Moving to the north shore? Here's what you'll have to do to fit in...

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OPINION

A friend of mine, let's just call her Helen, is selling up her gorgeous semi-detached in Annandale and moving to Wahroonga with her husband and children.

Helen reckons it's a no-brainer. For less than she's asking for her cosy three-bedder (about $2 million) she recently bought a four-bedroom freestanding house, on a leafy 1400-square-metre block.

The classic 1960s' home features sandstone fireplaces, formal and informal living areas, a large deck and even a fire pit. She paid $1,875,000 and will pocket the change.

"The home offers a lot more space both inside and out, plus the area is a lot quieter," she says.

"Obviously, the commute to the city will be a lot longer, but it's a trade-off for the extra room. And the boys are excited; their new public school is set in a blue-gum forest and has two swimming pools."

There was a time when no inner-westy such as Helen, would ever have considered moving to the north shore, or the "dark side", as we referred to it. We knew that what divided us was a lot more than the big grey coat-hanger ??? it was cultural.

North shore people remain different to us, but their stately houses are such good value compared to our three-metre-wide shoe-boxes, that a few of us (not me ??? heavens, no) are making the move and hoping we can slip right under the radar.

To help make the transition as seamless as possible, here are the nine things you'll need to do if you want to fit right in:

Drop the spray can and move away from the wall

While the inner-west laneways boasts some of the greatest graffiti in Australia, this isn't the case north of the bridge. Let's cut right to the chase. North shore people don't do graffiti.

In Sydney's inner west, street art is cool. Not so much on the north shore.

In Sydney's inner west, street art is cool. Not so much on the north shore. Photo: Fiona Morris

They don't like it and they don't understand it. Recently, when a Mosman cafe owner commissioned a coffee-themed mural, the locals rioted, parking out the front of the cafe in their Volvos and playing ABC Classic FM at almost full volume. One complained that the mural was the thin end of the wedge, turning their quiet village into "bogan central". Better to channel your creative energy in accounting.

Follow rugby union

The north shore is the suburban heartland of rugby.

There's nothing middle-aged north shore men like more than watching beefy blokes in small shorts. Tragics can be seen on weekends wearing their Gordon Highlanders jersey to Bunnings.

Buy a polo shirt

Even more than the aforementioned rugby jersey, the official uniform of the north shore is the polo shirt. Indeed, one of the major milestones of any north shore child's life is being presented with their first navy polo. This usually happens between the ages of six months and two years of age. The polo is always teamed with beige chinos, or cotton walk shorts (from Country Road, Sportscraft, or Gant).

Having your own boat wouldn't go astray either.

Having your own boat wouldn't go astray either. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Of course, as north shore people are perpetually prepared to step aboard the Beneteau, boat shoes are de rigueur.

It is essential that the polo is ALWAYS worn with the collar popped. Under no circumstances should you tell a north shore person to turn their collar down. They will mumble something about sunburn and never invite you to lunch at the marina again.

Forget about coffee

We are really spoiled in the inner west when it comes to coffee.

With top-notch roasters such as The Little Marionette in the area, we approach our morning drop with a degree of seriousness that cannot be overestimated. Inner westies have been known to travel across five suburbs for the right grind.

If you don't know what crema is, do you even coffee?

If you don't know what crema is, do you even coffee? Photo: Bloomberg

One hipster I know, cycled his fixie from Newtown to Dulwich Hill just because he liked the little flower the barista fashioned in the crema.

When you move to the north shore, your caffeine fix becomes a distant memory. Nobody on the north shore has ever heard of crema, let alone knows the difference between Arabica and Robusta. And by the time you hit the upper north shore they are speaking a different coffee dialect completely ??? International Roast.

Forget about night life

You know how everyone in the inner west complains about the lock out laws?

Well the north shore makes Kings Cross feel like a 24-hour party. If you do fancy a game of bingo on a Saturday night, be warned that Pymble has noise restrictions from 6.30pm.

Bingo... what more is there to say?

Bingo... what more is there to say? Photo: Paul Jeffers

Join the bushfire brigade

Apart from the occasional council-planted bottle brush or wattle on the verge, the inner west is more known for its asphalt than its foliage.

Some Leichhardt children as old as 10, have never seen a eucalypt. On the other hand, there's a reason the north shore is referred to as leafy; it's because there are bloody gum trees everywhere.

In fact, there are entire forests of the things, just waiting to erupt in a ball of flames every December. The way to ingratiate yourself with the locals is to join the local bushfire brigade. If it's good enough for Tony Abbott...

Vote Liberal

Speaking of Mr Abbott, there really is only one political party on the north shore and that's the LNP.

This may be hard to get used to if you're used to electing a left-wing power broker named Anthony Albanese. Australia's smallest electorate, Grayndler (which takes in most of the inner west) is the kind of place where folks discuss the destruction of capitalism, while knocking back an unwooded Margaret River chardonnay.

On the other hand, the electoral division of Bradfield is more blue ribbon than a tub of Streets ice-cream. Indeed, it's such a safe Coalition seat that nobody from any other parties bothers to show up.

Learn to love banks

If you move to the north shore under no circumstances should you say nasty things in public about our financial institutions.

So, you reckon they make obscene profits? Keep it to yourself. The reason for this is simple: Your neighbour is probably an executive from one of the majors.

Start dissing CommSec and you'll end up with a burning dollar sign on your front lawn. About 11 per cent of the workforce in Gordon are employed in finance. The other 89 per cent stay home and count their dosh.

Grow old

It's a well-worn stereotype that north shore people are old fogies. And in fact, the average age does hover around 92. Actually, I made that up.

The average is between 40 and 59 in most north-side suburbs. Not exactly one foot in the grave, but definitely getting to the stage where they are thinking about pensioner's insurance schemes and Rod Stewart compilation albums.

If you're a young buck from the inner west, the only way you can appear older and fit right in, is to put a Kleenex tissue box on the rear parcel shelf of your white Camry.

This story Moving to the north shore? Here's what you'll have to do to fit in... first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.