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Living in Sydney – Sea Views and Scavenging!

by Jane McLellan

Finding somewhere to live in Sydney was fun. My friend Kate and I decided we wanted to rent an apartment with some friends and we all agreed that a place near the beach and bars was a must! Since we had lived briefly in Manly and fallen in love with the place, that’s where we settled. Manly is just 30 minutes from Sydney. It’s beautiful and it became my home. Some travellers prefer to live in Bondi, Coogee or Sydney city centre (all great places), but for me Manly is the perfect place to be.

After reading the rental accommodation section in the local newspaper we attended some viewings. The viewings were crazy! There would be around 5-15 people looking around each property at one time so when we found our dream pad, we quickly completed the application form and handed it in. When we were accepted and received the keys – we were all so excited!

The majority of apartments in Sydney are unfurnished… not great when you plan to stay just a few months and have arrived with one backpack containing bikinis and scruffy clothes! It had not occurred to us that we would have to buy everything from sofas to saucepans! But we didn’t care. We spent the first couple of nights sleeping on the floor. This experience taught me that you don’t have to spend much money to furnish an apartment. Here’s why…

Lots of people in Sydney have garage sales when they move out. There seems to be a constant flow of people moving into and out of Sydney. This was particularly helpful to us. We got a three-piece suite (lovely modern cream sofas) for $150. Between the five of us, it was a bargain! The TV was thrown in for free.  Many people simply put unwanted furniture on the streets and some of the items are really quite decent. Standard practice is to take any items you fancy for your home. Any furniture that is left on the street is then collected by a special lorry once a week. However, chances are there won’t be anything left. We picked up some great stuff including a load of camping gear, pots and pans, board games and lamps.  Our scavenging really paid off!

You can hire fridge freezers and the monthly rental fee is pretty cheap and an oven and hob is always provided. Most apartments have communal laundry facilities, so you don’t need to buy or rent a washing machine. A blow up mattress can make a nice cheap comfortable bed.  We used upside-down milk crates as bedside tables. We covered them in some material and they looked quite nice.  Getting the essentials like plates and cutlery didn’t break the bank as there are some large stores that sell home stuff really cheap.

We could have made things a lot easier for ourselves by getting a house-share, which is normally fully furnished, but there were five of us and we all wanted to live together. We found a brilliant apartment with views of the sea and we were only five minutes from the beach. It was perfect and we had the most incredible times in that apartment!

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