I'm potentially moving to Sydney to start a PhD next year, will be at USyd and honestly the move makes me very anxious as there seems like there is a lot to balance out: costs, traffic, commutes and everything else.
Imagining I had to be at USyd's main campus 4 days a week but otherwise not interested in city/nightlife/enterainment, where would you Sydney siders recommend to live for someone who wants to be getting in the water as much as possible?
I’d say Eastern beaches are your best bet. In this order: Maroubra, Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi. They get pretty busy in the Summertime but have good public transport access to the Uni. Maroubra is your cheapest option, with good ability surfers in the water. Bronte and Tama are pretty pricey, Bondi you can find cheaper apartments however Bondi is hell on Earth in the summer for crowds and kooks!!. I did Bondi for two years and HATED Summer!....Winter time Bondi is good for waves to crowd stoke!!
I left after 10 years of living in the “City” and moved south down to Cronulla. 45min drive into the city or an hour on the train. Better surf options, less crowds. It’s horses for courses really. Northern Beaches are your best bet for quality waves to crowd sitch and apartments though not cheap you can get better bang for your buck up that way, however public transport is a b*tch. You’d need a car. Hope this helps.
Don't count out the Coal Coast, Dan. Express trains from Thirroul are about an hour and ten to Redfern, and you get wifi through most of the journey so you can work, study etc. It's about a ten minute walk from the station to the campus. People at the northern end of the coast drive to Helensburgh for the express train, and that's 50 minutes saddle time.
Not sure how rents compare down here, but it's an immeasurably better place to live for surf, scenery, community, and options to hit the pressure release valve.
I've lived on all three coasts of Sydney. Cronulla gets a bombload of south swell, has the best reefs in Sydney, gets bugger all north swell during summer, but still has adventure options if you're up for it, however it's fast turning into Beijing by the sea with all the cranes and worksites. Eastern beaches are the most convenient but they're the lesser pick in terms of quality and crowds. Most of the Northern Beaches struggle with East Coast's predominant swell direction (south), can pump during east and north swells though it's extremely hard to get good quality waves with anything resembling a 'normal' crowd, and that old intangible quality of 'community' can be hard to find unless you've got wife and kids and land in the right spot.
Yeh I would agree with Stu. The NB to Sydney Uni by any mode of transport, short of a personal helicopter, is going to take longer than that. The surf situation, which was relatively manageable a decade ago, is absolutely feral on weekends and after work now and, if it is actually good, not much better midweek.
I did the trek to Sydney Uni from the northern end of the northern beaches for 5 years. ~90 minutes by bus each way... at least I could sleep on the bus. That was before all the CBD roadworks/closures too, which I imagine would make it slower.
Meanwhile, mates from the central coast had a slightly shorter commute (with the express train), and a better quality of wave for the most part. Rent would be a heap cheaper there too (and if you're living on a scholarship/tutoring income, cheap rent's gonna be a factor).
sydney is a beautiful place with lots of great waves stretching up and down the coast. there are also great options for short out-of-town trips. the weather is perfect and the big, long golden sandstone cliffs make the place look majestic. it's riddled with history - you walk past aboriginal rock carvings and convict built structures on the walk to the beach and are greeted by blue tongue lizards, corellas and black cockatoos. and everything you want is within a ten minute bike ride. i love the place.
as to where to live? well, the eastern suburbs obviously. but the surf is pretty mediocre for the most part and crowded. but you'll get waves.
if quality waves with few people is the most important thing for you, then this isn't the city for you. there are good waves on the northern beaches and cronulla, but they all have committed local crew. you're not going to paddle out at cronulla point or NN and take waves.
you'll get waves anywhere in sydney but crowds / competition / quality vary as others have said.
eastern suburbs is expensive and the commute is a bus - very different working on a train and a bus. nice place to live though.
the central coast is a good option surf-wise but the problem with commuting from up there is that you're still a drive (mostly a significant drive) to the train from any place close to the surf.
stu's advice is pretty spot on re different areas of sydney. also, the south coast brings you in to the 'right' end of Sydney for usyd too.
given your second paragraph, and having read some of the things you've written on swellnet, south coast would suit you i reckon.
what's your phd on?
Where are you moving from, Dan? So we can compare/relate to what your expectations in Syd will be like.
Have grown up and lived on the northern beaches for the majority of my life, but done stints in the city and inner west as well. Can vouch for what most are saying in here; the eastern suburbs are definitely convenient, close to the uni for you and on the beach, but the surf is shithouse most of the time and the crowds are unbearable in summer.
