Fashion / Travel / Lifestyle

7 September 2018

20 things you need to know before you move to Sydney

moving to Sydney


It’s been nearly a year – what!

Last December I moved from London to Sydney, I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I left the UK. BOY, what year it’s been.

It’s been eventful to say the least; full of some mega highs and a few occasional lows, not much surprise considering I literally uprooted my London life (which I loved BTW) and moved to the other side of the world. But, I would not have changed this whole experience for all anything. I have experienced new work situations, made great friends, continued my favourite friendships, been able to live in another country, increased my independence and most importantly, finally bagged the love of my life. It’s been a pretty busy year!


moving to Sydney



If there is anyone thinking of changing things up, then I say, DO IT. 
The saying, ‘in the end you’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take,’ is honestly so true.



moving to Sydney


So, whilst I am now on the final leg of my Aussie adventure – 3 months to go to be precise – I wanted to share a little bit of what I know now. A few pearls of wisdom that would have been helpful had I known them before the move, but in hindsight, it’s all one big learning curve and not knowing them has only enhanced my journey now, ya get me?

1. Sponsorship laws have changed a lot, so do you research!

There are lists that depict what careers are possible to be covered by sponsorship and what careers aren’t. You also need 5 years’ experience in one career (this career must be on the list) – my CV is a tad topsy turvy having worked in sales, marketing, editorial and PR so I didn’t have the 5 years solid back-to-back experience that was needed. I probably could have fudged it but that means a lot of favour-hunting from past employers and lying on such an important document which just didn't didn’t sit well with me.

2. Defacto is an option

This is where you can go on your significant other’s sponsorship. But, at a cost! A whole 8k. And it can still get turned down. You have to have a lot of paper work to prove your couple status and it can be a bit of a rigmarole. One of them being 6 months proof of living together. At the time of having to talk ‘future’, my BF and I didn’t have the appropriate docs to enter for defacto and decided to use that 8k to fuel our wanderlust.

3. Have a student loan? Make sure you tell them you’re off.

Still not sure on this one tbh. I went to university and was paying my monthly bit back in the UK but stupidly forgot to tell them I was off for a year or, perhaps forever. My mum has had a couple of letters and I have tried to get in touch with them to be like ‘sorryyyyy!’ but The Student Loans Company are the most impossible people to get hold of so, I guess you could say it has kind of gone out my head again. I’ll be back next year and I’ll start paying it again – I promise!

4. Save, save, save

One thing I was told but not really prepared for was how expensive everything is here. EVERYTHING. It’s actually something I still struggle to get my head around. From drinks in a bar to your favourite shampoo brand, it’s all pricey AF. Supermarkets will blow your mind, even the meat and fish feel so expensive compared to the UK. You also need a certain amount on your bank account to enter the country on a working holiday Visa – I think it amounts to about 3k GBP. You are unlikely to get checked at the airport but, if you do, they will ask for proof of your bank balance to prove you can fund your travels until you find a job. We printed off bank statements so we could prove everything sat in our UK accounts, to show that we were able to live off of that and have money to transfer into our Aussie accounts when we ready to set them up.

5. Australia’s banking is the nuts

After we had recovered from the jet-lag we headed straight to the bank to set up our current accounts. We went with Commonwealth, its banking app is unreal and tbh, I’ll deffo miss it when I come back to the UK. Don’t know why it’s so good, it just is.

6. Australia’s supermarkets are not the nuts

OMG, honestly, the UK doesn’t know they are born in terms of food shopping. Our supermarkets kind of work on a tier level – M&S and Waitrose if ya feeling fancy or Asda and Lidl if it’s payday week. Not to mention Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op – the list goes on! Supermarkets here are crap. It’s as simple as that. They do have a lidl but that’s about as good as it gets. Oh, and one of their main supermarkets is called Woolworths – weird. It sells food and not the pick ‘n’ mix that you used to get with your mum on the Saturday shop to your local high-street.

7. Australia’s transport system is shocking

Ok, so I am trying not to be a Debbie downer here but I have to be honest, public transport is not good in Oz. Primarily the buses. Their trains are OK, but their buses are enough to force you into an early grave. They never turn up and if they do they are early or late, making the timetables totally obsolete. It’s really quite stressful, my blood boils just writing this! I can’t work out if it’s because I moved from London where buses, trains and tubes just go, and go often. Getting used to it has definitely been a frustratingly low point of this whole move. Never again shall I moan about TFL or a tube strike.

8. Traffic crossings here are crazy!

I can’t tell you how much time I have spent stood waiting for the little green man to wave me across the road safely. The traffic crossings in Sydney take forever, it’s great for a quick Instagram scroll, not so great if your bus has (by some miracle) turned up at the bus stop across the road.

9. Coffee is great here

I knew Aussies loved their coffee but boy do they know what a decent cup of proper coffee tastes like. I swear every cafe I visit it gets better. I constantly find myself saying ‘this place does great coffee’, to every single coffee shop I have been in!

