country. If you’re looking to get your culture fix, you’ll never run out of inspiring things to see and do in Sydney.
The Sydney Opera House – Bennelong Pt, Sydney
This World Heritage-listed Aussie icon hosts more than 40 shows every week including opera, dance, theatre, music, comedy, film, and more. It also has performances for kids, making it a must-do for the whole family.
The Australian Museum – 1 William St, Sydney
Learn about the history of Australia’s culture at the country’s first public museum. Featuring over 18 million objects and artefacts, you can enjoy exhibitions, public galleries, and permanent and temporary touring galleries.
Walsh Bay Arts Precinct – Piers 2/3 and 4/5, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay
Catch a play, musical or dance performance at Sydney’s most lively cultural precinct. Here you can catch local artists like the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Dance Company, the Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bell Shakespeare, and the Australian Theatre for Young People.
Like most of Australia, Sydney’s weather is pretty pleasant. You can expect mild winters, warm summers, and plenty of sunshine.
During summer, Sydney’s average temperatures range from 18 to 25.8°C, making it warm but not uncomfortable. Things can get a bit sticky with the average humidity reaching around 65%, so this is the perfect time to hit the beach.
Sydney is at its most mild and pleasant in autumn, with humidity dropping and average temperatures around 14 to 22.2°C.
Let’s just say you won’t be needing your mittens during winter in Sydney. Temperatures drop to around 9 to 17°C, and rainfall increases, so don’t forget your umbrella!
Warmer days without the humidity of summer? Yes, please! Spring in Sydney sees temperatures around 11 to 23°C, and you’ll generally be enjoying clear, sunny skies.
Getting Around Sydney
Public transport in Sydney is pretty straightforward. It has a comprehensive network of train, bus, and ferry services that you can access using an Opal card. This prepaid cashless card allows you to use all public transport in the city and outer regions. Wherever you need to go, Sydney has a way to get you there.
You can catch a bus through the city and beyond at almost any time of day or night in Sydney. Just make sure you buy a prepaid ticket or have an Opal card, as most of the bus routes are prepaid to reduce delays.
Most of Sydney’s trains run from 4am to midnight, and all stations have 24-hour ticket machines. Central Sydney stations include Central, Museum, St James, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, Martin Place and Kings Cross.
Harbour City Ferries
Whether you need to cross the harbour or simply want to experience it up close, Sydney’s Harbour city ferries leave from the terminal at Circular Quay and can take you to any harbourside location you’d like, whether it’s Taronga Zoo or Neutral Bay.
Wherever you are in Sydney, there’s sure to be a taxi nearby. Hail them from the street, head to one of the taxi ranks in the CBD, or book them directly online or over the phone.
Check out these 10 tips to make your move to Sydney a little easier.