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5 tips for moving to Sydney: What you need to know

What you’ll need to know if you’re looking to live in Sydney

A young woman plays on her phone on a patch of grass near the Sydney Harbour Bridge
A young woman plays on her phone on a patch of grass near the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Considering three of Australia’s top 10 universities are located in Sydney, it’s little surprise it’s a popular destination for international students. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you’re looking to live in Sydney while you study.

1. There is a lot to see and do in Sydney

Sydney is home to many of Australia’s star attractions including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It also boasts a nonstop calendar of cultural events, celebrations (including the best New Year’s Eve fireworks show in the country), world-class sporting events and endless dining options.

Within an hour or two of the CBD, there are numerous beautiful places to explore, many accessible by public transport. The stunning Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters rock formation are worth a day trip, while you can easily spend a weekend on the South Coast exploring its beaches and national parks.

2. Sydney weather is mostly warm

You’ll be glad to be in the same city as famous Bondi Beach (and the many other beaches Sydney has on offer) when the great weather hits. While it rarely gets too cold compared to the rest of the world, peak swimming season is December to March, with the weather staying above 25 degrees Celsius most of the time. The colder season comes from May to August, getting as cold as 8 degrees Celsius.

3. Public transport is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Sydney

Public transport in Sydney includes trains, buses, ferries and the light rail, and you’ll need an Opal card to use it. You can use your Opal card on the transport network extending beyond the city to the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions surrounding Sydney.

Sydney buses travel through the city and beyond almost 24 hours a day, and trains only stop running between 12am and 4am. The Harbour City Ferries can be used as a means of getting around, or as a great way to take a scenic tour of the city. They travel to an array of harbourside destinations including Taronga Zoo and suburbs such as Balmain, Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Rose Bay, Manly and west along the Parramatta River.

A group of friends with towels in tow chat as they walk next to the beach

4. The cost of living in Sydney is high

Unfortunately, access to some of the best schools, sights and services does not come cheap, and many universities and schools suggest coming with at least $25,000 per annum to cover the cost of living in Sydney. Rent is a big part of this cost, with the average rent per week in Sydney between A$350 - A$450 with a rental bond of A$300 - A$900.

5. There are a lot of areas to choose from when it comes to Sydney accommodation

According to the real estate experts Domain, the top choices for university student rentals in Sydney include:

  • Macquarie University: Marsfield, North Ryde and Eastwood are close to Macquarie University. The student population has grown to over 34,000, creating a vibrant student culture in nearby suburbs. These three neighbouring suburbs offer the most affordable rentals, with Marsfield being closest to the campus.

  • The University of Sydney and The University of Technology Sydney: Camperdown, Ultimo, Newtown and Glebe are ideal for students at (or near) the University of Sydney and UTS.

  • The University of New South Wales (UNSW): Randwick, Kensington, Coogee and Bondi Junction are nearby options for students studying at UNSW. The university campus is located on a sprawling 38-hectare campus in Kensington and many students choose to live in on-campus residential communities. Those who prefer off-campus living can find rentals in nearby Randwick or Bondi Junction. Coogee is popular with beach lovers and is only a short bus ride away from UNSW.

  • The University of Western Sydney (UWS): Penrith and Parramatta are close to UWS. Both suburbs offer a range of shops and restaurants.

Thinking about making the move to Australia? Get health cover that meets your visa requirements in less than five minutes. Learn more about our international student cover at OSHC.

Are you looking to move to Australia for work? Find out more about our working visitor cover options here.

For more information about all things Australia, visit the dedicated Life in Australia section of The Check Up.

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