Australia is no stranger to welcoming people from all over the world; after all, it is a top destination for backpackers, working holidaymakers and ex-pats seeking the dream beach life. With the promise of a laid-back lifestyle, glorious views, fantastic weather and excellent employment opportunities, you might wonder why everyone is not packing up and moving down under.
As you might have guessed, Australia also has its downsides, and while all these aspects are accurate, there are plenty of cons to living in this dreamy country. The salaries may be high, and the lifestyle revolves around the beach, but the cost of living is one of the world’s highest, and in terms of wildlife, almost everything is out to get you. So, of course, Australia doesn’t appeal to everyone seeking to move abroad.
As someone who has spent many years living in this beautiful country, I can give a first-hand account of what living in Australia is ‘really’ like. There are many incredible things to uncover and learn while living down under, and not all of them are as exciting as others. So, if you are planning a move to Oz, note the essential pros and cons of living in Australia.
Australia is often abbreviated to ‘the land down under’ because of its location. This far-flung country is a long way from Europe, North America and Africa, but is close to New Zealand, The South Pacific Islands and some parts of Asia. Yes, the location is tropical, but it can also be considered isolated simultaneously; after all, it takes a plane ride to get anywhere outside the country.
Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia experiences opposite seasons to those of the northern hemisphere and is home to various landscapes, climates, wildlife and even time zones. Its location is alluring for many, while others consider this a huge drawback, especially if moving from somewhere on the other side of the globe.
Overview & Comparison
|Pros of Living in Australia||Cons of Living in Australia|
|The Weather||The Dangerous Wildlife|
|The Lifestyle||The Isolation|
|The Landscape||The Lack of Culture|
|The People||The Accent|
|English Speaking||The High Cost of Living|
|The Quality of Life||The Heat|
|Employment Opportunities||The Distances|
The Pros of Living in Australia
1. The Lifestyle
When people think of moving to Australia, they imagine themselves sipping cocktails on the beach, surfing after work and barbequing on the beach on the weekends – all of which is a reality in Australia. This country has got the work-life balance down to a T.
Australians are very friendly, and making friends there is ‘too easy’ as they say down under, so an invitation to a beach birthday party or a festival is always there for the taking. The outdoor lifestyle makes this a place to get the balance just right, and full-time workers spend 60% of their days devoted to self-care and leisure activities in Australia.
2. The Landscape
Home to the outback, world-famous coral reefs, pristine beaches, mountains, rainforests, and so much more, Australia is world-renowned for its diversity. So, is it any wonder people who love nature want to move there? As one of the best countries for surfing, Australia has some excellent surf spots, no matter where you go, and places for kayaking, paddle boarding and diving.
The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the country’s dry interior, The Great Ocean Road in South Australia, and The Blue Mountains in New South Wales are just some of the many famous places in Australia. The landscape is undoubtedly one of the pros of living in Australia.
3. The Quality of Life
With a great education system, an outdoor lifestyle, fantastic weather and high salaries, Australia is among the best countries in the world regarding quality of life. How can you not be happy when all these aspects align perfectly?
Studies have shown that Australians rated their general satisfaction with the quality of life as 7.1, higher than the OECD average of 6.1. Aspects such as sufficient housing, high incomes, employment opportunities, community spirit and overall well-being play a massive part in ensuring Australian citizens and residents are taken care of, and the life expectancy of the average Aussies is 83 years old.
4. The Weather
While the weather patterns and overall climate depend on where in Australia you choose to live, the country features an abundance of regions where the sun shines all year round, which appeals to many. The seasons are opposite to those of Europe and North America, which means that Christmas is spent barbequing on the beach rather than in front of the fire, which is a massive advantage for those that hate the cold.
Australia is so diverse that each region has its unique characteristics, but overall, the country experiences warm summers and mild winters. This makes it a very attractive place for those who love to spend time outdoors and prefer warmer weather.
5. Employment Opportunities
Australia consistently has a list of jobs in demand, and it is one of the top countries that offer a whole host of visa options for this very reason – which we will discuss further. As well as having abundant jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers, Australia has very high wages, which appeals to everyone looking for a comfortable life.
As of July 1st, the minimum wage in Australia is $23.23AUD ($15.50USD) per hour or $882.80AUD ($589.07USD) per week, significantly higher than that of Germany or Ireland. The high salaries and employment opportunities are reasons Australia appeals to migrants.
6. Visa Opportunities
Australia is well known for its array of visas on offer, plus it is known to be one of the easiest and most popular countries to gain citizenship, once you fulfil all the relevant criteria, of course. With options like working holiday visas, skilled visas, the points system, Sponsorship visas, student visas and much more, the dream of moving to the land down under becomes a reality for many.
Of course, there are visitor visas too. Still, for those planning to move to Australia, the working visa options significantly indicate that there is something suitable and attainable for everyone. Business and investor visas rea also available, as well as family visas, which make this an appealing country for families and entrepreneurs to emigrate to.
One of the main pros of living in Australia is the cultural diversity and inclusivity, which appeals to those of all nationalities and backgrounds who may be making a daunting move. Australia is a country which is home to many races, religions and nationalities, which makes it a very inclusive, safe and comfortable location to set up a new home.
Meeting new people is easy since the lifestyle is very social, and there are plenty of community events and cultural events where you can mingle with those from your home country. Since Australia is a land of immigrants, it is safe to say that each person has a different background and culture, which makes it a very inclusive place to feel at home.
8. A Huge Country to Explore
There is nothing worse than feeling couped up with nowhere to explore, and luckily Australia does not have that problem. As one of the largest countries on earth, Australia has plenty of places to explore far and wide. From the outback and the rainforests to the endless coastline, the land of Oz appeals to those who love to get out and about on their days off.
