Moving to Sydney
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.
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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.
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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.
|Milk, bread, rice, eggs and cheese for a week|| |
|Inexpensive restaurant meal|| |
|Bottle of beer|| |
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(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.
Public Transport in Sydney: how does it compare?
Driving in Sydney: how does it compare?
|Cost of a new Toyota Corolla|| |
|Cost of a litre of petrol|| |
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||London||New York||Montreal|
|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):
Strewth! If you’re looking for heat, you’ll love living in Sydney.
Average rainfall per month in Sydney:
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.
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|Renting 3 bedrooms|
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(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of May 2019.)
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.
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.
Sydney has countless opportunities to take beautiful photos
Expat healthcare in Sydney
As long as you’re getting one of the visas described in the Work Visas section above, you can get treated for free, as universal healthcare is available to all citizens and permanent residents living in Oz. This means the Australian healthcare system operates at the same level as almost every other developed country on earth. Bless the six stars on the Aussie flag. You’ll even be able to benefit from subsidised mental health services, thanks to the Better Access Scheme.
Confusingly for those of you coming from the US, Australia’s government-funded healthcare programme is called Medicare. You can enrol for Medicare online – just make sure you have your passport, travel documents and permanent visa handy. When you’re living in Australia, the healthcare system is funded by you and your fellow residents through a 2% income tax. People who earn less than £11,700 are exempt from the charge, while those whose annual salary is £50,000 or higher are taxed more to encourage them to get private insurance.
Do you need private insurance?
If you don’t bring home the big bucks, forget about it. Don’t bother going private, and don’t spend a single second worrying about it. After all, Australia has the fifth-best healthcare service in the world, according to a global study in 2016 – 18 places above the UK, and 24 ahead of the US.
But depending on your income, it may be wise to get private insurance if you’re living in Sydney. If you opt for private coverage, you’ll help Australian healthcare to stay excellent, reducing the slight strain which is inevitable in any health programme that serves tens of millions of people. As well as making the world a better place, you’ll also avoid the Medicare levy surcharge, which penalises high earners who don’t take out private insurance.
Can you use the local healthcare services?
Absolutely, as long as you’re a permanent resident. If not, you’ll have to take out private insurance to cover you during your stay Down Under. For those of you who are making the trip on a student visa, you’re legally obligated to get Overseas Student Health Cover with one of these six government-approved providers.
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.
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!