Home Dubai Dubai or Sydney – Where is Better to Live (Revealed)

Dubai or Sydney – Where is Better to Live (Revealed)

Dubai or Sydney - Where is Better to Live | The Vacation Builder

Two fantastic cities set 7,500 miles apart, yet both offering incredible living standards, warm climes and great opportunities; but where is better to live? Dubai or Sydney? Here we dive deep into everything from Weather and Cost of Living to Education and Crime rates to find out!

If you’re considering a big move, we found that overall Dubai was the better place to live. However, there wasn’t much difference, so if you’re still undecided, take a look at our full in depth review below.


Dubai belongs to the United Arab Emirates, in the continent of Asia, but is often referred to by most as The Middle East. Dubai is in an advantageous location for travellers, being able to reach Europe, Africa or the rest of Asia in just a few hours by plane.

The city of Dubai is extremely flat, however, step outside the city to other emirates close by and you will find beautiful mountain ranges and wildlife.

Sydney belongs to Australia and the continent of Australasia, in the Southern Hemisphere. Although Sydney is greener and has a more diverse landscape than Dubai, you are looking at long-haul flights to reach many other major cities of the world.

Where is Better to Live - Dubai or Sydney? | The Vacation Builder
Which is in a better Location, Dubai or Sydney?

When you compare both of these major cities for location, Dubai comes out on top for accessibility to many other major cities and countries around the world. However, although Sydney is more secluded, the landscapes of Australia offer travel far and wide as well as some of the most picturesque mountains and beaches in the world.

This one is too tough to call so we have a tie when it comes to Dubai vs Sydney for location.

Dubai vs Sydney – Weather

Dubai or Sydney - Where is Better to Live? Dubai vs Sydney Weather | The Vacation Builder

When it comes to weather, both cities offer warmer climes than average; however, Sydney is much wetter and cooler when compared directly to Dubai. To give you an example, Dubai witnesses rainfall of just 100mm per year, whereas Sydney experiences 900mm!

Being in the southern hemisphere, Sydney’s summer runs between the months of December to February, whereas these are Dubai’s coolest months of the year. Average highs during the summer months in Sydney sit at 26°C in comparison to Dubai’s average summer highs of 41°C (In August).

When it comes to the coolest months of the year, you can expect lows of 21°C during the day in January in Dubai and 17°C in July in Sydney. Overall, the weather is more consistent in Dubai, however, summer in Dubai is tough! Sydney offers the best of both worlds, with nice warm summers and mild winters.

The winner here has to be Sydney for weather.

Cost of Living

One of the major things to consider when looking at moving to one of the major cities in the world is the cost of living. Your salary means nothing if the cost of living is through the roof!

According to Numbeo.com the cost of living is cheaper in Dubai than in Sydney. On average consumer prices including rent in Dubai were over 25% cheaper than in Sydney. Grocery prices in Dubai were found to be nearly 40% cheaper and going out for food is on average 7% cheaper.

The clear winner when it comes to cost of living has to be Dubai.

Dubai vs Sydney – Salaries

The first important factor to consider when looking at salaries in Dubai and Sydney is income tax. Your salary in Dubai is tax free, whereas in Sydney you will pay income tax. Another benefit of moving to Dubai as an expat is that most major companies will include living costs as part of the package too!

Below we have drawn up a table of average salaries for each profession in Dubai and Sydney to give you a rough guide of what to expect. Salaries are per year before tax.

ProfessionDubai Salary AEDSydney Salary AED
Accountant 156,000199,700
Civil Engineer212,000270,000
Business Development Manager183,000472,595
Admin Clerk72,60097,688
Graphic Designer61,500195,666
Air Traffic Controller249,600334,274
Mechanic 82,80082,704
HR Manager372,000438,015
Petroleum Engineer235,200316,984
Hair Stylist 99,840135,727
Occupational Therapist148,800365,973
Bar Manager157,200202,870
Real Estate Agent213,600256,181
Web Developer214,800252,723

The average salaries above were put together with the help of SalaryExplorer.com and are an average based on salary figures from 2021. It is important to remember that salaries can fluctuate to a great degree depending on profession and experience.

From our table above you could be fooled into thinking that Sydney offers better salaries than Dubai, but that is not the case. The overall average salary in Sydney in 2021 was $108,000 / 311,000AED, minus tax = $80,273 / 231,000AED. In comparison, the average salary in Dubai during 2021 was $89,531 / 258,000AED, which is tax free.

Looking at Salaries, Dubai does offer better pay than Sydney, but not by much! However, add to this the cost of living and the clear winner has to be Dubai!

