Sydney has some amazing places to live – Just How do You Choose?
Sydney has brilliant beaches and the harbour on its doorstep, as well as great inner city suburbs with edge to satisfy mum, dad and children. There are numerous options, depending on your lifestyle and budget but just how do you choose where to settle down?
Great family suburbs in the East are plentiful, and have good schools, but can come at a price. In the Waverly Council area, Queens Park, Bronte, Tamarama and Clovelly are lovely, as are nearby Randwick, Coogee and a little further out (but more affordable) Maroubra. North Bondi is also family friendly for those looking for a more famous Bondi beach address, but as you’d expect is generally more expensive. Randwick town centre has a shopping mall and is within an easy bus ride (30 minutes) of the CBD. The Spot in Randwick is a lively restaurant and café area, and you’ll be in walking distance of Centennial Park and Coogee beach. Best of all for families, the public schools in Randwick have excellent reputations.
Quieter and less expensive than say Manly and Bondi Beach, Coogee is by the beach and public swimming baths, has access to stunning coastal walks and playgrounds. Buses provide terrific access to the city from the East (around 30 to 40 minutes to the CBD), and trains run from the main hub of Bondi Junction. Bondi Junction features one of Sydney’s largest shopping centres, Westfield, for all shopping needs.
In the Northern suburbs, there are many great schools and suburbs, including Mosman just across the Harbour Bridge and Dee Why and Balgowlah further along on the northern beaches. Manly is a very popular family friendly suburb, busier and more built up however than beach suburbs further along. It does have a convenient location however, with ferry services making it easy to access the CBD. Of course, is you miss the last ferry, a taxi across the Harbour Bridge can be long and expensive. About 10 kilometres north of Manly, Dee Why and similar suburbs are less expensive and less crowded – a lovely leisurely pace of life with the ocean nearby and lots of parks and walks. Of course many consider it a long way from the city centre. Mosman and areas close to the Harbour Bridge like Kirribilli are more suited to those who don’t mind apartment living, with more boutique style shopping than chain stores and upmarket living and cafes to choose from.
For those working in the city, places in the Inner West are hard to beat for proximity (just 15 minutes by train) and affordability. Best of all, Erskineville and Alexandria have a community vibe that’s nice for families, and large green parks and cafes for mums and bubs.
For singles & couples
For singles and couples, being close to the harbour and beach is wonderful, as is being close to the city for work. Bondi Beach and Manly are popular for obvious reasons, but other areas like Balmain, Potts Point and emerging precincts in Rosebery are also popular because of location and lifestyle. Potts Point, Rosebery and Newtown are retro and cosmopolitan cool, where professionals live beside students, gays and straights.
The Inner West suburbs are also really multicultural which makes for a deliciously diverse cuisine scene. On the other hand, bay side suburbs like Balmain are big on pub culture, boutique markets and the leafy outdoors with bike paths and walks around the water.
Closer to the city, Pyrmont is in great proximity to the central business district (a short bus, monorail or walk across Darling Harbour), and has new and older apartments depending on budget and preference. It is ideal for those looking for convenience and who don’t mind spending on rent to save costs and travel time to get into the city for work. In this location, a car is not necessary. This area has a great restaurant scene also, being so close to the heart of the city, so is perfect for entertaining.
Potts Point has similar selling points, but is closer to Wooloomooloo Bay and Kings Cross, so offers ‘elegant excess’ and hip, cool eateries, bars and clubs for those who want to work hard, and play hard, in a central location. Both the eastern suburbs and inner west are accessible by bus and or train, while Manly and Balmain are accessible by bus and ferry (which makes for a more scenic way to return home each day if working in the city). Unless living in the CBD or areas like Kings Cross/Potts Point and Pyrmont, travel time to the areas listed above can vary from 30 minutes to more than an hour in normal circumstances, and longer in peak hour traffic.
When moving to an unfamiliar city it’s always important to get a feel for the different areas. Don’t rush into buying/renting straight away without having a well-informed opinion of the various suburbs, especially if you need to choose schools for children. The last thing you want to have to do is travel across town to battle the school run twice a day! A popular and practical concept being adopted by many people these days is to commit to just a short term stay in a serviced apartment in Sydney. This way you can utilise your time to really play ‘tourist’ and decide for yourself which area has housing which is affordable for your budget, reputable schools, and plentiful facilities. Going about it this way means that you have more chance of making the right decision, saving you time and money in the long run.