Living In Australia – Expat’s Guide to Life Down Under
Living in Australia can be an exciting experience. In general, Australians are very welcoming people who enjoy interacting with others. They’re generally happy to help out new arrivals, and they’ll do so without expecting any reward. On the flip side, however, Australia’s size means you may feel isolated from your fellow citizens. You may also need help finding affordable accommodation.
These are the advantages and disadvantages you may experience when living in Australia.
- Australia is one of the best health systems worldwide. It offers accessible or extremely affordable healthcare to permanent residents.
- If your goal is permanent residency, you’ll be happy to hear that Australia is one of the most accessible places in the world in which you can achieve this. People who want to become citizens should plan to live there for at least four years and then take a citizenship exam.
- The average annual salary in Australia is AUD 91,550 (about 64,000 US dollars). It’s pretty high, especially when compared with wages in other countries.
- Australia is one of the most known and unique countries worldwide. Expatriates living there can easily spare their free time walking in the outback in search of kookaburras, koalas, wombats, emu, and more.
- Most major Australian cities are among the best places ever to live. These include cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.
Advantages when you are living in Australia
- Australia has a high cost of living, but it offers a good lifestyle for its residents. A single resident moving there may spend up to 1,000 Australian dollars per month (about 560 US dollars).
- Even though the pathway to citizenship is relatively simple, securing a work visa in Australia is a lengthy and complicated process that you should pass and even involves a “character check,” wherein some governmental official determines whether you are of good enough character to immigrate to the country or not.
- Australia is an immense landmass, so people often feel isolated from each other due to the distance between major cities.
- If you’re looking for an easier way to live abroad without worrying about visas or passports, Australia might not be the best place for you. It has a long distance from its nearest neighbor, New Zealand, which makes traveling there tricky.
- Here is a list of valuable things you need to know when moving to Australia. It includes significant phone numbers, major airports, and public holiday dates.
Practical Information you will need when you’re in Australia:
Emergency Numbers in Australia
If there is an emergency during your time abroad, then you will need to know these numbers:
Call these numbers if you need help from the police, fire, ambulance, or an international incident helpline.
Public Holidays that are being celebrated in Australia
This is the list of the official public Holidays that are being celebrated in Australia. Note that if a day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it will automatically be recognized the next Monday.
On these days, there are unique events and celebrations.
There are several other public holiday dates throughout the year, including the Queen’s Birthday (the second Monday in June), which is celebrated in most states and territories; Labor Day (the first Monday in September); Christmas Day (25 December); Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday); Anzac Day (25 April); Easter Saturday (26 April); Memorial Day (every last Monday in May); Independence Day (7 July); Queen’s Birthday (second Monday in October); Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November); Christmas Eve (24 December); Boxing Day (26 December).
Major Embassies you can find in Australia.
There are large expatriate communities in Australia from the United Kingdom, Mainland China, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Vietnam, Southern Africa, Italy, and Malaysia. Here are their respective embassies, which their people can visit anytime:
- British High Commission Canberra
- Chinese embassy
- High Commission of India
- New Zealand High Commission
- Philippine Embassy of Canberra
- Vietnamese Embassy in Australia
- South African High Commission
- Ambasciata d’Italia Canberra
- Malaysian High Commission
Ainformationion regarding the other embassies and foreign consuls that weren’t stated in Australia can be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs official website, which anyone can always visit.
Main Airports in Australia
Some of the world’s busiest airports are
- Sydney Airport;
- Melbourne Airport;
- Brisbane Airport;
- Perth Airport;
- Adelaide Airport.
Cultural and Social Etiquette
Overall, Australia is quite friendly and welcoming to foreigners. According to an InterNations Expat Insider Survey, over 70 percent of expatriates who live there say they feel comfortable and enjoy their time there. Australians value friendliness, authenticity, optimism, equality, and social justice.
In Australia, they’re known for being humble and friendly. They also believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or other factors. As a result, they don’t think highly of those who boast about themselves or act arrogant towards anyone else. Humorous self-deprecation is typical, and they find it hard to trust someone who brags about themselves or themselves.
Meetings and Greetings that Aussie Does
Formal greetings reflect the relaxed and casual nature of Australia’s society. It would be odd if people used titles, especially when they met each other for the first time. So instead, Australians usually address each other by their first names.
If you are planning to meet someone for the first time, don’t try to speak English with an Australian accent. Instead, stick with a simple “hello” and “how are you?”