Australia is so expansive that there are three standard time zones, and the country is the sixth largest after Russia, Canada, China, the USA and Brazil, which is impressive. There is no way to get bored in Australia, and many Australians take advantage of staycations since there are so many places to enjoy in one country.
The Cons of Living in Australia
9. The Weather
While Australia has some excellent weather, it can become too extreme for some. The temperatures can get so hot that it is almost impossible to do anything, and you will almost always need to be beside the water to cool down.
One of the cons of living in Australia, especially if you pick a tropical area like Queensland, is that you will be exposed to cyclones, heavy rainfalls, flooding, extreme heat, and humidity. One of the most crucial things to consider when moving to Australia is the location because this climate is not always enjoyable and can be pretty dangerous at times.
10. The Dangers
Speaking of danger, Australia is a country that is world-famous for its dangers. While people joke that ‘everything in Australia will kill you’, they are not wrong; in fact, the country is home to sharks, box jellyfish and crocodiles which can be found in the sea as well as venomous snakes and poisonous spiders.
Dangers also come in extreme weather patterns, getting lost in the expansive outback, bushfires, marine hazards and, of course, sun exposure. Australia is known for having high levels of UV, and it is common to see advertisements for skin cancer constantly because it is such a big problem. These are just some of Australia’s constant dangers, which can deter many people.
11. The High Costs
Yes, with high salaries come high costs. Like many countries worldwide, Australia has experienced high inflation rates over the years, which sees citizens’ income staying the same while household costs, house prices, fuel and recreational activities skyrocket.
A family of four can expect monthly costs of around $5,810AUD without rent, while a single person can expect to pay $1,646AUD without rent. Regarding general items, a cappuccino will set you back over $5, while a 0.5L beer will cost $10. To give you an idea of how expensive rent in Australia is, it is 86% higher than that of Spain, while the cost of living is 52% higher than in Spain—something to consider when planning a move down under.
12. The Distances
We mentioned how expansive Australia is, and while this is an excellent thing for explorers and adventurers, you need to know that the distances are outrageous. Distances in Australia should not be taken with a pinch of salt, and to get from Sydney in New South Wales to Brisbane, Queensland, will take nearly 10 hours, despite looking closely at the map.
A non-stop flight from Sydney to Perth is over 5 hours long, while flying from Sydney to Brisbane takes 1.5 hours, which is quite the distance. Going on a quick road trip in Australia is not a thing; you need to plan carefully since you won’t get very far by car unless you have a lot of time to kill. In addition, flights within Australia are not cheap like those in Europe, so you will need to find deals or fly during off-peak times if you are on a budget.
13. Christmas in the Summer
Some people love this, but if you value a white Christmas, where Santa wears a red suit and not board shorts, Australia is not for you. There is no way around this since Christmas will always be in the summer, and the weather will almost always be warm; however, many ex-pats celebrate Christmas in July (and December) when it is winter, and the weather is milder.
Christmas is usually spent… at the beach, of course, and it is almost always too hot for roast turkey or roast anything for that matter, so people generally eat cold foods and seafood. One of the cons of living in Australia is that you will swap your usual roast turkey dinner at Christmas for prawns and salad on the beach. Can you live with that?
14. Time Zones
One of the cons of living in Australia is the time zones, three to be precise – in one country. While this isn’t abnormal for a country, look at Canada, the USA and Russia, for instance, it doesn’t make it any less of a con. Working in a job which deals with various parts of the country can be pretty frustrating when you need to coordinate three time zones, especially for meetings, and it gets much weirder than this.
Brisbane, which is almost 1,000km (621 miles) north of Sydney, is one hour behind Sydney in the summer months, which makes it very confusing for people driving over the state border regularly. It gets even weirder – Adelaide in South Australia is just 30 minutes behind Melbourne! So, if you are okay with being confused and never knowing what time it is, move to Australia.
15. The Location
One con to living in Australia is the location since you are far from North America, Europe and even Asia. For example, if you don’t want to take a 20+ hour flight to go somewhere, you may find yourself visiting places like Bali, New Zealand or the South Pacific Islands repeatedly.
Flights to Europe are expensive, and moving to Australia should be carefully considered for those not keen on long flights. A flight from Sydney to London takes 22h40m, while a flight to Bali takes 6h30 – and that’s a common destination for Aussies. Australia may seem like a dreamy far-flung destination with a lot to offer, but you need to be prepared to stay within the country if you don’t want to take long, expensive flights just to go on holiday.
16. Lack of Culture
This may be a controversial topic, but let’s face it, there is no distinct culture in Australia since the country is made up of immigrants. While this is great for multiculturalism and diversity, there isn’t much at the core of Australia’s personality when you get passed beach barbeques and surfing. The lack of exciting gourmet cuisine and the Aussie English slang just adds to the fact that the country doesn’t have much to offer culturally.
In saying that, it is a melting pot for other cultures, which makes it unique as a country, much like Singapore, but Australia doesn’t have a true identity: study Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders – the indigenous peoples of Australia. You will undoubtedly discover a fascinating culture which dates back years, but sadly this is an integral part of their history that needs to be preserved and protected.
What is the worst thing about living in Australia?
High costs and long distances.
What is the best thing about living in Australia?
Lots of sunshine and mild winters.
What is one thing to get used to in Australia?
The laid-back lifestyle and Christmas in summer.
Is Australia a good place to live?
Depending on your expectations, Australia can be a great place to move if you are prepared.
Are there work opportunities in Australia?
Yes, Australia has a strong economy with many available jobs, especially if your skill is in demand.
Is rent expensive in Australia?
Rent is 86% higher than in Spain and has risen 11.1% in the last year. Canberra, Sydney and Darwin are the top three most expensive cities to rent.