20 Things every expat should know about Australia before living there


Australia is a popular location for expats to move to. This English speaking country with guaranteed sunshine and laid back lifestyle appeal to both students and professionals alike. But what is life really like down under? We’ve put together 20 things every expat should know about Australia before living there so you know what to expect in your new found home.

  1. The housing situation really isn’t any better than it is here

Housing in Australia’s biggest cities such as Melbourne or Sydney is similar to that of big cities in the UK. It is possible to find cheaper housing in Australia but this is often in more remote locations. So if you don’t fancy living in the outback and want to buy then you’ll have to get your head around the market, with auctions, the preferred method for selling houses. With the average flat in Melbourne city centre being around £285,000 you better start saving for that deposit sooner rather than later.  

  1. The cost of living is pricey

The cost of living in Australia is high, although the minimum wage is more than that of the UK at $18.93 per hour. However, the cost of daily essentials at your local supermarket can sometimes be higher than you would have expected. If you fancy enjoying a box of Cadbury’s Favourites (similar to Heroes) this will set you back $19 or £10.50. Alcohol also can be pricey, with some bars in Melbourne charging around £10 a pint. It is worth it to shop around to be careful with your expenses. Talk to other expats and locals alike, to see where the best bargains are.

  1. Healthcare isn’t pricey

Thankfully Australia has a great reciprocal health agreement with the UK and Ireland. This means you can sign up for a Medicare card relatively easily. Just be aware of the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is an additional tax paid by those who earn over $90,000.

  1. There are random fruit shortages

You often forget how isolated a country Australia is. Fruit and vegetables are grown locally and aren’t imported due to the risk of infecting or damaging the local ecosystem. This means that if there is a crop shortage the price of certain fruit or veg can skyrocket.

  1. It’s really, really far away

I know this seems obvious, but sometimes you do forget just how far away Australia is. Travelling back to the UK or Ireland can take up to 28 hours of travelling and often by the time your body has just adjusted back to GMT you have to turn around and go back.

  1. Australia is huge

It can be easy to forget just how huge Australia is, but when you take a five and a half hour flight and get off the plane in the same country it really hits home. If you embark on a road trip you’ll be able to see just how huge this country really is.

  1. Sport is life

Aussies love their sports. It is an important part of everyday life and people will love to go out of their way to remind you if Australia happens to beat your home country. If you are into sport then you are in the perfect country. The Aussie lifestyle is catered to an active lifestyle and there’s plenty of things to see and do. Not only that but guaranteed good weather to do it in.

  1. Pukka pies are a big deal

Pukka pies are a big thing in Australia. Not what you’d expect, but these steak-filled pies are the favourite go-to snack before any big game.

  1. There’s plenty of bank holidays

Not that they’ll call them that, bank holidays are called Public holidays in Aus and there, they have plenty. Each state has different holidays but one thing you’re guaranteed is that you’ll enjoy more than you ever had at home. The Queen’s birthday even counts as a public holiday in Australia, even though it isn’t one in the UK!

  1. Beach days are better in winter

When you move to Aus you imagine spending every weekend on the beach, but the reality is that in summer the beaches are hot, with some places getting up to 40 degrees. It isn’t always practical to enjoy the beach in summer, so many opt for beach activities in winter, so you can enjoy things like beach volleyball without worrying about sunstroke.

  1. Slip! Slop! Slap!

The favourite phrase that reminds all Australians to wear suncream. You’ll know this phrase like the back of your hand in no time. Slip on a shirt, slop on the SPF50+ sunscreen and slap on a hat. When it’s 40 degrees you’ll thank me.

  1. Fashion is behind the curve

For all you fashionistas out there, this is something to remember. Fashion in Australia is always six months behind since it is Spring/Summer for the fashion capitals of the world New York, Paris and London, it’s actually Autumn/Winter in Australia. Also wearing activewear even when you’re not active is a big thing, so best stock up now so you don’t look out of place.

  1. They drink differently

The Aussies have a bit of a reputation for drinking alcohol, but their attitude towards it is different. They approach alcohol like they approach everything – laid back. It’s also helpful to know that you can’t buy alcohol in supermarkets, instead, you have to go to designated liquor stores, but most have drive-throughs. Talk about service!

  1. Don’t fear the creepy crawlies

You might be worried about bumping into spiders or snakes in Australia, but don’t let that worry you. The reality is, that unless you’re in the outback or the bush you are unlikely to see anything too menacing.

  1. But saying that, there are a lot of things that can kill you

Warnings of death are not uncommon but it’s more often tranquil-looking waters that are harbouring huge saltwater crocodiles (salties), sharks and jellyfish.

  1. People think that London and the UK are the same things

When you meet someone and tell them you’re from the UK, they’ll often assume you’re from London. Just remember you won’t win this argument, London and Birmingham are completely the same places.

  1. Christmas gets snowy…kind of!

Perhaps one of the most surrealist moments as an expat has been walking down Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall in December, in the height of Australian summer and seeing fake snow in the windows.

  1. Fairy bread is a party staple

    Fairy bread is a party treat that all Australian kids have grown up with. It consists of a slice of white bread, buttered and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.

  1. Drop bears are not a thing

Drop bears are an infamous urban myth that some people may try to convince you are real. They are meant to be bigger than Koalas and partial to human flesh, however, the whole thing, however, is a big joke, they don’t exist! The Museum of Australia has even created a website all about them here to feed into the folklore. Don’t buy into it!

  1. Practise your slang

You’ll need to school yourself on top Aussie slang. Think esky, thongs and singlets. Some of the most important you can’t skip are filthy, which means angry, lollies which are sweets and chips are crisps. It’s also good to know that in Australia Durex is a brand of cello tape.

 

Moving Your Stuff To Australia

 

Once you’ve finished packing up all of your stuff, you then face the challenge of moving all of your personal belongings to your new home in Australia. It’s a daunting task, but it needn’t be, we’ve got you covered!

Thankfully, that’s where My Baggage comes in. We specialise in transporting students, expats and holidaymakers belongings all over the world. We’re trusted by over 30,000 customers across the globe. You can read more about our services here. You can also check out My Baggage reviews too. Get a quote below!

We hope this article has helped inspire you to embark on your adventure to Australia. Are you currently travelling in Australia and have a story to tell? Get in touch with us here.

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Sarah

Hi! I'm Sarah and I manage our Online Community here at My Baggage.