10 Things I love About Living In Sydney (And A Couple Of Things That Bug Me)

Already 3 months in, I’ve had a good taste of the realities of living in Sydney. Aside from my being baffled by Aussie TV the transition has been smooth and relatively easy. All the things we thought we would love about Sydney living are true. There are just a few teeny tiny things that bug me….

Things I Love About Living In Sydney

Bondi beach in Sydney
Love at first sight – Bondi Beach in the spring

1. Life’s a beach. Hundreds of them around the harbour alone. I have nothing negative to say about this.

2. Convenience is King. Having lived most of my life in a city that haphazardly grew over hundreds of years it is refreshing to move to a place which demonstrates a certain level of prior planning. Houses have parking spaces (can you believe it London?), you may park directly outside a shop without getting arrested or causing major delays throughout the borough, and the streets are arranged in a way that one can navigate without needing advanced map reading.

Bugging me: Someone forgot to apply the same common sense approach to buses. Nowhere on the bus stops near me does it state where the buses are going. Only select routes tell you where the bus actually is once on board and most buses are pre-paid only – leaving you wandering the streets in the hope of finding a 7-11 who will sell you a ticket . (Convenience stores are the only place you can get them – I think!) Also the air con on buses is arctic, this may be useful in summer but for now I would kindly like to ask the powers that be to turn it down a notch.

Things i love about living in Sydney
Sydney has some spectacular events – my fave include NYE’s and Vivid Sydney

3. Food is fresh. There is an abundance of fresh, ripe fruit and veg in my local supermarket, which they display on blocks of ice to keep it extra crisp. Australia in general has an amazing foodie scene which the world (and tourism board – hello #RestaurantAustralia campaign) are slowly catching on to. Organic, Asian and baked goods are really strong in Sydney, I haven’t had a bad meal yet.

Bugging me: Don’t judge (although I know you will as this is bad) but I sort of miss a good ready meal. Sometimes, when you’re working late and can’t summon the energy to cook, a M&S Fuller For Longer popped in the microwave works a treat. Semi-healthy microwave meals are not a thing here (perhaps because the Aussies know this is an oxymoron) but I sort of wish it was. Plus (the confessions get worse) I really miss Pret, Eat and those of a similar ilk. For the same reason that sometimes you just want to grab a salad or sandwich and go, I miss the convenience (and price point) of the sandwich/salad bar chains we have back home. Chain stores are a dirty word where we live in Sydney; I can get artisan focaccia on every corner but there’s no chance of a dirty chicken and bacon sub.

Brewtown Newtown
Cronuts for dinner again then! At Brewtown Newtown

4. Avo (avocado to you and I) is everywhere. Avocado is the ultimate side in Sydney – with your brekkie, salad, nachos, toast, whatever – you can always get avo (as long as you are willing to pay extra.) I’m a particular fan of the B.L.A.T ( a regular BLT with avocado) or the B.R.A.T (that’s bacon, rocket, avocado and tomato, Dahl.)

Bugging me: Can you have too much of a good thing? I’m getting close!

5. The coffee. It’s good. Home roasted, freshly ground, organic, arty latte – this place takes its coffee seriously and I, for one, am loving it.

Bugging me: Please, o please Sydney, can you keep your cafes open later than 3pm? This city seems to be full of morning people who are up brewing, serving and buying coffee from the crack of dawn, hence by 3pm the coffee shop owners (rightfully) want to go home. But what about us late risers/workers? I’ve tried several times to have meetings or catch ups with clients and friends around 3 o’clock and been asked to move on when we’re just getting started. Where do people go at this time? Surely it’s too early for the pub?

Ricotta hotcakes at Harry's Bondi
Hello hotcakes heaven at Harry’s Bondi


6.The weather. It’s no secret us Brits move to Oz for the warmer weather. I’ve spent winter here walking along beaches and working on my balcony. Roll on the summer.

