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    Thread: Places to live in Sydney - differences between the various areas


    1. #1

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      Places to live in Sydney - differences between the various areas

      Been reading quite a few comments about Sydney, and some not very good experiences, so thought I would add my thoughts about the different areas to live in Sydney, and their advantages/disadvantages

      In a nutshell, the eastern and northern suburbs are well off, likewise some of the southern suburbs. The further south west you go, the poorer it gets.

      The eastern suburbs, so between the CBD and the beach, on the CBD side of the bridge, are the most expensive. Places along the harbour, like Watsons Bay, Vaucluse, Double Bay, Elizabeth Bay, are especially expensive. Veryu nice places to live mind you, if you have the dosh. On the ocean side, Bondi, imho, is a bit overrated for the price, though I have lived there and enjoyed it. Lots of good cafes, a good place to brunch on a Sunday. Bronte, Coogee Beach and Maroubra, the beach suburbs going south of Bondi, are all pretty nice places to live. Something to keep in mind though. The train service terminates at Bondi Junction. So if working in the CBD and wanting to take public transport (the sensible choice, because parking in the city is terrible and expensive), you would get a bus from the beachside suburbs and then the train from Bondi Junction.

      The northern suburbs, especial betwen the Pacific Highway and the sea, are pretty nice. On the ocean side, Manly has good transport links (ferry, and buses as a back up in case fog closes down the ferry) but going north, through Dee Why and on up to Palm beach, if you have to commute from there, that means driving, and it is a seriously long haul from there, in the rush hour, to get to the CBD.

      Directly north, suburbs like Turramurra and Warringal are expensive but very bush and country style compared to in closer to the city. On a direct line west from Turramurra, about 15 or 20km west, is Castle Hill. Good quality, big houses. Too far from the city for me, but a nice place to live. Beware Lane Cove. Lovely to look at and visit, especially for picnics down by the Lane Cove River, but if you don't fancy a bush fire right next door, don't go there. Some idiot always seems to set fire to it in the fire season.

      Going west from the city, the Parramatta Road is a horrible drive if you have to commute to the city each day. If you are living out that way, it's better to catch a train in. Strathfield is very nice, as is Burwood, and close to good schools, private and state.

      Coming closer into the city, Dulwich Hill/parts of Canterbury, Lakemba tend to be where a lot of middle eastern families live. The main mosque is in Lakemba. Marrickville is quite Chinese/Vietnamese.

      To the south west of the city you have areas like Campbelltown, Liverpool, Cabramatta, and directly west of the city , far beyond Parramatta, you get to Penrith, and then to Emu Plains which is at the foot of the Blue Mountains. These areas have cheap housing, but this is suburbia with a capital S. In summer these areas are seriously hot, as in 40 degrees C, schooling is very so so, - just dull and boring. And far from the sea.

      On the south side, Cronulla has a great beach and very good train links into the city. Brighton is nice too. Coming back towards the city, I wouldn't live somewhere like Petersham or Alexandria though - small terrace houses and right underneath the flight path for Sydney airport.

      Redfern is not such a good area to live. It has a large population of Aborigines and they can get fairly tanked up on the booze. I wouldn't as a lone woman, get off and walk from Redfern station at night. Likewise from central station. Inner city, they may both be, but not such a good walk to and from the city. They remind me of somewhere like Hulme in Manchester or Muirhouse here in Edinburgh.

      Avoid Kings Cross and Darlinghurst. These are inner city but on the east side, and are the red light districts.

      If you fancy the inner city on the east side, Paddington is a lovely area to live, though a bit pricey and not really value for money. Just up from Paddington, Woollahra is very nice - lots of good antique shops there. Both have good bus links into the city.

      On the inner west side, my favourite part of town is Balmain. Brilliant cafes, good transport links (ferry and bus) to town. Though, if you fancy the ferry, my advice is to live down at the point, near the main terminus, and not on the west side near the Thamse street stop. The west side ferries don't always turn up. Going back towards the city, Rozelle is okay, but not as nice as Balmain - poky houses. Pyrmont and Ultimo are quite grainy. In a way they are trendy, but basically they are converted or redeveloped factories. We lived in Ultimo for a time, and I found the flats were solid but didn't have good air flow. No good parks nearby. Not a very nice walk into town. Going away again, along Parramatta Road, Glebe is a nice place to live. Opposite Sydney University, so well situated if you want to study. Good cafes.

      Right in the city, I always fancied living in The Rocks (the area underneath Sydney Harbour Bridge. Good night life but a bit hairy if walking home alone at night.


