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Graduates Moving Guide to Sydney


Sydney is a popular destination for graduates travelling from interstate and overseas, thanks to its lively cultural calendar, varied population, and some of the world’s most famous beaches. Sydney, Australia’s largest city is located 286km from the nation’s capital and has a rich and international job market, with giants such as Deloitte, Microsoft, Boeing, Accenture, Google, KPMG, and many others, including a strong banking and finance sector.

Whatever your reasons for transferring to Sydney as a graduate, it may be stressful to consider just how much you need to research, from finding a job and somewhere to live through to learning about the local scene and meeting new people.

If you’re a graduate moving to Sydney, then this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about what to expect and how best to go about making important choices.

Pros and Cons of Living in Sydney as a Student/Graduate

While any Sydney resident will have their own individual likes and dislikes, there are some broad pros and cons of living in Sydney. But, takes these with a pinch of salt as nowhere is perfect, although Sydney might come close for some.


Good Weather (Mostly)

As it is located in a humid subtropical zone, Sydney has a sunny climate with warm summers and mild winters, making it perfect for those who like being outside.

Mild winters and warm summers, making it ideal for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Typical maximum temperatures range from 16.4°C in July to 25.8°C in February—with modest rainfall throughout the year. One thing to keep in mind is that the summers can get very hot and humid, with temperatures exceeding 35°C.

Diverse Yet Close-Knitted

With the country’s largest overseas-born population, Sydney is known for its culturally diversified population.

The top five nations with inhabitants born abroad are:

With around 3.7 million foreign visitors coming to Sydney each year, the city has a constant infusion of new ideas and cultures, making it a global cosmopolitan metropolis.

Many of Sydney’s 600 suburbs have their own particular character, with unique strips of local shops and a sense of community thanks to its cultural variety and close-knit migrant communities.

Lively Lifestyle

Sydney is a city that loves to have a good time, meaning there’s always something going on, such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and Vivid Sydney, an annual celebration of lights, music and creativity.

Further west, communities such as Parramatta, Sydney’s “second CBD,” are evolving into commercial and business hubs with their own unique events, such as Tropfest and a variety of festivals sponsored by Sydney’s Indian population.

High Employment

Employment is an important part of any graduate guide to Sydney.

We will go into more detail below. As Australia’s largest city, Sydney has high rates of graduate jobs. One of the largest industries is finance and insurance, accounting for around 16% of the city’s revenue. Next up are the technology and scientific industries which make up 8.5%, followed by healthcare and social services which are between 6-8%.

Beaches and National Parks

Sydney is known for its natural beauty, and for good reason: from world-famous beaches like Manly and Bondi and a variety of national parks, living in the Harbour City means you’re never more than an hour away from nature.

Some of the most popular national parks include Sydney Harbour National Park, Royal National Park, and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

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Internationally Remote

If you’re going interstate, Sydney’s worldwide isolation won’t matter much to you, but unlike many other global capitals like London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles, Sydney can seem like a faraway place.

To put this in perspective, flying from Sydney to New Zealand takes roughly 3 hours, 4 hours to Fiji, 10 hours to China, 12 hours to Malaysia, and more than 20 hours to Europe and the United States.

Cost of Living is High

We’ll go into a little more detail below, Sydney is famously expensive – even considered more expensive than New York or London.

Public Transport Needs Work

The state of public transportation in Sydney is known to be somewhat lacking in terms of reliability and value for money.

But, the state government is currently looking at several initiatives to modernize transport with improved accessibility for people with disabilities, more efficient scheduling, easier movement around the CBD, and a larger train network.

A Brief Graduates Guide to the Suburbs of Sydney

Choosing where to live will of course have a huge impact on your overall impact of living in Sydney, and as a graduate, you are likely to be more budget constrained than most. But, which suburbs are the best? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for, so here’s a quick overview of the main areas.


Suburbs: Sydney CBD, Millers Point, The Rocks, Woolloomooloo, Potts Point.

Typical costs: A one-bedroom apartment may easily cost approximately $650 per week.

The city is the place to go if you want to be in the middle of everything. The inner city of Sydney is an amazing place to be, with a busy nightlife and a world-famous harbour.



Eastern suburbs

Suburbs: Bondi, Paddington Bronte, Randwick, Darlinghurst.

Typical costs: $670 per week for a flat or $1,100 per week for a house.

The Eastern suburbs’ scenic beaches, lively local communities, lush neighbourhoods, and parks attract a large number of visitors.



The Inner West

Suburbs: Ashbury, Enmore, Petersham, Ashfield, Balmain, Chippendale, Dulwich Hill, Glebe, Hurlstone Park, Leichhardt, New,town.

Typical costs: A home in the inner west will set you back roughly $780 per week, while a unit would set you back around $560 per week.

The Inner West of Sydney is where a lot of new immigrants end up and is slightly more affordable than the inner city, with a reputation for progressive politics, community and ecological projects.



The Hills District

Suburbs: Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill.

Typical Costs: A unit will be $430 per week, while a three-bedroom house will cost about $650 per week

The Hills District is a wealthy and conservative district in Sydney’s north-west, home to Norwest Business Park, which houses the headquarters of major corporations. If you work in the neighbouring suburbs or in far-western Sydney, it’s a convenient spot to live.



