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Where to Live in Sydney: An Expat Guide

Moving to a new city can be an exciting yet daunting experience, especially for expats looking to settle down in Sydney. Known for its iconic landmarks, vibrant culture, and stunning beaches, Sydney offers a unique lifestyle that attracts people from all over the world.  So the question is, where to live in Sydney?

With so many neighbourhoods to choose from, finding the perfect place to live can be a challenge. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best areas for expats in Sydney, taking into account factors such as affordability, convenience and quality of life.

Surry Hills

Surry Hills, located just southeast of the Sydney central business district (CBD), is a convenient choice for professionals working in the city. Surry Hills is well-served by public transport, with multiple bus routes and a nearby train station. Many businesses, especially in creative industries, have set up shop in Surry Hills, creating a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Surry Hills offers a mix of housing options, including terrace houses, modern apartments, and converted warehouses. The charming Victorian and terrace houses contribute to the neighbourhood’s character, while newer developments provide contemporary living spaces. While property prices in Surry Hills can be higher than average, the unique lifestyle and convenience it offers make it an appealing choice for many expats.

Having evolved from working-class roots into a trendy and sought-after area, Surry Hills is known for its unique character and thriving arts scene. The suburb is dotted with independent galleries, boutique design studios, and artist-run spaces. Walking through the streets, you’ll find colourful street art, murals, and unique architectural features that add to the neighbourhood’s artistic flair. 

The area is teeming with trendy cafes, award-winning restaurants, and cozy bars. From artisanal coffee shops to international cuisine, Surry Hills offers a culinary experience that caters to all tastes and budgets.


Slightly more relaxed than Surry Hills, Paddington boasts charming, well-preserved Victorian terraces, which line the streets and contribute to the area’s character and charm. These terraces have been beautifully restored and transformed into stylish residences, giving Paddington a distinct architectural identity.

Paddington is famous for its vibrant shopping scene along Paddington Markets where fashion enthusiasts, art lovers and those seeking unique crafts can find unique fashion, crafts and artisan goods every Saturday. 

The neighbourhood is close to Centennial Park, one of Sydney’s largest and most beautiful urban parks. Spanning over 189 hectares, the park offers vast green spaces, picturesque ponds, and walking and cycling tracks. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor activities, picnics, or simply enjoying a peaceful retreat amidst nature.

When it comes to dining and entertainment, Paddington offers an array of options. The neighbourhood boasts numerous trendy cafes, award-winning restaurants and cosy wine bars. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely brunch, a fine dining experience, or a casual drink with friends, Paddington caters to a variety of tastes and preferences.


For those who enjoy beachside living, Manly is a top choice. Situated on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Manly offers a laid-back coastal vibe with easy access to the city. Expats looking for a picturesque and laid-back neighbourhood with a strong sense of community will find Manly to be an ideal choice.

Manly Beach, one of Australia’s most famous beaches, stretches along the shoreline and offers pristine sand, crystal-clear waters, and excellent surf breaks. It’s a popular spot for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and beachside picnics. The beach is also home to the iconic Manly Surf Lifesaving Club, which has been an integral part of the local community for over a century.

Beyond the beach, Manly boasts a vibrant waterfront promenade known as The Corso. This bustling pedestrian mall is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a diverse range of cuisines, boutique fashion, and unique souvenirs. The Corso is a hub of activity and a popular meeting point for locals and visitors alike.

Manly is not just about the beach and The Corso. The suburb also offers a range of recreational activities and outdoor spaces. The nearby North Head provides panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and is ideal for bushwalking, cycling, and picnics. Manly Dam, a picturesque freshwater reservoir, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for swimming, kayaking and hiking.

Manly has a strong community spirit and a welcoming atmosphere. The suburb hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Manly Jazz Festival and the Manly Food and Wine Festival, showcasing local talent, music, and culinary delights. The Manly Art Gallery and Museum also contribute to the cultural scene, featuring exhibitions and events that celebrate the area’s heritage and contemporary art.


