For fun in the sun, Sydney is hard to beat. With an incredible climate and outdoor lifestyle, the dynamic capital city of Australia’s New South Wales is attracting more and more British expats each year.
So, where should I live in Sydney?
Truthfully, wherever you are in the city, you will easily find a thriving expat community where you can make friends easily.
Sydney is a vast metropolis, and aside from the uncontestable appeal of sunshine, beers, beaches and barbies, it has a wealth of arts and culture, world class restaurants and bars, awesome nightlife, endless possibilities for sports and health activities, and boundless scenic natural beauty.
So if you’re thinking of moving to this sublime city and its stunning suburbs, which are the best neighbourhoods for expats?
Here’s our guide on where to live in Sydney…
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Where to Live in Sydney
Right at Sydney’s throbbing heart lies The City, a cluster of diverse areas including the Central Business District, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Sydney’s Chinatown, and Pyrmont.
The northern border of The City district kisses glamorous Sydney Harbour with its famous Bridge and Opera House, and there are many verdant parks and gardens including the city’s Botanic Gardens.
Different parts of The City neighbourhood attract different inhabitants, but it’s possible to find something to suit pretty much everyone wherever you are.
The Rocks is Sydney’s oldest and most historic neighbourhood and young professionals are particularly drawn here for the laid back vibe, scenic location and chic evening entertainments. At Haymarket is where you’ll find glossy maxi sized malls and street markets. In Pyrmont you can flash some cash at Sydney’s only casino ‘The Star’, or go for a jog along the waterfront.
- Abundance of entertainments, restaurants, and other activities
- Diverse district with something for everyone
- Close to CBD – convenient for commuting
- Lots of famous attractions
- Good atmosphere
- Great for young singles and couples
Once a haunt for gangsters, the Inner East has become gentrified over the years, and now offers some of Sydney’s most exclusive and attractive suburbs.
Paddington in the Inner East area is brimming with chic cafes and Australian designer boutiques, and Surrey Hills, bursting with hip bars, restaurants and clubs is a good choice for young singles and couples. The amusingly named Woolloomooloo is a glamorous harbourside suburb which has stylish apartments and some of Sydney’s finest restaurants. Kings Cross and Potts Point have electric nightlife, but for those seeking nature, the Centennial Parklands smother 890 acres with trees, plants and flowers.
- Safe and secure
- Excellent restaurants and bars
- Cool, trendy atmosphere
- Lots of green space
- Very expensive
- Less suitable for families than some other neighbourhoods
Also an expensive area, the Inner West’s northernmost stretch follows the Sydney Harbour coastline, with The City on its eastern side.
This is another area of the city that has undergone much improvement in recent years, and now provides an historical location filled with charming bookshops and cafes, great restaurants, bakeries, and shopping.
The atmosphere is bohemian and chilled out, and it’s a popular area with families. Browse the boutiques here for antiques and vintage items and rub shoulders with the alternative crowd.
Balmain with its plethora of pubs, cobbled streets and riverside location is particularly charming, and achingly cool Newtown is packed with excellent live music venues and pulls in the student and hipster crowds.
- Laid back part of the city
- Appropriate for all types of people, including families
- Beautiful surroundings
- Fantastic restaurants, bars and shopping
- Nightlife is quiet compared to other areas
Sydney’s Eastern beaches are cool and relaxed, yet sophisticated.
Bondi beach is one of the most popular tourist beaches and is crammed full of sunseekers every day of the week – it’s also the closest beach to the city and the entertainments on offer there, and is therefore appealing but expensive.
Bronte Beach and Clovelly are both beautiful and a lot less crowded than Bondi. They are the perfect spot for snorkelling or surfing, and there are a good assortment of cafes and restaurants here for when you need to refuel.
Coogee is one of Sydney’s oldest beachside suburbs, and aside from the compelling beach culture there is a bustling cafe, bar and restaurant scene.
- Beautiful scenery
- Relaxing atmosphere
- Family friendly
- Very expensive
- Limited entertainments on offer
Located just south of the Central Business District, the Inner South area incorporates the suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo. Both these suburbs have working class roots, a strong Aboriginal heritage and a close sense of community.
This area is constantly evolving and small local business thrive here, creating an artisanal, artistic urban hub in the city.
You’ll see plenty of street art here, and the Carriageworks is an artistic explosion of theatre, music, dance parties and mini-festivals, as well as being the venue for one of the best farmers markets in Sydney on Saturdays.
There’s a great cafe culture here, it’s a wonderful place to come for brunch. In the evenings there’s an energetic bar scene, where Sydney’s bright young things come to party.
- Inexpensive compared to other areas
- Creative, welcoming atmosphere
- Diverse with good cuisine options
- Less suitable for families
- Can be dangerous at night – caution is required
The glamour set have painfully elegant homes perched on sandstone cliff tops on the edge of Sydney’s eastern shores, dotted with sweet and picturesque little bays and beaches.
Inland on the west side, the Eastern Suburbs border with The City and the Inner South neighbourhoods. The leafy, tree lined streets are calm and cool, there is a wide selection of excellent schools for the kids, as well as chic cafes, high class restaurants, fashion stores and bars.
This is a very cosmopolitan area that is very popular with expats, but the proximity to both the beach and the city centre makes it an expensive place to live.
- Family friendly
- Good location for employment options
- Calm and safe
- Beautiful setting
- Very expensive
- Public transport is less available
Stretching all the way to the Royal National Park to the south of the city, this area boasts the stunning golden sand beaches of Cronulla, Wanda and Elouera.
The main suburb is The Sutherland Shire, which is so scenic that the locals have proudly dubbed it ‘God’s country’. 25km away from the city centre, it offers an ideal mix of coastal relaxation and cosmopolitan luxury for the well-heeled inhabitants.
A profusion of outdoor pleasures await nature lovers here, including hiking, kayaking, river cruises, sailing and surfing. There are many galleries, gardens, fine restaurants and chilled out bars and cafes where families, expats, and retirees enjoy a laid back lifestyle.
- Ideal for families
- Perfect for nature lovers
- Calm and tranquil
- Affordable properties away from the beach
- Not much nightlife
- Long journey to get to the city centre
- Beachside is expensive
The Northern Beaches are on a peninsula separated from the rest of the city and are reachable overland, or by ferry from Circular Quay in The City.
The Northern beaches stretch from their most southerly point at Manly Beach and end in the north at Palm Beach. The main coastal suburb of Manly has beaches on both Sydney Harbour and the Ocean.
Like much of Sydney, Manly has been continually changing, and blossoming into somewhere where an exciting bar scene and exceptional restaurants combine with surf and cafe culture.
Things are relaxed here, and it’s a popular weekend destination for those living in the centre of the city. It’s also right next to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park – a spectacular blend of watery vistas and bushland, and features more than 800 examples of Aboriginal sites and art.
- Heaven for nature lovers and sporty types
- Perfect for families
- Casual and affordable bars and restaurants
- Quiet, calm and safe
- Limited employment opportunities nearby
- Beachside living is expensive
What do you think — where’s best to live in Sydney?