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A Guide to Retiring in Sydney

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Sydney is consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world, with its jaw-dropping harbours, beaches, and parks, and the iconic, vibrant culture of Australia. If you're looking to retire in Australia, Sydney offers an incredible lifestyle in a bustling metropolis. Here is a complete guide to retiring in Sydney, including the costs, the best suburbs to live in, and more.


Australia has a world-class healthcare system that's partly subsidised by Medicare, providing access to quality and affordable medical services. Medicare typically covers 75-85% of public hospital services. Medicare also subsidises prescription medications under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, so you'll pay a maximum of $41.30 for most prescriptions.

While Medicare covers part of your medical expenses, you'll need private health insurance to cover any remaining gaps. Private insurance is recommended to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses. As a retiree, private health insurance is generally affordable, especially when compared to other countries.

Many funds offer higher rebates once you hit age 65. Your premiums are based on your age when joining, so it pays to take out cover earlier. Most retirees find that the combination of Medicare and private insurance provides suitable healthcare coverage without breaking the bank. Given Australia's world-class healthcare system and reasonable costs, access to quality medical services can give retirees peace of mind.

Cost of Living

Per the World Economic Forum, Sydney ranks as the 10th most expensive city globally, below the likes Paris, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore. It’s also considered the world’s 4th most liveable city.

As one of the world's most liveable cities, Sydney does come with a higher cost of living, especially compared to regional Australian cities. Housing, food, utilities, transportation, and healthcare can be major expenses.

Housing is often the largest cost for retirees. Rental prices in Sydney are significantly higher than the Australian average, as are house prices generally. There are also many retirement villages in Sydney to consider.

Groceries are also more expensive than the national average. Eating out is similarly expensive. However, the public transport system of trains, buses, ferries and light rail offers an affordable way of getting around, especially with a senior's concession card. Council rates and car registration costs are more consistent across Australia.

Best Suburbs to Live In

Sydney offers diverse communities and lifestyles. Here are some of the top suburbs to consider for retirees:

  • Manly - With its seaside charm, village feel and 30 minute ferry ride to the CBD, Manly is a favourite for retirees. The beaches, walks and community vibe make it an idyllic location.

  • Mosman - For a leafy upmarket area close to Balmoral Beach and Taronga Zoo, Mosman offers boutique shops and restaurants. It has a strong community with many active retirees.

  • Cronulla - South of the city, 'The Shire' is known for its excellent beaches, fishing, strolls and golf courses. Cronulla has good public transport to the city.

  • Berowra - For a semi-rural feel, Berowra is set amidst bushland with some heritage cottages and values. It's near parks, rivers and community clubs.

  • Leura - In the Blue Mountains, Leura offers cooler weather and gorgeous scenery. The cafes, boutiques and Leura Mall make for an engaging village lifestyle.

  • Dural - Dural is a semi-rural suburb of Sydney which offers a peaceful, serene lifestyle for retirees. A Living Choice retirement village in Galston, Dural, is currently under construction and will present an amazing opportunity for retirees.

sydney bush walks

Best Retirement Activities

  • Walks - With iconic harbour and coastal walks, Sydney is ideal for retirees who enjoy walking and appreciating the outdoors. Popular routes include the Bondi to Coogee walk and Manly to Spit Bridge track.

  • Beaches - Take advantage of the free public beaches like lively Bondi or tranquil Palm Beach. Swim, stroll or just enjoy fish and chips on the sand. Many beaches have surf clubs offering cheap meals with views.

  • Volunteering - Give back to the community through Volunteering NSW. Opportunities include community visitor programs, mentoring new migrants or helping out at events.

  • Sailing - Join a local sailing or yacht club to enjoy Sydney Harbour and make new friends. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in Kirribilli is a good option for retirees.

  • Museums/Galleries - Visit the major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW for free exhibits. Many councils offer discounted or free entry to seniors.

  • Community Centres - Get involved locally through activities and classes at your nearest community centre. Popular programs include tai chi, dance classes and book clubs.

Retiring in Sydney offers the perfect blend of big city excitement and Australia's relaxed lifestyle. The sunny climate, beautiful harbours and beaches, access to nature and range of leisure activities provide an exceptional quality of life. Sydney's multicultural communities, dining and entertainment scenes make it a vibrant global city.

At the same time, it has a friendly Australian culture, with an easygoing vibe. With proper financial planning around housing and lifestyle expectations, Sydney offers an idyllic place to settle into your later years.

If you appreciate the cosmopolitan lifestyle alongside nature and friendly communities, then Sydney should be high on your list for retiring in Australia. The combination of climate, lifestyle, healthcare and culture make Sydney an appealing destination for an active and fulfilled retirement.


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