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Moving to Sydney

Home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks, Sydney is a dynamic, world-class city where breathtaking natural beauty and a cosmopolitan spirit meet.

There is much to be said for the full spectrum of lifestyle benefits available to expats moving to Sydney. Expats in this Australian city will have their choice of picturesque residential suburbs, good public transport systems and equally efficient healthcare facilities. Not to mention the high standard of education which makes Sydney an attractive prospect for those with children.

Besides the pleasures associated with a wonderfully mild climate and great outdoor pursuits, Sydney also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene made up of fine galleries and museums, theatre productions and a magnificent selection of restaurants. Additionally, there are festivals year round for almost every occasion.

However, Sydney is not a city content to rely only on its scenic charms or hedonistic indulgences. The city is also a major financial hub and economic power, so it comes as little surprise that the number of expats relocating to Sydney for work purposes is on the rise.

The cost of living in Sydney is high and costs for accommodation, entertainment, transport and eating out are far more expensive than many other parts of Australia. But it arguably offers a better quality of life if one considers the number of beaches, national parks and the array of things to see and do just a stone's throw away from the city centre.

Weather in Sydney

Sydney has a pleasant climate with lots of sunshine, particularly in the summer months from December to February. The hottest months are January and February, which can see daytime temperatures reaching as high as 90°F (35°C). Winter is from June to August and, though sometimes chilly and a bit wet, is generally mild, with temperatures only rarely dropping below 47°F (9°C).

Sydney does occasionally experience weather-related hazards. Sydney's weather has been getting progressively drier over recent years, causing droughts and bushfires. When it does rain, there may be flash flooding, hail and wind storms. Mostly this just causes inconvenience but may be hazardous. Expats should be sure to stay up to date with the latest weather alerts and adhere to weather-related regulations such as water restrictions.


Working in Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s commercial centre, and therefore lures droves of expats to its shores. Home to some of the country's largest businesses, Sydney is also the city of choice for multinational companies establishing a base in Australia. It follows that many expats choose Sydney over other Australian cities.

Job market in Sydney

Some of Australia's largest companies, and indeed some of the largest companies in the world, are based in and around Sydney. 

Those in financial or insurance services, in particular, will find plenty of opportunities to join one of the lucrative firms in the area. Alternatively, expats looking for work in healthcare, retail or manufacturing sectors will also find large-scale industries which command growing levels of employment.

Finding a job in Sydney

There are a variety of jobs available in Sydney and the city's government is constantly doing its part to stimulate job creation. Expats often have questions about where to find information on available jobs.

The best place to start looking for a job is through the internet. Looking for a job this way has many advantages: it’s free, new listings are put up frequently, and expats can start job hunting even before they arrive in Australia. Job hunters can also filter a search by location, sector, salary and position, which saves a great deal of time and makes the process of job hunting far more efficient.

For those who already know what type of work they want, approaching recruitment agencies can be highly beneficial. There are hundreds of them in Sydney. Expats can find agencies for all types of jobs ranging from office admin and management to hospitality and construction.

Lastly, expats would do well to put their networking skills to work. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are highly valued in Australia. Approaching a company directly and enquiring about roles can be a gateway to opening up opportunities down the line.

Work culture in Sydney

The work environment in Sydney reflects the friendly and casual demeanour that can be found in Australians throughout the country. The atmosphere is informal, with humour and slang being commonplace. Swearing is often part of the office vernacular and not considered offensive. Drinks after work are the norm, and this is a great opportunity to get to know coworkers a bit better.

The hierarchical structure is typically flat with emphasis on the team rather than the individual. Everyone is encouraged to voice their opinions and decisions are taken with group concerns in mind.

A good work-life balance is important to Australians. There is a tendency to start work early and leave work early. While on the clock, Australians are extremely hard workers, but overtime is rare and work gets left at the office once the day is over.

Accommodation in Sydney

Expats looking for accommodation in Sydney will find the search a fairly straightforward process, with many good residential areas to choose from in and around the city centre. For most expats, the final choice will depend on budget, proximity to schools and access to public transport.

Types of accommodation in Sydney


City living can be an attractive option for students or young professionals who prefer to be near the universities and vibrant nightlife. Most of the accommodation in these areas will be in the form of apartments.

Freestanding houses

The outer suburbs of Sydney are largely made up of freestanding houses, most of which come complete with large gardens. These are popular with families, who enjoy the extra space that living in the suburbs affords them.


