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Sydney ScoreCard

Movehub Rating: 95

health care
71
purchase power
55
quality of life
cost of living
78
crime rate
33
Hover over the charts to see how the score is calculated.

Moving To Sydney from the US

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Sydney is a dynamic, cosmopolitan city which enjoys a relaxed lifestyle, great weather and spectacular scenery. This, combined with its history, sporting tradition, entertainment, high standard of living, excellent health care and education, makes it one of the top destinations in the world.

Australia may be English speaking but it’s not the US with kangaroos. Expats and visitors have described it as being more like the UK with wombats. Sydney does have a very British feel to it which is hardly surprising given its history. People move here to enjoy the outdoor life, a good standard of living, a thriving arts and culture scene and lots of sunshine.

Sydney vs New York

Sydney has often been described as the ‘New York of Australia’. Both cities buzz 24 hours a day. They both have a great work ethic but know how to work and play successfully. Inhabitants of both cities are rightly proud of where they live.

Life in Sydney is little slower than New York, with more time spent outdoors in the parks and on the beach. This has a lot to do with the amazing 300 days of sunshine per year in Sydney compared with only 107 in New York. The Expatistan Cost of Living Index for January 2017 puts the cost of living in Sydney as 21% cheaper than living in New York. Also, remember the minimum wage in Australia is almost twice that of the States. Residents of Sydney can enjoy a high standard of living on far less than those living in New York, due to higher salaries.

House Prices and Renting

Like most cities in the States, Sydney is a city of house and flat sharing. Accommodation is expensive and there is a shortage of it. You can expect to pay $3,770 for a 900 sqft flat in a good area, close to the CBD or Bondi and $2.980 for the same space in other areas such as Chippendale. Utilities for two people will be around $200. These rental prices are 33% and 42% higher respectively in New York.

The average price of a house in Sydney is $750,000 but the prices vary enormously depending on the area. You can start at around $300,000 in far out suburbs like Parramatta and go up to hundreds of millions in suburbs on the water.

Transport

Sydney has excellent public transport consisting of buses, trams, trains and ferries. A monthly transport ticket costs $118 - slightly cheaper than the equivalent in New York. Petrol is $0.91 a litre, making it cheaper than the States. Taxis are around 20% cheaper in Sydney than in the big cities of the States.

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Neighbourhoods

Sydney is often described as a series of villages, each with its own character. It has over 500 suburbs, so the choice is great. Every suburb has at least one park to relax and picnic in. There is plenty of student accommodation near all the universities in Sydney. Sydney University is in the up-and-coming suburb of Redfern and is full of bars, coffee shops and restaurants.

Manly Vale is a favourite area for families and retirees alike, with excellent schools, child-friendly activities and great shopping. Bondi is another family friendly area as it’s close to the beach, shops and good schools. Vaucluse is a lovely area right on the harbour which has views to die for.

Australia has an excellent free education system and a host of good private schools. Children start school at the age of 5 and follow the Australian National Curriculum. Some international schools offer the International Baccalaureate.

Children must go to school in the catchment area in which they are living, so it’s important to know where the good schools are. Some of the best public schools in Sydney are:

  • James Ruse Agricultural High School, Carlingford

  • North Sydney Girls High School, Crows Nest

  • Sydney Girls High School, Surrey Hills

  • North Sydney Boys High School, Crows Nest

  • Baulkham Hills High School, Baulkham Hills


And the best private schools in Sydney are:

  • Sydney Grammar School, Darlinghurst

  • St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point

  • Ascham School Ltd, Edgecliff

  • Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga

  • SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst

Things to do in Sydney

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You are spoilt for choice in Sydney. There are museums, galleries, saltwater swimming pools, the Botanical Gardens, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Opera House, theatres, cinemas, sports clubs, boating trips, restaurants, bars, cliff walks, snorkel routes, surfing, scuba diving, history tours and shopping, to name but a few of the many activities.

Best Restaurants in Sydney

Australia is known for its fine dining and excellent wines. Sydney has an incredible array of restaurants from basic diners to top award winning restaurants. Eating out, having coffee or enjoying a glass of wine are very much part of life in Sydney. Regular visits to Circular Quay are a must for Sydneysiders and visitors alike. The selection of eateries is endless and, with views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, you can’t fail to enjoy your dinner.

Why not try dining at Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House? It was voted best new restaurant for 2016 and holds a coveted 2 hat award. The average price of a 3-course meal for 2 with wine is around $204. If this is a little expensive for your taste, then head to the local pub where you can get good pub grub for around $36 for two.

There are hundreds of medium priced restaurants to choose from, encompassing menus from around the globe. The average price for a three-course meal with wine at an Italian restaurant will set you back around $85. For those of you who are looking for a good burger, try Mary’s in Newtown, near Sydney University. It’s one of the favourite hangouts of international students and backpackers.

There are many vegetarian, vegan and raw food restaurants in Sydney. If you are heading for the beach at Bondi, why not celebrate catching that wave by having dinner at Dandylion. It is fully licensed and a meal for 2 will cost around $65. Let’s not forgot the coffee shops. Sydneysiders take their coffee very seriously and Sundays will see them hopping from café to café, trying out the latest blends.

Drinking Out

One problem that many newcomers find with Sydney, is ‘lock-out time’. The rules have just been relaxed, but no one will be allowed into venues after 2.00 a.m. and last orders will be at 3.30 a.m. For those used to dancing the night away, especially New Yorkers, this can be frustrating.