The Upper North Shore

Suburbs: Gordon, Hornsby, Killara, Pymble, Turramurra.

Typical costs: A house in the Upper North Shore area costs about $850 per week, with units costing around $545 per week.

This is an affluent and leafy area, famous for containing many heritage-listed properties in exclusive postcodes. However, because of this, it’s not the most popular place for graduates to live, both because of the price and the lack of a younger vibe.



The Lower North Shore

Suburbs: Cammeray, Mosman, Chatswood, Cremorne, Neutral Bay.

Typical costs: A house on the Lower North Shore can cost more than $1,300 a week, with units costing around $610 per week.

The Lower North Shore, just north of the CBD, is home to some of Australia’s most opulent neighbourhoods, with panoramic views of the Harbour. Hundreds of parks and reserves, including Sydney Harbour National Park and Lane Cove National Park.



Western Sydney

Suburbs: Blacktown, Granville, Parramatta, St Mary’s.

Typical costs: Houses cost an average of $470 per week to rent, and units cost around $450.

Western Sydney is a large territory west of Sydney’s CBD that remains a relatively reasonable alternative for graduates who can handle the commute and don’t mind living a bit further away from the CBD.


How to Go About Choosing a Place

buildingThe Sydney neighbourhood that best suits you will reflect your personal tastes, social and professional duties, and financial means.

Because there is no quick method to identify your ideal mate, it’s always good to take a holistic look at things.

Some questions to ask yourself can be:

How do I find Flats, Apartments, or a Room in a Share House?

Here are some tools that you can use to look for accommodation and flatmates in Sydney, some of which are free (like Gumtree) and others which may charge a fee.

Facebook is also a fantastic way to join graduate communities to find new friends, places to live and activities.

The Job Market for Graduates in Sydney

Sydney is well-known for being oriented around the banking and finance industry, which is the top income generator for the city.

The five industries that employ the most people in metropolitan area of Sydney are professional, scientific and technical services, healthcare and social services, construction, retail, education, finance and insurance.

While the majority of professional positions remain concentrated in Sydney’s CBD, one of the latest employment trends has been a growth of new jobs in Sydney’s western suburbs. As with any other country, the most opportunities will be in the CBD of the city, rather than in the outskirts.

What do graduates in Sydney earn?

cashSydney provides relatively high average incomes for graduates in professional jobs, which are competitive both worldwide and in contrast to other Australian capital cities.

The average wages shown below are after 2-4 years of employment.


Graduate lifestyle in Sydney

sydney-cityNo Sydney graduate guide would be complete without looking at what the city has to offer!

So, let’s take a look.

Arts and culture

There’s always something going on in Sydney, with major festivals, such as the Sydney Film Festival and Vivid Sydney, together with many smaller events and an ever-changing array of plays.

Lectures, concerts, plays, and other live events. Then of course there is the Sydney Opera House, Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the State Theatre, and many more.


Sydney offers a diverse range of nightlife activities. There’s something for everyone, from Oxford Street’s lively cafés, pubs, and clubs (gay, straight, and mixed) to The Rocks and King Street Wharf.

Drinks on the harborside terraces are pricey, but the views are well worth it. Across the city, a slew of little Melbourne-style bars have sprung up, with many more to come.


shoppingSydney has a rich variety of shopping experiences to satisfy all tastes, and you’ll easily discover a selection of local and international businesses throughout various shopping complexes.

These include:

Sydney is also known for unique and trendy shopping too, with markets all over the city selling arts and crafts, antiques, flowers, fruit, flower and just about anything else you might need.

Then you have Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Glebe Markets, Paddy’s Markets, Sydney Fish Market and Sydney Flower Market.

Meeting People and Fellow Graduates in Sydney

Being new in town is never easy, but here are a few things to explore:

Other Useful Resources

We’ve gone over the major points you’ll need to know before coming to Sydney, but it’s also vital to remember the minor details. Here’s a brief list of tools to assist you to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Legal Help

After moving to Sydney, you’ll need to change your enrolment address and update the contact details on your driver’s license. If you move into rented or shared accommodation, lodge your bond with rental bonds online.

Also, if you’re under the age of 25 need legal advice at any point, there is free support with the Marrickville Legal Centre. You may also qualify for assistance from NSW Justice Victims Services.

Healthcare Providers

Moving to a new city or country can be challenging and it’s not unusual to need mental health support. If you need help, look into Lifelineheadspace, and other local organizations.

Free specialized services can also be found at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre, the Aboriginal Medical ServiceACON (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) health), and NSW hospital network.

Financial Advice

Do you require assistance in creating a new bank account? Are you in charge of your superannuation? Making a financial plan? Do you have a debt problem? Are you putting money aside for a vacation?

Check out this list of free financial literacy classes, call the national debt hotline for free guidance, or use the ASIC Money Smart tool to locate a reputable financial counsellor near you.

You’re Good to Go

Sydney is a fantastic place to live and work for graduates. It has the perfect balance of development and culture, with people from around the world choosing to settle in both the short and long term.

We hope that this Sydney graduate guide has been useful, and just remember: there are many people just like you moving over, so you’ll be far from alone. Good luck, and welcome!


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