Found all over Sydney, rowhouses are attached homes that share walls with neighbouring houses on either side. For those who want more space than apartment living can offer but can't quite afford a freestanding house, rowhouses can be a happy medium.

Finding accommodation in Sydney 

Many properties in Sydney are managed through estate agents, but it's up to the individual whether they want to work directly with an agency or not. On the one hand, this may give access to properties before they go on the market, but on the other hand, doing the search independently may widen possibilities. Listings of available properties can be found in online property portals and estate-agency websites, which can be browsed freely without initially committing to that agency.

In most cases, agents will be responsible for showing the property to prospective applicants and handling the application process itself. Group viewings are the norm – these take place at set times, and if the property is well priced or in a desirable location, expats should expect to be viewing with up to a dozen other people.

Accommodation is usually swept up fast, so being strategic about the timing of viewings can be useful as fewer fellow viewers mean less immediate competition. There will often be several viewings scheduled for a particular property – where possible, expats should go to viewings held on weekdays during working hours as these tend to be less busy than weekend viewings.

Renting accommodation in Sydney

Making an application

Applications are considered in the order in which they were submitted, so timing is crucial. By law, discrimination of any kind is not permitted, so the first application that meets all requirements for references, documentation and affordability is accepted.

Apart from references and income checks, the national '100-point test' must be passed for the application to be considered. To pass the test, various forms of proof of identification must be submitted – each type of proof is allocated a particular number of points, and the combined submission points must be at least 100.

Leases and deposits

The typical lease length in Sydney is one year, although some agencies may offer shorter or longer periods depending on their internal policies and the needs of clients.

A deposit, or 'bond' as it is locally known, is payable upfront and typically equivalent to four to six weeks' worth of rent. Once the lease expires, the deposit is returned in full as long as there are no damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

Paying rent

Rent for accommodation in Sydney is payable monthly and is typically payable at the end of each month or, in some cases, each fortnight. Either way, property is often listed with a weekly price by convention. Expats from countries where the monthly rent is quoted on listings should keep this in mind, especially when they come across what appears to be an unusually good deal.


Utility bills are usually not included in the rental price and are the responsibility of the tenant to pay. In the scorching summer months, houses with air conditioning will usually experience a spike in electricity costs, so expats should make allowance for this.

Areas and suburbs in Sydney

The best places to live in Sydney

In a vast sprawling city such as Sydney, deciding where to live as a new expat is not a simple task. Before beginning their search for accommodation, expats should take the time to consider their options, keeping their main priorities in mind, and then decide on the area suitable for their new home.

Much of the decision on where to live in Sydney will depend on one's lifestyle, family and personal preferences. With a wide array of diverse areas, the city has a housing option to suit a range of tastes and budgets. 

City living in Sydney


Sydney is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and there are a lot of city-living options on offer. However, space is hard to come by in popular parts of the city, so expect to pay more if choosing to live centrally.

The Rocks

This area is close to the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is a great location with some of Sydney’s best restaurants, bars and nightlife just a hop and a skip away. This part of town is scenic and has a fun, laid-back feel to it. The area is best suited to young professionals who enjoy the buzz of city life or business executives who want to be located close to the city centre for work purposes.

Potts Point

Potts Point is a lively and central place to live, just a few kilometres from the CBD. Apartments in these areas often have stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Residents will be right in the middle of town and surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops and will have access to good public transport links.

One could hardly ask for a better situated area for convenience, amenities and beauty, and this is reflected in the housing prices. Accommodation here is on the pricey side, but for those who can afford it Potts Point is a great choice.


Newtown is a bohemian area of Sydney and is the perfect place for single expats or couples on a budget. It is a colourful and unconventional area with an eclectic host of restaurants, bars, theatres and clubs. The streets are full of vintage fashion boutiques, music stores, specialist bookshops and antique stores.

Although it looks a little rundown in parts, this is all part of the Newtown charm. It is decidedly cosmopolitan and highly popular with young expats.

Family-friendly areas in Sydney

Manly Beach

Thanks to Sydney’s glorious weather, sublime beaches and wide open spaces, it is a great place for expats relocating with children. Expats moving to Sydney with a family will naturally want to consider their child’s schooling options before making a decision on where to live. It’s important to note that many public schools in Australia only offer places to students living within a particular catchment area.


Suburbs located near the northern beaches of Sydney are popular with expat families, especially those from the UK or New Zealand. Areas like Manly are great for expats with children as they are close to some stunning beaches as well as a number of Sydney’s top private and public schools. Public transport links to the city are good in these areas with regular bus, train and ferry services in operation.