A beer at a bar will cost between $3.70 and $6.80 and a cocktail anything from $14, depending on the complexity of the cocktail.

Sydney Nightlife

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Sydney’s nightlife is as varied as its cosmopolitan make up. Oxford Street is the heart of the gay community and has a mix of gay and straight bars and clubs. The Rocks and Kings Street have a great atmosphere and are a little more upmarket. Circular Quay and other areas by the harbour are expensive but are always buzzing until the early hours.

There are quiet bars and clubs, such as Eau de Vie in Darlinghurst which plays gentle jazz music. Try the Golden Age Cinema and Bar in Surry Hills for some nostalgic glamour and interesting conversation.

Celebrities in Sydney

Sydneysiders are proud of their celebrities but they don’t hunt them down for autographs. A classic example was in March 2016 when Hugh Jackman was on the Bondi beach with his kids. He not only rescued his son from a rip current but also went back in the sea and helped other people in trouble. Russell Crowe has an apartment by the Botanical Gardens, Nicole Kidman lives just outside the city and Cate Blanchett has a mansion on the waterfront.

Bizarre Laws

Australia has some bizarre laws. You must remember that you’re in danger of being arrested in Sydney for wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face. Also, don’t forget that it is illegal to wear pink hot pants after midday on Sunday in Victoria!

Best Schools in Sydney

Best schools in Sydney

Source: Flickr | The Shopping Sherpa

Moving to Sydney with your children to a new life in a new land is an incredibly exciting prospect, but also a scary one. How can you safeguard your children’s education in an unfamiliar country, and how do you know that your children will be able to settle into the new school?

Luckily a move to Sydney, whether temporary or permanent, causes very few problems in this aspect. The city has excellent standards in both public and private education, and Australia ranks among the highest in the world for education standards.

General information about Sydney schools

The school year in New South Wales (the state of which Sydney is the capital) runs from the end of January to mid-December. Christmas and the holiday season therefore falls within the summer holidays - gear up for a Christmas beach barbeque!

Most schools in Sydney have a uniform policy and a set of guidelines for protecting children from the sun when engaged in outdoor activities. For more information, take a look at New South Wales public schools site.

Public schools in Sydney

All Sydney public schools have a catchment area and reserve enough places for every child in that area, so that each child is guaranteed a place at their local school. It is still possible to enrol in a different public school by applying directly to the school in question.

Public preschools in Sydney either operate five half-day sessions (mornings or afternoons) or two, three or four full-day sessions per week.

You can enrol your child in Kindergarten for the coming school year if they will turn five before July 31st of that year. Contact the school directly.

Enrolling a child in years 1 to 6 (primary school) or 7 to 12 (high school) is done by contacting the school directly (unless you and your child are temporary residents in which case you need to contact DEC International on +61 1300 300 229).

Sydney’s top-notch public secondary schools

Some of the top rated public secondary schools in Sydney last year were:

  • James Ruse Agricultural High School, Carlingford
  • North Sydney Girls High School, Crows Nest
  • Sydney Girls High School, Surrey Hills
  • North Sydney Boys High School, Crows Nest
  • Baulkham Hills High School, Baulkham Hills
  • Sydney Boys High School, Surrey Hills
  • Hornsby Girls High School, Hornsby
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Campus
  • Fort Street High School, Petersham
  • Normanhurst Boys High School, Normanhurst

Private schools in Sydney

There are a large number of private schools in Sydney catering for preschool, primary and high school grades. The most prestigious of these schools typically charge tuition fees in excess of 20,000 AUD per year. For example, the girls school SCEGGS Darlinghurst charges 30,501 AUD per year, the boys school Sydney Grammar School charges fees of 28,827 AUD per year, and the mixed Barker College charges 25,980 AUD per year.

There are however also a large number of religious schools of Catholic or other denominations which charge much lower fees: typically 3,000 AUD to 7,000 AUD per year (depending on grade).

Sydney’s top rated private schools

Some of the highest rated private schools in Sydney last school year were:

  • Sydney Grammar School, Darlinghurst
  • St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point
  • Ascham School Ltd, Edgecliff
  • Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga
  • SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst
  • MLC School, Burwood
  • Barker College, Hornsby
  • Pymble Ladies’ College, Pymble
  • Malek Fahd Islamic School, Greenacre
  • The King’s School, North Parramatta

International schools in Sydney

International schools in Sydney, Australia

There are several international schools in Sydney which offer the International Baccalaureate program - an excellent option when your child is enrolling in a Sydney school only temporarily. Annual tuition fees vary depending on the level of education and residency.

  • The International Grammar School, Sydney, located in Ultimo, charges annual tuition fees of up to 20,290 AUD. Students are encouraged to study a second language from preschool and a third language is mandatory in Years 7 and 8.
  • Redlands, based in Neutral Bay, is one of the oldest independent schools in Sydney and charges annual tuition fees of up to 23,900 AUD.
  • Lycee Condorcet, the International French School of Sydney, is based in Maroubra and charges fees of up to 28,627 AUD. All classes aside from foreign language courses are taught in French, and 60% of the students are French or French-Australian.
  • The German International School Sydney (GISS), based in Terrey Hills, is in the top 10 list of private schools of Sydney and is much smaller than the others on the list. GISS charges annual fees of up to 20,470 AUD.

Now that you know more about the best schools in the city, take a look at our Sydney neighbourhood guide to find the area that best suits your family’s needs.