Sydney has many distinct areas with completely separate advantages and styles to them. Whether you like to spend your time socialising, living in an area populated with other people from the same cultural background, being outdoors, or even if you prefer the quiet moment’s life can offer, you can find an area to live in that suits your needs.
The city is a great place to live if you like the hustle and bustle and close proximity to everything. Public transport in the city is the best in all of Sydney as nearly all modes stop or start from there. You have access to ferries, trains, buses, taxis and light rail.
The city lifestyle is social. There are galleries, shopping, restaurants and theatres galore, as well as more outdoor gems such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Domain and Hyde Park.
The city living best suits singles and is a popular starting place for expats, although many move on to elsewhere in the greater Sydney area within a few months. Starting in the city itself gives newcomers a real taste of Sydney, but also the opportunity to get their bearings to better decide where they would like to live depending on their independent situations and preferences. City housing consists of mostly apartments and terraces houses.
International Schools International Grammar School
Private Schools Includes Sydney Grammar School, St Andrews Cathedral College, SCEGS Darlinghurst. For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets There are many different supermarkets in the city from standard supermarkets like Woolworths to gourmet food halls like David Jones to fresh produce markets such as the Sydney Seafood Markets.
Restaurants From 5 star restaurants in the major hotels, to waterside dining at Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, there are a wide range of restaurants to choose from. There are areas of Italian, Spanish and Chinese cuisine also both located in the city.
Cinemas Event Cinemas, Broadway Hoyts, Dendy Cinema Circular Quay, Entertainment Quarter Hoyts ,IMAX Darling Harbour.
Sport Facilities Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre- Ultimo, Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool- The Domain, King George V Recreation Centre- The Rocks, Pyrmont Community Centre.
The Eastern Suburbs refers to the area that fills between the CBD and the coast on the south side of the Harbour Bridge. It was one of the first areas to be populated in Sydney and is set across very hilly peninsulas that line the edge of the harbour. It reaches the coast and on the beach side is a stretch of beaches from Bondi to Coogee, all very popular with English backpackers. Because of the abundance of hills there are constant views out to the harbour or ocean and it is a spectacular place to live. Keep in mind that it carries the appropriate price tag.
The suburb of Paddington is filled with terrace houses, many renovated and the suburb lies either side of Oxford Street, the main road from the city to Bondi. Pubs, restaurants and galleries line this road and the Moore Park Entertainment Quarter is here with cinemas, restaurants, bowling alleys and weekend markets.
It is one of the most densely populated areas of Sydney and housing ranges from apartment living to large estate type houses that were established by the first families to come to Sydney. It is a very affluent area and has many private schools.
There is only one train line between the city and Bondi and a bus network that services the suburbs in between.
International Schools The International French School of Sydney – Lycee Condorcet
Private Schools Include Cranbrook, Waverley College, Newington College. For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA supermarket chains can be found in most retail areas. The main supermarkets are in Edgecliffe and Bondi Junction.
Restaurants The restaurants in the Eastern Suburbs are of a high standard and are mostly priced from the middle to high range. Key areas for restaurants are in Paddington, Edgecliff, Bondi Junction and Bondi.
Cinemas Event Cinemas Bondi Junction, Randwick Ritz, Chauvel Cinemas, Academy Twin Paddington.
Sport Facilities Moore Park Tennis Club, Bondi Surf Club, Bondi Beach Golf Club, Eastern Suburbs Tennis Club, Royal Randwick Racecourse, Royal Sydney Golf Club, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Centennial Park Horse Riding.
North Sydney to Mosman
The area that spans from the Northern side of the Harbour Bridge East towards Manly at the coast mirrors the Eastern Suburbs on the opposite side of Sydney Harbour.
It is called Lower North Shore and its most popular suburbs include North Sydney, Neutral Bay, Cammeray, Cremorne, The Spit and Mosman. Like the Eastern Suburbs there is no real train link but the main arterial road, Military Road, is a hive of buses that service the hilly bays and suburbs.
This area is also very affluent but not quite on the scale of the Eastern Suburbs. Being on the other side of the Harbour Bridge it enjoys the proximity of the city without the commercial buzz. Military Road is lined with restaurants and the area has many schools and childcare facilities.
International Schools None
Private Schools Includes Redlands, Monte St Angelo, Shore, Loreto Kirribilli, St Aloysius, Queenwood . For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have outlets all along Military Road.
Restaurants Military Road is lined with restaurants of all types of cuisines from high end restaurants to casual eateries.
Cinemas Event Cinemas Mosman, Cremorne Orpheum.
Sport Facilities Fitness First Gym Mosman, North Sydney Swimming Pool, Cammeray Golf Club, North Sydney Tennis.
North Sydney to Hornsby
This section of the North Shore runs along the train line and Pacific Highway and has many convenient suburbs along those stops. Chatswood is the most well known and has been developing as a commercial hub for some time.
One area that is just off the train line and is very popular for families and expats is Lane Cove. It has developed as a nice community with a shopping mall and supermarkets to service the area.
In general this area has well established homes with large trees and a high quality of suburban living. With regards to recreation there is the Lane Cove National Park and the Ku-ing-Gai National Parks, two stunning natural parks.
