Australia

Living in Sydney | Lifestyle, Accommodation, Destinations, and More

Ashley R. Cottrell

Would you love to study and live abroad in Australia, but not sure which city? This “land down under,” is a popular destination that attracts over nine million tourists every year. While all of Australia’s cities have hidden gems, living in Sydney seems to spark most travelers’ interest.

Sydney is a modern, beautiful city full of life and culture. If you’re looking for exciting activities and experiences, this may be the perfect city for you. Here at GrowPro, we have team members living in Sydney who can attest to the incredible experiences. From top attractions to quality dining spots, there’s so much to love about this city.

If Sydney is on your radar, or if you’re simply curious about the city, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn everything about living in Sydney, from the best areas to settle, to tips on working and discovering fun things to do. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Quality of Life in Sydney

couple sitting on a beach in Sydney

Sydney is the largest and most populous city in Australia and Oceania. It’s also one of the fastest-growing cities in the country with a reputable quality of life. Popular American magazine, Business Insider, placed Sydney third on its list of the 10 most livable cities in the world. These rankings take into account education, healthcare, infrastructure, culture, and stability.

Sydney is also very multicultural and welcoming. About one-third of its residents are immigrants, so international students and workers will fit right in. The city is known to have a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, where everyone has a nice work-life balance. As a harbor city, locals and tourists alike can enjoy dazzling golden beaches and the vibrant nightlife.

Weather in Sydney

Sydney

Do you love sunny days? You’re in the right place! While living in Sydney, you’ll enjoy its long summers and mild winters. The city has a humid, subtropical climate, allowing residents to experience all four seasons throughout the year.

Summer is from December to February, where the average temperature varies between 19 °C and 26 °C. On the hottest days, generally in January, the temperature can reach 30 °C or higher. This season is ideal to enjoy life outdoors, especially Sydney’s epic beaches.

The coldest month of the year is July when temperatures range from 7 °C to 18 °C. While these days aren’t ideal beach weather, you can still take a trip there for whale watching, an activity that locals take part in from May to September. The winter season is also festive when many foreign film festivals and interesting exhibitions occur in Sydney museums.

Cost of Living in Sydney

many people walking in Sydney, Australia

While Sydney is known for its quality of life, it is also one of Australia’s popular tourist destinations, and therefore, more expensive. The average person can spend between 1400 and 1500 AUD monthly. However, this amount depends on several factors, such as the area you live and the type of accommodation, which we’ll review in a later section of this article. On the bright side, Sydney is such a lively city, there are plenty of job opportunities to help you cover your expenses and save!

How to Save Money in Sydney

Speaking of savings, here are some tips to help you stay within your budget while enjoying all Sydney has to offer:

  • Choose your accommodation carefully. Explore the city to search to compare prices first. Afterward, you can make a list of options that suit your needs at reasonable prices.
  • Open a savings account. Did you know that students can open a bank account at no cost? When you go to open a checking account, acquire a separate one for savings. This way, you can add money to it gradually that will remain untouched.
  • Shop local markets: In Sydney, you can find cheaper and discount products in many local supermarkets, such as Paddy’s. Also, there are plenty of flea markets throughout the city, where you can find various items and bargain with vendors. Two, in particular, Rozelle Collectors Market and Glebe Markets, are open every Saturday.
  • Walk to stores in proximity: Transportation costs can add up. You can save on gas or bus and train fees by walking to closer destinations. This is a great way to exercise and go sightseeing.

Working in Sydney

coworkers talking in an office

If you find it difficult to save money, consider working in Sydney! The city is full of job opportunities, especially for international students. Check out our article on the 10 most common jobs for students in Australia to get an idea and explore options.

Requirements to Work in Sydney

Before searching and applying for jobs, be mindful of the requirements one must have to do so. Let’s explore them below:

1. Obtaining a Visa

It’s essential to have a visa for Australia to live thereIf you’re planning to live in Australia temporarily and work during your stay, two main types of visas will help you: the Student Visa and the Work and Holiday Visa.

The student visa allows international students to study courses in Australia as well as work part-time during the school period. If you’re a recent graduate from an Australian university, you have the option to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa, with which you can stay to work in Australia for three to five years. On the other hand, the Work and Holiday Visa enables you to work full-time in Australia for up to one year, with the opportunity of extension.

