Moving to Sydney

Sydney

Our rating

5 out of 5

  • Affordability 3 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 4 out of 5

  • Property affordability 3 out of 5

  • Climate 5 out of 5

  • Environment quality 5 out of 5

It’s a scary prospect relocating to a new city, country or continent, even when you’re moving to Sydney, a place with more beautiful beaches, parks and sunny days than you can shake a stick at. Never fear, though: we’re here to guide you through everything you can expect to find when you move to the biggest city on the world’s smallest continent. If you’re moving to Australia alone, we’ve got you covered. Making the leap with your partner? No worries. Moving to Australia with a family? Don’t sweat it. From prices of everyday goods and houses, via neighbourhoods and schools, we’ve got everything you need to know.

We can also get you sorted with a free quote for moving to Sydney. Just fill in the form at the top of this page to see how much it would cost to start living in Sydney. Watch out for the deadly spiders, snakes, sharks, and jellyfish, though. We can’t protect you against them.

Cost of shipping your possessions to Sydney

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates and durations for some of our most sought-after journeys from the UK (London), US (New York and Los Angeles) and Canada (Montreal) to Australia. The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). These prices were last updated in May 2019.

OriginCostDuration
London

1,960 ()

45-56 days
New York

4,055 ()

35-42 days
Los Angeles

1,600 ()

26-32 days
Montreal

4,215 ()

34-41 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying your possessions to Sydney

Putting your most precious items on a plane is generally quicker, but may be up to 18 times more expensive than ocean freight, according to Transporteca. It’s usually not worth it.

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com and are based on airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise – worth £40,000 to Sydney. This is the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). These prices were last updated in May 2019.

OriginCostDuration
London

1,950 ()

1 day
New York

1,885 ()

1 day
Los Angeles

1,790 ()

18 hours
Montreal

1,910 ()

1 day

Healthcare in Sydney

Before your big move to Sydney, it’s wise to think about medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Australia. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of Living in Sydney, compared

If you want to become a Sydneysider, you should be aware of how much everything costs. Every country judges differently what should be expensive and what shouldn’t – for instance, cinema tickets cost the earth in the UK, while groceries are relatively cheap. And it’s exactly the opposite in Canada.

As ever though, your cost of living will depend on how much you’re earning, so factor that into your thinking. This is particularly important if you’re coming from a country like Canada – where the average wage is considerably lower than it is in Sydney – or if you’re moving from the US, where it’s much higher.

 Sydney
LondonNew YorkMontreal
Milk, bread, rice, eggs and cheese for a week

11.42 ()

12.39 ()

24.32 ()

17.44 ()

Inexpensive restaurant meal

10.81 ()

15 ()

15.62 ()

8.73 ()

Bottle of beer

4.32 ()

5 ()

5.47 ()

3.49 ()

Cinema ticket

10.81 ()

13 ()

12.49 ()

7.28 ()

Monthly gym membership

39.40 ()

42.29 ()

64.28 ()

20.52 ()

VAT
10%20%8.875%*14.975%**

(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of May 2019.)

*The US has no VAT, but most states and territories have sales taxes. New York City’s rate does not apply to groceries, food, prescription drugs, or clothing and shoes under $110.

**Canada also has sales taxes rather than VAT. It doesn’t apply to groceries.

Transferring money to Sydney

Speaking of living costs… if you’re about to move Sydney, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into Aussie dollars. 

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate. 

That’s why we’ve teamed up with TransferWise, an online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees. How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks. 

Join more than 7 million people and start using TransferWise today.

Public Transport in Sydney: how does it compare?

 SydneyLondonNew YorkMontreal
Cost★★★★★★★★★★
Availability★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Quality★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Speed★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Driving in Sydney: how does it compare?

 SydneyLondonNew YorkMontreal
Cost of a new Toyota Corolla

13,030 ()

20,810 ()

16,458 ()

12,707 ()

Cost of a litre of petrol

0.81 ()

1.30 ()

0.63 ()

0.74 ()

Cost of Bills in Sydney

It may be one of the more run-of-the-mill costs, but household expenses can blindside new Sydneysiders. This table should help to set your expectations before you start living in Sydney.