International Schools None
Private Schools Includes Barker College, Roseville Girls, Ravenswood, Knox Grammar.For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have outlets all along Pacific Highway.
Restaurants Main areas for restaurants include Crows Nest, St Leonards, and Chatswood. All suburbs stretching further along the line have various restaurants.
Cinemas Roseville Cinemas, Chatswood Hoyts, Hornsby Odeon, Hornsby Event Cinemas.
Sport Facilities Lane Cove Aquatic Centre, Chatswood Golf Club.
Manly to Northern Beaches
Manly is located 30 minutes from the CBD on the Northern Coastline of the Sydney Harbour. It easily accesses the CBD by direct ferry (20mins) by bus and by car. Manly is the start of the Northern Beaches and the most popular suburb for backpackers and singles as it has sun, sand, bars and restaurants, all in a very small basin.
After Manly the most popular suburbs are Queenscliff and Dee Why. Past Dee Why the distance becomes a consideration as the commute from the CBD is about 45 minutes. There are express buses from Dee Why that take approx 30 minutes in special bus lanes to the CBD.
Except for Manly which is mainly apartments, the areas provide very low density living with mainly houses with gardens. The area is relatively flat compared to the hills of the Eastern Suburbs and North Shore.
Being a coastal area, beach, sport and outdoor activities are very popular.
International Schools Sydney Japanese School, The German International School Sydney.
Private Schools Includes Stella Marris, St Lukes Grammar School, St Augustines, St Pauls Manly.For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets Large supermarkets are located in Balgowlah, Manly, Dee Why and at Warringah Mall – the main shopping mall for the Northern Beaches.
Restaurants The main restaurant areas are in Manly and Dee Why and other suburbs in between have local restaurants. There is a great restaurant as Long Reef Club looking over the water.
Cinemas Manly Cinemas, Warringah Mall Hoyts.
Sport Facilities Manly Golf Club, Long Reef Golf Club, Northern Beaches Sports Club, Manly Yacht Club.
The above areas are the main areas for expat relocation. Other options include:
Balmain, Canada Bay, Parramatta River
These suburbs are all riverside suburbs that are dotted along the Parramatta River. Accessible by ferry, road and bus, they are increasingly popular due to their modern developments and new shopping centres.
There are several bike and running tracks that run alongside the river making these areas very pleasant and affordable places for expats to live.
Balmain is the most established suburb of these and has many terrace houses and narrow streets, which can become fairly congested. As you move up the river there are newer apartment developments along the water.
Each area has its own shopping centres and restaurants but only Balmain would be considered a social hub. Rhodes which is located at Homebush Olympic site has a large shopping centre and Sydney’s only IKEA shopping centre.
International Schools None
Private Schools For full list of Sydney private schools visit Private Schools Directory.
Supermarkets There are Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in Balmain, Canada Bay and at Homebush.
Restaurants Balmain is a hub of restaurants and bars and its main street Darling Street can easily be walked on foot. There are several local restaurants in the other suburbs but Balmain would be the main hub.
Cinemas Reading Cinemas Rhodes
The Inner West is more popular with a middle socio-economic group and diversity and arts are a major flavor of this vibrant area. King Street in Newtown is the social hub of the Inner West. Along its main street, King Street, are many restaurants, bookstores, alternative gift and fashion stores, bargain shopping, pubs, small theatres, live music and artist run galleries. It’s an area that consists primarily of young, single and childless couples but there are also young families and the area is family friendly.
The area is not very green and without the lure of the river or coast, it is definitely reminiscent of inner city living.
Public transport is good with buses and trains connecting the Inner West to the rest of Sydney. If you like live music, art, and alternative culture then this area is ideal for you.
Private Schools Trinity College
Supermarkets Chain supermarkets Coles, IGA and Woolworths are in all major retail hubs. There is also a wide selection of international foods which you can purchase at delicatessans and specialised grocery stores.
Restaurants There is a good range of low to middle price range restaurants. The Inner West has a prominent cafe culture and the many cafes that dot the area’s streets are busy with a strong weekend trade. Marrickville has some great cheap and authentic Vietnamese restaurants.
Cinemas Dendy Newtown, Palace Cinemas Leichardt
Sport Facilities Sydney University Sport Centre
The West is the most affordable area of Sydney and as a consequence, it is home to many new families. Culturally, it is a richly diverse area. Public transport is good with trains, buses and ferries linking the area to the rest of Sydney. However, because it is some distance from the CBD, it can up to an hour to commute. Accommodation consists of freestanding houses and apartments.
International schools None
Private Schools St Pauls Grammar School, Penrith Anglican College, Kings College.
Supermarkets Chain supermarkets are in most shopping areas. There are also many small independent grocery stores that specialise in specific cultural foods.
Restaurants Sydney’s West enjoys the most culturally diverse and authentic range of restaurant fare. There is a large Vietnamese community in Cabramata as well as Chinese in Parramatta. Each suburb has its own little hub of restaurants.
Cinemas Event Cinemas Parramatta
Sport Facilities Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Penrith Whitewater Kayak.