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Australia is the most beautiful country to live in with its huge multicultural population and diverse range of opportunities for study, work and life in general. We moved to Sydney in 2012 from Auckland, New Zealand. Moving to Sydney was the best decision we made.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Living in Sydney – What’s It Like?

My first impression of Sydney compared to Auckland… Sydney is big, VERY big and busier than it was back in 2002 when I visited. Sydney has a lot of traffic light signals and you have to allow extra time just to get through them all unless of course you prefer to take the toll roads. Toll roads in Australia are found within metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Weekends can sometimes be far worse with more people heading to the malls or doing their weekly shopping. Sydney roads can become congested pretty fast especially around the more commercial areas like Parramatta.

On a plus note I have to say the weather is fantastic even for June and July which is winter here in Australia. We came in late autumn and the days were lovely and warm but early mornings and nights were chilly. If you’re emigrating here from a cold country then you will certainly appreciate the weather we get over here. Compared to NZ it hardly rains in Sydney which is great! I can hang my washing out without the fear of it starting to rain unexpectedly.

People here are very nice and it’s very multicultural which I really like. At the primary school where my daughter goes they have different routines and structure to their day compared to NZ. There is a nice community vibe to the place. In Sydney the schools start at 9.00am and children are not permitted to enter then classrooms until the bell has gone unlike in NZ where you drop your kids off in the classroom and leave. It’s better for us mums because it means we get the opportunity to meet other parents and have a chat.

The bus and train network here is excellent especially the railway system, with several lines and trains coming and going frequently. It’s very much like in the UK. You can buy multi day passes, which reduces the expenses considerably. Depending on the type of pass you buy you can also use it not just on trains, but also buses and ferries.

Sydney's public ferries

Sydney’s public ferries

My husband takes the bus to work every day as it’s so convenient. Transport in Sydney is very reliable and makes more sense to get the bus or train into work rather than drive. My husband would drive everywhere in New Zealand and this change is definitely a positive one. Not only does he feel fitter and alert in everyway, but his days are also more enjoyable. He buys a 10 Trip pass and it costs $36 which works out to be $3.60 on a single trip. Without the pass you would be paying $4.60 so you are saving a dollar per trip.

What I love most about Sydney is you are spoilt for choice on where to visit and where to plan your next weekend getaway. Every Sunday you can take your family out on a Family Funday Sunday ticket, which means you can travel anywhere in Sydney for $2.50 per person (under 4’s free). You have nothing like this anywhere else not that I know of and it’s fantastic.

This is a guilty pleasure but I’m enjoying the more variety of programs available to watch for free from Free to Air. As soon as our TV arrived we started tuning all our channels and were amazed with how many we got to watch for free.

Late-night-shopping in Sydney is on Thursdays so it can get pretty busy after 5 with everyone heading out to the malls. All the shops stay open late and there’s also lots of stalls at the mall offering restaurant food, books etc.

Sydney has a very family-oriented culture. You see a lot of families with kids of all ages, going out together. It’s a good place for couples and families and has a nice healthy balance in life between work and social life.

The downside to living here is the cost of living which is very high. Houses prices have sky rocketed in 2 years and so finding a place to buy is not even an option anymore. It’s very hard to find something affordable and decent and when you do find something it’s gone within the blink of an eye. The same goes for finding a rental Accommodation. Quality of housing isn’t that good. There’s a lot of do up houses and since we want to go for a modern nice family house supply is very limited since there’s not much new construction.

Restaurants and grocery shopping is better than New Zealand. You get more choices and it’s Cheaper. Best place for grocery shopping in my book would be Aldi, They are affordable, have good quality merchandise and staff are very friendly. The variety of food is unbelievable from Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Korean you name it Sydney has it all.

The Majority of homes in Sydney have windows installed with a fly screen that allows fresh air in while keeping out flies, wasps, bees and mosquitoes so in hot summers you can leave the window open without having to worry about flies getting in the house.

I can’t end the article without mentioning something about the beaches. Coming from New Zealand where beaches are everywhere the first thing I wanted to find out about was the beaches. Unfortunately they are not close by but I have to say Sydney has some pretty amazing beaches. Bondi has to be my favourite. Although it can be very busy if you are lucky enough to go on a quiet day you will not leave disappointed. The sands are beautiful and white and the waves incredible. If you are after some great beaches away from the city then visit the Northern beaches an area in the northern coastal suburbs of Sydney, located near the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Tourists and Sydneysiders enjoy the waves at Manly Beach

Tourists and Sydneysiders enjoy the waves at Manly Beach

The Interest connection compared to NZ is better and faster, but when you arrive don’t expect it to be set up straightaway. Setting up internet from my experience takes times here maybe a couple of weeks. The same goes for electricity, gas, and phone. In NZ setting up these things would only take a couple of days.

Well those were my first impressions. What can I say 2 years on? I love it here and would not leave this beautiful country. My advice would be to give yourself time and be patient. You will make new friends and find a new life for yourself and when that happens you will feel right at home.

For more information on moving to Australia from New Zealand, follow the link here.