A guide to living in Sydney
There’s a lot going on in Sydney, from great dining and shopping and inspiring arts and culture to amazing architecture.
Sydney is Australia’s first city, both as the landing spot of the First Fleet (1788) and the first incorporated City Council (1842). This history is deeply reflected in Sydney’s strikingly iconic landmarks - the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge - both must-see destination during your time here.
There’s a lot going on in Sydney. From great dining and shopping and inspiring arts and culture to amazing architecture, Sydney has got you covered.
During your time here, you will be able to immerse yourself in sporting and cultural events, including the spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations and the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations held outside Asia.
Things to do
Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are two well-known landmarks around the globe. Whilst they might become a daily sight for you during your time here, you should make sure you make the time to walk across the legendary bridge at some point during your stay.
Learn about Australia’s history
Sydney is filled with amazing architecture and insights into the country’s past. Check out the Australian Museum to gain a better understanding of the country’s history, but make sure you bring enough time as wandering through the many exhibitions may take up most of one day.
Explore amazing national parks
Sydney is surrounded by some of Australia’s most sunning bushland and mountain ranges. Go north for some white-water rafting or bushwalking at Hawkesbury River and the Nymboi-Binderay National Park. Or go south for some scuba diving and wandering around rainforests.
Average weekly costs
- Rent: $165-440
- Food: $100-150
- Electricity/gas: $35-140
- Transport: $20-50
- Internet/phone: $20-55
- Other: $50+
- Total: $370-885
Sydney has several train lines from Central that take you outwards from the Central Business District (CBD). There are plenty of stations along each line, so check out the timetable to see if any are close to where you live. The train system is an effective choice for getting to the outer suburbs and around the CBD quickly.
Buses are a great option for getting to and from Sydney’s metropolitan areas. With a huge network and frequent services, there’s a good chance there’ll be a bus stop near you and you won’t have to wait too long for the next bus to stop either.
Ferries cover almost every suburb that’s fronted by Sydney Harbour, including Manly, Balmain, Circular Quay and even extend as far as Parramatta. The ferry system is one of the prettiest ways to get around the city, taking advantage of the city’s harbour, port and river system. Tickets are a little more expensive but definitely worth it for the scenery.
There are a few taxi ranks located around Sydney where you can line up and get a taxi. Otherwise you can try hailing one from the side of the road.
Uber became legal in Sydney in June 2016 and offers a safe and cheap alternative to taxis.
Sydney’s city centre is filled with so much to do that you’ll probably end up spending quite a lot of time here. Sample the coffee, try some of the fancy restaurants and enjoy the stunning views over the harbour. The beautiful Hyde Park - the oldest public park in Australia - provides an ideal spot for relaxation and exploration. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the melodic bell chimes of St Mary’s Cathedral nearby.
Ultimo, Haymarket and Glebe
These areas are home to many international students in Sydney. There are plenty of international food options to choose from with an outstanding food variety in Chinatown. Haymarket and Ultimo are located just outside of the city, making both very convenient to live and visit.
The Inner East is known for its diverse residents, arts and community scene as well as growing variety of small bars and cafes. Come here for coffee or brunch and maybe check out one of the many small art galleries afterwards.
The Inner West is often described as cool and cosmopolitan. Eat and drink your way through the numerous laneway bars and restaurants or find your favourite piece of street art.
Sydney’s Top 5s
- Art Gallery of NSW
- Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
- Kate Owen Gallery
- White Rabbit Art Gallery
- Chinatown Markets
- Paddys Markets
- Carriageworks Farmers Markets
- Sydney Vegan Market
- Paddington Markets