I moved to Sydney about 3.5 years ago and it officially feels like home (sorry Brisbane). Needless to say, I love it. I would recommend anyone live here. Sydney has it all – you have small town vibes in some suburbs, a big city mentality, the country’s commercial capital, meaning the job situation is good, and some of the world’s best beaches a short distance from the city, sort of (more on that later). But with ups, comes downs. My move hasn’t been seamless, so I have created a list of things to know before you embark on your journey or move to make your landing into Sydney a little less bumpy.
1.Where you live matters.
All socio-economic snobbery aside (there is plenty of that too), where you live will determine where you spend most of your time outside of work and who you see. Let me give you an example….. When I was living in Brisbane and my boyfriend was living in Sydney’s Bondi Beach I suggested that I might want to live in Manly to which he replied with “you may as well stay in Brisbane”. Understandably I found the statement a tad dramatic, but now I am here I can see where he was coming from. In traffic (which exists 90% of the time) driving from Manly to Bondi takes the same amount of time to fly from Brisbane to Sydney.
This has some flow on effects. People generally HATE driving around to different parts of the city as it results in being stuck in traffic and wasting precious time on the weekends. OTB is a common term used often, it stands for “over the bridge” and refers to the divide the Harbour Bridge creates between north and south. People try to avoid at all costs and stick to whatever side they reside on. I have even heard of relationships not continuing due to people living ‘OTB’, conversely it also is a demonstration of true love if people travel OTB to see you. This also creates the “bubble effect” in Sydney. People stay in their bubbles and rarely leave, and I am as guilty as charged. I pat myself on the back every time I leave Bondi on the weekend. Which brings me to my next point…
2. It is a cluster of small communities.
Many of the best places to live in Sydney operate has their own communities making the city feel like a collection of small towns. I lived in a few different places in Brisbane and rarely knew who my neighbours were and wouldn’t think twice about driving to the opposite side of the city to grab a coffee with a friend. But because of reasons outlined earlier, people stay put and the people you live near start to look familiar because no one ever leaves. I live in Bondi and so many of the faces I pass each day aren’t foreign anymore, I am on ‘awkward head nod and half wave’ terms with many of them. If you’re someone who loves being connected to a community, you will love Sydney, in particular the Lower North Shore, Mosman, Balmain, Glebe, Bondi Beach, Rose Bay, Manly and Dee Why.
3. Sydney people are friendly, but they probably won’t be your friend
Most people I talk to will agree that Sydney is incredibly cliquey, perhaps because of the community culture which is engrained in Sydney-siders. People who grew up in Sydney stick with their high school or uni friends and shockingly some people have never actually been to other parts of the city. These people generally don’t like making new friends so I wouldn’t even bother, especially if they live OTB. Luckily, there is a huge contingent of people in the city that are not from Sydney and are all in the same boat of wanting to meet new people.
4. Having a car is not convenient
I hate driving so I am potentially bias. Or perhaps I am tainted by my first 24 hours in Sydney when I circled the streets of Bondi Beach looking for a car park, secured and paid for my 2hr park then received a hefty $109 parking ticket for being 2 minutes over time! If you live inner city you will have to pay for parking everywhere you go, and it ain’t cheap.That is if you can actually find a park in the first place. Having your car registered in NSW is also expensive and requires a roadworthy certification to be done annually… that ain’t cheap either. And don’t forget the millions of tolls which begin to add up. Aside from the costs, the traffic is constant and completely hideous. Thankfully, the public transport is pretty good, especially the ferries.
5. It is expensive, really really expensive
When I was in Brisbane I used to live on the city’s best street in an awesome townhouse and was lucky enough to snag the master bedroom with ensuite and a balcony. This cost me $280 a week. That same money would get you’re a glorified pantry in Sydney. The cost of renting or buying a place to live here is undeniably astronomical, but I think it is worth the money. There is so much to see and do in Sydney that people are happy to sacrifice the big fancy house for something that meets the bare minimum so they can enjoy everything the city has to offer. Or, you can go further out to get cheap rent, but you probably won’t get the benefits of the community vibe and will spend your life in traffic – it is a tricky trade off nearly everyone moving to the city has to make. Aside from real estate Sydney is just as expensive as the rest of Australia when it comes to things like buying petrol, eating out, and buy groceries and all that fun stuff.
Well friends, I hope that helps on your impending, possible or eventual move to this amazing city. You will love it, I promise.
+ Hannah +