Living and Visiting Sydney

The region of Sydney has more than 5 million inhabitants, but the city of Sydney has only around 17 thousand and it’s commonly referred to as CBD (Central Business District).

The Sydney region is divided between 658 suburbs, which helps decentralize the main services the population needs. If you are working in the city, you’ll probably choose to live in the city, or the three main regions around it: Eastern Sydney, Western Sydney, or Northern Sydney (not to be confused with North Sydney which is another district).

Map of Sydney regions

People commonly include Parramatta as Western Sydney, and that’s a place with a reasonable commute time to the city while providing affordable places to buy. It’s usually considered a long term choice, as with the city wages you can afford to rent closer by, but buying your own place is a different story.

Northern Sydney can be divided into Northern beaches or inner cities. The most famous beaches in the Sydney region are Manly, located in the Northern beaches, and Bondi, in the Eastern suburbs. They are both large, full of restaurants and things to do, and they are both surf spots. Most people that choose to live or stay in Manly, travel to CBD by boat. The Ferry takes 20-30 min, which is not a bad commute time plus the route is beautiful. But the transportation cost can add up, as the ferry price can be 2 to 3 times more expensive than the price of the bus fare.

Manly is especially interesting as it has a calm protected beach nearby called Shelly beach, which is one of the best snorkelling spots in New South Wales. It’s definitely a must-visit spot, while for living it’s would work best if you’re not working in the city.

The most convenient place to live, and also most expensive, is in the Eastern Suburbs. We chose to live in Randwick because we can be in the city in 15 min with the express bus on-peak hours, and we’re also 20 min walk from Coogee Beach. Compared to other suburbs in the Eastern, it was cheaper as well, as it’s not beachfront. It’s also at the border with Centennial Park, the largest urban park near the city. An amazing place to exercise and spend time outdoors.

Anything around Maroubra and South, you start to have to rely on having a car, given the periodicity and time of the commute to the city. Maroubra is calmer and more laid back, with not as many restaurants or activities as the beaches above. But if you like the silence of tranquillity of nature, it’s a great option and still a reasonable distance to the city. If you like small towns surrounded by nature, Southern Sydney is a good option. Sitting right on top of the Royal National Park, this region won’t disappoint.

Another suburb worth mentioning is Newtown, right by the Sydney university. Being a college neighbourhood, it’s filled with restaurants and things to do. Newtown and Surry Hills are a foodie’s paradise!

I’ll leave below a few links to information that helped us choose our location and some must-see spots around Sydney if you’re passing by.

Hope this helps you learn more about the city quicker and allows you to have a great stay!

Why Sydney?

https://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/in/Sydney

https://www.domain.com.au/news/sydney-ranked-10th-in-world-in-mercer-quality-of-life-survey-20170315-guy89c/

Already has 30% of the land covered by vegetation with plans to increase: https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision-setting/have-your-say-greening-sydney-strategy

Where to live in Sydney?

Largest rental website in Australia: https://www.realestate.com.au/rent/

At the bottom of the page, you can click to learn more about the style of the most popular suburbs/neighbourhood: https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods

Must visit attractions:

  1. Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanical Garden
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge: walk or bike across, climb the bridge tour, or a boat tour under it
  3. Walk from Coogee to Bondi
  4. Darling Harbour
  5. Walk from Mainly to Shelly Beach – catch the ferry at Circular Quay and enjoy some snorkelling at Shelly Beach
View of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the Intercontinental Hotel Lounge Bar
Darling Harbour

Other interesting spots to visit:

  1. Walk from Hornby Lighthouse to Watson Bay Beach
  2. Sydney Tower Eye: there are 3 restaurants up top, that fit different budgets. Or you can just visit the observation deck. Great view of the city all the way up to the Blue Mountains.
  3. Alexandria Gardens 
  4. Hyde Park and Pitt Street Mall

Notable events:

  1. New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Harbour Bridge: great viewing spots are from boat parties, the Opera House Bar, Barangaroo Reserve, Luna Park, and Shark Island.
  2. Vivid Sydney: usually happens around June. The whole city is lit up in different spots with interactive artwork and performances.
  3. Sydney Festival: usually during January, there are several art events around the city –  Concerts, art exhibitions, dances, plays, and much more.

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