Sydney guide for digital nomads

The Ultimate Guide to Sydney for Digital Nomads

We can all agree that Sydney is one of the most vibrant cities around the globe. Aside from its iconic skyline, this city also offers major attractions that can easily catch the attention of travelers from all over the globe – digital nomads included.

Dubbed as The Harbour City, this bustling metropolitan is considered Australia’s most populous city. It seems to have everything we need: high-speed internet access, safe accommodations, and stunning views. What more can we ask for?

> Read more: Our guide to Australia for digital nomads.

If you’re planning to visit Sydney soon, then you came to the right place. Here is the Ultimate Guide to Sydney for Digital Nomads.

Language

When traveling to a foreign destination, one of the key considerations is the language that the locals speak. Being prepared will get you far and help you make the most of your stay there.

Fortunately for English speakers, the main language used in the city is English. That will surely help you navigate through the city and communicate with locals with ease.

Also, around 45% of Sydney’s population is composed of immigrants and other foreign residents. That means that a big portion of the population also speaks other languages. Other non-English languages include Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

Accommodation

accommodation in Sydney

Having a place to stay is crucial to a digital nomad, that’s why it’s important to have one booked even before you arrive. Remember that this city is quite a popular destination with millions of international visitors every year – so it’s essential to think ahead and make prior arrangements.

You must also remember that Sydney is quite an expensive city, so looking for affordable accommodation won’t be easy. But as tricky as it is to find an inexpensive place to stay, it’s certainly not impossible. As long as you know where to look, you’ll be able to find the perfect home away from home in this beautiful city.

Here are some reliable resources where you can find the best accommodation in Sydney:

Airbnb

Airbnb is a recognized name that helps you find the best listings from all over the world – Sydney included. This directory organizes each listing according to ratings and reviews, and that helps you determine if a particular flat or room will best suit your needs.

Airbnb also has a reliable app that lets you book your chosen listing hassle-free. It also offers promos and discounts from time to time, and that also helps you save up on your booking.

Flatmates.com.au

To save up on living expenses, you might want to consider sharing a flat with a local or another traveler. If you have no problem with that arrangement, then Flatmates.com.au can help you find the perfect place to stay.

This platform will help you get in touch with people who need roommates, so you can get an idea of who you’re staying with for a while. We must advise you early on, however, that Flatmates rentals usually require you to stay for a minimum number of days. That can range between a week or a month – so make sure you look into that part of the listing closely.

Internet Availability and Strength

A top reason why Sydney is one of the best cities for digital nomads is its internet availability and strength.

Being the most populous city in Australia, as well as the capital of New South Wales, Sydney offers multiple Internet Service Providers for digital nomads. With download speeds ranging from 34 Mbps to 89 Mbps and upload speeds of 15 Mbps to 61 Mbps, there’s no doubt that this country is well-connected.

While these speeds are not the most impressive globally, we find these speeds to be pretty decent.

As for the mobile network, Sydney boasts impressive 4Gx and 5G networks with download speeds of up to 58 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 21 Mbps.

To get the best internet deals, it’s best to obtain an Australian sim card. We recommend buying one from the airport as soon as you arrive in the city. We recommend getting Telstra since it offers the fastest speeds. Optus and Vodafone are also good options because of their impressive data and credit deals.

Buying a sim card at the airport will cost you 10 AUD or around 7 USD. Australian law requires you to present a valid photo ID upon purchasing a sim card – your passport will suffice.

General Cost of Living

cost of living of Sydney

One of the challenges of being a digital nomad is the frequent traveling and higher transient expenses. That’s why it’s important to stay on budget. Well, living in Sydney is going to make budgeting an even bigger challenge.

While Sydney is one of the world’s best cities to live in, it’s also one of the most expensive. With that said, you have to prepare a bigger budget for this adventure.

The official currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar or AUD. For your quick reference, one US dollar is around 1.3 AUD, more or less.

On average, a budget meal in a restaurant or café in Sydney will cost you around US$20. If you prefer to go to mid-range to top-tier fancy restaurants, expect to shell out somewhere between US$35 to US$400.

For those on a budget, head to Chinatown and you’ll find affordable meals ranging from US$8 to around US$15.

We must note that tipping is not the norm in Sydney. But, you’re always welcome to give somewhere between 5% and 10% if you think the service is worth the tip.

As for accommodation, apartment rentals go between US$150 to US$250 per week, depending on the location. On the other hand, spending a night at a budget hotel costs around US$80, which is still quite pricey.

So on average, you would need a monthly budget of US$2000 to live in Sydney comfortably.

Coworking Spaces in Sydney

There’s no denying that Sydney is a haven for digital nomads. That’s why it’s dotted with coworking spaces all over the city. Here are some of the best options you’ll find:

WeWork

WeWork is high on our list because of the many perks that you can enjoy from this establishment. With multiple locations and top-notch amenities, there’s no doubt that you’ll stay focused and productive at WeWork.

This coworking space also offers multiple space options, including a dedicated private office, a dedicated desk, or a shared non-dedicated desk. They also offer professional and social events that will help you build linkages.

La Porte Space

If you need creative inspiration, then look no further than La Porte Space. It is located in a restored heritage building from the 1930s with a luxurious interior to match its equally sophisticated exterior.

Aside from a coworking space, it can also be used for photoshoots and events, making it perfect for freelancers in the creative fields.

Tank Stream Labs

Located in the heart of Sydney’s central business district is the premium Tank Stream Labs coworking space. With its secure location, high-speed internet, convenient business center, and events space, it’s undoubtedly designed to keep your productivity levels up. Tank Stream Labs even has kitchen facilities and showers to cater to your every need.

