Is it your dream to live abroad? Experience a new culture? Make it on your own in a different working environment? Meet new people? If the answers are yes, it’s time to find the right place. For four years, Australia was this place for me. I met awesome, new people, worked and lived in beautiful Melbourne.
Australia is definitely an awesome place to spend a certain time of your life, or maybe even the rest of your life. But like any other place, there are advantages and disadvantages. I put together a list of 13 pros and cons of living in Australia.
Let’s start with the things, I needed some time getting used to.
1. Australia is far away from everything
Well, except New Zealand. But other than that, it takes a hell lot of time and money to get to another continent. No matter if you fly to Asia, America or Africa, it will almost always take you ten hours or more to get there. And even if you decide to stay in the country, traveling is time consuming. A flight from Melbourne to Perth takes around four hours. Imagine that in Europe. If you fly for four hours you will already be on a different continent. It’s definitely more challenging than in other places closer to home. Imagine a loved one passing away or getting sick, you can’t just quickly hop on a plane and be there in an hour. Once you have kids it gets even more difficult.
2. Cost of living is high
If you choose to live in one of the big cities like Melbourne or Sydney, be prepared to spend a lot of money on cost of living. Wages are higher than for example in most European countries but it’s definitely something to take into consideration when you think about moving to Australia.
3. Infrastructure could be better
The next con on our list of pros and cons of living in Australia was an unexpected one for me. I expected the infrastructure to be better. I know some might disagree and say that the public transport system in the bigger cities is great but I beg to differ. Yes, you have free trams in the CBD of Melbourne and yes if you work in the CBD getting there by tram or train is usually easy but if you want to get from one end of the city to another you’re better off taking your car (even if traffic is a real pain in Melbourne).
If we wanted to visit friend of ours, it merely took us 15-20 minutes. If you take public transport you have to drive into the city and then out again which takes around 40 minutes. There’s no circle line that goes around. Another issue I had in Melbourne was that there is no train or tram that goes to the airport. I can’t think of any bigger European city that doesn’t have a train line to the airport.
Another infrastructure related topic is internet. I would have expected a high-speed internet but that wasn’t the case. And I’m not talking about internet in the outback, I mean in an urban area.
4. Working culture
Coming from Europe and having worked in countries like Germany and Switzerland, there are two things that stood out to me when I started working in Australia.
Australians put a lot more emphasis on working relationships. They take more time to chitchat and talk about personal stuff over coffee. Germans and Swiss focus a lot more on productivity and efficiency. That doesn’t mean that getting along with your co-workers isn’t important, it’s just doesn’t have the same level of importance.
Another thing that struck me was how important selling your achievements and capabilities is. Again, if you come from a culture like the USA this might be pretty normal for you but for some Europeans that is not necessarily what we are good at or do a lot – at least not at that scale.
I found it especially weird when writing my resume because you write down every little achievement. If you want to read more about finding a job in Australia and what to consider, have a look at my blog post here.
To be honest, both teams I worked in were hard working, efficient and managed to have a good team spirit. But I’ve seen other teams and heard plenty of expat stories to know that there are definitely differences in working culture.
I am well aware, that I come from a culture where we put a lot of focus on work and efficiency, so if your cultural background is a bit more relaxed, this might not bother you.
5. Deadly animals
Australia has the deadliest animals in the world. Spiders, snakes, sharks, you name it. But the good news is, if you apply common sense and caution, you will not die 😉
Now let’s have a look at the pros of our list of pros and cons of living in Australia. Are you excited? I am!
1. Australia is a big and diverse country
Australia is a very big country, to be exact its total area is 7,692,024 km2. It offers you everything in terms of vegetation you can dream of. You don’t necessarily have to fly far to experience a huge variety of nature and activities. From surfing on one of many endless beaches to skiing in the mountains. You basically have everything in one country and don’t need to worry about getting a visa or go to another country to go on vacation.
2. Great cities
Australia is densely populated in a few urban areas. Most people live in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that’s why these cities are never short of events, things to do and opportunities to have a great time and life. Melbourne has been named the most livable cities in the world a couple of times and it’s definitely well deserved. Have a look at my blog post about what makes Melbourne so livable.
3. Amazing nature and wildlife
Rainforests, beaches, deserts, mountains, you name it. Australia’s diverse nature will take your breath away.
Besides the world famous Great Barrier Reef attracting so many visitors each year, Uluru is the other big tourist magnet. Located in the red center it is the Aborigines’ sacred place and a majestic force of nature.
If you are an animal lover, you are also in the right place. Australia has the most amazing and unique wildlife in the world: kangaroos, koalas, wombats, cockatoos, etc. And seeing them in their natural habitat has been one of the greatest things I’ve experienced.
4. Endless and beautiful beaches
I know beaches are part of the amazing nature and I mentioned them before. But there are so many stunning beaches in Australia that they deserve a separate point. Most big cities are on the coast so chances are high that you will pick a place with water near. You will be able to do all kinds of water sport, from surfing, to diving and swimming.
5. Friendly and open people
Australians are generally very friendly and open. They have a very relaxed demeanor and are always very helpful when you need a hand.
6. Cultural mix
Australia is an immigration country, there is no doubt about it. But before the first settlers arrived there was already a rich and colorful culture there: The Aboriginal culture. The story of Aborigines in Australia is a long and uneasy one and I don’t want to go into details here. But no matter your stance, Aborigines are part of Australian history and culture – and with good reason.
Ever since the first settlers arrived, immigration has never stopped. After early European settlers, it became home to a lot of Asian immigrants and is now home to a vast cultural mix. Especially in Melbourne you can see the diverse cultural influence: there isn’t a cuisine that you can’t find.
7. High quality of life
The quality of life in Australia is second to none. Especially Melbourne has an excellent food scene.
Sydney has great beaches and lots to do outdoors. But to be honest, every major city offers a variety of events from sports, art to music and plenty of outdoor activities. You will never run out of ideas to fill your free time. Maybe that’s why working is not a top priority 😉
If you are into wine, most states have at least one wine region. Our favorite ones are Yarra Valley (Victoria), Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale (both South Australia).
8. Safe country
Being far away from everything can be an advantage, meaning that you are also away from most crisis hotspots in the world.
This and the crime rate in general make it a safe country. Of course, there are places that have higher crimes rates but you have that in the safest countries and if you apply common sense and caution, Australia is a very safe place to live.
So where do you go from here?
I hope this collection of pros and cons of living in Australia helps to get a better understanding of what to except when you decide to spend some time in beautiful down under. It’s not all roses but which place is?! It is definitely one of the best places to live and one of the best ones I have lived so far, if not the best.