Everyone knows of Sydney. It’s a popular tourist destination, a popular destination for immigrants, and has even been voted the world’s best city a few years running. But why? What makes Sydney such a magnet for anyone that visits Australia? When we decided to build our home we looked around at a number of different locations across Australia. If there’s ever a good time to make a move, this would be it. As you can see, we decided to stay put in Sydney, even with the outrageous cost of living.
As the world tries to cope with the economic crisis, Australia is dealing with its own problems. A comparison of median house prices with median household incomes in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Britain and the United States found that Australia had the most cities in the “severely unaffordable” category – where house prices are more than five times the median income.
Sure, the cost of living has dropped slightly, aided by the falling petrol prices, but with the unemployment figures rising, and there’s no real relief in sight for the housing market, why do people stay? Why is Sydney somewhere that many people don’t dare leave?
I’ve been living here for just over two years and, compared to the States, life in Sydney (and Australia) has both strong positives and negatives. But really, it’s what you make of it.
So, here’s a few reasons why I believe, it’s worth putting up with Sydney’s high cost of living. (and in no real particular order)
1.) The Harbour.
Now I’ve travled the world a bit, and nowhere else in the world (including the San Francisco Bay Area) is there a Harbour that is as breathtakingly beautiful as Sydney Harbour. With the Opera House, the Bridge, and countless other icons gracing its shores, the Harbour is a blue jewel amongst the large city. When I first arrived in Sydney, I tried to find a way to describe the city. After growing up in San Diego, and living in San Francisco, I found that Sydney took the very best of each, and combined it. It literally was San Francisco, “in colour”. It has the charm of San Francisco, but the colour, the beaches, and weather of San Diego.
I suppose this relates back to the fact that 1 in 4 Sydneysiders are foreign born. Some might not like that. I embrace it wholeheartedly. Why? The food. I’ve never in my life found such a high precentage of not just great, but fantastic restaraunts. On one city block, you can find excellent restaraunts featuring Thai, Indian, Japanese, Italian, Greek, and just about anything in between. I blame the great food for the extra kilos.
I grew up in San Diego, California. I’m sure many of you have just rolled your eyes at that, but hear me out. San Diego has great weather. Reliable even, but after twenty some odd years of the same “night and morning low clouds, highs in the low 80f, lows in the 60f”, it does get “old”. Not the temperature, but the fact that there are only two season, warm and warmer. I like weather; storms, thunder, lightning. None of which was found in San Diego. Sydney, and Australia in general, have some of the best storms I’ve experienced. And what’s great, is that much of it comes during the summer months, so it’s not the drenched to the core, bone chilling rain I’ve been accustomed to in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Everyone knows of Bondi Beach, but to be honest, there are better beaches around Sydney than Bondi. Bondi IS a good beach, but it’s more of a touristy, city beach than anything else. Sure, it’s easy to get too, and is a great place to hang out, but if you really want a good beach, head across the Harbour Bridge, and to some of the beaches just a short drive away from the CBD. Beaches like Manly, Mona Vale, or even Bilgola are fantastic destinations for the day. If you’re even so inclined, head to Palm Beach, where the Aussie classic “Home and Away” is often filmed. All in all, I think you’ll find better beaches which are less crowded and just as enjoyable as Bondi.
While Melbourne, Brisbane, and even Adelaide have tourist destinations that many Aussies appreciate and visit, if you were to ask what an international visitor would want to visit, the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and even Bondi Beach generally tops the list. We’re lucky here, Sydney is such a beautiful city. No matter how long I’ve sat in traffic during my regular commute into the city, I can help but smile when I cross the Harbour Bridge and look out over the water and see the Opera house. The city, its architecture, parks and tourist destinations make Sydney a fantastic and welcoming city.
I suppose that every city across the globe has it’s pros and cons, but Sydney is an amazing city. Aided by the friendly people and world class attractions, it made our decision to stay relatively easy.
So what do you like about Sydney?