Newtown is a haven for food lovers, offering a vast array of dining options from around the world. The suburb’s main thoroughfare, King Street, is lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and eateries serving cuisine from every corner of the globe. Whether you’re in the mood for Thai, Italian, Mexican, or vegan fare, Newtown has it all. 

The neighbourhood also embraces the country’s coffee culture with tons of coffee shops to get a fantastic shot of espresso. Both A Loft Story and Campos are dog-friendly, making room for the entire family, and boast delightful coffee concoctions you can only dream of.  

Beyond its culinary delights, Newtown is famous for its alternative and vintage shopping scene. The area is dotted with thrift stores, vintage boutiques, record shops and unique specialty stores. It’s a treasure trove for those seeking one-of-a-kind clothing, accessories, books, and vinyl records. Newtown also hosts the Newtown Festival, a yearly event that celebrates the local community and showcases local artists, musicians and businesses.

Potts Point

Although on the pricey side, Potts Point is a vibrant and sought-after neighbourhood that combines history, culture, and a lively atmosphere. Expats looking for a central and upscale area with a touch of sophistication will find Potts Point to be an appealing choice.

The vibrant arts scene extends to theatres and performance venues, where residents can enjoy a diverse range of productions, including plays, musicals, and live music performances. The iconic Hayes Theatre, located in the heart of Potts Point, is known for staging innovative and critically acclaimed musicals.

For those seeking outdoor recreation, Potts Point offers access to nearby parks and green spaces. The picturesque Fitzroy Gardens and the lush Royal Botanic Garden are just a short stroll away, providing tranquil havens amidst the bustling city. These parks offer opportunities for leisurely walks, picnics, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

The Rocks

Steeped in history and charm, The Rocks is Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood, nestled at the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As the birthplace of modern Sydney, The Rocks offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s early days with cobblestone streets and heritage buildings that blend old-world charm and modern amenities. 

One of the main attractions of The Rocks is the Rocks Market, held on weekends. This open-air market showcases a wide range of arts, crafts, fashion, and gourmet food. Visitors can explore stalls offering unique handmade products, locally designed clothing, and delicious treats. The market also features live entertainment, creating a festive and bustling atmosphere that draws locals and tourists alike.

Its harbour-side location promises breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and sparkling waters. Residents of The Rocks can enjoy leisurely walks along the waterfront promenade, taking in the iconic landmarks and enjoying the fresh sea breeze. The nearby Barangaroo Reserve offers a tranquil escape from the city, with beautifully landscaped parklands, walking trails and picnic spots.

Transportation in The Rocks is convenient, with bus services and the Circular Quay train station nearby. Circular Quay serves as a major transport hub, providing access to ferry services that connect The Rocks to other parts of Sydney’s harbour and beyond. The proximity to the CBD also makes it a desirable location for professionals working in the city.


Blacktown is a suburb that offers a mix of residential and commercial areas, making it an attractive choice for expats looking for affordability and convenience. With a diverse population and a range of amenities, Blacktown has a vibrant multicultural atmosphere.

Blacktown boasts several shopping centres, including Westpoint Blacktown, which is one of the largest shopping centres in Western Sydney. Here, you can find a wide variety of retail stores, supermarkets, and dining options. The suburb also offers a range of recreational facilities, including sports clubs, parks, and reserves, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities.

For families, Blacktown is home to several reputable schools – both public and private – catering to various educational needs. The suburb is well-served by public transport, with a major train station and numerous bus routes connecting it to the rest of Sydney.

One of the notable attractions in Blacktown is Featherdale Wildlife Park, where visitors can get up close and personal with native Australian wildlife. This makes it an ideal place for families and nature enthusiasts.

Where to Live in Sydney?

Whether you’re looking for a bustling urban atmosphere, a beachside haven or a relaxed residential area, Sydney has it all. Regardless of your current circumstances, lifestyle preferences or budget, we guarantee you’ll find the perfect place to call home in this vibrant and beautiful city. And with the information within this post, the question of where to live in Sydney should feel a little less scary.

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