You can visit the official Australian Government website to learn more about the visa application and immigration process.

2. English Proficiency Level

Most jobs in Australia will require you to speak an advanced level of English. If your language skills are not the best, there are plenty of English courses and study opportunities available in Sydney. You will learn more about these in detail in a later section of this article.

3. Age Requirement

The legal age to work in Australia on a visa is at least 18. Most working visas require applicants to be between ages 18 and 50.

4. TFN or ABN

The TFN (Tax File Number) and the ABN (Australian Business Number) are the equivalence of a social security numberin America and other countries. In Australia, you will need a TFN as an employee for a company. If you are performing contract work or freelancing, you must apply for the ABN.

5. Bank Account

This isn’t a mandatory requirement,but it does make it easier to receive payments from your job. Remember, most Australian companies pay their employees’ wages through bank transfers. Additionally, you can make all of your purchases via debit cards to avoid carrying cash.

Tips for Finding a Job in Sydney

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous while searching for work in a new country. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • There are several websites you can use to hunt for jobs specifically in Sydney.One, in particular,Gumtree, is where many employers publish their job offers.
  • Many companies hire temporary work students, so a good strategy is to check their websites periodically. Some of the most popular ones are Go Work About, MLKA Recruitment, Travelers at Work, and The Job Shop.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of networking! Ask friends, teachers, and other international students if they know of any job openings. Sometimes connections will help get your foot in the door! 
  • Utilize social networks. You can find job posts on career platforms like Linkedin, as well as job postings from companies on Twitter and Facebook business pages.
  • Have a CV or resume ready and on-hand. When you are preparing one, don’t forget to adapt it to the Australian format.<

In addition to skills, remember that personality, charisma, and work ethic can make a lasting impression. Stand out and make people see that you are the most qualified worker.

Accommodation in Sydney

rental lease with keys

When you come to live in Sydney, you’ll discover many types of accommodation available: homestays, hostels, and apartment rentals.

Homestays

Live with a local family and immerse yourself in the Australian culture! Homestays usually cost between 150 AUD and 200 AUD per week and are great options for international students looking to learn or improve their English. The families may also include complimentary dinners and assist in transportation.

Hostels

According to our Experience Managers, the best accommodation option for students who have just arrived in Sydney is hostels. These are flexible, inexpensive options that allow you to get to know the city while looking for long term accommodation. GrowPro Experience has agreements with some of the best hostels in Sydney. Find locations and discounts through our Grower Australia Area page.

Apartment Sharing

If you have a tight budget or want to save as much as possible, renting a shared apartment is a great alternative. Having a roommate, such as a friend or another international student, will allow you to split the rent and utility costs.

Transportation in Sydney

city bus in Sydney, Australia

Since Sydney is a large city, many locals use public transport to get around. To do so, you will need an Opal Carda smartcard that you can purchase at any kiosk or convenience store in the city. While the card itself is free, the money you upload on it will apply to your trip fare. With the opal card, you can take the bus, train, metro, and ferry. 

Public transport in Sydney can be a bit expensive, where fare charges $3-$5 per kilometer of your trip. Prices also fluctuate depending on the time of day and season. If you make a lot of trips during the day, however, the charge caps at $16.10 per day.

The Best Areas to Live in Sydney

residential area of Sydney inner east

Now that you have an idea of the size and cost of living in Sydney, let’s review the different areas. It’s good to know the main neighborhoods to compare and choose what works best for you.

North Sydney

One of the most popular areas to live in Sydney, and most expensive, is North Sydney. This is a preferable area for younger students arriving in the city, as it has a wide variety of schools, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment areas. If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere with a balance of fun and activities, this could be the right place for you.

Downtown Sydney | The City

Downtown Sydney, also known as “The City” or the CBD (Central Business District), is one of the busiest areas. The City is home to popular destinations, including the Sydney Pier, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, and the Sydney Opera House.

As one of the more commercial areas in Sydney, it’s possible to get to many places by foot. There are also more job opportunities in this area, making it an advantageous spot for international students. Ah! Let’s not forget the buzzing nightlife of The City, where you can find the best bars, clubs, and restaurants in Sydney.