Bill (monthly)Sydney
LondonNew YorkMontreal
Gas

36 ()

53 ()

80 ()

45 ()

Water

54 ()

35 ()

31 ()

19 ()

Electricity

85 ()

50 ()

136 ()

22 ()

Internet

38 ()

32 ()

49 ()

36 ()

Income tax for average wage (including federal taxes)26.8%20%28.5%22.6%

Climate in Sydney

You might think that living in Sydney is all sun, sand and subtropical temperatures, but the coastal city has some surprises up its sleeve. The most important thing to remember is that because it’s in the southern hemisphere, summers in Australia come in December, January and February. That means you can look forward to Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the beach, while June, July and August will be cooler.

Does it snow in Sydney?

Almost never. The last time the Emerald City was turned bright white with snow was nearly two centuries ago, in 1836 – and there’s a possibility that was just hail. If you love winter sports or just seeing snowfall, you can head to other places in New South Wales, like the Blue Mountains and the Upper Hunter.

Average temperature per month in Sydney (according to the Australian government):

MonthTemperature (°C)
January
23
February23.1
March21.8
April19.3
May16.6
June13.9
July13
August14.3
September16.6
October18.6
November20
December21.9

Strewth! If you’re looking for heat, you’ll love living in Sydney.

Average rainfall per month in Sydney:

MonthRainfall (mm)
January96
February136.6
March109.4
April137
May117.6
June117.8
July80.9
August91.8
September69.2
October82.2
November104.8
December79.4

Housing costs in Sydney

One of the most crucial factors in deciding whether to move to a new city is, of course, whether you can afford to have a roof over your head. So before you turn your world upside-down (literally), have a browse of the different price tags you can expect to see attached to Sydney properties.

Cost

SydneyLondonNew YorkMontreal
Renting 1 bedroom (per month)

1,225 ()

1,465 ()

2,023 ()

559 ()

Renting 3 bedrooms
(per month)

2,085 ()

2,573 ()

3,903 ()

986 ()

Buying / metre ²

6,268 ()

10,177 ()

8,182 ()

2,526 ()

(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of May 2019.)

Average house price in Sydney: £481,501 (as of April 2019)

Average price for a two-bedroom flat in Sydney: £380,826 (as of March 2019)

Cheapest suburb to buy a house in Sydney: Mount Druitt (average: £325,357)

The best neighbourhoods in Sydney

Best for families: Newtown

There are plenty of family-friendly neighbourhoods to make prospective Sydneysiders feel right at home, but if you’re hoping to raise your kids to be just as stylish as you, head to Newtown. This suburb is 1.6 km² of gorgeous parks, top-rated schools, and a welcome spread of ethnic diversity among its 15,000 residents. Your children’s creativity should flourish here, with the number of excellent art schools reflected in the street art which has helped create Newtown’s reputation as a hipster favourite. This means you can expect to enjoy a range of high-quality, interesting restaurants and bars. Make sure to check out Mary’s, a Newtown institution which serves craft beer, delicious burgers and a punk rock vibe. Then take the kids to the Enmore, a 2,500-capacity music venue which has been graced by the Rolling Stones, KISS, and Oasis. Bonza!

Best for students: Surry Hills

Newtown is also great for students, but not quite as cool as Surry Hills. Just like east London and Brooklyn, the east Sydney suburb has gone from working class hub to a gentrified centre of culture. Surry Hills is within a stone’s throw of several major university campuses, including The University of Sydney, Charles Darwin University and La Trobe University – and lots of beaches, too. Get ready to enjoy a global cuisine as well: Surry Hills is home to some of the best food Australia has to offer, from Lebanese to Vietnamese. Treat yourself to a slice of carrot cake at the Bourke Street Bakery, and don’t miss Chur Burger. Located near the main railway station, the restaurant offers delectable gourmet burgers for as little as £6.50.

Best for singles: Darlinghurst

Following on our theme, Surry Hills also has plenty to offer if you’re single and ready to mingle/have a good time in whatever way you see fit. But your number one pick should be Darlinghurst, which forms the heart of Sydney’s LGBT+ community. As a result, the area has a sparkling nightlife full of fun bars, late-night cafes and nightclubs like The Sydney Hellfire Club. Check out the five-star rated Jack & Knife or one of the neighbourhood’s top-notch Indian restaurants for dinner, then hop over to Gelato Messina for your choice of 40 ice-cream flavours. You can even stop by the Sydney Jewish Museum and Australian Museum as well, because hey – you’re cultured.