Parramatta is a lively but family-friendly area for those relocating to Sydney with children. Properties here are large and inexpensive compared to many other Sydney suburbs, and there are a number of good schools in the area. There are lots of wide open spaces to enjoy the outdoors with the family. These suburbs are serviced well by train and bus services.


Blacktown in western Sydney is a family-friendly area with lots of community facilities and schools. This area also has plenty of shopping and entertainment facilities to keep the whole family busy. With good public transport links and close proximity to major highways, commuting to the city centre is easy.

Healthcare in Sydney

The public healthcare system in Sydney, like the healthcare system in greater Australia, is funded through Medicare, a service available to citizens and permanent visa holders in Australia and New Zealand. This covers or largely subsidises treatment by general practitioners and hospitals.

Temporary residents living in Sydney will not be eligible to utilise Medicare and will have to take out their own private health insurance coverage. In the same vein, even permanent resident expats may prefer to have private health insurance to cover the cost of private medical treatment. Eligible expats should check carefully what is covered through the Medicare benefits to see if they would benefit from additional private insurance.

Below is a list of well-reputed hospitals in Sydney.

Hospitals in Sydney

Balmain Hospital
Address: 29 Booth Street, Balmain

Macquarie University Hospital
Address: 3 Technology Place, Macquarie University

Mater Hospital
Address: 25 Rocklands Road, North Sydney

Sydney Children's Hospital
Address: High Street, Randwick

Education and Schools in Sydney

Sydney caters to a broad range of educational needs. Expat children can attend public-, faith-based-, private- or international schools in Sydney. High school graduates can choose from several prestigious universities, including the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney.

Those with permanent residency status have access to free public education. Families living in Australia on a temporary resident visa will have to pay for their children's schooling.

Public schools in Sydney 

The quality of public education in Sydney is generally good. Like elsewhere in the world, schools' performance is influenced by sociodemographic factors such as location and funding.

The language of instruction in public schools is English. English proficiency is not a requirement for students in primary school – that is, from Kindergarten up to Year 6. After this, students enter Junior High School at Year 7. It is from this point that English proficiency is a requirement for entry into Sydney public schools.

DE International is the international division of the NSW Department of Education. As a resource for non-Australian students, DE International provides guidance to international students attending government schools. This includes providing bridging classes for pupils aged 12 and up at their Intensive English Centres (IEC).  

Children attend public schools based on zones, or catchment areas. The details of which neighbourhoods filter into which schools are usually available on school websites. Expat families often base accommodation decisions around access to preferred schooling.

Public schools generally accept enrolment throughout the year before the child is due to start. Parents are required to submit an application form along with supporting documentation such as proof of residence.

Faith-based schools in Sydney 

Faith-based education is common in Sydney. Catholic primary and high schools, run by Sydney Catholic Schools NSW, are particularly popular.

The Catholic education system has an excellent reputation in Sydney. Many parents see this as a comfortable middle-ground between public and private education. This option is popular among expats living in Australia on a temporary residence visa, as fees for faith-based schools are often lower than the fees temporary residents are required to pay for access to the public system.

International schools in Sydney

Although international schools tend to have by far the priciest fees of all the Sydney education options, many expats feel that the cost justifies the benefits of sending their child to an international school.

These schools allow children the opportunity to study their home curriculum or an internationally recognised curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate. Studying a familiar curriculum ensures continuity and minimises the disruption in the child's learning during relocation. International schools also offer an easy way for parents and children alike to meet other expats and settle into Sydney with greater ease.

Special educational needs in Sydney

Public schools in New South Wales are required to offer personalised learning and support for students with special educational needs. Schools are responsible for making initial assessments of special needs, implementing reasonable adjustments according to those needs, and monitoring the impact of the interventions. This process is a collaborative effort between parents, school staff and any external professionals involved in managing the child's condition.

Tutors in Sydney

Whether a child needs a helping hand with a particular subject or more general skills such as essay writing, tutors can be a great resource for expat parents. If necessary, there are also tutors that can assist with the transition into a new curriculum and development of English skills, helping to ease the pressure new arrivals face at school.

There are a number of highly recommended tutoring companies in Sydney, including Alchemy Tuition, C3 Education Group and LearnMate Tutoring.

Lifestyle in Sydney

On a map, Australia may look far removed from the rest of the world, but expats will hardly find the lifestyle in Sydney hard to adapt to. The city is a top choice for many expats thanks to its gorgeous weather, pristine beaches and thriving nightlife.

