Relocation Down Under: Northern Beaches, Sydney

The final episode of Phil Spencer’s programme Relocation: Phil Down Under airs this week, with Phil looking for a home for the Sharples family in Sydney.  

New South Wales, and the capital Sydney, is the most popular destination for Australian immigration: some 67,000 migrants moved there last year. The buzzing cosmopolitan city enjoys coastal breezes, long sandy beaches, and plenty of sunshine along with the benefits of being an international financial and fashion centre.

The week, Phil is helping three generations of the Sharples family find their first permanent home in almost a decade in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney.

The Northern Beaches extend almost 30 kilometres along the New South Wales peninsula from Barrenjoey Lighthouse to Manly with 22 stunning beaches, each with their own personality, along the way.

The most well-known on the Northern Beaches is the busy and popular tourist attraction of Manly, but there are other beaches such as the Pittwater beach to the north-west of the peninsula, a picturesque waterway with national park bushland surrounds, that belong to the locals.

Real estate along this peninsula has always historically been varied in price, although the price for anything near the water or with a view climbs steeply.

Australia’s most popular online real estate search website,,  lists the pros of the Northern Beaches market as being the wide choice of properties, price range and areas, and with good local infrastructure and steady prices it’s a good investment. However, the Northern Beaches can be an expensive market to enter, due to the proximity to water and the lack of ability for the suburbs to expand due to the natural peninsular boundaries. 

For almost a decade Jon and Jeannette Sharples have been moved from one posting to the next with John's job in the military, and they are keen to finally have their own dream house although the move Down Under is their biggest yet.

Making things a little more complicated for Phil, Jon's mother Joan will be joining the family in Australia and will need her own space in the new home.

Despite the challenge, Phil also finds the time to do a spot of property searching for himself.

The last in the series Relocation: Phil Down Under screens on Channel 4 on  Friday, 12 February, at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.