    2. #2

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      Hi, really enjoyed reading your post. We are only just starting out in visa process but are considering both Queensland and NSW for a base. My cousin lives in Rhodes and showed us some lovely areas (loved Balmain and Mona Vale, Valcluse, Manly, etc) but I know we could not afford to live there. My husband is a roofer, I am a housing officer and we have a 10 year old daughter. I don't know where to begin in terms of identifying a suitable place that is realistic for our needs but we did love it near the beaches. I have also been converted to the idea of apartments since our trip which was a revalation.
      Queensland would probably offer us more affordable accommodation but I don't know if I could cope with the constant humidity. We really want to be in NSW but I suppose it comes down to cost. I need the nicest area on a budget near the sea. Not much to ask, eh?
      Thanks for your time
      Joanne

    3. #3

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      I would love Birsbane but we think the jobs are more likely to be around Sydney.

      We will have about $600,000 we think, if all goes well. We are looking for 4 bedrooms, 2 loos, and pref a pool. So....looking around real estate we are probably going to have to go to Penrith or out that way (had no idea it got that hot though!) or Sutherland.

      I have just been looking at properties around Sutherland and am surprised they are coming in in our price range which makes me worry it's not as nice as I thought.

      Do you have any views of Sutherland and surrounds (seen Menai and a few others mentioned).

      Thanks for you help.
      XXX
      Annette, Steve, Ben and Buddy the dog.
      <><

    4. #4

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      Queensland would probably offer us more affordable accommodation but I don't know if I could cope with the constant humidity. - J. Hornby
      Yes, that is the only thing that put me off Queensland, the humidity. Plus the worry in the sea about sharks and jellyfish. The latter is why I never lived up in Palm beach and the northern beaches when we lived in Sydney, even though I loved the area.

      I would love Brisbane but we think the jobs are more likely to be around Sydney. - Buddy's Mum
      I don't know about that. Queensland is a pretty rich state, and has plenty of inwards migration, including from around Australia. The unemployment rate is Queensland as a whole is really low. I am not sure what the latest figures are but as recently as 2007 it was hovering around 3.5&#37; - which is basically full employment and skills shortages.

      Do you have any views of Sutherland and surrounds (seen Menai and a few others mentioned).
      I recommend checking out www.sutherlandshireaustralia.com.au If you go onto the map on this site and just blow it up to about 120% or so, it will be easier to follow my comments. Not Menai - too far inland, as hot as hell in the summer and not on a good train route. My preference is for Cronulla, because I like to live right on the sea and because Cronulla has a fantastic train link into the city. Check out the areas near the train line would be my advice. Avoid Kurnell - that's where the oil refinery is. Sylvania is a very nice place to live. Anywhere on the Sutherland shire side along the Georges River is pretty nice. Sutherland is on the right side of Sydney airport, - a quick 20 min or so drive north) and the snowfields - living that side of Sydney if you like skiing would take a good three quarters of an hour off the journey. There's a lot of artists, writers , creative people living in Sutherland. Gymea has some nice cafes. Como is a good place to live. Woronora would be too isolated for me. Too much worry about bush fires. Loftus, Engadie and Heathcote are a bit far away from the city for me. I prefer up around the river. Or Cronulla. Mmm, going along the beach for a late night run or walk is a pretty nice experience, especially on a hot night.

      On the subject of trains, this site is worth checking out. www.cityrail.com. Trains from Cronulla run at least every half hour. The hub, though, is Sutherland. Sutherland, because it is at the convergence of two lines, has trains running every 6 to 15 minutes, or so.

      On the city side of the Goerges river, Penshurst and Hurstville have quite nice pockets to live. And as for Sutherland, very good rail links.

      For house prices, try www.realestate.com.au It's worth keeping in mind though, when looking at price guides, that most property is sold at auction, on site. So prices could be 20% above the list price. Plus, if you need a mortgage and you want to avoid having to pay the bank's mortgage insurance, you need a minimum of 20% deposit. And avoid buying a house with an asbestos roof. It's a huge hassle to replace it - this I know from direct experience.

      $600K would get you something quite nice around Sutherland. Not sure if it would stretch to a pool, but you should be able to get a four bedroom house.

    5. #5

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      just wanted to thank you treesea for great advice i really enjoyed your post!

    6. #6

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      Very helpful post, thank you. We are heading to Sydney in March so am interested to hear people's opinions on areas.
      Thank you.
      c
      application sent 14/04/08, payment taken 16/04/08, CO assigned 21/04/08, police & meds requested 21/04/08, police cert sent 06/05/08, meds sent 15/05/08, **VISA GRANTED 21/05/08**

    7. #7

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      I live in Sydney and love it...

      Great post, really nice to have people say positive things and still be respectful about the things they didn't like or areas they think are bad...thanks, i enjoyed reading this....

      I live in Rushcutters bay, [eastern suberb], work in Darlinhurst, kings cross, Chatswood and the CBD...work as an area manager for a 24 hour cafe chain, and have just finally bought an apartment in East Redfern.