Sydney provides working professionals with an attractive work-life balance and, on top of a general respect for time outside of the office, employees can expect to receive at least four weeks of paid holiday every year. This leaves many expats well situated to take advantage of the enviable lifestyle that Sydney offers.

Shopping in Sydney

Fashionistas may laud Paris, Milan or New York City as the best shopping destinations on the planet, but Sydney is quickly earning its stripes as a world leader. The city claims a number of boutique clothing stores, vintage stores, high-end shopping malls and everything in between.

The Queen Victoria Building, commonly referred to as the QVB, is a must-see for anyone who loves to shop. Located on George Street, the QVB is packed with purveyors of clothing, shoes, accessories and much besides. Shoppers can also check out one of the many cafés tucked away throughout the building if they need to take a break or recharge their stride. Westfield Sydney Shopping Centre is another great place to look for clothing, shoes, home furnishings and accessories

Shoppers on the hunt for unique items such as vintage clothing, handcrafted jewellery or handmade purses and wallets, the Rocks Markets should be high on anybody's list of must-sees. 

Eating out in Sydney

Whether expats are in the mood for Italian, Thai or authentic Aussie food, Sydney has something to satisfy any palate. Like many big cities around the world, dining out can be expensive, but knowing where to look can keep costs low without sacrificing an opportunity to indulge.

Pubs and hotels are popular quick-eats choices, and many offer happy hour specials. Anyone celebrating a special occasion or in the mood for a fancier restaurant should be sure to scope out Darling Harbour, where patrons can enjoy good seafood and watch the sun set over the water.

Nightlife in Sydney

While Sydney may be known for attractions such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, it's also host to a thriving nightlife, and boasts some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world. 

Expats looking for a party on a Friday or Saturday night should head to Kings Cross, where some of the city’s best nightclubs are found. King Street in Newtown and Oxford Street in Darlinghurst are also well worth a visit. Both of these areas offer a wide selection of beer gardens, cocktail bars and pubs to choose from, and drink prices tend to be slightly cheaper than at venues in the city centre.

Weekend breaks in Sydney

The first few months of weekends in Sydney often fly by in a whirlwind for new expats. Sydney’s beautiful harbour, amazing hidden beaches and sprawling parks waiting to be explored are more than enough to fill what can initially seem like endless amounts of time.

However, after a few months, the thrill of discovery can subside as newcomers settle into real life and find themselves, once again, swept away by the daily grind. A quick weekend escape from the city can bring back that original sense of adventure that every expat craves.

The surrounding areas of Sydney make a weekend getaway easy and exceptional. Just a few hours away, adventurers are treated to stunning scenery and the chance to glimpse amazing wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats, platypuses and dolphins, not to mention miles of empty beaches.  

Weekend breaks from Sydney

Blue Mountains

A trip to the Blue Mountains is probably the most popular weekend getaway from Sydney as it’s a short drive and can easily make for a quick day trip or a longer stay, if preferred. 

The bluish haze that surrounds the soaring crags is the result of the oil produced from the many eucalyptus trees and, on a nice crisp sunny morning, visitors will also notice the wonderfully refreshing smell of eucalyptus in the air.

A drive to Katoomba, the largest town in the upper mountains, affords expats the chance to explore amazing bushwalking trails, ranging from the easy and family-friendly to more challenging rock climbing routes.

The most popular attractions in the Blue Mountains are a distinct rock formation known as the Three Sisters and Scenic World, where visitors can hop on a train or cable car to better view the area. Expats shouldn't miss the Jenolan Caves, rich with both Aboriginal and local Australian history. The large network of caves dazzles with brilliant crystal formations and pristine underground rivers. And, if expats are very lucky and plan the day right, they just might see one of the platypuses which live along the Blue Lake next to the main entrance of the caves.  

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley is a dream come true for any foodie looking to spend an indulgent weekend away from Sydney’s own culinary delights. It is one of Australia's oldest wine regions and is best known for superb Semillon. Visitors can sip on the region's famous wines while taking in the view of the seemingly endless vineyards.

Southern Highlands

There are a number of great spots in the Southern Highlands, all offering something unique. Visit the tulips and enjoy lunch in a cosy cafe in Bowral or explore Berrima, a historic and well-preserved Georgian village.

On the other hand, nature lovers or those simply looking for a respite in the outdoors would do well to rent a cabin in the country. The deeper into the wilderness one goes, the better the chances of seeing wallabies, wombats and kangaroos. 

