Sydney : Australia


What It Is Like to Retire in Sydney

Sydney is the largest and the most sophisticated city in Australia.  For those reasons a large number of the country’s retirees will choose to live in the Sydney area. This major world city has a stunning setting on Sydney Harbour alongside its iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This vibrant city is filled with great parks like the Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park, along with dozens of museums, historic areas, and cultural resources. There are also excellent beaches that are easily accessed.  Downtown Sydney on a recent visit seemed very much a young person’s town, as younger folks crowd the sidewalks in search of fun, but baby boomer age people can enjoy it as well.

Indigenous people have lived here for millenia. The first British settlers arrived in 1788 with Captain Arthur Phillip and founded Sydney as a penal colony. He described Sydney Cove as the finest harbor in the world. It is the state capital of New South Wales. The population in 2014 was  over 4.7 million people. For more about retirement see our Retirement Guide to Australia.


Where to Retire in Sydney and Home Prices

The city proper has many interesting areas to retire in, particularly the restaurant-filled Potts Point neighborhood near the Royal Botanical Gardens.  The city is expensive but there are neighborhoods in the suburbs where it is more affordable. Many places allow you to live near the water, such as at Bondi Beach. The Potts Point area is described as living in the city for people who don’t want to live in the city - it is a low key but interesting place to live in the city proper. Depending on the size, quality, and location you can buy an apartment or house from to  few hundred thousand Australian $ into the millions. The median price of a home in 2014 was over $600,000.  Monthly rents will be in the thousands.  The idea of retirement villages is coming to Australia but we are not aware of too many in the Sydney area.


What Is Special about Sydney

The location on Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Ferry system is one of the highlights of living here - leaving from the Circular Harbor you can get to many nearby towns like Manley and Watson’s Point, along with their beaches, in a pleasant 30 minute ride across the Harbour. The ferry connections to the rest of the area is another great advantage.  Nearby Bondi Beach and the ocean cliff walk is beautiful.  Culturally Sydney has so much to offer, starting with the performances at the Sydney Opera House and going from there. The climate is moderate and mild year round. The Rocks is an old area from its early seaport days with several interesting museums, old buildings, and walks.


What Is Not Special about Sydney

The city can get very crowded with tourists at times.  It is also about as expensive to live as any place in Australia, or for that matter, the world.


Who Will Like Retirement in Sydney

Folks who want to live in a major city are  going to like it here. It has tremendous diversity so people of most any origin should feel comfortable. It is great for folks who like to walk, go to the beach, eat at wonderful restaurants, and have access to an airport with connections to the rest of the world. The problem for many is the difficulty of immigrating to live here full-time, since the days of a $10 passage from England (free for the kids) are long over and replaced by a very tough points system. See our Retirement Guide to Australia for more details.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Finance and government. It has the headquarters of many of Australia’s largest companies as well as having significant presences from international ones. Governement is a big employer. Tourism is also very important to the economy, with tourists from around the world coming here to visit


Climate and Physical Environment

Sydney is on the southeastern coast of Australia on one of the world’s finest harbors. It has a humid subtropical climate. The average January temp is in the low 20s and the average July temp is in the low teens (C.).  Rainfall occurs over 100 days a year and is spread fairlyl evenly during that time.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Sydney Opera House has several theatres that are constantly booked with top operas and concerts. The design of this unique complex came from an architectural competition won by a Danish architect,  Jørn Utzon. Originally scorned by some, it is one of the most admired buildings in the world and a World Heritage site.  Aboriginal art and culture are celebrated at. Natural History. The Barracks shows what life was like for British prisoners who were exiled to Australia to settle it. Top art museums include the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian Museum. Restaurants and wine are excellent. There is a large Chinatown with plenty of good places to eat. The Potts Point section near the Botanical Gardens is filled with excellent restaurants like the City Fish Market.



This is an urban area so their is some crime - but generally you feel quite safe. Since the terrorism incident at the Lindt Cafe security is more aware, but it’s presence is actually quite low key compared to America.


Medical Facilities

Sydney has many excellent hospitals and residents enjoy universal health care with the Medicare system.  The Prince of Wales Hospital was established in 1852 as the first in the city; now there are many more.



The Sydney Airport has service to the rest of the world. The mass transit system is efficient and easy to use and includes subways, trains, and busses. You can take the Ferry (high speed or local) or water taxis to surrounding areas.  


Valuable Links

Wikipedia page on Sydney


What people are saying about Sydney

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