Transportation

Sydney transportation

Flying to Sydney won’t be a problem since the Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport caters to most international and domestic routes. It is located 8 kilometers from the city’s CBD, making it easily accessible to travelers.

From the airport, you get a lot of transportation options to the city. The most affordable option is via the local bus line where you can expect to pay somewhere around US$4 to get to the city. But, you have to walk for a few meters to get to the bus station.

On the other hand, a more efficient option is by suburban trains. Here, expect to pay somewhere over US$30, inclusive of the Airport Station Access Fee. The shuttle bus is another option, where you can be expected to pay around US$ 10 to US$15 for the ride.

If you don’t mind paying extra, you can opt to ride a taxi instead. However, you might have to shell out around US$40 to US$50 for one trip. And that could easily set your budget off the charts.

Traveling within the city is also as convenient. You can choose from any of the inter-city modes of transportation, such as the metro, bus, light rail, commuter rail, and ferry. We recommend getting the stored-value Opal Cards instead of the single-trip Opal Cards since that will save you a lot of hassle while traveling. You can also use it to pay for other purchases, as long as the establishment recognizes payments via Opal Card.

Must-Try Eateries

restaurant in Sydney

Traveling to Sydney won’t be complete if you don’t drop by Darling Harbour and dive into the gastronomic delights that the city has to offer. Here are some of the must-try eateries that you should consider.

Nick’s Seafood Restaurant

For the freshest seafood in the city, you have to try Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Cockle Bay. The food is also reasonably priced, so you know you won’t go out of budget.

I Thai

For a taste of authentic Thai food while enjoying excellent waterfront views, go to I Thai at the King Street Wharf. It also serves excellent coffee if you need a quick picker-upper.

Food Court

If you want to get a taste of everything, we recommend heading on to the Food Court by the arch at Harbourside. Here, you’ll find a variety of snacks and meals ranging from ice cream to Indian food.

Sydney also has a notable café culture, so you might want to drop by some local favorites such as Campos Coffee in Newtown, Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills, and Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville.

The best places to toss a few back

After a long day of work, you’ll be pleased to know that Sydney offers quite a vibrant nightlife. This metropolitan city is home to a variety of bars and clubs where you can certainly toss a few backs to unwind.

The city is dotted with small bars where you can enjoy a drink to cap the night with. A notable bar is Baxter Inn in Clarence Street, which is recognized by Drinks International as one of the best bars in the world.

If you’re looking for fun at an Irish pub, head on to The Rocks and you’ll find a couple to keep you entertained through the night.

For a more sophisticated environment, The Rocks and Clarence Street is also home to some business pubs where you can find professionals who simply want to unwind after their hectic schedules.  

Weather

weather in Sydney

The weather in Sydney is generally sunny, with especially warm to hot summers and relatively mild winters. As such, the Australian autumn and winter months are especially popular for their comfortable weather.

The summer starts from December to February, where you can expect temperatures to range between 19 to 26 degrees Celsius or roughly around 66 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the most humid season, which can be quite uncomfortable for some travelers. Nevertheless, this is the ideal season for when you can hit the beach.

Once summer’s over, autumn steps in between March to May when the city experiences a cooler temperature ranging between 14 to 22 degrees Celsius or 58 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the ideal climate to explore the city and its surrounding areas, which is why it’s one of Sydney’s peak seasons.

Winter starts in June and ends in August. With temperatures ranging between 8 to 17 degrees Celsius or 48 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit, days become a little gloomy since it’s also considered the rainy season in Sydney.

Spring is another peak season in Sydney. It lasts between September and November and allows you to experience temperatures between 11 to 23 degrees Celsius or 52 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

Top Excursions around the City

Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens lake

Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge

There’s no doubt that the Sydney Harbour and its iconic Harbour Bridge are among Sydney’s top tourist destinations. Aside from giving us a great waterfront view, it also offers multiple activities for you to enjoy.

Aside from commemorating the event with a photo, you can also cycle on this bridge while you enjoy the relaxing backdrop or have a picnic with new people you’ve met. It’s the best place in the city to relax.

Sydney Opera House

No picture of the Sydney skyline is ever complete without the Sydney Opera House in it – that’s how iconic it is. Go to the city center and admire this World Heritage site up-close.

Royal Botanic Gardens

With 35 hectares of land to explore and 7,500 species of plants to offer, you’ll feel more connected with nature when you visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. This is the perfect place to disconnect for a day and simply admire the natural beauty around us.

Australian Museum

Sydney is lined with museums around the city center, and we recommend visiting at least one of them while you’re there. It’s a great way to learn more about the city you’re in, which helps you understand their culture from a deeper perspective. You’ll surely have a deeper respect for the city once you’re done with the visit.

And if your schedule permits, you can visit the neighboring beach cities and hiking spots surrounding the city.  Without a doubt, you’ll never run out of things to do in this city.

Where you can find other digital nomads/travelers

Meeting other digital nomads is a great way to build linkages and exchange tips about living in Sydney. That’s why we think finding other like-minded individuals is part of surviving in this fast-paced city.

With millions of digital nomads in Australia, it’s undeniable that a large portion of that population resides in Sydney. As such, looking for one won’t be a problem.

The fastest way to meet other travelers is to visit coworking spaces. In Sydney, these areas offer more of a community than a simple spot where you can work for the day. That’s why you’re bound to meet new people at these places.

Another way is to look for Facebook groups that specifically cater to digital nomads. You’d be surprised by the number of people you’ll be able to interact with online.

With everything that Sydney has to offer, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best places for digital nomads. Armed with this guide, we hope you have an exciting and memorable stay at The Harbour City.

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