Kids and Family in Sydney

Expat families in Sydney will find there's plenty to keep the little ones entertained. With the fantastic weather and boundless natural beauty of the city, families in Sydney are sure to spend a great deal of time outdoors.

When not at the beach, children often spend time with their families at the local nature reserve or enjoy picnics cooked on one of the many public BBQs. Most suburbs have well-equipped playgrounds every few blocks, so kids have no reason to be cooped up indoors.

For parents who thrive in a city environment but want their kids to have an outdoor upbringing, Sydney can tick all the boxes; its northern and eastern beach suburbs are particularly family friendly.

Out and about with kids in Sydney

With so many places to swim and splash around, swimsuits and towels are sure to be in constant rotation. Although the beach is the star attraction, it’s not the only outdoor entertainment option. Ocean pools are a great place to explore marine wildlife and are a safe place for swimming. There are aquatic centres in most suburbs offering indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as swimming lessons.

To the west of Sydney’s city centre, Sydney Olympic Park has a broad range of activities including a swimming pool with a water playground complete with waterslides.

For a break from the sand and water, there is plenty more to see and do. Outdoor options include Centennial Park and Sydney Park – both have bicycle tracks, playgrounds, and a kiosk or cafe. Skateparks in Sydney are also popular.

See and Do in Sydney

As one of the most exciting and popular destinations for expats to relocate to, Sydney is bursting with fabulous attractions and activities for new residents to enjoy.

A great way for expats to find their bearings and familiarise themselves with this stunning city is to take a tour, learn about its history and do some sightseeing in Sydney while getting to know the public transport system.

Recommended attractions in Sydney


Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Sydney’s beaches are one of its main attractions. The city's sunny shores offer the perfect setting to while away a few hours soaking up the sun, engaging in the fun water sports and the assortment of surfside activities on offer here. Don’t miss the iconic Bondi Beach, a local hotspot, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

Harbour Bridge

One of Sydney’s most famous landmarks, Harbour Bridge stretches across the river, connecting the CBD to the North Shore. There’s no better way to view Sydney than to climb to the top of the bridge and look out over the harbour and across to the famous Opera House.

Royal Botanic Gardens

These sprawling grounds in the heart of Sydney contain thousands of species of plants and features paths that criss-cross their way around its ponds, sculptures and horticultural areas.

Sydney Opera House

The world-renowned Sydney Opera House is one of the city’s architectural masterpieces. The complex consists of a Concert Hall that seats over 2,500 people and boasts some of the finest acoustics in the world, as well as two proscenium theatres, a playhouse, a studio and an outdoor forecourt.

Sydney Tower

The tallest free-standing building in the city and the second tallest in the southern hemisphere, the Sydney Tower is a great place to admire the breathtaking view across the harbour. Its observation deck towers above the city and features an enclosed viewing platform.

What's On in Sydney

Sydney is a world-famous city offering mouth-watering cuisine, exciting blends of culture, and scenic views. Expats will never be bored in a city that always seems to have something going on, with a number of unmissable festivals happening every year. Below are some recommended events in Sydney.

Annual events in Sydney

Sydney Festival (January)

One of the most exciting and varied events in the city, the Sydney Festival includes everything from cabaret and circus acts to opera and theatre. The festival attracts performers from all over the globe and festivalgoers are sure to experience something truly unique and enjoyable.

Chinese New Year (January/February)

Sydney's celebration of the Chinese New Year is one of the largest outside of Asia, with over a million attendees each year. There are many ways to get involved in Sydney, especially around the China Town area – dragonboat racing, pop-up food markets, lantern workshops and tea ceremonies, to name just a few.

Vivid Sydney (May/June)

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas, colouring the city with creativity and inspiration. Hugely popular are the light installations, where the highlight each year revolves around the installations projected onto the sails of the iconic Opera House and other notable buildings and landmarks around the city.

City2Surf (August)

The annual City2Surf is a large marathon with more than 80,000 people participating. Prompting the closure of many city streets, the run starts in the city centre and ends at the iconic Bondi Beach. Participants often dress up in novelty costumes and the route is dotted with bands providing entertainment with their music.

Carols in the Domain (December)

This is one of Australia’s most beloved Christmas celebrations and a great place to bring the family to get into the Christmas spirit. The Domain, in the heart of Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden, comes to life as thousands of people join together to sing along to their favourite Christmas carols. There are often also national and international performers featured, and as an added bonus, this free event is light on the wallet, too.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sydney

Expats considering a move to Sydney often have questions about the bureaucratic processes involved and the quality of life they can expect. Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about moving to Sydney.

