Life as Digital Nomad in Sydney
by Josien - 20 May, 2019
I think that 95% of the world would love to visit Australia one day, but that it’s too expensive to just book a ticket. So I can imagine you want to know what Sydney has to offer, especially for you as a Digital Nomad. Does the city offer enough co-working spaces, is it easy to meet fellow travelers and how is the wifi? All things to consider when traveling Down Under. I have my top 3 pros and cons of life as Digital Nomad in Sydney ready for you!
Sydney, one of my favorite cities in the world! With a lot of beaches in the city, the surf vibe, and super friendly and relaxed people, you don’t have to worry that you will be bored. Think of surf lessons, a boat trip through the harbor, or visit all the great museums. I really really love this place. So it was hard to come up with three cons about this place, but I’ve found some. Here is my list:
Pro 1. Surf surf surf!
OK, I might be a bit over-enthusiastic, but I haven’t found a place where the city-life is that well connected to the beach life. There are so many beaches (Bondi, Coogee, Manly, Tamarama, etc) where you can learn how to surf or go for an after-work SUP session, it’s crazy! When living here, you want to spend all your time at the beach, BIG distraction from working tho 😉
And it’s not only at the beach where you feel that surf vibe. It feels like the entire city breaths the salty air which makes people more relaxed. Even in de city centre people are friendly, laid back and enjoying themselves. Only in the real business district you could find a few suited, stressed people who look like to be in a rush. But only in that area (just don’t go there ;-)), the rest of the city is just awesome!
So when you go to Sydney as Digital Nomad, be prepared to spend a lot of time at the beach and make sure you won’t get too distracted by surfing!
Pro 2. Happy, friendly and open-minded people
The habitants of Sydney are very friendly and always willing to help you out. In most neighborhoods they greet you in the streets, even me in my first week there, and they are not afraid to give you more than you asked for. Besides friendliness I think of the Aussies as happy people. The way they behave, act and talk, it all sounds way more relaxed than in most other countries where I have been. Maybe it’s the sun or the earlier mentioned surf vibe, but they smile a lot Down Under! Good sign to me.
Happiness and friendliness are nice, you can find it in many more countries of course, but what makes the people of Sydney really stand out of the crowd is their open-minded attitude towards the LGTB community. They celebrate a yearly Gay Pride festival and it’s overall well accepted to be gay, lesbian, or something in between. Everything is fine! Not that I have anything to do with this personally, but it tells me a lot about the inhabitants of a city and their ethics and morals. So a big plus for Sydney to welcome everyone with open arms!
Pro 3. Roadtrips and meeting new people
Once in Australia, you MUST go on a road trip. And Sydney is a great place to start! You can either go North to Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa, Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach, and f.e. Whit Sunday Islands, or South to Adelaide, Melbourne, and even further the great ocean road. Rent a van or take the bus and stay in hostels / Airbnb’s. You can literally choose from SO many options, it will drive you nuts! Australia is made for backpackers (or backpackers are made for Australia) and life as a digital nomad in Sydney will be adventurous!
This directly means that you will meet like-minded people real quick. Not only in your hostel or at a nice bar, but also at the beach, on the road, or at the many festivals and events. You really don’t have to worry about meeting new people in Sydney (or Australia for that matter), they are right there with you.
Pro 4. Wifi + Co-working spaces
(I know I said I would give you 3 pro’s, but I can’t help myself)
Sydney has so many coffee bars, too many to even start counting. And they’re all so good! I don’t think I have had a bad cup of coffee anywhere. Almost every bar has wifi and welcomes digital nomads with their laptops. If they don’t they have signs on the table to please go sit somewhere else. Which is fine, cause there is a lot to choose from anyway!
Even better, it’s not only the coffee bars where you can work from, but there are also juice-bars, restaurants, and public areas as parks where there is wifi! So no worries about not finding a great work spot in Sydney, there is a huge digital nomad network in the city that’s waiting for you!
Con 1. It’s expensive!
Australia is expensive, like super expensive. Life as a digital nomad in Sydney can cost you more money than you make. You really have to be aware you will pay way more than you’re used to for everything over here. The only things that I found that were cheaper than in my home country (the Netherlands) were sunblock/sunscreen and gas for our car, but the differences were very little.
In Sydney, you easily pay $80 AUD per night for an apartment and most hostels don’t go under $ 30 AUD a night. A cup of coffee is around $ 3,00 AUD and a beer $ 5 AUD. So you can forget it if you want to go on a budget holiday. Go to South East Asia / Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia for that matter 😉 I do have to say you get a lot for it in return, and in my opinion, it was absolutely worth it, but I can’t decide that for you.
Con 2. The sun
Ok ok, not really a con, but it can absolutely be a big problem. We all know the ozone layer is pretty thin above South Australia and also that our traveling lifestyle is not really helping. The climate is drastically changed over the past years and in Sydney, it’s best noticeable by the quick sunburn you get here. In like 10 minutes if you don’t watch out.
So prepare yourself with a lot of lotions, a hat, shirt with long sleeves and LOTS of water (which the government freely provides with public water taps throughout the streets and beaches).
Con 3. Visa
You can’t stay longer than 3, 6, or 12 months in Australia on your tourist visa (2017). If you want to work from Sydney/Australia, you’ve got to find a job IN the country (so not your nomad company). It’s easy to find a job at a farm for a little while to extend your stay, but then you need another visa. Make sure you figured out which visa is best for you to be a tourist AND working-class-hero before you go (like at least 3 months ahead), cause the life of a digital nomad in Sydney can be a short one.