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Talk to me about Sydney

(36 Posts)
FrozenYogurt Tue 16-Jul-13 11:07:49


We have made the exciting decision to move to Sydney for roughly two years (before both kids are in school). We are tremendously excited and nervous and frantically researching everything we need to do before and after we get there.

I have read a lot of the threads on Sydney, so I'll try not to duplicate questions. The main thing people seem to comment on is the extortionate cost of living. We are (sort of) prepared for this, DH's work are providing a cost of living allowance, but most of this will go on rent. We want to live quite central so DH can have a home life with the kids. Is 750/800pw a realistic budget for a 3 bed? I've searched on the Domain site, but thought a local could advise, since you can't really tell over the net! We're thinking possibly Balmain or Manly. I like the sound of the Inner West, or Northern Beaches, but we'd like DH's commute to come in under an hour..

Also how easy is it to live frugally: I think I'm a pretty good 'from scratch' cook, making big pots of chilli, etc, last a few meals. Are basic staples such as rice and pulses expensive? Or is it just meats and jars, processed stuff that's more expensive? What about nappies, sun cream, etc?

Anyone have a good shipper recommendation? We want to set up a new home, so will be scouring Gumtree, EBay when we get there, but will want to bring the kids stuff, kitchen bits. Not thinking a whole containers worth but certainly more than a suitcase can hold.

Lastly, having two DCs under 3 I am hoping that the playgroup network will provide me with ample opportunity to meet other mums. Have others found this to be the case?

Think that's all my questions for now, really grateful to anyone who can impart some insider knowledge.

Thumbwitch Thu 18-Jul-13 13:50:35

Ah, xposted with Mutley - VERY good point re healthcare and ambulance cover!
We had an ambulance out to DS1 last year when he swallowed DH's wedding ring and started choking - we had healthcare cover for it but the bill came to us first and was about $440, I believe. But I also believe it's not a blanket cost - it depends on how far they have to take you, because the telephone health line (who insisted on calling them) said it would be between $300 and $800 (luckily I'd insisted we had ambulance cover, DH thought it was unnecessary!)

Daeira Thu 18-Jul-13 14:13:43

I grew up in Sydney (now in the UK) and based on what friends say it's now extortionately expensive as others have pointed out!

Location-wise what about:
- Glebe / Rozelle / Lilyfield
- Balgowlah / Clontarf
- Northbridge / Castlecrag (or Seaforth / Mosman / Neutral Bay, but they're pricier you may not get 3br)
- Roseville / Castle Cove
- Coogee

If you're willing to have a more inconvenient commute, then perhaps:
- Newport / Bilgola or Avalon / Palm Beach / Whale Beach but then you're TRULY in painful commute territory. Although the beaches are spectacular smile

As Mutley says, renting is a pain in the butt. Having all of your references and paperwork ready in advance helps - I used to have a print out of all my details that I'd need for the rental reference so I could just give it to the agent. And stalk the agent during the open house saying things like "well as we have our own home in the UK we're obviously USED to looking after a house as if it's ours" etc - suck up in other words. And if you love it, be prepared to pay more in advance as a sweetener (people are also offering over the asking rent these days, there's such a shortage of rental property).

Apanicaday Thu 18-Jul-13 14:32:08

I agree with sucking up to the agents - we got our rental because we offered to take on a two year contract. We looked round Balgowlah and loved it (still wish we'd ended up there really), but the competition for rentals was mad - we did apply for one, but so did about 20 others - and no other suitable places came up in the time we were looking. We also had application forms filled out in advance for properties we thought we would like so that we could hand them in at opens.

mono3 Thu 18-Jul-13 15:53:08

Other areas to consider are Drummoyne, abbotsford & chiswick which are in the Inner West. They are all on the ferry route into the cbd so a good commute for your husband. They are all just a bit further out than Balmain so slightly cheaper and while there are no actual beaches there are plenty of bays around so you are not far from the water.

In terns of meeting other people you are right, play groups are a good place to start. The local council can send you a list of the local ones if you give them a call.

FrozenYogurt Thu 18-Jul-13 22:39:21

This is all great stuff - thanks everyone. We'll have health insurance covered by DH's work, but will definitely check about the ambulance cover.

Good pointer about the rental package. I'll gather copies of references, bank statements, etc so we can bring to inspections. We'll be renting out our house back here so I'll ask the agent for a reference.

I'll be making a list of all these area recommendations and doing as much online research as possible so we know which areas to target when we arrive.

DH's work have started the ball rolling on his 457 visa - it's definitely all happening now! We have yet to tell our parents that we're going. Not looking forward to those conversations. I'm sure they'll cope with us going, but will be upset to miss two years of our DCs. Thank goodness for Skype!

Trebletrouble Thu 18-Jul-13 23:41:43

If you're going on a business (457) visa then you have to have a private health insurance policy. Check with your husbands employer if they will pay or if you have to. The law is that they have to 'assist' you, ie give you the information about various providers, but they don't have to pay it. Our policy covered all hospital treatment, GP appointments and xrays etc. However (if you luve near one) you can also go to a 'bulk bill' medicare medical centre and don't have to pay for walk-ins. Dental Insurance is also recommend - costs a fortune to pay for treatment.

newbiefrugalgal Thu 18-Jul-13 23:49:39

Can also second northern beaches

Mutley77 Fri 19-Jul-13 06:13:41

Good luck with your parents. Would they visit you? Mine have been once already and coming again early next year. It really helped me with homesickness and they were pleased to see we were all ok too.

bluechik Tue 23-Jul-13 15:17:11

Hi there, I'm a local Sydneysider currently living in London - if you are looking for somewhere a bit like Islington or East Dulwich then I would look at the Inner West. We have a 3 bed Victorian terrace on a quiet street in St Peters (20 mins walk to Newtown) with a small garden which is opposite a park and we rent it out for £580 per week, to give you an idea of pricing. When we go back to Sydney we'll be looking at Newtown/Erskineville/Enmore/St Peters (think Islington) or, for a bit more space but still central - Dulwich Hill/Summer Hill/Leichhardt/Marrickville (think East Dulwich). You will not be next to the beach but you will be able to drive to the Eastern suburbs beaches in about 20-30 mins, depending on time of day. All the above suburbs are lively, have plenty of families, children and parks, as well as cafés and high street shops, and a reasonably short commute into the Sydney CBD - picking somewhere near a railway station would be good. PM me if you would like any more info.

Azura Tue 23-Jul-13 15:33:05

Somewhere like Newtown would probably be better value. I used to live in Randwick - great because you can walk to the beach but I think the Eastern suburbs aren't that affordable any more. Basically, Sydney is insanely expensive. However, we have just been across on a holiday (to family in Melbourne) and I can say that the Aldi nappies are really pretty good. And I am totally a fan of Pampers in the UK. You actually can buy Pampers in Australia - Pampers have an online site (only available online) but they are eye wateringly expensive

chloeb2002 Tue 23-Jul-13 23:11:58

Azura... If you want pampers at a better price.. Look up go toddler. Free delivery. They match up in price to huggies with go toddler.

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