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Sydney – Australia

Sydney is stunning. There’s no doubt that sparkling Sydney Harbour makes it an attractive destination, but there’s lots more going for it than just natural beauty. Take in the smooth sandstone of colonial buildings, enjoy entertaining theatre, visit world-class museums and indulge in gourmet delights.

Sydney ranks fifth on a list of the best cities in the world in which to live, work and study by the 2018 Global Liveability Index. Sydney ranks in the top five QS Graduate Employability Rankings and offers internationally recognised qualifications, lecturers and teachers, as well as access to first-class facilities and resources. Constantly topping student lifestyle surveys, Sydney has one of the biggest international student populations and ranked as the fourth most popular city in the world in the QS Best Student Cities 2016.

Public Transport

NSW has a large network of public transport services including buses, trains, light rail (trams) and ferries.

Buying tickets: You can buy tickets online or from train stations, ferry wharves, ticket outlets, local shops and on board light rail. See the Transport for NSW website for further information.

Opal cards: The NSW Opal Card is an electronic ticketing system where you load up a prepaid card with money and use it on trains, buses, ferries and light rail. It’s an easy and convenient way of paying for your travel on public transport, calculating the cost for you as you travel and reminding you when it’s time to ‘top up’ with more money. International Students need to purchase an ‘Adult’ Opal card rather than a ‘Student’ one.

The city’s vast public transport system makes it convenient and easy for students to get around the city centre, suburbs and surrounding areas like Blue Mountain or Newcastle.


One of the reasons why international students love Sydney is for its temperate climate equivalent to fantastic summers and mild winters. Students make the most of the perfect weather doing a long list of outdoor activities, whether learning to surf, riding a bicycle or just exploring the city centre, there is plenty of things to do literally under the sun.

Summer (December – February)
During summer, average temperatures range from 18.6 – 25.8°C (65.5 – 78.4°F), and average humidity spikes to 65%. This is a great time to enjoy Sydney’s abundant beaches when water temperatures rise to 21.9 – 23.7°C (71.4 – 74.7°F).

Autumn (March – May)
Autumn is the mildest time of year in Sydney when the humidity drops and average temperatures fall between 14.6 – 22.2°C (58.3 – 72°F). Crisp, fresh air makes autumn the season for enjoying Sydney’s coastal walks. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales, which migrate north from May to August.

Winter (June – August)
Sydney’s winter months are June to August when average temperatures drop between 8.8 – 17°C (47.8 – 62.6°F).  Sydney’s rainfall is generally highest in June, with an average of 132 mm (5.2 inches), while July is the coolest month when average daytime temperatures reach just 13°C (55°F).

Spring (September – November)
In spring, days are warmer but the humidity is not as high as summer. Average daily temperatures range from 11 – 23°C (51.8 – 73.4°F).

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Sydney is expensive! It consistently ranks in the top 10 of the most expensive cities to live in and is the most expensive Australian city. The biggest expense in Sydney is accommodation.

Average weekly living expenses in Sydney: $335 – $470 per week

  • Accomodation (sharing) – $150 – $220 per week (depending on suburbs you live in)
  • Food & Groceries – $80 to $100 per week
  • Travel – $50 to $65 per week
  • Phone & Internet bills – $25 to $55 per week
  • Miscellaneous – $30