10. Viewing houses here is weird – very American!

No such thing as a private viewing here! Nope, you book a slot and turn up to a queue of people all hoping to bag the perfect apartment. It’s cut throat. If you like the place your viewing then be prepared to sell yourself, you have to write up a little bio about why you would be a great fit. It’s hilarious really. The classic old line of, ‘hardworking professionals who enjoy dinner with friends and quiet chilled evenings in’ will be used over and over again. Also, hardly any of the houses here come furnished. So it’s all well and good getting your deposit together but you have to kit out the entire gaff too. Money, money, money!

11. If you don’t have a job in the CBD then you can basically kiss goodbye to a city lifestyle

I never worked in the CBD (Central Business District) my first job was in Bondi Junction and my next (and current) was in Alexandria. My two close pals Gabs and Yols both work in the city so still get a busy buzz that I sometimes find myself missing. Whenever I go into the city, because I don't know it at all, I am completely lost, and it’s not even that big!

12. Sydney gets cold

OK so this would be one of the most important ones. Sydney has seasons, Sydney has a winter! I actually had no idea, how naive am I. It can get really cold during the months of June and August, granted it’s a snippet compared to the UK but I just wasn’t prepared for it. None of the houses here have radiators so you can kiss goodbye to snuggly evenings in front of the TV. You’ll be more likely huddled around a blow heater in about a million layers.

13. Cost of living is high

Any sought after city of course the rental prices are going to be expensive. It’s a catch 22 really. You pay more to live more central where you’ll find the rent crazy, but in doing so, you’ll find it easier and cheaper to get about. I moved to a house share with my BF a couple of months back and we pay super cheap rent (great for saving!) BUT, I live far away from work, night out options, the shops – BUT, the most gorgeous beach is at the end of my road. It’s a tough one, I guess just what works for you at the time! I would just really recommend you do you research on each of the suburbs of Sydney before you choose.

14. Get a TFN number

This is a Tax File Number and something you need to legally be able to work in Australia. You can apply online and it's a super easy process. Find out more here. 


15. It's all about brunch

Sydney knows how to do brunch. There some really cool places to enjoy your fave avo on toast combo and the likelihood of it being delicious is pretty high. You can also get your boozy brunch fix here too, in fact I wrote an article for House of Coco about my top 3 favourites. 


16. Laws are tight when it comes to drinking

Choose your venues wisely because with some bars and clubs you won't be able to get in after 1pm due to Sydney's lock out laws. House parties, beach BBQs and day drinking is more the vibe here. The city is dead at night, so don't expect to move to Sydney for its banging nightlife. This was one of the reasons we decided to make the move out of London, we needed a break and Sydney definitely enabled us calm our tits on the going-out front. Just what the doctor ordered. Don't get me wrong, there are some absolutely gorgeous and very fun bars about, you just have to know where to look. 

17. Health

You definitely feel more inclined to move your body here, being active is the name of the game and it makes for such an amazing lifestyle. Whether you're a spin class fanatic, yoga monster or just love a stroll amongst nature, Sydney really does have it all. Also on the topic of health; depending on what job you get and whether they offer private healthcare, you'll need to sign up for a Medicare card - Australia's version of the NHS.


18. The fashion

Sydney - whilst it has some beautiful boutiques - does feel a little bit behind on the style front. I really miss seeing real individual style that adorns the streets of the UK; a walk down Oxford Street or a pub crawl through Hackney was all I needed to get some new outfit inspo. As you explore and live in Sydney longer, you'll find each of the suburbs has it own vibe on the fashion front. Predominately active wear rules here, which I have definitely succumbed too. It's a no-think easy win!


19. Facebook groups

As soon as you step off the plane you MUST join a FB group called 'Irish Around Sydney'. It's  a super helpful group for all ex-pats and you can post all sorts, from rooms to rent to questions about gigs or where to get your hair done, it's just a bunch of people (60k people in fact) in the same boat. It's also very very funny, some of the posts will definitely give you a giggle.


20. It's easy to escape the city

Sydney is beautiful and most weekends in the height of summer can feel like a holiday, but there are so many other places to escape to outside the city. Camping weekends away are a big deal here and so worth doing. Hiring a car is easy and not that expensive and within 2 hours you can head up the coast exploring some of the other stunning beaches Australia has to offer. Whether you pitch up a tent or rent a cheap airbnb there are so many places to discover - Australia is HUGE!


So that's my little snippet of things I didn't know and wasn't prepared for before the big move. The good, the bad and the ugly. But the fact of the matter is this, if you're thinking of moving or chasing a dream, whether it's Sydney or Paris, DO IT!



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1 comment

  1. Hope Syndey is living up to your expectations! It looks like such a lovely place to live, will definitely keep these tips in mind if I ever fulfil my dream of visiting/living in Australia

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