The northern beaches is a truly beautiful place to live and the surf quality is unreal. Yeah, it does get crowded on weekends, but there are so many options around you can easily find a bit of solace if you have a car and the right attitude. The downside is you are quite isolated from everything else. Getting to and from the city is a nightmare by car and public transport and entertainment/nightlife/food options are pretty limited. It's also insanely expensive to rent and live there. But if your priority is surf time, you want somewhere laidback and a 1.5hr+ commute to uni doesn't phase you, it's pretty great.
Woollongong would be great too, much cheaper and little less suffocating than the Sydney lifestyle. I've got mates down that way who work in Sydney and pay half the rent and have better waves.
If you're not so interested in city/nightlife/entertainment I'm with Stu. Placing yourself Gong way gives you heaps of surf options with less crowds (potentially) than the northern beaches (my home). You'll probably get better value for money rent wise and have the whole south coast at your doorstep. Good luck mate.
Man, I get so many fun surfs alone on the North end of Northern Beaches. Having come from Currumbin; Sydney-siders don't know what a crowd is: see Snapper last week?
Rent is insanely over-priced unless you find a decent share house. Finding the right roomies/housoes is key to avoiding loneliness and reducing costs.
Being a beautiful, affluent place; people are guarded (and competitive).
Transport is like sticking your local member through the eye of a needle, but if your in walking distance of the B-Line buses, you'll be right: 1 hour to Wynyard station.
All the best, see you in the barrel.
Agree with Ape. Anywhere north of about Long Reef you can get uncrowded waves mid week. I regularly surf by myself or with only a few guys. Even weekends you can dodge the crowds if you steer clear of the real popular spots. B-Line is super easy to the city too. Nightlife at Manly is pretty decent. Rent / house prices are pretty crazy
Sounds like hell to me --> hour+ commutes (equals no morning surf), crappy crowded beach breaks, unaffordable housing / lifestyle.
Different world I guess.
It's not solitude, Solitude. It's the city. She's got "cocaine in her nose and heroin in her smile, surrounded by guns and protected by all them lies, those sweet, sweet lies".
Sure is mate, enjoy it
I moved to Sydney to do a PhD. at Sydney University. I lived Northern Beaches, Maroubra, Cronulla and Wollongong way. Northern beaches I rarely got great waves (due to predominant south swells being average) and it was always busy. Marouruba was great, but there were fewer options along the eastern suburbs. Bus took awhile to get to uni too. Cronulla I did not enjoy. Hard to get waves off crew at the main reefs, and it was a pain to trek into uni. .Waves get great though. Best was Thirroul. Lots of waves and empty sessions along that coastline. Just as fast to get to uni! So, like Stu says, south is good. Change to Wollongong University and you are laughing hahha
Hi... Where are you now? and what’s ‘next year’ more precisely?
The obvious place to check is Glebe...however my first move would be seeing whether any (possibly graduating) student is moving from a room in a shared place ….Ask the Uni whether accommodation is available via the university or whether there's a way accommodation can be canvassed. There may still be a student union who’s be a great resource or a Uni ''ASK" facility...on phone and on line .
Sydney is a very prestigious university, so is ANU and perhaps NSW for Engineering. There is also one at Adelaide with a fabulous PhD facility... The director has a mass of useful ‘vlogs’, useful wherever you go …here’s one to help you find the others….
I'm just completing a Masters and just through conversation realise if you have got as far as a sponsor you must have at least Grad-Cert Honours or a Masters and someone with confidence in your results and drive.
Musing…I imagine worst thing for a PhD would be sharing accommodation with 'party' types . You need an intact brain. I'm an HD student and that's probably about only 30% of the PhD brain and 70% of the physical drain. Yours is a 3-5 year stint of exhausting enterprise I believe, requiring also published dissertations and the like..and PhD the only way these days to get work later at any Uni really….and sometimes casual work is available at the Uni’s themselves.
How much demand will there be to attend Campus? Or is it for research and teamwork? I imagine that can dictate your accommodation. I know it’s not a huge train travel from Central Coast or Sutherland but delays happen. Your difficulty may be in access to research requirements.
Rental Examples: My daughter who lost her house during GFC rented at Berowra for a discounted $650/week. Then went to a 3 bed house last 2 years at Marrickville...Italian backyard...all concrete...$780/week. She's now at Ashfield 2 bed semi...$680.00 with a good co-tenant paying about $250. Her son pays $170/week for a room closer to his work. Asian students I know-of pay $170/week each, 3 to a room.
