Today’s reader question post is a little different.

Instead, of me answering a question from my inbox, I’m going to post an email from an SMG reader that has happily settled in Manly. He wrote me not too long ago to catch up on how things were going and to pass on tips and lessons he and his wife have learned since moving to Sydney.

Today’s Question

“Thank you for much for you help. As you can imagine, we are in our second week here and just surviving the throes of the Sydney jungle and staying afloat.

We actually found a place to live with a view front of Shelly Beach in Manly. I’m quite excited for the weather to warm up just a bit and then jump in!

I’ve put together a short list of tips and lessons for other expats moving to Sydney that you might want to post on your site.”

10 Lessons Learned to Pass on to Other Expats Moving to Sydney

  1. I ended up securing 90% of my furnishing needs from Gumtree!! And with the help of Airtasker for deliveries. I would absolutely recommend Airtasker for smaller scale moves and furniture purchases from Gumtree – they charged $45 per hour and additional per km, on the weekends $50 per hour and very kind and personable.
  2. For temporary household items, I found a Chinese-run dollar store for cheap temporary items. One on the second floor of the Warringah mall near Big W.
  3. I used for my utilities – awesome tip from SMG!
  4. Love Optus (mobile phone provider), we found out that prepaid is cheaper and includes free calls to 23 countries including the US and unlimited FB, Twitter, LinkedIN etc.
  5. Ideally, best time to look for a place is winter especially in beach communities due to vacationers and visitors competing for summer rents. Folks willing to pay egregious prices for a short period.
  6. Best times to inspect places to improve chances of securing a rental is during the work week especially during work hours – cuts out competition. Opportunity for face to face interaction. Once you like the place make sure to introduce yourself to the agent showing the place and get their card and make an impression strong enough that they will remember you when they get your application.
  7. Translation of Sydney neighborhoods in California terms.
    • Manly is like Malibu/Maui
    • Bondi is a cross between Venice Beach/Santa Monica (busy!)
    • Surry Hills is like Silverlake in Los Angeles
    • Newtown is like Eagle Rock in Los Angeles (upcoming)
  8. Translation of grocers.
    • Harris Farmers Market – Wholefoods
    • Aldi’s – Grocery Outlet
    • Coles and Woolies – Safeway/Ralphs
    • Big W – Fred Meyers
  9. A few things to buy before you leave:
    Buy your awesome nice polarised shades from the US, the sun is strong in Australia and good sunglasses are expensive here.Same goes for pricey wetsuits if you plan to surf.
  10. Cheap deal sites for deals on food or going out or touristy activities are great for new expats wanting to explore the city. Signed up for Living Social Australia, Groupon Australia, Cudo and TravelZoo.
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What Are Mailbox Mondays?

Every Monday I pick a question from an SMG newsletter subscriber along with my reply straight out of my inbox to share with everyone here on the site.

I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction or help you with your research as I know there is a lot of noise out there on the interwebs and good resources are hard to find.

Do you have a question about your move to Australia?

Subscribe to the SMG newsletter above and just hit reply on any of the emails from me and ask.