There are not many topics that are considered taboo or off-limit in Australia. But when first meeting someone, don’t talk about sex, religious beliefs, politics, or race — it’s also impolite to ask about their salary, age, or weight, as those can sound disrespectful or impolite.
Australian men tend to be quite reserved, yet they will open up and become more friendly once they get to know you better.
Gift-Exchanging in Australia
In Australia, people give each other presents during Christmas and birthdays. These can include food, clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, electronics, jewelry, furniture, tools, sporting goods, toys, games, plants, pets, and more. People also often give each other money, cards, or vouchers. Some people may also give each other items they no longer want or items they do not need anymore.
Dinner Etiquette in Australia
If you’re asked to go to someone’s house for dinner, offering to take care of any dishes left behind is polite. However, it would help if you also tried to learn about your hosts’ interests. For example, I suggest watching a game together if they love sports. If they enjoy gardening, mention that you’d like to get started growing vegetables yourself. And if they’re into music, you could share a favorite album.
You’ll probably be expected to provide drinks if invited to an Aussie barbecue. You might also be expected to supply your food, depending on what kind of party it is. Be sure to check beforehand whether any additional items are needed. When you arrive, leave any leftover food or drink for the hosts.
When dining out, always treat people respectfully, even if they’re serving you. You don’t need to show them special deference because they aren’t “superior” to you.
Each individual usually covers their meals and drinks when eating out with friends or on dates. However, tipping is not customary, but it is appreciated if done.
Social Tips when you are in Australia
Aussies take littering and spitting seriously. For example, they expect people to take their rubbish and spit it out into bins at cinemas.
It’s also essential to maintain personal space. Remember that most people walk to the right side of escalators and staircases.
Friends in Australia are loyal, especially when they’re close. They often turn to their friends for assistance during times of hardship. However, arriving at a friend’s house without an invitation is rude.
Swearing in Australia
Australian English has colorful expletives used regularly in everyday conversations. However, you shouldn’t be shocked if you overhear someone swearing in casual situations.
Women in Australia
Women in Australia are considered equal to men but are often treated differently. They are also less likely to hold jobs for extended periods than men.
Driving in Australia
Getting an Australian driver’s license is essential if you travel to Australia. You may need one for some parts of Australia where public transportation isn’t available.
Age requirements vary by state and territory. For example, to get a driver’s license in the ACT, you must be 15 and nine months old; elsewhere, you must be 16 years old. You can start driving without supervision when you turn 18 in Victoria, 16 in the Northern Territory, and 17 everywhere else.
Rules for Driving when you are in Australia
- Keep your driver’s license and other necessary documents behind the wheel.
- Australians always drive on the right side of the road.
- Everyone who rides in a vehicle must buckle up their seatbelts, and everyone under the age of seven must ride in an approved child restraint system.
- You could be charged with drunk driving if you drink and then get behind the wheel.
- They are using cell phones while driving is illegal as it may cause accidents.
- Except for the Northern Territory, the speed limit in a built-up residential neighborhood is 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour)
- The speed limits for most roads are between 62 mph and 68 mph, depending on where you are driving, either in an urban or rural area.
- Driving with children under 18, you cannot light up in the vehicle.
- You aren’t allowed to go through a red light unless otherwise specified. If a sign indicates you may proceed, you must follow the rules for stopping movements.
Driving in Australia with an Australian license is a must.
If you are planning to stay in Australia for less than three months, you can get a temporary driving permit from your home country. However, if you plan to stay longer than three months, you’ll have to get an IDP before obtaining an Australian driver’s license.
How to Get an Australian Driving License
Once you obtain an Australian driver’s license, it is valid anywhere in Australia. So if you’re an expatriate from any of these states, you don’t feel it necessary to pass a knowledge or driving test before exchanging your license.
Austria, Chile, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Kuwait, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua,
If you are 25 or older and an expatriate from any of these countries, you qualify for experienced driver recognition in Australia. Therefore, you, too, could get your foreign license replaced by an Australian one.
These countries include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the USA.
You must pass a driving exam if you’re from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Afghanistan, Iraq,
Renting a Car in Australia
It is cheaper if you buy a car than to lease one if you are planning to stay in the city for less than three months. However, leasing could be a better option if you stay longer.
If you decide to rent any vehicle in Australia, you will need to have the following documents:
- a valid driver’s license;
- If your driver’s license isn’t in English;
- your passport;
- Personal credit card.
When renting a car in Australia, you must usually be at least 21. If you are under 25, you might have to pay extra for being a “younger person.” As a younger person, your choices of cars for rent may also be restricted.
