About New South Wales
New South Wales is Australia’s most diverse and populous State, home to the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Sydney. It was the first part of Australia to be colonised when the First Fleet landed at Botany Bay in 1788. It has six World Heritage sites including the famous Sydney Opera House. The State has beaches stretching from north to south, a vast, colourful outback, Australia’s highest mountain offering every type of snow sport, and meandering waterways.
Sydney, Australia’s largest and most dynamic city with a population of around 5 million, is a vibrant and ever-changing urban centre. Sydney is also one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with its population made up of people from more than 120 countries. This broad ethnic mix, with local communities from many cultural backgrounds, means there is a wide range of international foods, grocery stores, restaurants and community newspapers in many languages.
Newcastle offers a relaxed and welcoming lifestyle. As Australia’s seventh largest city and the economic hub of the Hunter region, it boasts a robust economy while maintaining a comparatively low cost of living. With a regional population of about 500,000, Newcastle is well serviced by Newcastle Airport, and easily accessible by road and rail in around 2 hours from Sydney.
In 2011, Newcastle was selected as one of the top 10 cities in the world by Lonely Planet. Popular destinations such as Port Stephens, Barrington Tops National Park and Lake Macquarie, the largest coastal saltwater lake in Australia, are an easy day trip from the city.
Wollongong is located 80 kilometres south of Sydney on a narrow coastal strip bordered by the Royal National Park to the north, Lake Illawarra to the south, the Tasman Sea to the east and the Illawarra Escarpment to the west. Wollongong enjoys a magnificent natural environment from rainforests to spectacular sea cliffs and unspoilt beaches. While close in location to Sydney, it is a vibrant city in its own right with a population of over 200,000.
Armidale is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales. It is located roughly halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and has a population of 25,000. It has a cool temperate climate, with four distinct seasons including pleasant summers and cold winters. The city is home to a large number of education facilities.
Wagga Wagga is NSW’s largest inland city with a population of 58,000. Located approximately halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, it is an important agriculture, military and transport hub. It is also the major regional centre for the Riverina district.
Lismore is located in north eastern NSW, 700 kilometres north of Sydney and 200 kilometres south of Brisbane. It is a thriving small centre with a population of approximately 42,000. It has a mean winter temperature of a mild 230C and mean summer temperature of 300C.
Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with a mild winter, and has more than 340 sunny days a year. The average temperature in the winter months of June through to August is around 16°C, while in the summer months of December through to February; temperatures average around 25°C.
Sydney’s public transport system features a comprehensive network of bus, train and ferry services. Privately-operated light rail lines, airport links, sightseeing buses and taxi services complement the network.
The metropolitan train network not only links the wider region with the city, it also travels to nearby major centres and attractions like Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region to the north, Wollongong to the south and the Blue Mountains to the west.
Sydney buses travel through the city and beyond almost 24 hours a day. Most of the bus routes within the City of Sydney area are “prepaid only” to reduce delays, so buy a ticket before you get on board. There are ticket outlets all over the city and you can usually find one near bus stops.
Ferry services across Sydney’s world-renowned harbour leave from the terminal at Circular Quay and travel to an array of destinations including Taronga Zoo and suburbs such as Balmain, Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Rose Bay. Services also travel to the northern reaches of the harbour at Manly and west along the Parramatta River.
Cost of Living:
Estimates suggest that you will need around A$20,000 per year to cover living expenses in Sydney. Accommodation will be the biggest expense, while the cost of other items will be about on par with other capital cities across Australia. Sydney enjoys a mild climate throughout the year, which means students may spend less on heating or air conditioning compared to students living in cooler or hotter cities. Costs can be substantially reduced by sharing accommodation and meals, living further away from the campus, and shopping carefully at the wide range of markets and discount shops that Sydney has to offer.