Career Opportunities

Weighing up the career opportunities between two cities can be difficult. There are many factors to consider, including profession. However, when we look at this from a broad perspective we can compare unemployment rates and jobs created to get a rough overview.

Below we’ve pulled figures from 2019 for both cities so that the Corona Virus Pandemic doesn’t affect the numbers.

New Jobs Created6,00027,647
Population per Job Created1 in 5551 in 191
Unemployment Rate4.2%5.3%

Career opportunities in both Dubai & Sydney are fruitful. There is no way of clearly calling which city offers the better career opportunities as Sydney created more jobs per person in 2019 but Dubai has a clearly outstanding unemployment rate overall.

Where Has Better Things to do & See?

Dubai or Sydney - Where is Better to Live? Things to do & See | The Vacation Builder
Sydney Bridge & Opera House

Whichever place you end up, one thing is certain, both Dubai & Sydney guarantee you will not be bored! Both cities offer the perfect blend of city & beach life within meters from each other. That is one of the main things which makes both Sydney & Dubai unique to most of the world.

Summary of the Main Attractions in Dubai

Summary of the Main Attractions in Sydney

  • Darling Harbour
  • Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Palm Beach & More
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Sydney Tower Eye
  • Blue Mountains
  • Royal Botanical Garden
  • Cockatoo Island
  • Water Sports
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Scuba Diving
  • Pyrmont Bay
  • China Town
  • Centennial Park

For us it’s obvious this one has to be another tie. Both cities offer the hustle and bustle of real city living, as well as gorgeous beaches and many things to do and sights to see. You just cannot choose!

Crime Rates

One thing that will give you peace of mind when looking at life in Dubai or Sydney is their crime rates. In comparison to other major cities around the world, crime rates of both are low.

The Crime Rate by Country Index rates the UAE at just 15.45. To give you some comparison, the UK is 44.54, USA 47.7 and Canada 40.6; yet these countries aren’t considered high for crime, so for Dubai to rate that low is incredible.

Over to the southern hemisphere and we have Australia with a rating of 41.67. Ratings below 50 are considered low.

Both cities do not suffer with crime too much when compared to other major places around the world, however, the clear winner by a country mile is Dubai for safety!


Dubai or Sydney - Where is Better to Live - Education | The Vacation Builder
University of Sydney

Both Dubai & Sydney offer private and public schools. The main difference however is that public schools in Sydney are free but you will have to pay in Dubai if you are an expat.

The general standard of schooling in both cities is high. Sydney is home to some of the most prestigious universities, schools and technical institutions in the whole of Australia. Dubai produces some of the best students in the world who blossom into further and higher education as well as working for some of the top companies in the world. The down side to the education in Dubai is that it can cost you as much as 100,000AED per year! On the flip side, to keep standards high, if a school in Dubai falls short of the national grading system, they’re unable to up their fee’s (and rightly so)!

Schooling in Australia is free, and although there are limited facts and figures online to compare to Dubai, there are many reports which show the education system to be very good. If you factor in cost, there can only be one winner here.

Verdict: Sydney

Population Density

Dubai or Sydney - Where is Better to Live | The Vacation Builder

Another factor to consider when looking at moving to a major city is population density. Sometimes there is nothing worse than living in an overcrowded city, battling traffic to get to work, or having no space in line whilst trying to grab a morning coffee.

The good news for those looking to move to Dubai is that it has just 860 people per square km. In comparison, London has 5,701, Berlin has 4,227 and New York has 38,242! However, Sydney goes one better with a population density of just 430 people per square kilometre.

Verdict: Sydney

Public Transport

Dubai or Sydney for Public Transport | The Vacation Builder
Careem Bike Rental and Taxi Rank at the Metro Entrance in Dubai

Last on our list of comparisons is public transport. Public transport is one of the most important things when living the city life! Most cities have good transport links but nowhere quite does it like Dubai!

Dubai & Sydney both have Metro, Buses, Tram, Rail and Taxi’s. Dubai takes it one further though with water taxi’s and its Metro system which is considered to be one of the most modern and cost-effective modes of transport in the world!

Talking of cost effectiveness, the average price of a ticket on the public transport in Dubai is just $1.30 in comparison to Sydney which is $3.02.

Verdict: Dubai


So we’ve looked at Location, Weather, Cost of Living, Salaries, Career Opportunities, Things to do, Crime Rates, Education, Population Density and Public Transport to see where is better to live.

Dubai takes the crown with 4 points to 3 and the other 3 rounds tied. It was a close one and anyone choosing Sydney has not made a bad choice at all!

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