5 things you should know before moving to Sydney..
I moved to Sydney about 3.5 years ago and it officially feels like home (sorry Brisbane). Needless to say, I love it. Sydney has it all – you have small town vibes in some suburbs, a big city mentality, the country’s commercial capital (which means plenty of jobs), 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, having lived here, I can see where he was coming from. When stuck in traffic, which is 99% likely to happen, driving from Manly to Bondi takes the same amount of time as it takes 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 in Sydney, it stands for “over the bridge” and refers to the divide the Harbour Bridge creates between the north and south parts of the city. People try to avoid going OTB 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, I am as guilty as charged. I pat myself on the back every time I leave Bondi on the weekend which is mildly pathetic. Which brings me to my next point…
2. It is big a cluster of small communities.
Many of the best places to live in Sydney operate as their own community which makes Sydney 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 so many people in my community. 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 The Shire 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 ingrained 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. My work colleague's sister has never been to the Eastern suburbs! 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't from Sydney and are all in the same boat and want 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 one the city’s best streets in an amazing 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 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, buying groceries and all that fun stuff.
Well friends, I hope that helps you while you plan your impending, possible or eventual move to this amazing city. You will love it, I promise.