      The best places to live would be the Eastern Suberbs for sure...but you will be surprised when you start looking in other areas that are suppost to be bad ares, how nice they actually are, nothing compared to the bad areas in the uk.
      It is a city so you are going to find the same goings on as any other city, but as i said before, very tame compared to the Uk cities.


      Rushcutters is the most beautiful place ive ever lived in, in fact to me the whole of Sydney is....certain areas like Darlinhurst and Kings cross are very seedy and not so nice, but i never feel threatened and reguly work very early and late nights in these areas. There is always a great police presence so it does help...ive never seen any real problems that would make me afraid to be there, mainly just the drunks and addicks fighting and shouting between themselfs...they dont really bother the public.

      East redfern is very differnt to Redfern itself, it is so beautiful, wide avenues with big trees lining them....full of young people, families, cafes, great little shops....It feels like your set back from the city, very relaxing area, but really your about 15 minutes from the city, veiws from a heigh up arrartment is amazing!!



      I love the fact that Sydney is very easy to walk around, you can walk through all these different areas, see different things, people, shops,cafes, every area is different, and i find this very interesting.

      For me ive never felt scared or threatend, ive only ever felt grateful to be living in a great city that offers so much choice to everyone that comes here.
      An apple a day keeps the docter away
      but if the doctors cute screw the fruit.

    8. #8

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      Talking about flats reminds me of something. Most the flats here in the UK, I notice, don't tend to have balconies, but if you do get a flat in Australia, make sure it has a balcony. Over here in the UK, it doesn't seem to matter so much, but I've tried it in Oz, and over there a flat without a balcony is a recipe for being miserable imho.

      East Redfern was still in an unrenovated, dilapidated state when I was last living in Sydney, - the same with Alexandria, just to the south of Redfern, which nowadays, I saw on my last visit, has become quite gentrified. I would imagine the cost of buying in either of those areas these days wouldn't exactly be cheap or budget. Rushcutter's Bay, or Potts Point though, with a flat facing the harbour.... and a balcony well placed to watch the New Years Eve fireworks from.... that's an area I could definitely come to terms with as a place to live.

      I haven't seen these back in the UK, but one place we lived in, when we were in Sydney, was a terrace house, which just had a small bit of yard at the back, but it had an outdoor spa pool. It was Great, and I mean that with a capital G, especially in the winter. To anyone buying a place in Oz, I can definitely recommend a spa pool as an worthwhile outdoor addition :-)

    9. #9

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      Quote Originally Posted by treesea View Post
      Talking about flats reminds me of something. Most the flats here in the UK, I notice, don't tend to have balconies, but if you do get a flat in Australia, make sure it has a balcony. Over here in the UK, it doesn't seem to matter so much, but I've tried it in Oz, and over there a flat without a balcony is a recipe for being miserable imho.

      East Redfern was still in an unrenovated, dilapidated state when I was last living in Sydney, - the same with Alexandria, just to the south of Redfern, which nowadays, I saw on my last visit, has become quite gentrified. I would imagine the cost of buying in either of those areas these days wouldn't exactly be cheap or budget. Rushcutter's Bay, or Potts Point though, with a flat facing the harbour.... and a balcony well placed to watch the New Years Eve fireworks from.... that's an area I could definitely come to terms with as a place to live.

      I haven't seen these back in the UK, but one place we lived in, when we were in Sydney, was a terrace house, which just had a small bit of yard at the back, but it had an outdoor spa pool. It was Great, and I mean that with a capital G, especially in the winter. To anyone buying a place in Oz, I can definitely recommend a spa pool as an worthwhile outdoor addition :-)
      Yea, your right, you really do need a balcony in OZ....most do come with them though so its good....i find the appartments over here are compleatly differnt to the uk. Here most appartments come within a complex and have swimming pools, spas...the one i have just bought is in an amazing complex with its own shops and delis, pool, gym,spa...your looking at around $4/5k for an appartment in either area now...are you living back in the UK, or in Sydney now?...
      An apple a day keeps the docter away
      but if the doctors cute screw the fruit.

    10. #10

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      Hi Treesea

      That's quite a good summary, although maybe a bit unfair to lump Pyrmont in with Ultimo. Yes, they're next to each other, and they're both ex-industrial. Pyrmont, at least, is on the harbour, and much of the old industrial harbourside is now public parkland. It's quite a pleasant stroll along the foreshores of Pyrmont Bay (if you ignore the casino). Plus you can walk to the city in about 10 minutes via Pyrmont Bridge / Darling Harbour, which is definitely more scenic than via Broadway or the old Sydney markets.

      Btw, I live in Pyrmont.

     

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