Why Expat Kelly Left Sydney After 7 Months

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It’s easy to write about all the good stuff Sydney has to offer but we all know that nowhere is perfect. Sydney and I have had our ups and downs, one minute we’re best friends, the next I’m itching to leave so it was by surprise that I came across an expat blogger called Kelly expressed her problems with the city.

I will always maintain that I think Sydney is THE most beautiful city in the world but for me the main thing I miss is the buzz that London had. Obviously you can’t compare the two cities considering London has over 10 million residents to Sydney’s 4 million but regardless of this I have become to really enjoy living here.

After reading Kelly’s blog I knew I had to interview her to get point of view from another expat. As a freelance travel journalist, Kelly is from Toronto, Canada and moved to Sydney on a Working Holiday Visa after living in Barcelona, Spain.


She moved to Sydney because it seemed like a fun place to live and being Canadian it only took her 4 hours to get her visa. She lasted 7 months in Sydney before moving onto Brisbane.

So the question I asked myself is why did she leave? As a freelance travel journalist she even managed to secure herself a job as a marketing coordinator and lived in Chippendale right in the city. All seeming well, there was obviously something missing so I asked her what were the worst parts to living in Sydney? And she said;

“Due to the layout of the city and the public transportation options even the simplest errand took forever.”

Kelly has a point here, Sydney transport isn’t the best. She was surprised how spread out Sydney actually is and didn’t realise the city wasn’t right next to the beach. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Bondi from the city or 40 minutes to drive to Manly. Trains do run on time but the lack of stations and other options like buses are few and far in between.

One thing to learn is to buy a car whilst you’re here but be warned cars are expensive yet petrol is dirt cheap! (my car costs $40 to fill up, that’s at least half to what I was paying in UK). So why didn’t she like Sydney?

“The harbour and beaches are beautiful but the rest of the city isn’t very attractive. I hate that every street is filled with rundown buildings.”

opera house

I think you have to remember that Sydney is only a couple of hundred years old so you won’t be seeing the architecture of back home. I always remember just looking ‘up’ when I lived in London and was amazed by the incredible architecture. I do miss this often but it’s something I’ve had to accept about Sydney.

There are areas like Kelly is suggesting that are rundown like any other city but Sydney is starting to get a bit of a revamp. There is a lot of construction work going on and some amazing buildings popping up like the one below which is where she lived. It’s way more impressive in person, trust me!


When I asked her what advice she would give other expats about moving to Sydney she straight away mentioned the gruelling process of house hunting.

“Finding a new home isn’t easy – but you really need to take the time to research each neighbourhood. 

For example, people rave about Newtown and Surry Hills but the hipster scene is not for me. I’m so glad I took the time to visit these neighbourhoods before house hunting – I would have disliked Sydney 10x more if I had lived in Newtown!’

You have to really put time in to finding the right place to live. We spent most weekends looking at different suburbs before finding the right area. Most expats move straight to the Eastern Suburbs to live in the Bondi area which is a good safe option.

Kelly actually said that if she could do things differently, she would have lived by the beach, not in the city. One of the amazing things Sydney has is the fact that you can feel like you are on holiday living by the beach yet the city is only a 30 minute ride away. It might be worth checking out my post – Where to live in Sydney for more details.

bondi beach

Bondi Beach 

So after the realisation that Sydney just wasn’t for Kelly, she moved to Brisbane. I was really keen to hear about the differences between the two. I’ve travelled all around Australia as a backpacker nearly 10 years ago now so having not been there for a long time, I thought it would be interesting to hear her thoughts on the two cities and this is what she had to say;

“After I lived in Sydney I moved to Brisbane. The weather is amazing, the cost of living is a bit lower and people are so much nicer.

Its been way easier to make friends and although getting a job is a bit harder, the average pay is obviously slightly lower than in Sydney. Overall the lifestyle in Brisbane is amazing!”


Kelly Sky Diving in Brisbane

Make sure you do your research about what suburb you want to live in when moving to Sydney. I suggest renting an airbnb for a month or so when you first get here so you have time to check out all the suburbs and get a good feel for what you really want.

Best of luck to Kelly for the future in Brisbane, it looks like she is really settling into life in Queensland.

Why I Left Sydney After 7 Months