If you are looking for houses to rent and are on a budget then instead of going more west along the train routes consider going north, past St. Leonard’s. Again this is just my opinion but the areas north are nicer, family oriented and it doesn’t seem to get so hot. Trust me it gets HOT in Sydney.
Start with these areas and do a search on Domain.com.au to see what the price ranges are for one bedrooms or two bedrooms apartments depending on the space you need. Google map them and get directions to or from Circular Quay or your work location to see how long it will take you to get to work or school each day by transport or even try walking.
a. Newtown – A great spot right on the Inner West train route with tons of bars, restaurants, shops and cafes. It has an US college town vibe to it, in my opinion.
b. North Sydney suburbs like Crows Nest which is very close to St. Leonards train station, about a ten mins walk to the central shopping area. Crow’s Nest also has many shops and cafes etc like Newtown but not quite the same college vibe (not as young), more family oriented. Wollstonecraft is a worth looking at as there is a train station and it’s, for the most part, walking distance to the Crow’s Nest shopping area.
c. The area between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach such as Queen’s Park or Waverly. Bondi Beach is very lively but full of tourist and backpackers which can get annoying (not to mention very loud at night) after a while but fun to be close to.
d. Darlinghurst and the surrounding areas like Potts Point or Elizabeth Bay. Pricer suburbs in Sydney but be careful as apartments are advertised as being in Potts Point but are really located in King Cross, an area I would avoid at all costs.
e. Manly though it is a pricy ferry ride into Circular Quay, especially if you do it everyday, but if you are an expat from the UK you will not be lonely in Manly. People that move to Manly tend to never leave the area and I really can’t blame them as it is gorgeous and really does have a unique village feeling.
f. If you are moving to Sydney for school then you really should look no further than Randwick. You are right next to the University and Coogee Beach. Randwick is not on the train route but has many city buses in the area including express buses that will make your morning and evening commute much fast though these buses tend to be packed during peak travel times. With that many bus routes headed to Randwick you really won’t feel that far away from the downtown area.
g. Coogee Beach is south of Bondi Beach and also only accessible by bus (about a 45 mins bus ride from the downtown area) as far as public transportation but it’s one of the best beaches in Sydney! It too is packed with backpackers and tourist but usually clears out to just locals during the winter months. There are other beach areas between Bondi and Coogee but these areas are very expensive like Tamarama and Bronte.
h. Kirribilli and Neutral Bay. Ok so I’m bias since we lived in Neutral Bay and I absolutely loved it. There are amazing views of the city, beautiful parks like Cremorne Point and it’s so easy to get into the city either by ferry or walking up to the train station.
The list above is just to narrow down your search parameters and to settle into your first year living in Sydney. So don’t worry, you don’t have to live there forever!
You may have noticed that I left out Surry Hills and other areas like Pyrmont. That’s because you don’t get much for what you pay for in those areas. We tried several times to live in Surry Hills but every place we looked at was expensive, tiny and full of cockroaches. We eventually gave up our search for an apartment in Surry Hills.
Glebe is another nice area but I didn’t put it on my list as it is a little bit harder to get to like Balmain, but both are great areas and worth checking out after you’ve lived in Sydney for six months or a year and are more familiar with the city.