Life Environment

About Sydney

ACHBM is located in the beautiful city of Sydney and looks over the blue waters of Botany Bay. Sydney is recognised as a safe, clean city with fresh air and numerous trees, parks and green spaces. Sydney also has stunning beauty including wonderful supervised surfing beaches where you can walk and swim in safety. If sport appeals to you, there is a great variety from which to choose. Australians love sport and either participate in their favourite sport or watch it regularly. Within short distance from ACHBM are many cultural and historical places which form the very heart of the city: the Rocks area, rich in history from the colonial past; the Opera House; Darling Harbour, the State Library; Chinatown; and some of the world’s finest Shopping Centres – Sydney has it all and it is all within a five minute train ride or walking distance from the College. Australians also enjoy eating out in many of the fine restaurants available in Sydney. Restaurants cater for every taste and budget. The cosmopolitan nature of Sydney has enabled the development of a wide variety of ethnic restaurants providing the opportunity to experience cuisine from around the world.


Sydney's climate is temperate with 342 days a year of sunshine on average. The wettest months are March to May; the coldest month is July and the hottest months are January and February. The weather in Sydney may change many times during the day. During the Spring and Summer months temperatures can range from 15 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees, in the middle of the day. You should dress lightly but always carry a light sweater or cardigan for the evenings. During autumn and winter, the temperature ranges from 5 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius. You should wear a jacket or coat, especially in the city, where the wind is strong and cold. Although it does not snow in Sydney, winter is very cold because most homes do not have central heating.

Cost of Living

The average international student in Australia spends about $360 per week on:

  • accommodation
  • food
  • clothing
  • entertainment
  • transport
  • international and domestic travel
  • telephone
  • incidental costs

While this is a realistic guide, it is important to remember that individual circumstances will vary by location, course and lifestyle. When you are structuring your budget also take into account the following:

  • tuition fees
  • health insurance
  • working while you study

For current information related to the cost of living please see:

Money and Banks

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, money from other countries can be changed at the exchange facilities located at international airports, banks and major hotels. Travellers cheques are easier to use if already in Australian dollars, however, banks will cash travellers cheques in virtually any currency. Major hotels and some shops, depending on individual store policy, will cash travellers cheques. It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. Banking services in Australia are extremely competitive. Over 20 local and numerous international banking groups are represented in Australia. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres. Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.

Credit Cards

Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent and the gold coloured $1 and $2 coins.


Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants.
In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent of the bill for good service. Porters have set charges at railway terminals, but not at hotels. However, at any time, tipping is a matter of individual choice.
This information has been sourced from the Study in Australia website, for more information visit this site:


Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100 cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent and the gold coloured $1 and $2 coins.


ACHBM campus is within walking distance of train stations and bus stops. Public transport system provides bus and train services to the city. There are both government and private services. Taxi services are also available, but they are expensive in comparison with other forms of public transport. To travel by public transport you will need to purchase an Opal card. You can add credit to the card and then you don’t have to worry about not having enough cash to catch public transport. All can have extra credit added to them online or through a retail outlet. Just remember to tap on and tap off.

Australian people

Australians are friendly people and quite informal. Don’t forget different countries have different customs. We say 'please' and 'thank you' a lot, and always say 'excuse me' when we talk to a stranger or to someone who is busy. It is okay to shake hands when you meet someone - or just smile and say 'How are you?' Australians use first names a lot, but with older people wait until they ask you. Call them 'Mr Smith' or 'Mrs Smith' or by their first name if they ask you.

Water use

Australia is a dry country and has water restrictions in place to limit the amount of water that is wasted. Please remember to turn off taps, limit the length of time you leave water running when you clean your teeth, take a shower or wash your hands. If you own a car use a bucket to clean your car instead of a hose. Every state imposes heavy fines for water wastage.

Safety and clothing

Layered outfits are the most practical clothing for Australian conditions. A waterproof jacket is useful but, even in mid-winter, an overcoat is not often necessary in Sydney. Australian dress is generally casual by international standards.

Australia is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. However, like in all countries/major cities, undue risks should not be taken in Sydney. For example, avoid poorly-lit areas at night time, do not provoke undue attention to yourself with loud behaviour, dress etc. and take care of your valuables and belongings at all times. If you are not familiar with Sydney or if you must travel at night, travel with a friend. Also do not accept a ride in a car from someone you do not know, even if they seem friendly or helpful.

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