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People in queue at South Dowling Sandwiches
Photograph: Anna Kucera

35 ways to tell you're a true Sydneysider

It's less about how long you've lived here and more about how many cafés you've waited more than an hour in line for

By Divya Venkataraman

Whether you've lived in Sydney all your life or you're a transplant from elsewhere, there are a few subtle ways you can tell if you've become a true Sydneysider at heart. Here are the tell-tale signs. 

You’ve accepted activewear as your weekend uniform.

2. You think it’s completely reasonable to spend 25 minutes finding a glory park rather than park a 10-minute walk away from your destination.

3. You see no reason you should have to cross the bridge, whichever side of it you live on. The massive body of water separating the two is a sign.

4. You accept that if there’s the lightest patter of rain, there’ll be backed-up traffic, public transport will run three hours behind schedule, the streets will be lined with broken umbrella corpses, and the city will just basically shut down.

5. You think Bondi Beach is the worst, and you proudly wear this relatively popular opinion as a mark of your individuality.

6. You've sprinted to a bottle shop at 10.45pm.

7. You still think there's a chance you'll start surfing.

8. You mourn the demise of independent business when another local pub is taken over by a hospitality conglomerate – and then feel guilty for not hating the new decor.

9. You know that the best dumplings in the city are from the place with the grapes on the ceiling in Haymarket. No, not that place, the other one that looks exactly the same.

10. You've lined up for hot cream puffs from that hole-in-the-wall in Chinatown.

11. You’ve finished two podcasts and started untangling a complex moral dilemma in your life by the time the 370 bus has made its way up King Street.

12. You can correctly pronounce Bondi, Wynyard, Coogee, Woolloomooloo and Kogarah and know that there are two hs in Leichhardt.

13. You have lived in a falling-down share house with at least four other people plus someone’s boyfriend who also basically lives there, just without paying any bills.

14. You’ve accepted that your rental bond is consigned to the financial netherworld as soon as you pay it.

15. You’ve balked at the cost of a gym membership and insisted you’ll just “take up running” instead.

16. You’ve conceded and paid for the aforementioned damn membership, though at this point, given how little you’ve gone, it’s more like a non tax-deductible donation to the gym.

17. You use your car's horn to alert people to the fact that the light turned green 3.2 milliseconds ago.

18. You are always in a hurry. Even on Sundays. You are Extremely Busy.

19. You’ve waited 25 minutes for a bus that doesn’t show up.

20. You don’t blink at the fact that a three-stop train ride from the airport costs $20.

21. You can name obscure Thai dishes, order yum cha properly and know your way around all things Korean barbecue, but when someone asks what Australian food is you meet them with a blank stare and then offer to take them to the Bunnings sausage sizzle.

22. You regularly complain about how slow the light rail is, how giant the new casino is, and how ridiculous housing prices are – in that order, and with increasing agitation.

23. You don't own any really thick jumpers because “we barely have a winter here, not like in London” but complain about the cold from March to October.

24. You think thongs are appropriate year-round footwear.

25. You wouldn’t dream of braving the crowds of tourists and young families to see the NYE fireworks by the Harbour. Hell to the no.

26. You experienced the sticky carpets of the Abercrombie until dawn during Purple Sneakers’ reign and you feel a twinge of mourning everytime you pass Central Park.

27. You’ve watched a fight break out at Marly Bar.

28. You've had to make a 1am call on whether to stay where you are or try to get to another bar before lockout.

29. You blame lockout when you start getting sleepy on a night out, but you’re secretly glad you have a reason to bail.

30. You're mad at how gentrification pushes locals out of inner-city areas – but sure, you’re down to go check out that cute new café that just opened up in Redfern, you’ll have an oat milk latte, thanks.

31. You don’t bat an eye when a giant flying cockroach soars into your kitchen and makes itself comfortable. You just name it and hope you guys have different schedules.

32. You ask people what school they went to at casual social gatherings like it matters.

33. You've waited too long in line to get into a mediocre venue only to be told they're charging covers that night. 

34. You'll admit that Melbourne probably does have better cafés, culture, music and fashion – but you still wouldn't move there because of the weather.

35. You’ll talk smack about Sydney to your heart’s content but will transform into its staunchest defender if someone else starts bagging it out (especially if that someone is from Melbourne). 

Want to get out of the city?

Car driving over bridge aerial view
Photograph: Dee Kramer

The best road trips around New South Wales


Pack the boot, roll down your windows and let gorgeous scenery whizz past – be that soaring coastal cliffs, native bushland, or towering alpine forests. Trust us, no one will be asking if you're nearly there yet.


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