What are public transport options like in Sydney? Will it be necessary to buy a car?

When it comes to getting around in Sydney, expats will find that there is no shortage of public transport options. Sydney boasts an extensive public transportation network which consists of trains, buses, monorail, trams and private taxis. Many expats use public transport to commute to and from work on a daily basis. While it is not essential to have a car in Sydney, it does come in handy for expats with children and those who want to travel and explore greater Australia.

Is Sydney a child-friendly city?

Sydney is a dynamic city and expats of all ages will find that there is something for them to enjoy. The great weather provides ample opportunity for the kids to have fun outdoors. Beyond Sydney's fantastic beaches, well-maintained parks and open spaces, there are also plenty of indoor activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Expat parents will also be pleased to know that there are plenty of good schools in Sydney, so they will have lots of options to choose from when it comes to their child's education.

What food can I expect to eat in Sydney?

Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to eating in Sydney. The choice of fine-dining restaurants is limited only by the imagination, with the world’s top chefs delivering diverse menus for every palate. The fact that there’s such a range of styles and influences is directly related to the presence of a large immigrant population and the easy availability of good-quality Australian produce.

Where can I shop in Sydney?

In addition to the huge selection of department stores and shopping centres present on nearly every block in Sydney, there are some wonderful markets where one can buy just about anything, from clothes and furniture to fresh produce.

Getting Around in Sydney

Thanks to an extensive public transport network, getting around in Sydney is straightforward. The numerous options available not only allow new arrivals to explore the city, but also give them more choice when it comes to accommodation. Having a private vehicle is not essential but increases opportunities for expats to travel and explore Australia.

Public transport in Sydney

Sydney boasts an extensive network of public transportation which includes trains, light rail, buses and ferries. It is easy to get around the city on public transport, especially if using an Opal card, which is a smartcard that can be loaded with credit. Travellers simply tap in and out of the terminal with the card, with the fare being automatically deducted.


Sydney has a comprehensive suburban train network run by Sydney Trains. The rail service consists of a number of railway lines, most of which run through the city centre. The suburbs and the city centre are well serviced by these trains.

Light rail

Sydney’s light rail system is a tram route which was designed to complement the monorail. It runs underground through rail tunnels and then on the streets like a conventional tram when it reaches the city centre. 


Buses are a major part of Sydney’s public transport network and are a handy way to reach spots not covered by train routes. Some bus routes run 24 hours a day and can be used as a substitute for trains if travelling in the hours when the trains don't run. While traffic can delay buses at peak times, Sydney buses are frequent and are generally reliable.


Sydney Ferries is the government-owned organisation that operates the commuter and tourist ferries on Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River. Harbour ferries are a popular option among daily commuters.

Taxis in Sydney

New South Wales has a large taxi network. Most taxis are owned by small-scale operators. A taxi can be hailed either on the street or at one of the city's designated taxi ranks. Ride-hailing applications such as Uber are also available in Sydney and are a convenient option.

For expats in Sydney without their own car, it might occasionally be necessary to use taxis, but it is an expensive option.

Driving in Sydney

Because of Sydney’s extensive public transport network, most expats manage to get around without the use of a private car. Even those that do have their own vehicle avoid Sydney’s city centre area during peak hours due to heavy traffic and expensive parking. For expats with children, those living further out in the suburbs or those that envisage travelling through Australia for vacations or weekend trips, a private car can be useful.

Expats can drive on their foreign licence for up to three months, as long as it's in English. Those with a non-English licence will need an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to do so. To continue driving after three months, expats will need to apply for a New South Wales driver’s licence. Depending on nationality, some expats may be exempt from tests and can simply exchange their foreign licence for a local licence. Others will have to take written and practical tests to be granted a local licence. 

The road conditions and signage in Sydney are of a high standard and it is not difficult to get around, except during peak times when traffic becomes a problem in the city centre. If planning on using a car outside Sydney, in more rural areas and on country roads, expats will need to be careful at night to avoid hitting large animals, especially kangaroos.

Cycling in Sydney

Sydney is a somewhat hilly city, so getting around on a bicycle might not be as easy as one might assume. Cyclists also often have to share the road with motorists, so they should take care to respect the rules of the road and be aware of motorists around them.

Walking in Sydney

The government is working hard to encourage commuters to walk for the benefit of both the environment and their personal health. The city's mild temperatures make this possible if travelling locally. Some commuters purposefully take public transport only part of the way to their destination and walk the rest of the way.