Living in Sydney


Sydney has all the wonderful attributes of a big city such as restaurants, theatres, concert halls, sports stadiums, a multi-cultural population and a thriving economy.


Its most unique points are the beautiful weather and the fact that the city sits on the edge of the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Sydney is a cosmopolitan city with fantastic weather, excellent academic facilities, a multicultural society ready to welcome you. With an efficient public transport system that includes buses, trains and ferries, you will be able to navigate the city with ease.

The Sydney local area is made up of many diverse communities – people from a wide variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds – with more than 198,000 people living in the City of Sydney.

Every weekday 1.2 million people live, work, study, shop, visit or /and sightsee in the local area. Nearly 22,000 different businesses employ more than 437,000 people.

Altogether the residences and businesses occupy 33 million square metres of floor space across the 26.15 square kilometre local area. 

Look hard enough in Sydney and you can still find evidence of Sydney’s original inhabitants, who predated European settlers by at least 50,000 years.

Traditional art can still be found on rock faces and traces of shell middens have been left behind by local Aboriginal people, who hunted, gathered and fished in the area’s well-wooded surroundings and sheltered harbour.

Climate and weather in Australia and Sydney

Australia’s climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories; there are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north.

Australia’s seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.

Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. That means that you’ll get many opportunities to go out and explore the city. Climate is excellent in Sydney all year round. The following average daily temperatures are a guide only.

Spring (Sep – Nov) 23°C
Autumn (Mar – May) 23°C
Summer (Dec – Feb) 27°C
Winter (Jun – Aug) 18°C

Time zone and Daylight saving

With a land mass close to 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia is the world’s sixth largest country and is divided into three separate time zones. Sydney is located within Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year. In Australia, Daylight saving is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory.

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October, when clocks are put forward one hour. It ends at 2am (which is 3am Daylight Saving Time) on the first Sunday in April, when clocks are put back one hour.


Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent of the bill for good service. However, at any time, tipping is a matter of individual choice.


International students can open a bank account before they arrive in Australia. Opening an Australian bank account will allow you to earn money in Australia.  This is a free service.

As an international student you need to make sure you have enough money to pay for study, books and living expenses.  You also need to make sure your money is secure and that you can access it at any time.  You can use a basic day to day account to pay for course fees, rent or daily living costs.

There are four major banks in Australia: ANZ, CBA, NAB and WESTPAC.

For further information on how to open a bank account with one of Australia’s leading financial institutions online, simply visit their websites.

Normal bank trading hours: 

  • 30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday
  • 30 am – 5.00 pm Friday

Some banks are open Saturday mornings.

Cost of living

Want to enjoy your Sydney life to the fullest? Here’s how much you will need.

A whole year of study – minus tuition fees – is likely to cost you around AUD$20,000. This will cover most living expenses, including accommodation, transport, food, clothes and entertainment.

Here are some common expenses:

Single & shared accommodation per week    $120 – $380
Weekly travel pass $20 – $55
Take away lunch $8 – $15
Movie ticket $16 – $24
Loaf of bread $2 – $5
Litres of milk $3 – $5
Can of coke $2 – $3
Dining out $25 – $60
Regular take away coffee $3 – $5
Regular Big Mac Meal at McDonalds $9 – $11


Shopping and business hours

Most major shops and department stores are open 7 days a week. Late night shopping takes place on Thursday. Post offices are open Monday to Friday. Some post offices  open on Saturday mornings.

The average international student in Australia spends $350 to $650 per week on Accommodation, Food, Clothing, Entertainment, Transport, Telephone and Incidental costs.