I consider myself lucky. In three decades of living, I have experienced life in three different countries. Essentially a different country for each decade of my life. First growing up in the United Kingdom, I left those shores for New Zealand when I was twenty. Now I have arrived and living in Sydney, Australia, I find myself thrilled with my new city. However, as is typical, those that have always resided here take many of the wonderful things for granted. Or they focus too heavily on downsides instead of upsides. Here follows then, is my contribution to answer to the question “Why live in Sydney?” or “What makes Sydney a good city to live?”. Top five reasons, coming right up!
1. The Foodie Culture Is Amazing
It does seem obvious to say a city has a good Food Scene, but Sydney is definitely taking no prisoners when it comes to the crown of best food city I’ve experienced. It has it all – diversity, locality, innovation. Each suburb has its own gems, just waiting to be discovered. You couldn’t even begin to try all the dining offerings in Newtown alone in a year, without having to start afresh the next one with the number of new places opening their doors. Artisans are focusing on fresh and local ingredients, while Australians from all different cultures are everywhere with eateries showcasing authentic region cuisine. Those in the know head to Marrickville for Vietnamese, while Chinatown right next to the CBD is a frenetic cornucopia of flavor. World-Class talent abounds in the glamorous parts of the Circular Quay and Darling Harbor if you want to be spoiled at a justifiable price-tag. Coffee? Craft Beer? Farmers Markets? Cheese? Whatever it is, I find Sydneysiders taking pride in being the best while keeping it local. It doesn’t get much better than that.
2. Sydney Is Friendly
A big part of what makes Sydney a good city to live are the people. I’ll be honest, a decade in small-town New Zealand, I had gotten used to being among a community of pleasant folk. The kiwis do friendly better than anyone else, certainly more than the British, among whom eye-contact in the street is akin to a violation of the body. But their charm was more akin to the pastoral goodness that belongs to a past time – more like being in the Shire where everyone knows everyone and it almost feels like too much. Sydney residents know how to get along while still acknowledging that yes, we live in a city and life is fast – but it can all happen with a smile. Immigrant communities are well-integrated so that everyone feels like they are sharing part of a diverse and multicultural city. Small talk at the shops with staff isn’t unusual. You know your neighbours, know your suburb just by being there. It is a city with the perfect balance – enough of a crowd to lose yourself in if you want to, enough community spirit to find a friend, should you need one.
3. The Public Transport IS Good
A favourite past-time of Sydneysiders is definitely bashing their public transport options. To this I have to say just one thing. Stop. It. You have obviously never experienced the horror of trying to get around anywhere in Auckland, or the dank of the London network. Sydney Trains come under the most flak, but for all their woes (yes, more investment always needed to get the network staffed up and running properly), your trains are awesome. They are double-decker for goodness sakes! The seats swivel! They go to all the places you want them to go (like… the airport. Oh god I wish the trains went to the airport in Auckland!). The new Metro project being completed in the next few years is going to add even more options. Buses and ferries are all running on the same Opal network so there’s not a single place in the city out of reach for anyone without a car. I love it.
4. A City That Said “Yes!”
In 2017, I arrived to a city awash in love and support for the LGBT community in the campaign for the Marriage Amendment Referendum to allow same-sex marriage in the country. The streets – everywhere – were awash with rainbows and the affirmation to vote YES! to the prospect. Shops, bars, cafes well outside of any ‘gay’ district were all showing their pride as the vote took place. It was wonderful to see. I have never felt unsafe as a gay man in this city. Anywhere and everywhere I will hold my husband’s hand, or give him a kiss. I really feel like this city showed its colours (literally) in 2017, and rather than feeling like there’s dedicated safe ‘spaces’ to stick to, I feel like I have a safe city to call my own. “Why live in Sydney?” Because here they said a yes to love and yes to equality, and they show it in spades.
5. Beaches. Beaches Everywhere.
Sun-lovers, rejoice! Not only does Sydney have a wonderful sunny climate (seriously, what even is Winter here compared to those of my youth or freezing my ass off in Taupo?), but being on the coast it has BEACHES. Well over 100, apparently. And though darlings like Bondi and Manly grab the tourist numbers, there are so many to choose from if you want to get out of the suburbs and down to the coast, just minutes away. Remember to slip, slop, slap n wrap as the summertime sun can be fierce, the stretches of lovely ocean and sandy getaways are another big plus to what makes Sydney a good city to live.
That’s my own top five. Do you live in Sydney? Have your own picks? Or maybe you disagree? Leave a comment below to have your say!