Best for hipsters: Marrickville

If you’re looking for street food, eccentric avant garde fashion, and craft beer on every corner, Marrickville is for you. It makes good use of warehouses (as all hipster areas should), converting them into eateries, bars and living spaces. It also hosts parts of Sydney’s Art Month and Fringe Festival, and ranks third out of all 228 Sydney suburbs in the Urban Living Index. This means that as well as being an endlessly interesting place for all you hipsters, it’s also affordable, accessible and has an excellent sense of community. The neighbourhood’s food institution is Marrickville’s Pork Rolls, but you can find inventive culinary creations from around the world in this home to 26,000 culturally diverse people.

Working in Sydney

You’ve decided – quite rightly – that living in Sydney is everything you ever dreamed of and more. Now you need a job and a salary to ensure that you can live your best life in the Harbour City. If you want to start working in Sydney, there’s good news: the Sydney job market is ready and waiting, with a long history of enabling immigrants to fulfil their potential. If you’re a health professional or in education, you’ll be especially well-positioned, with the Australian government estimating huge growth for those sectors until at least 2023. Plus, as mentioned above, the average salary in Sydney is £36,660 – higher than both the US and the UK.

Work visas

You have 38 separate visa options if you’re looking to start working in Australia, which can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry, though: we’re here to simplify matters. You’ll most likely be sponsored to work in Sydney, either by your company – giving you an Employer Nomination Scheme visa – or by a local or federal government agency, giving you a Skilled Nominated visa.

In either case, you’ll be allowed to live and work in Australia permanently for a little over £2,000. Hopefully your bosses will cover this expense, but be sure to check. Also make sure that your employer puts their paperwork through in plenty of time, as you can expect to wait more than a year for your visa application to be processed.

Jobs in Sydney for students

If you want to go to one of Australia’s esteemed universities, you’ll need to pay £315 for a student visa which lasts up to five years – and that’s before you start to think about tuition fees and living costs. There’s no cause for panic, however. Most student visas enable you to spend up to 40 hours working every fortnight in term time, and however much you like during the holidays. Ask your local Australian embassy whether your visa will allow you to work.

Looking to start working in Sydney after you finish your studies? Make sure you apply for a Temporary Graduate visa in plenty of time. For around £840, you’ll be able to stay living and working in Australia for up to four more years.

Woman taking photo of the landscape after moving to Sydney

Sydney has countless opportunities to take beautiful photos

Schools in Sydney

Alongside a clean bill of health, the most important thing you can give your children is a high-quality education. Thankfully, Australia is world-class in this area, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranking the country highly among developed nations, above both the UK and US. NSW dominates the top schools list for both primary and secondary students, and Sydney is at the centre of this success. You can rest easy when helping your child choose where they’ll learn about the world – which is mandatory between the ages of six and 17 in NSW.

Best public school: James Ruse Agricultural High School

If you’re looking for the best of the best in public schools – or government schools, as they’re known in Australia – you can’t go wrong with James Ruse. The institution in Carlingford was one of several secondary schools to receive a 100% rating from Better Education in 2018, with maths and English provisions that can’t be beaten. Your child will also have their eyes opened to the world of agriculture – and with around 840 fellow students, they hopefully won’t be too overwhelmed.

Best private school: Sydney Grammar School

This Darlinghurst-based school has an imposing Neoclassical front which will bring to mind the Greek and Roman Empires, and the reputation to go with it. Around 1,900 students receive a world-class education at the school, though unlike James Ruse, it comes with a hefty price tag of £20,000 per year. It’s also a mere sixth in NSW – behind five public schools.

Conclusion

If you fancy living in a sunny, English-speaking city where adventure and white-sand beaches are just round the corner, Sydney is the place for you. While it can be scary to move thousands of miles from everyone and everything you know, Australia is the adventure of a lifetime, and after reading this page, you should be prepared to take Sydney by storm. So don’t hesitate: head on over to our International Container Shipping Costs page and see how much it would take to set you up in your new Australian home. Or, to start receiving quotes for shipping to Sydney, simply fill in this form and our professional suppliers will get back to you!