Bugging me: The weather can sometimes be wildly unpredictable. It was 30 degrees at the weekend until a storm rolled through and bought temperatures down to 11 yesterday. At least I am well versed at dressing for these situations. And it gives us all something to talk about. Those weather reports of pure sun and 0% rain were getting a bit repetitive!

7. Barbies. People use bbqs here like a second oven – in fact our convection oven doesn’t have a grill, the realtor simply pointed at the gas connection on the balcony. Our neighbours throw everything from their morning bacon to lunch time sausage on theirs – I’m overjoyed to learn a bbq is not just a weekend activity.

Bugging me: Cleaning them. There are also public bbq facilities at beaches and parks (hurrah) but I don’t know anyone who would go near them without a litre of Dettol.

Sydney Opera House
Immaculate blue skies at Sydney Opera House

8. Gym wear is street wear. For my first few weeks in Sydney I was so impressed by the amount of people I saw on their way to/from the gym – or so I thought. It turns out those people shopping in Coles in lycra and Nikes weren’t on their way home from a workout – it was just the way they dressed. As a freelancer whose work from home uniform is yoga pants and comfy slippers, I can now leave the house without feeling odd.

Bugging me: In general, I have no idea where to shop here. There seems to be a wide gap between high street and high end fashion, with not many affordable yet stylish brands in the middle. I could always resort to Topshop but that feels like cheating.

9. Being a tourist in your own home. As a travel blogger with an addiction to travel the fact I can go sightseeing and discover new places all day long but still return to my own bed at night is bliss.

Bugging me: Obvs if all my friends and family would just move here too it would be perfect.

Shangri La High Tea Sydney
Wickedly good High Tea at Shangri La Sydney

10. Just being here. But overall the best thing about living in Sydney is that I am doing it. I’ve always dreamed about moving to Oz and it is everything I hoped it would be and more. I have nothing negative to say about that.

Wait there’s 1 more… 

As if I forgot to mention the #sydneysunsets. The pinky/purply ones in Spring were so impressive that Sydney-siders nearly broke the internet trying to share all their pictures. Most evenings look like this…

Sydney sunset
Another ugly Sydney sunset – I joke!


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The weirdness of a warm Christmas

30 things you learn when you move to Australia

Stylish Guide to Bondi Beach

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Cake Lover’s Guide To Sydney

10 things I love about living in sydney

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

32 thoughts on “10 Things I love About Living In Sydney (And A Couple Of Things That Bug Me)”

  1. This is where I usually shop at home, and I am all about the bargains: Cotton On, Sportsgirl/Forever New (sales rack only) Dotti, Kmart, Target. I miss them all 🙁

  2. I was going to suggest Sportsgirl too. I also used to love Portmans and Cue. I’d probably still love them if I shopped now.

    Also, how amazing is avocado? I was eating some while reading this!

    Glad to hear you’re loving Sydney. It’s only going to get even more amazing in the summer. Aussie summers are really something. Walk on the beach at 9pm? Don’t mind if I do!

  3. I’m a Sydney-sider turned Londoner and everything you mentioned is stuff I miss from home! Although not 100% sure that all our streets always make sense, I think cities like Canberra and Melbourne are planned out better. It is true though that if I were to move back to Sydney I would miss places like M&S and Pret.

    It is difficult to find good clothes for reasonable prices. Forever New is one of my favourite stores but they can be a little on the pricey side sometimes. Cotton On is good if you are looking for cheap basics (kind of like a H&M equivalent I guess, although I hear H&M has just opened up in Sydney). Myer has a good clothing section as well (brands like Dangerfield and Tokito).

    • Glad to hear I am not the only weirdo that appreciates the convenience of M&S and Pret!

      I love so many of the Aussie brands – Zimmerman, Witchery, Sambag, Camilla – if only I can afford them. You are right though, as of this weekend we have a H&M so my beach wardrobe can be sourced from there.

