UNSW Foundation Studies

Student Information

Living in Sydney

About Sydney

Living in Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s largest and most dynamic city. It is an exciting and ever-changing urban centre and was ranked 6th in the “QS Best Student Cities in the World 2012'. Sydney is vibrant and cosmopolitan with a diverse and unique lifestyle. Importantly, Sydney is considered to be safe, clean and green.

With a population of 4.5 million people Sydney provides a friendly English-speaking environment in which to live, study and travel.

Sydney is the largest, oldest and most beautifully situated city in Australia, and it is also a major business centre for the Asia-Pacific region. Over four million people live in this exciting, cosmopolitan city, which offers more entertainment, shopping and sightseeing than any other place in Australia.

Getting Around

Traffic in Australia drives on the left-hand side of the road. The city and inner suburbs of Sydney are linked by buses, trains, and ferries. There are different types of fares covering the network and the cost varies with the type of pass and distance travelled. For full details on UNSW public transport, fares and timetable, check the UNSW Transport Website:

www.transport.unsw.edu.au or https://transportnsw.info

Sport and Leisure

Sports at Bondi Beach

Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games and is well-equipped with world-class sporting facilities. Swimming and surfing are major pastimes for the people of Sydney; the famous beaches of Bondi and Coogee are close to UNSW Global. The city has many parks and gardens. Centennial Park, near the University, is a vast green area for jogging, horse or bike riding, walking and picnicking.

Activities and Entertainment

Sydney is a multicultural city, where you can experience the food, entertainment and customs of many cultures. It is the principal port for international airlines operating into Australia and offers more entertainment, shopping and sightseeing opportunities than any other Australian city.

For more information visit Discover Sydney Website for places to go and things to do: www.discoversydney.com.au

Cultural Activities and Recreation

Sydney is the home to many of the nation’s leading cultural activities, including: The Art Gallery of New South Wales, State Conservatorium of Music, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australian Museum, Australian Opera, the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Ballet.

Sydney has a lively nightclub scene, with international artists from around the world attracting capacity audiences at many live entertainment venues.


Vibrant weekend markets are a feature of many areas, such as the famous Rocks district, Paddington and Bondi and Balmain markets. They provide a cheaper shopping alternative to the established department stores and designer outlets in the city.

Cost of Living

Living in Sydney

Sydney is a great place to live and study, and to help you understand your new city, we have put together some typical costs.

We recommend that you have at least AUD$2000 when you arrive to cover the initial costs of books, rental bond, and other expenses.

To obtain a visa, future students may need to demonstrate and/or declare they have genuine access to sufficient funds to be granted a student visa.




Annual Costs

Expenses AUD (per person)
Travel Return air fare to Australia
Tuition Course fees
Living AUD$18,610 per year

Please note that annual costs do not include tuition and study related fees.

Further details are available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Weekly Costs

Weekly cost Shared house of flat One-bedroom unit On campus (college)
Rent AUD$250 AUD$430 AUD$375
Mobile phone and Internet AUD$25 AUD$25 AUD$22.50
Household products (cleaning, toothpaste) AUD$10 AUD$10 AUD$10
Food AUD$100 AUD$100 AUD$100
Utilities (gas, electricity, phone) AUD$20 AUD$20 AUD$0
Travel AUD$40 AUD$40 AUD$25
Spending money AUD$100 AUD$100 AUD$100
Incidentals AUD$30 AUD$30 AUD$30
Average weekly costs AUD$575 AUD$755 AUD$662.50

Note: These figures do not include large household items such as a refrigerator or furniture. Owning a car in Australia can be very expensive and we recommend that you use public transport as much as possible.

Food Costs

Item Cost (AUD$AUD) Item Cost (AUD$AUD)
Milk (1 litre) AUD$1.50 Chicken breast (1kg) AUD$10.00
Bread ( loaf) AUD$3.00 Potatoes (1kg) AUD$3.00
Can  of tuna AUD$2.00 Apples (1kg) AUD$4.00
Soap AUD$3.00 Deodorant AUD$5.00
Can of Cola AUD$2.00 Ice Cream AUD$4.00
Hamburger AUD$5.00 Muffin AUD$4.00

Entertainment Costs

Item Cost (AUD$AUD) Item Cost (AUD$AUD)
Restaurant meal AUD$30.00 Glass of wine AUD$8.00
Movie ticket AUD$16.00 Beer AUD$7.00
Movie rental AUD$7.00 Soft drink AUD$4.00
Bottle of wine AUD$15.00 Cafe tea/coffee AUD$3.50

Sydney climate

Living in Sydney

Sydney enjoys a warm and sunny climate that lends itself to a healthy lifestyle. With pristine sandy beaches to the east, National Parks to the north and south and mountain ranges to the west, Sydney’s natural assets present an ideal setting for outdoor activities.

  • Spring: September to November
  • Summer: December to February
  • Autumn: March to May
  • Winter: June to August
  • Sydney experiences approximately 138 wet days a year with an average annual rainfall of 1,223 mm. However, the city is renowned for its sunshine; there’s only an average 23 days a year when the sun doesn’t shine. The average temperature ranges for Sydney are:
  • January: 18.6° - 25.8° c
  • July: 8° - 16.2° c

Public Holidays

Holiday 2017
New Year's Day 1 January
Additional Day 2 January
Australia Day 26 January
Good Friday 14 April
Easter Saturday 15 April
Easter Sunday 16 April
Easter Monday 17 April
Anzac Day  25 April
Queen's Birthday 12 June
Labour Day 2 October
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December

Useful Links

Sydney daily newspaper Sydney Morning Herald
National daily newspaper The Australian
Accommodation advertisements Domain
Exchange rate information OZ Forex
Online magazine for international students (published by IDP Education Australia) Boomerang
What's on guide for Sydney CitySearch
Australia's national Special Broadcasting Service of overseas news and entertainment SBS-TV
A range of Sydney radio stations
(including non-English language services)
Community Radio
Transport information
(including weekly passes and trip planner)
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Medibank
Study in Australia Study in Australia website
Sydney Official Travel & Accommodation Website www.sydney.com
Information about accommodation, events & things to do in NSW www.visitnsw.com