Surfing: Weekends it's easy enough to get to the Nth. and Sth. beaches... Cronulla might be practical but far as the 'gong, Sandshoes, Thirroul and so on might be a traffic pain. Getting as far as say Mona Vale on weekends same and be hopeless heading into Sydney in weekday peak-hour.
Is it allowed by Swellnet? to place a comment directly fishing amongst surfers for accommodation, .....or ask around/write-to the surf shops down Sydney…who knows what could turn-up. I do know of a girl renting at Dee Why paying $450 who’ll be moving-out soon I believe. I’ll ask her, I think that’s a part of a 2 bed duplex with views to the ocean. That may all sound like prattle but there's a stream of trying to problem-solve in there too, (chuckles) My regards
Big night on the gear mate?
Flinders University I recalled, is the one in S.A. specialising in PhD's...and thus its Director doing over 140 'vlogs' on PhD issues on Utbe (Tara)..as in the one URL In my longer reply. Those Vlogs will be useful wherever you, or anyone else I think undertakes a PhD. This one is interesting also:
Hi...if you mean me Quad, I've never been a partaker.
I thought to mention that for any one at or heading for uni, the 'Vlogs' of Tara Brabazon on Utube are very worthwhile...not only for PhD's.
In my other dissertation on Manly veterans (by Spence) I noted that in my short time with Swellnet one name I haven't seen was big wave surfer Bob Pike, who frequented Fairy Bower. Gods Quad ….being from the Northern Beaches, you may have some knowledge of him?...or does anyone else. My regards
I think Bob passed away quite a few years ago Tony. I used to see him quite often surfing NN I'm guessing it would have been the 80s.
Bob passed in 1999..
Thanks Laurie and UDO, ..much appreciated. Bob was one of the legends. It was late 60's early '70 when I saw him from time to time. There was another Bower rider....just can't recall his name....he was called/nicknamed 'Bull' (not for any pretentiousness but owing I think to his wave-aggro and physical stockiness) does he ring a bell with anyone?.
I was older by several years than Twizzle and Baddie and most of them; hard to believe so many have passed. Drugs and fatality were good mates but the sun shines on a great range of susceptibility in people.
Marriage and single-parenthood, moving to Hazelbrook, the Vietnam era, Ag science and other course, working problem horses with J.D. Wilton, farming out in the Central West, working overseas,...numerous things made a big disconnect with the surf for me. I vowed at 23 I'd never be seen with a moon-tan like those 'westies who came over on the Ferry on Saturdays with their duffle bags' and got roasted. North Shore tribalism was healthy and well at Manly.
I'm savouring surfing again as my study comes to an end, which I have done looking for another 10 years of work.. I'm a sentimental person, can recall events and people like running a video but sometimes now I struggle for names, they take a lot longer sometimes, to recall and I'm only 73, but with recently diagnosed silicosis/asbestosis and a few other things which unlike the lung disease may be fixable. The PET scan coming soon may decide that. I'd like to get out for a wave again.I paddled out a few years ago, overweight, board lumps gone and with a few long-term work injuries, looking to get 'match fit' . Frustratingly knee-paddling I several times rolled off the side of the board. Hmmmm...how embarrassing!!… I'm lighter now by about 20 kilos but then....it sounds like it's more aggressive out there now than it was. I recall being frustrated 'back then' by guys like I am now. Karma?
I wonder whether any of the blokes are still about who surfed Elephant Rock and can recall Donnie Robinson. I gave the eulogy at his funeral at Tallebudgera (or was it Mudgeeraba?)beginning of 1996, where quite a few Qld surfers were present. His wife was Maureen and he had two sons if that helps.
Don became ill from high exposure to Agent Orange and developed a spinal disease. He was in poor shape in hospital but always optimistic and cheery. I hadn't seen him for 13 years but he still called me his best friend. He was really pleased I was coming up to see him and I was really looking forward to seeing him again.... At about 3:15 the morning of the flight I was suddenly awakened, felt something was 'going on' walked to my window and looked out feeling some energy passing. Puzzled me. At 6am I received a call from the airport that Don had died...about 3 hours earlier. I went up anyway and met his mates, I think mostly longboard surfers who I acknowledged as his real pals. A good bloke, Don, who survived a dark side post-Vietnam to come out a truly decent family man. If anyone recalls him, love to hear from you. I guess this is off the post-point but hopefully I'm forgiven.