Renting a car depends on the company, type, size, location, etc. Typically, it costs between 25AUD – 150AUD per 24 hours. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper rate, consider renting in a smaller city instead of a bigger city.
Public Transportation in Australia
Public transport in Australia is very safe. It is generally well-maintained, modern, comfortable, and clean. Australia prioritizes providing excellent services, and public transportation is heavily regulated to ensure these services are delivered safely. Stations and terminals in Australia are constantly watched by uniformed and plain-clad security officers who ride public transport to ensure the safety of everyone.
5 Important Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
The weather changes a lot.
Most people believe that Australian weather is the same everywhere. Hot and sunny weather every day of the year in every part of the land. This is just not true. In the southern states, it rains almost constantly during winter months. In the northern states, it gets cold enough to snow. Queensland is generally blessed with a tropical climate, while Victoria has four seasons in one day. Even though we get snow in some places, it doesn’t stick around for long.
There are fires
When the weather is hot and windy, fires break out across Australia. Unfortunately, these fires happen too frequently. Each year, the country experiences about 50,000 bushfires, which means that someone loses their home every day. You should clear any dead trees and bushes near your property to prevent this. You might also consider hiring a professional tree service company to help you eliminate them.
Australia has some amazing skiing destinations.
Australia is famous for its beautiful beaches, great surfing, and friendly locals. They also have an amazing talent for skiing! In the southeast corner of the continent lies the Perisher Valley, where skiers can enjoy world-class slopes and powder fields. You can take advantage of the low prices and cheap lift tickets by visiting during the off-season.
Jaywalking is illegal
You can’t just cross the road whenever it suits you unless you hope to spend the rest of your life in an Australian prison. We’re kidding, the punishment is just a $70 fee, but it’s still something to be careful about. Between 2014 and 2017, over ten thousand NSW pedestrians were caught jaywalking. The rules are straightforward: you must use a marked pedestrian crossing, such as a zigzag or pelican crossing. But if you are still looking for one, you may have to wait hours before someone finally comes along. And if they don’t come along? Well, you’ll probably visit them.
Be careful when out in the sun.
When summer comes around in Australia, it does shine. Unfortunately, some parts can get extremely hot (often over 40 degrees Celsius), and we expect them to hit 50 degrees Celsius by 2040. Recently, deadly bushfires have burned through large swathes of New South Wales, killing a lot of people and destroying thousands of homes. But it’s not just the fires that are dangerous. We, humans, require the Earth’s ozone layer to protect us against the damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sunlight. Still, the ozone layer above Australia is unusually thin, so the Australian sunshine is particularly strong. That’s why the “Slip Slop Slapping” advertising campaigns were created in the 80s. To keep yourself safe, slip on T-Shirts, slop on some sunscreen or sunblock, and slap on a hat! And it has to be done in that exact order.
“Don’t worry, mate!” is the Australian way of life.
Australia is the fourth most happy country on Earth, and its people enjoy life to the fullest. They live in harmony with nature and take pride in doing so without pollution or waste. Their relaxed attitude towards life allows them to focus on what matters most – spending quality time with friends and loved ones. As a result, they can find something to keep them busy every day, from beaches to mountains.
Sadly, Australia has a big downside, too – it’s addictive. Those who have tasted its culture often find it hard to leave when they return home.
What NOT to do when arriving in Australia:
Before going abroad, the most important thing is that no nation is perfect. If you can accept that, you can be happy.
Please don’t make fun of Aussies when it comes to ANY sport.
There’s no other nation in cricket, rugby, Australian rules football, and so on; the sooner you accept it, the better.
Stop living in enclaves.
It’s all too easy for expat birds to bond as we’ve all shared experiences, and we support each other. However, if you all live together, socialize and stick together, it represents a negative united front towards your local neighbors.
For simplicity, try to walk a fine line between socializing with your loved ones, reaching out, and getting involved in your local community.
Don’t let your kids become bullies in school.
You may be very worried about your kids settling into their new routine of life Down Under, but nine times out of 10, they will adjust faster than you.
However, because their new teachers will work hard to make sure they aren’t bullied or pushed aside, sometimes your child may end up being the bully.
It is a common concern. Australian parents have a big problem with the ‘new kid’ bullying their child. British children are often more ‘interesting’ to other children, and as a result, their status can be quite high in their groups of friends. Try to ensure this doesn’t make them overconfident and rude to other students