Eastern Suburbs

The east of the city is another popular area of Sydney. Most houses within the Eastern Suburbs are oceanside, where you can enjoy the beach in your backyardNext, you’ll find Bondi Beach, one of Sydney’s most popular beach suburbs about 40 minutes from downtown. Here, you can indulge in a variety of shopping centers, cafes, and restaurants.

Inner East

The third major area in Sydney is the Inner East, which is one of the areas closest to downtown. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes here, especially in Surry Hills, which is one of the best-known suburbs in the area and the city. If you want to live close to the city center without the expense, the Inner East is an affordable alternative.

Inner West

Last, but not least, the Inner West of Sydney is another area to consider. While it is 30 minutes from downtown, the remoteness is offset by affordable accommodation costs.If you prefer quiet neighborhoods away from busy metro areas, this side of Sydney is an excellent choice.

Things to Do in Sydney 

view of downtown Sydney

Sydney is a city where you can do a bit of everything. Do you enjoy the water? You can surf, take a boat ride, and finish the day sunbathing on one Sydney’s glimmering beaches. Are you a sociable person looking for a night out on the town? This lively city has a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurantsin each district.

Do you admire art and culture? You can visit the museums, go to a movie or a play, or delight in the history and architecture of the city. Not to mention, Sydney has a wide variety of festivals that take place throughout the year. One of them, the “Vivid Sydney,” is a light show during July that illuminates every corner of the city. Finally, the markets in Sydney are great places to find books, clothing, toys, artwork, jewelry, and other interesting items for a discount price.

Exciting Places to Visit in Sydney

Sydney opera house at night

Wondering what attracts those millions of tourists per year? Sydney has several renowned destinations. Here are the most popular:

The Sydney Opera House

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre lists the Sydney Opera House as a masterpiece of architecture and influential work. The building sits on the Sydney Harbour, giving it a beautiful waterscape and view for pedestrians. Whether you’re dining in its restaurant or attending an opera show, this is one landmark you don’t want to miss.

Bondi Beach

This stretch of sand along a spectacular ocean view is Australia’s most famous beach. About a 40-minute ride from downtown, Bondi beach is the weekend hotspot for locals. From fashion boutiques to high-end hotels and restaurants, this beach will keep you busy.

Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney

Not too far from the Sydney Opera House, this amazing garden possesses flowers of various species, ferns, and trees. Take a tour through the Royal Botanic Garden to see exotic plants, participate in art and planting workshops, and more! It’s the perfect place to disconnect from city life.

Sydney Harbor

In the heart of the city, Sydney Harbor is a bustling area full of popular landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Much of the city’s nightlife can be found here, where you’ll enjoy restaurants, bars, and live entertainment.

The Rocks

The Rocks is Sydney’s oldest neighborhood and undoubtedly one of the best-known tourist attractions. You’ll find some of Australia’s best gastronomy here, as well as festivals, open cinemas, live music, and much more.

Keep in mind, these attractions are just a small portion of how much there is to see while living in Sydney. Check out our article on 10 places to see in Sydney to discover additional places to add to your travel itinerary.

Study in Sydney | Courses You Can Take

Are you planning to study in AustraliaSydney is home to several of Australia’s top universities, making it a popular destination for international students. There is a wide range of courses and degrees to explore here to prepare you for various career opportunities.

General English

General English courses are the most popular among international students in Australia. These courses range from basic to advanced level and focus on reading, writing, dialogue, and listening comprehension.

Preparation for Official Exams

These courses aim to prepare students for official English exams such as IELTS, Cambridge, and TOEFL. Since many companies and universities require a certification of English proficiency, these courses are helpful.

VET Courses

Vocational or “VET” courses range from hands-on job training to certification programs, all of which help students develop professionally and receive certifications.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies

Sydney has excellent universities offering undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of fields. Take a look below at some of the many courses you can choose from:

How GrowPro Experience Can Help You Live in Sydney

Girl surfing

For many years, GrowPro Experience has helped students from different countries fulfill their dream of studying abroad. If you desire to live in Sydney, we can assist! Visit our website to explore ideal experiences in Sydney, each of which includes a section to help you create a budget for your trip. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel to learn more about destinations and see a glimpse of where you’ll be!

About the author

Ashley Cottrell