Sydney has to be one of the most beautiful cities to live in the world. Yes, I may well be biased but it is physically stunning, set as it is around the magnificent harbour. Sydney also has a very typically Australian laid back attitude to life. Yes, we have a lot of sunshine, a lot of beaches and yes – just one or two wild creatures. When we talk to people overseas they think that Australia is a long way away and they are right. The next thing that people talk about is how special Australia is and how very beautiful Sydney is.
A massive bonus also about living in Sydney is the food. We are very lucky to be a multicultural country so everyday of the week can be a different cuisine. I think that in the last week we have eaten Thai, Vietnamese, Lebanese and I have actually cooked by picking up fresh as ingredients.
I want you to remember all of this when I tell you about what it costs to live in such an idyllic environment as Sydney. I will make sure that every so often I throw in a photo so that you look and see that it really is worth it.
Sydney and indeed Australia is very very expensive. It was rated as the 5th most expensive in the world in May 2014 just slightly behind Singapore as the most expensive, Paris, Oslo and Zurich. Melbourne came in at number 6. Having traveled to all but Oslo, I can tell you there is not much in it and in fact I would have put Paris below us and Zurich as well as we were recently at both of these cities. Here is a reminder of the sun and the surf of this stunning city.
There are some costs that you cannot avoid and some that you can minimize as much as possible. Let’s look at your most expensive outlay. Accommodation. Sydney reigns supreme as the most expensive city in Australia and it is not a pretty figure that I am going to give you.
To buy a property is outrageous, though heading further away from the CBD will be slightly less painful, but not much. To rent, as you would do is not any prettier either. The cheapest 2 bedroom with one bathroom in the city CBD I found today is $US600. I have no idea on its condition. If you wanted a bed sit you would come out of it better, but then many bedsits are in university buildings so if you like a bunch of young people studying around you ? you could consider this as an option.
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Apartments in Sydney are rarely furnished. So you will more than likely have to include your white goods – fridges and washing machines as well as basic furniture. If you head further away from the CBD to a suburb like Bankstown, which is about 40 minutes by train to Central Station, you will be looking around the $US350 mark per week. I have no idea what these units would actually be like, but as they are the cheapest I could find I would imagine that they are fairly basic. Don’t forget that you will also be required to pay a bond up front, which is generally one months rent in advance and also often be required to provide references or referees to say that you will be a good tenant. It is now time for another beautiful photo of the very beautiful Sydney.
On top of your rent you will need to pay for your utilities like electricity, water and heating and that would be about $240.00 per month according to the latest figures from the Internet and mobile phone will set you back about $60 a month. A mobile or cell phone is not very cheap either but shopping around will get you a relatively good deal ..comparatively speaking.
Transportation – Don’t buy a car unless if you are here for a short time as you will then need to pay for car registration, your licence and car insurance. Catch public transport. If you choose to live further from the CBD then a monthly pass will cost you about $190, for a multi pass. Check with Sydney Trains, as it is dependent upon where you are staying. http://www.sydneytrains.info
Health Insurance – We have an excellent and very comprehensive health care system and that may help you after the shock of reading the above information. As a 457 Visa holder you are must have private health insurance. However there are 10 countries that have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia: Finland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands and United Kingdom. If you are from one of these countries and have a 457 Visa you may apply for Medicare once you arrive in Australia, and that is a good thing.
Eating is overrated but necessary. Not really .. but I am trying to work with you here. Cooking for yourself is the most affordable option. There are countless supermarkets and markets to pick up lots of fresh food. We are one of the most multicultural cities in the world, so really it is whatever you choose to buy, you will find. I just did a quick online shop to double check prices. Milk – $2.29 for 2 litres full cream milk, but there are lots of different milks and lots of different prices. I know others have told us that our groceries are expensive but we found them relatively similar to Switzerland, which may or may not be a good thing.
The universal indicator is the Big Mac and apparently the cost varies according to whoever the franchisee is, and can be purchased for anywhere between 4.80 – $8.00+. In that respect, Australia is lower than other countries, but .. we are talking Sydney here, so …my universal indicator is a good cup of coffee, which you definitely do get in Australia and these will start at a bit over $4.
OK, that is the cost of living but .. there is so much to see and to do in Sydney that is free or very reasonable. Walk around the harbour, take a bus to Bondi Beach, take a ferry to Manly, drop into the art gallery. Watch street performers at Circular Quay and just generally sit back and maybe buy yourself a beer at look at this amazing country downunder.
We did not realize that we lived in such an expensive country for a long time; we just thought that everywhere else was a bargain. We do know however, that the sun is shining, the people are friendly and that it is all worth it. It is you know.
This is a guest post by Paula McInerney of Contented Traveller. Paula and Gordon like the shabby chic houseboat in Amsterdam, the tatami mat in a ryokan in Japan, the cave house in Goreme. They do on occasion do the 5 star like an over water bungalow in Vanuatu or Bora Bora. They like to ski, to have backstreet massages in Chiang Mai and to have a beer with locals in Ghent. They are masters at organising their travels and sharing that with their readers.