Sydney, Australia – a checklist for day & night

I have been writing about Silicon Valley but haven’t about Sydney. My hometown. For those that might want to visit this beautiful city, below is a list outlining my suggestions where to go day or night.

Sydney is a small city so you can walk around to most locations but to those that are further a Blue Bus or the Train (CityRail) will take you there.

Day time

Sydney, Australia - ernestsemerda.com
Sydney, Australia - Photo by: ernestsemerda.com
  • Darling Harbor – recreational and pedestrian precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district. It’s a short walk from Wynard train station. It’s basically a bunch of restaurants and bars on the water. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darling_Harbour,_New_South_Wales
  • Sydney Casino – Star City – is located there too. – http://www.starcity.com.au/
  • You will also find Sydney Aquarium there – http://sydneyaquarium.myfun.com.au/
  • The Rocks – tourist precinct and historic area of Sydney. Plenty of shops and places to eat. Located at Circular Key. http://www.therocks.com/
  • You can enter the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge from The Rocks. It’s a nice walk to the North Side and back.
  • Make sure you drop by Big Bite (think Ike’s Place in SF). This place always runs out of food during lunch. The best sandwiches in Sydney. http://www.timeoutsydney.com.au/venue/restaurant/cafe/big-bite.aspx
  • Sydney Tower is around the corner from Big Bite so check that out too. http://sydneytower.myfun.com.au/
  • Go to Sydney Opera House and keep on walking into the Royal Botanic Gardens. Opera House is at Circular Key not far from Sydney Café.
  • Catch a Ferry to Fort Denison. Fort Denison is a former penal site and defensive facility occupying a small island located north of the Royal Botanical Gardens. It’s in the middle of the harbor. You also get to spend some time on Sydney’s famous harbor and enjoy the views. You will need to catch a Matilda boat there, see here: http://www.matilda.com.au/dir076/matilda.nsf/Pages/Ferry+Services~Fort+Denison
  • All the major shops are located on “George Street”. The main street that runs through Sydney. You cannot miss it. However shopping is better & cheaper in America J
  • Kings Cross isn’t a clean place. There are some nice clubs there but it’s mainly polluted with adult shops & low quality bars.
  • Oxford Street is another popular place for food & bars but at night turns into chaos. Upper part of Oxford Street is a suburb called Paddington which is full of designer shops.
  • Get a Harry’s Pie at Harry’s Café de Wheels. It’s famous for the pies. Australian’s love pies. Located at Woolloomoloo. Best place to go after a big night out. It’s open throughout the night and always packed with people lining up outside. Same setup like Pink’s Hotdog in LA (USA). http://www.harryscafedewheels.com.au/
  • Visit The Gap at Watsons Bay. The Gap is an ocean cliff, in eastern Sydney. About 15min out of the city (downtown). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gap,_New_South_Wales
  • While there, have lunch at Doyles on the Wharf Restaurant. It’s the best place for seafood in Sydney. http://www.doyles.com.au/

Night time

Sydney, Australia - ernestsemerda.com
Sydney, Australia - Photo by: ernestsemerda.com

If you have time visit the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves – both are next to each other and around 2 hours car drive from city (downtown). Expect to spend a full day there. http://www.bluemts.com.au/ and http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/

Enjoy the trip!

Ernest

Stuff to do before you leave Australia for Silicon Valley

To guarantee a safe and relaxed atmosphere while abroad, here is a bunch of things you should sort out before leaving Australia. This list is based on stuff I had to do. Note, the following is only after you have decided that you are going to become a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes. This you become automatically if you consider yourself “living” overseas and are not going on a limited short term contract or transitory fly in.

For me, I am a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes.

Note: The following is NOT advise. It is what I did and I'm sharing
this with you. I highly recomment you seek expert advise from a
financial / tax specialist like http://smats.net who I use to take care
of all financial needs. Yes I searched long and hard to find these
guys since most financial / tax specialists I spoke to in America
were unsure how to best manage my international investments in
light of also being a full time tax resident in America.

Stuff to do before you leave Australia

  • Notify your banks and inform them that you are leaving Australia and thus are a non-resident for tax purposes. This will allow your banks to automatically deduct 10% from your interest when it is credited to your account.
  • I left my Superannuation where it is. You now have the right to pull it out should you be in a financial hardship but it’s safer to leave it there in case you return. Also it’s not worth making any superannuation contributions whilst you are abroad since no tax deducation is available to make this a worthwhile excercise.
  • If you have a family home in Australia it is best to rent it out. I did. However it becomes a taxable income in Australia and must be reported to the ATO. However all costs related to the ownership are claimable and offset any tax. Basically your family home becomes an investment property and you will start accumulating tax credits should you return back to Australia. Tax credits can be used later to offset your taxable income once you start working in Australia potentially providing years of tax free income. Of course pending on the amount of investment property you have to do this.
  • If you have property investments and are they receiving an income you will need to file an Australian Tax return every year. Find a good accountant who you can relay on to look after your investments in Australia and have the ability to communicate via email with them. You want to make sure your assets are well protected and you have a team of specialists who will look after your best interest.
  • HECS (if you still own it) will continue to be due should your taxable income in Australia be over the $36K mark. Else there is no requirement to repay the loan unless you wish to make voluntary payment. I’m lucky to have repaid mine a few years back. Before you leave, try to repay it if you can so you don’t have this cloud over your head while abroad.
  • Your Australian credit cards are worth keeping. If you have credit cards with annual payment just keep them running. There is nothing more damaging then to shut down your credit card and have your credit history erased. Also should you visit Australia (and you will) you will want to use one of those credit cards to make payments. Just make sure you have repaid your credit card dept before leaving Australia.
  • Finally, nominate someone you can trust to be your mail handler. You will still receive mail and will want to make sure that this person you trust can either scan the mail and email it to you. You can also check out http://www.earthclassmail.com/ which scan your postal mail and emails it to you automatically for a very reasonable fee.

Now your set to go and explore the new land of opportunity.

Ernest