21 April 2014

Moving to Sydney - A Locals Introduction

When I moved to London, there was so much I didnt know and wish I did. It was everything from how to find a place to live, to where I could buy work clothes, to how to navigate the every day (post, transport, phone and internet, money). After 2 years, though I will occasionally still ask people about where to find this or that, I feel I have finally gotten a grip on living in London. These thoughts however have spurred me on to launch the #LondonExpatLife chat to help others.

In reverse though, giffgaff have asked me to share a few things about my home, Sydney, should you be thinking of moving there. As a local, there is so much I could tell you, but you would be reading forever. So, to make things easier, here are some introductory tips for moving to and living in Sydney.

Where to stay
I grew up in Sydney's western suburbs - it is suburbia to the max, and takes forever to get anywhere. Unless you are planning on living in Sydney long term, stick to the inner city suburbs or along the beaches. There are lots of popular spots, and other travellers who would be looking for housemates. Places along the beaches like Manly, Bondi Beach, Coogee, Cronulla, Bronte and surrounding areas are popular. In the city, for a trendy vibe, try Paddington, Annandale, Surry, Leichhardt, Balmain, or Glebe. But bear in mind these places do attract a premium rental price. Good websites are www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au. Both of these sites do listings for flat shares as well.

The famous Bondi Beach
Street art in Glebe
Finding work
The most popular jobsite is www.seek.com.au so start your search there. If you are signing up with a recruitment firm that specialises in your industry, you can expect an interview so they can find out what you are after and to get to know you in person in order to better place you. Don't be afraid to sign up with more than one. It's also a good idea to find the names of companies you would like to work for because often they will do their own recruitment.

Sydney CBD skyscrapers
Where to shop
Pitt Street in Sydney city is the most popular shopping strip with a Westfield newly opened. In your local area you will most likely find a grocery shop (Woolworths - aka "Woolies" - Coles, IGA, Aldi) for everyday food essentials. For basic homewares and basic clothing, there is Kmart, Target, Big W. The two main department stores are Myer and David Jones. For electronics, try JB-HiFi or Bing Lee. Furniture, electricals, etc: Try Ikea, Harvey Norman, Fantastic Furniture or The Good Guys.

Where to eat
Sydney is not lacking in good places to eat, so there is no point in my listing all of them. But here are a few things I'd like to pass on. Coffee is amazing. You'd be hard pressed to find a bad cup of coffee. Also, you can get amazing asian food here, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese: You name it, it's going to be amazing. If you are a fan of seafood, you should try the Sydney Fish Markets at least once! Be sure to get there early though. One of my favourite cafes in Sydney is Sappho Cafe in Glebe. Newtown is also home to lots of good affordable eats. If you are a fan of good Sushi, then you cannot go past Sushi Rio on the corner of Sussex and Liverpool streets in the city. (Thanks to my lovely friend Amanda for this one!)

This post has been sponsored by the international phone network giffgaff as part of their campaign to share insights by locals into their hometowns for anyone heading there on an adventure. I usually talk so much about London that it was a nice chance to share a bit about my own home and hopefully inspire you to visit, or ease you into living in Sydney, if you happen to be moving there.

If you live or have moved to Sydney, what is your top tip about moving there?


  1. I'm seriously considering a proper stopover in Sydney now, next time we're in that neck of the woods! Good coffee & Asian food? Sign me up!

    1. Oh cool! Yes the Asian food is great, affordable and flavoursome. You realy can get some great eats there!

  2. I miss my time in Sydney.. Moving to London in a few weeks; I'll certainly be referencing your blog :)

    1. Hi Derek, Good luck with your move! Pop me an email if you have any questions. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!