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September 18, 2008 2:10 AM   Subscribe

I might be moving to Sydney. What should I think about when planning?

I have a job opportunity in North Ryde, starting February next year. I'm hoping to go overseas for January, then move back and use my employer-provided accommodation for a couple of weeks while finding a place to live. How can I make this easiest on myself?

Specific details: the job is accessible from North Ryde station, which I'm told should be open when I start. I will be earning my first real income, but at the moment my intention is to mostly maintain my current povo student lifestyle (ie: share houses) and save money for travelling. I'm not a good driver and don't want to buy a car, so I'm looking for somewhere I can walk home from the nearest bus/station at 3am safely. I'd also like to join a nearby soccer team, ideally a university club or similar atmosphere.

Bearing all this in mind...what area should I be looking at? How should I look? And most importantly, is the beginning of February going to be the Worst Time Ever to be looking for a place to rent?

I haven't really thought about any other aspect of the move yet, so if something jumps out at you, feel free to mention it!
posted by jacalata to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (9 answers total)
Just a thought re timing: The rental situation is bad in Sydney in general... I'm no expert, but I would recommend allowing much, much longer than two weeks to find a place. I have friends who spent upwards of six weeks trying to find a place in a very competitive environment, though, of course, their circumstances may vary from yours. If your employer-provided digs are flexible, you'll probably be good.
posted by lottie at 3:55 AM on September 18, 2008

This is a typically pessimistic Sydneysider thing to say, but:

Don't assume that North Ryde station will be finished by the time you arrive. Even if the station is nearly finished, don't assume there will be trains running to a regular timetable on that line straight away.

Sydney is notorious for public transport plans that either never happen, or happen in a pared-down, half-arsed way. Even though the line is well under construction, there's always the chance that the new NSW Premier will decide it's not profitable to actually operate it. So while I hope that transport option works out for you, I'd recommend you have a plan B in place (scooter, car or bus, probably).

On the upside, Macquarie University is nearby, so I'm sure you could join some of their sports activities.

Welcome to the neighbourhood! (And be sure to call a meetup when you arrive).
posted by [ixia] at 4:48 AM on September 18, 2008

Personal datapoint (lived there until last april): I ended up sharing a house in Epping, a comfortable 10-15 min. bus ride to North Ryde. I found Epping to be very nice and safe. The place I ended up I found it via the ads at Flatmates. I think Macquarie University (which is in the middle of North Ryde) has a soccer club. Due to the Uni, and the hordes of students, finding a place in February is going to get hairy. You really should consider allowing a full month on your employer-provided accomodation to avoid going nuts with the search.
posted by Iosephus at 5:01 AM on September 18, 2008

I do in fact have four weeks of accommodation sorted for me: I was downplaying it to make sure I didn't get people's more optimistic answers.
posted by jacalata at 5:14 AM on September 18, 2008

Yeah, the Sydney scene is pretty competitive for accommodation, although some regions are much worse than others (inner west is crazy!). Along these lines, finding a single bedroom or 2-bedroom place is the worst. If you have a reasonable salary and are willing to share, you're chances improve dramatically if you look for a 3 or 4 bedroom place.

So my personal recommendation is to find a place to share. I have friends that used a website for this, but I'm not sure if it was Flatmates.com.au as linked above, or flatmatefinder.com.au. I think it was the latter. Whichever it was, they were happy with the outcome.

Universities are traditionally the hardest places to find accommodation near, and I agree with Iosephus that finding a place in February will be difficult (although probably not as bad as January).

Living in Eastwood/Epping/Marsfield/North Ryde will put you in good proximity, with buses that can take you directly (as opposed to taking a train and a bus, or two buses) to work even if the train line isn't up in time (I share [ixia]'s skepticism - that line was supposed to be finished 3 years ago!). I've lived in 3 of the four suburbs above. It was much cheaper than living closer to the city, although I eventually spent so much time in the city I got sick of the commute. I even played for the Macquarie Uni football club for a while (I wasn't a student there, most players weren't, so you're chances are probably good there for finding a soccer club).

If you want to live a bit closer to the city and keep to a single bus route, you will probably want to stay on the north shore (Artarmon, Lane Cove), because getting to North Ryde from the south side is impossible. The other option is Drummoyne/Gladesville way. All of these suburbs are a little bit more expensive, of course, but not as expensive as the closer (to the city) suburbs of Crows Nest, St. Leonards and Balmain (which are still probably reasonable options). Either way, you'll probably want to check out the bus routes before making a decision.

Seconding the meetup suggestion. I missed the last one due to a supreme hangover, and have been waiting for the next on!

Good luck!
posted by kisch mokusch at 6:31 AM on September 18, 2008

Great. You'll need that entire four weeks to find a place. Unfortunately, I'm serious. When I was looking, I was in a market where for every home open there would be 40 people waiting to view it, most with forms already filled out. Half would apply and many would offer considerably more money than what the estate agent was actually asking in the hope they would secure the place. I don't know if it's still that bad, I ended up paying much more than I thought I would have to too. Good luck. Having said that, Sydney is wonderful. I hope to be moving back there soon! Have a great stay.
posted by Jubey at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2008

I meant to add, look at gumtree.com. I found a fantastic place there.
posted by Jubey at 6:33 AM on September 18, 2008

Look for flyers and posters around Macquarie Uni, you might find students advertising for a spare room in a share house, checfk the local papers too, and flatmatefinder online. North Ryde and Epping are nice suburbs to live in, very leafy and burbsy. Lane Cove is a little bit closer to the city, and a little bit more expensive. Stick with Epping, North Ryde, Marsfield and Eastwood, cos you're more likely to find students with a spare room there, and they're all pretty easy to get around by bus. Don't hold your breath for the new train station at North Ryde. It's built but still under construction, if you get my meaning.

Check out Macquarie Uni's sporting facilities.
posted by robotot at 8:10 PM on September 18, 2008

update - thanks for the advice, but now I have a different job in the States. Hopefully this info helps out someone else!
posted by jacalata at 2:40 AM on November 16, 2008

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