Help Me, Sydney-Siders

Sunday, September 27, 2009

As I mentioned in my last post the idea of moving to Sydney has been at least in the back of my mind for over six months now, and having not been able to really talk about it to any of the people I know in Sydney (because they're basically all my husband's co-workers) I've built up a number of questions. Now that we've set a date in January it's starting to feel real. We're realizing how many adjustments there will be.

Metric System! A whole new system of government! People spell things differently! They call arugula "rocket" and all kind of other different vegetable names! All new stores and brands!

There are all these every-day things I've become accustomed to, and I have no idea how they'll work in Australia. So I'm reaching out. Here are some questions:

  • Is there a composting program in Sydney? I doubt it's compulsory like it is in SF, but if I buy biodegradable bags can I compost at home and have someone pick it up?
  • What are some trusted brands/places to buy goods that are organic, eco-friendly, local, recycled, etc. I'm talking about both food (recommended farmer's markets??) and general household goods.
  • Does Sydney have Goodwill? Are there other second-hand/thrift stores in Sydney you recommend? (Both for clothes and housewares.)
  • Why don't you use craigslist? This has been disorienting. How do you find jobs? MyCareer is the best site I've found and it's not great. Please tell me there's a better site out there.
  • What are your neighborhood recommendations? My husband will be working in the CBD and it's unclear where I will be. We won't have a car so public transit proximity is a must. I'm torn between being in the east near the beaches, and being in the Newtown vicinity for the vegan-friendliness. What's good for a married, 30-ish, vegan, child-free couple?
Having done a little research on Sydney vegan bloggers, I'm tagging some here. Let's be friends!

Sydney Vegan Bake Sale
The Humanimal Eye
ZB's Vegan Recipes

Also, please let me know of any other awesome vegan bloggers in Sydney that I should get to know. (Or follow on Twitter!)


HazelK said...

Hi! I've been living in Sydney, so I can help you out a bit with your questions.

Re composting- depends on where you live. Most councils will collect garden waste. Some councils also have a program to collect food scraps, but that gets taken to a processing facility where it is sort-of composted into an end product that has plastics mixed in which I think they use for filling school fields, mining holes, but isn't actually proper compost. Bit weird. You're best off composting at home if you can; you can always have a worm farm if you don't get a place with a suitable back yard.

Re buying stuff- there are a few health food stores around. There's generally one in every shopping centre, which are typically the chain ones. There are independent stores too. There are also a few food co-ops around, which are great for organic goods, minimal packaging. Enmore has a food co-op called Alfafa House, and most of the universities have volunteer-run co-ops. If you end up in the eastern suburbs, UNSW has a great active co-op called Thoughtful Foods at the Kensington campus.

Re second-hand/thrift stores- these are called op-shops, and are easy to find in most suburbs. Some such as the Salvation Army have specialist furniture stores. You can also use Freecycle: email groups where people offer things they have to get rid of, or request things they want. Or people tend to put their junk out in the street for the council to collect- I've scavengenged many a marvellous find that way! There are a couple of places that collect the useful stuff people throw out to sell on, such as Reverse Garbage.

Re suburbs- the eastern suburbs has a pretty good bus network but trains only to Bondi. If you're a cyclist, some of the eastern beaches suburbs have rather a lot of steep hills! Newtown and surrounds has more of an alternative/studenty scene, more pubs/music venues and yes more vegan restuarants. Prices are probably comparable between the two areas, but you'll pay a premium for a place close to the beach. If you like me to tell you more about specific suburbs I can!

Sharon Troy said...

Hi Hazel, thanks so much for this information! Very helpful. I'll check out Freecycle. I'd tried it a while back without much luck, but it was in its early days.

What kind of a neighborhood is Glebe? That was recommended to us but we didn't travel there.

And non-students can shop at University-run co-ops?

Lastly, I think "op-shop" is the cutest name. Thanks for all your tips! Do you have a blog or did you find me on Twitter?

HazelK said...

Hi again Sharon,
I'm not so familiar with Glebe actually. Don't seem to stray over to that neck of the woods so much. I think it's pretty nice. There are markets and a good few organic cafes. It's very close to the city.

And I think university-run co-ops are generally happy to welcome non-student members. Thoughtful Foods certainly is.

Definitely agree with you about the name "op-shop". But it took me forever to realise that it was short for "opportunity shop"!

I don't have a blog or use Twitter- I stumbled on your blog when I was googling for vegan sydney things. I like vegan blogs!

Best of luck with the move

Veenu said...

Try for job search...they have qite good posting.