Planning to bed down in Sydney for a month or three, but unsure where to empty out your backpack? Alex Harmon gives you the lowdown…
So you’ve decided to settle in Sydney? Well done, you have made a fantastic choice. You’ve picked a home that was recently voted best city in the world by readers of a luxury travel magazine. That’s right, Sydney is even more livable than the fashionable cities of Paris, New York and London.
But don’t take these hoighty-toighty readers of expensive glossy magazines word for it. Take it from us trusted, Sydney-based TNT-ers. The Harbour City is not only a great place to live and work, it’s also a great place to explore. It’s forever changing and reinventing itself and trying new things. It’s more experimental and forward-thinking than a philosophy student on acid.
Furthermore, you’ve chosen a great time of year to arrive. The city is starting to warm up and come alive again after resting its bones over winter. Whether it’s abstract art springing up in a laneway, or a new film festival, or the island in the harbour dedicated to good food and cocktails (Cockatoo Island – check it out) there is always something new and exciting to do.
These festivals all lead up to New Year’s Eve and Sydney is the party capital of Australia (if not the world) when it comes to bringing in the new year. The choices range from celebrating by the harbour and watching the fireworks erupt over the bridge, dancing at Bondi Beach on the sand and throwing yourself in the ocean, or simply rounding up some mates together on a rooftop terrace or a picnic rug. There are just so many options for that 10 second countdown to the stroke of midnight. Bringing in the new year in the balmy Sydney weather is something that you’ll remember forever. Well, actually, I can’t guarantee that you’ll remember all of it.
The thing about Sydney is that she’s a bit of a wild girl. People praise Melbourne for its culture and cosmopolitan lifestyle, while Sydney gets criticised for being a bit of a hedonistic city, a superficial place that is only interested in having a good time. But personally I’ve never seen anyone complain. A famous Aussie band from Sydney, The Whitlams, once sang, “you gotta love this city, for its body and not its brains”. Take that advice on board and enjoy your fling with Sydney. If you’re only here for a few months, there’s no need to get serious is there?
The biggest complication with Sydney is deciding where to live. The city has something of a personality disorder and can change from zone to zone. First of all you have to decide whether you want to live by the beach. If yes, then you have to decide on how isolated you want to be from the city. You’ve got the purer barefoot beach culture of the north or the Haviana-footed scene in the east. Or do you prefer to be amongst Sydney’s trendy cafÃ© and bar scene? Again that depends on where you lay on the boho (inner-west) to metro (inner-city) spectrum. Also, as appealing as it may sound living in the heart of the city, you will have to swap some cultural perks for convenient travel. And no matter what you do, don’t be lured in by the cheap rents of the western suburbs. I’m telling you now, you’ll regret it. I don’t care how much you like fast food.
It seems very complicated, but if you follow our guide to Sydney’s A-list, you’ll have no problem finding your Sydney suburb soulmate.