  4. I always felt underdressed in Sydney, as I typically wore jeans and a t-shirt to go out, but so many girls go all out (except for the messy bun hair). Agree with many of these! Wait til you see the Christmas bus! That’s the best one.

    • I am so in awe of the Sydney women who have the beach to bar chic nailed. I’m still practising that.

      And the Christmas bus? The mind boggles…

  5. Hi Jayne,
    The one word which popped into my head when I read your post and the difficulty with finding clothes was TARGET…..
    Probably the least desirable but cost efficient clothes shop in the whole of Australia.:-)
    But oooh, how I envy you the beaches and the scuba diving. Will you please scuba dive Bondi for me.

    The one thing I missed when I travelled round the country was really good bookshops. Most of the time I couldn’t find any – even in the Malls!

    I found the suburbs to be really confusing. Their layout didn’t seem to make sense and after driving round in circles for the third time on our last visit – our kind hosts lent us their spare one. A God send….

    • You are right about bookstores – I have found 2 independents in Newtown and Surry Hills that are my go to but there are not as many around as you might expect.

      I bought some great loungewear in Target but haven’t been back since. I shall give it another try!

      • Back in 2011 Australia’s largest book retailers (Borders and Angus & Robertson) went bust. As there were no buyers for their retail business, their many shops serving as bookshops were lost.

        These days two largest bookshops are in the CBD, Dymocks at 424-8 George St and Books Kinokuniya upstairs at the Galleries in the Citigroup Centre opposite TownHall/QVB. You may want to Google Berkelouw who are in Paddington & Leichhardt. While Glebe Point Road in Glebe also has a few bookshops that I think survive due to the nearby universities.

  6. Haha, that’s great, recognize a lot when we lived in Sydney for 2 years (now live in London). For the buses, get the ‘travel-10’s’ (it’s 10x a single ride, works out cheaper). Shopping I liked to do at Cotton on, jeans west or just jeans, sometimes supré and online at surfstich, we lived close to Broadway mall, but also westfield at bondi was perfect for shopping clothes. Miss it! Also used to grab fresh sushi at the KingsX subway (yeah, it was good :)) and I miss the Coles pasta salad, haha. Great to follow your life in Sydney!

  7. Classy site, easy to navigate and enticing.

    Loved your view of Sydney, my home town for 40 years. After 6 weeks in London even I started looking for directions on bus stops. Ought to be there but car is king.
    Buses might be cold but the tube is stifling on a hot day.
    Would love more cafes open after 3 pm but now a couple do in Potts Point ie Panhandle in Llankally Place.

    20 years after civilised cities Sydney now has a transport pass but still mad and not possible to buy or top up at stations and seniors can only buy over phone or on line and some of this group are not on line.

    • Thanks for your comment. It is a beautiful city but the Opal system definitely bugs me! Can’t believe you can’t top up at the stations – very frustrating. Didn’t realise what a nuisance it was for the seniors too – hopefully these creases will be ironed out in time..

  8. I love this as it’s all so true! I’d probably write a bit more on the transport side of things as in it’s pretty terrible compared to London but definitely agree with missing Eat and Pret. I reckon they will be out here in the next few years. For clothes, see my blog for weekly What I wore Last Week where most of my outfits are under $100! Have you also seen my London Vs Sydney post? http://londonerinsydney.com/sydney-vs-london/ Hope you are enjoying life in Sydney. People think it’s very similar to living in UK but I reckon it’s so different with the different lifestyles.

  9. I’m an Iranian girl that is moving to sydney soon I’m really scared because I’m not sure what is waiting for me and also why is the school so weird ! I searched the Internet for the date that school starts and I found two dates and I also found out that there are two kinds of school one is western and one in something else one starts sooner that the other one “-” help please

  10. I never noticed the avocado thing when I live there but it was 7 years ago so probably wasn’t trendy back then! I agree with you about the clothes shopping though. I think there were three brands of clothes shop that I shopped in when I lived in Sydney, Cotton On and the two others I can’t remember the name of but yeah there wasn’t much choice!


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