A Londoners Guide To Sydney
January 1, 1970
by Robyn Flying The Nest
London has always held a massive place in my heart and even trips to New York and Paris have never persuaded me that I’d rather live anywhere other than London. Having lived nearby my whole life, I was finally able to make the big move three years ago. After two years of living my London dream, I packed my backpack with as much as I could carry and headed off for a new life in Sydney. The first question I always get is why? Australia had never massively appealed to me so it was the simple fact that I wanted to try living in a different country, it’s easy to get a visa, they speak a language I understand, I knew a few friends already settled there and of course for the sun!
When I arrived I half expected Sydney to be just like London on a rare sunny day. In some cases this is fairly true but boy are they’re times when it all feels upside down!
Never thought I’d miss the days of being squished on a sweaty old underground tube in London! As horrible and painful as it can be, you never really worry about how to get somewhere or stress about missing a train/bus because they’ll be another one along in a few minutes to take you to the other side of the city in 40 minutes. However, it is fair to say as a newer city Sydney trains are very lovely. Big double deckers with plenty of room and if anything a little too air conditioned. Don’t think I’ve had to stand during my commute once!
It’s fair to say Sydney needs some serious expansion in this area! For starters they stand on the left on the escalators not the right. The left!! I’m still getting used to that. There’s only a handful of trains so to get many places your stuck waiting half an hour for a bus that often doesn’t come or is too full to stop. I have waisted a lot of time waiting for buses in this city and a lot of money on taxis when I can’t be bothered for it to take me over an hour to meet my friends across the city.
Food and Drink
I’ve heard a lot of people say that food in Sydney is way better than back home and honestly I’m not in the best position to comments as I’ve only eaten out a few times due to my backpacker budget.
There definitely seems to be a lot more foodies in this country and while in England the classic conversation turns to weather, I often find here it turns to food. There’s a massive healthy food scene here with everyone serving gluten free and vegan, which although is on the rise in London is still not as readily available as it is here. Having said that, I think there may also be more fast food chains here too! Despite the healthy eating, I’ve still manage to gain a few pounds.
As for cafes and restaurants of which there is an abundance! They take a lot of inspiration from their Asian neighbours with Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian e.t.c being incredibly popular and a sushi place nearly every 5 shops.
Supermarkets are where I possibly get most of my food experience. Everything is so much bigger, like supersize veg and massive packets of things. Unlike in England, it’s pretty tricky to get your hands on a quick, cheap, microwave dinner and easy lunches. I was shocked when I started working that I had o go to a café to buy a sandwich and couldn’t just get a £3 lunch meal from the supermarket.
Before coming to Sydney everyone seems to share the same opinion that it’s much more expensive over here, but wages are higher. I’d actually say it’s much more similar to London prices than people think. Yes in my new job I was earning more than back home, but as a backpacker I was paying much higher tax and didn’t have as many perks. For travel I was spending nearly exactly the same a month. My food bills seem to come to more but going out prices are about the same with wine being cheaper but beer being a little more. Rent I would say is quite a bit cheaper over here for what you get. All in all its just pretty standard city living prices
Is this even worth discussing?! I know us Brits could talk about weather for hour, but surely Sydney is always going to win hands down! All I will say, is I loved in Sydney over the summer months so can’t really fill you in on winter. Summer got off to. Slow start and after a month of rain, I started to question if what everyone said about sunny Sydney was a lie! Just my luck I managed to move here as they had a summer of record breaking weather with lots of storms and rain. Once that had passed, I finally got the weather I’d been dreaming of. Beautiful sun and heat and while it took a while getting used to going to work in 40 degree heat and painfully high humidity, I’ve definitely acclimatised and don’t see how I’ll ever be able to go back to cold England!
Now this is the reason most people make the big move over. The idea that you hardly work and just spend your afternoons at the beach is a bit dated but from my experience (purely based on where I worked) people are pretty keen to leave on time and take a full lunch break no matter how much work they’ve got going on. It’s a pretty good attitude to have that at the end of the day it’s a job and you should work the hours you’re paid for. Made a nice change from working on London where I ate while I worked and averagely finished two hours later than I was contracted to.
Pretty much all my friends in Sydney are fellow Brits because quite frankly we are slowly taking over! Especially where I was living in Bondi. Whether it’s because of the good weather or because everyone has made the big move over, but I seem to have many more plans than I used to in London. Where I used to spend my weekends chilling out, maybe shopping and a few drinks, Sydney weekends are often about getting out and about. There is so much to see outside the city so there was many day trips and camping weekends to the countryside or a remote beach somewhere.
As a 20something, I should have a lot more knowledge on nightlife than I actually do! I’m not one for big clubs so definitely couldn’t tell you anything in that respect, I’m more of a casual drinks girl in a nice cocktail bar or old man pub. On the pub front no one will ever beat England in this area, they do have them here but they just don’t have the same atmosphere and haven’t found a good pub garden yet!
The one thing I have missed on the drinking scene since leaving London, is a good Thursday night after works drink. It’s just not a big deal over here and while there’s some really cute little hidden bars that I’ve found in the city, there’s not the same buzz or coolness that you’d find any night of the week in London. However what Sydney lacks in mid-week drinks, it makes up for on Sunday. Normally the day of rest and hangovers, is now home to the Sunday session, best spent at a beachside bar on a sunny afternoon with some Calamari and Bubbles and (if you can find it) some acoustic music.
I guess it only makes sense to finish with a bit of a summary of which City is my favourite but you can’t even compare the two as they are so difference. I said at the start that London will always have my heart and four months in Sydney will struggle to trump that! However, while I miss the pace and buzz that I get from London, you can’t beat the chilled out vibes that Sydney offers. If I ever start to miss home, I just have to spend a day at the beach with friends and good food to remember why I won’t be on the next flight home.