Pros and Cons of Moving to Australia

With four of its cities repeatedly sitting pretty in the top 10 of the world’s most liveable destinations, it’s no surprise that many people make the move down under. 

Accommodation in Australia

As with most developed countries, accommodation varies with location. Compact apartments and townhouses in the city offer easy access to the hustle and bustle, while suburban dwellings a few kilometres from the city centre offer space and a sense of community. An estimated 80 percent of Australians live in coastal regions, but there are also real estate opportunities in the Australian "bush" if undisturbed views and wildlife are top of an expat's list.

 PRO: Lots of choice

There is a wide array of real estate options throughout Australia depending on an expat's requirements and budget. Renting is popular in cities and is reasonably priced and, with the ever increasing variety of properties, it is usually easy to find something to suit an expat's budget. 

 CON: Property is expensive

Purchasing a property in an Australian city will offer plenty of choice, but home buyers need to be aware that real estate law in Australia favours the seller, so plenty of research is essential before making an offer on a home. Competition against local and overseas investors can be fierce, so expats should be prepared to attend auctions and fight for their perfect Aussie home. With houses averaging around half a million dollars, fairly deep pockets are needed.

Cost of living in Australia

Gone are the days of Australia being a cheap place to live in comparison with the UK or US. In recent years Sydney has been reported as being significantly more expensive than New York and London, but it’s not all bad news.

 PRO: High minimum wage and great standard of living

There is no getting away from Australian cities being expensive places to live, but salaries are also comparatively high with a minimum wage of around twice that in the USA. The cost of living may be high but the standard of living is as well, so residents feel it is worth paying that bit more to reside in Australia.

 CON: Property is expensive

The price of food and utilities has risen dramatically over recent years and shows little sign of slowing. The price of everyday goods can certainly be a shock to those fresh off the plane.

Lifestyle and culture in Australia

Australia is first and foremost a friendly and accommodating country. The cities especially have a wide range of residents from all over the globe. The outdoor lifestyle encourages people to come together, whether around a barbeque, at sporting events or just a gathering of like-minded individuals.

 PRO: Great climate and lots of sporting events

Australian cities play host to many sporting events throughout the year with something to suit every sports fan. The two largest cities have many events throughout the year, from themed festivals in Melbourne to the Spectacular New Year fireworks in Sydney.

Outdoor activities are also popular, so it is easy to stay healthy in Australia. Running and cycling are especially popular in cities and can be kept up throughout the winter months due to the warm climate.

 CON: Lack of activity in small towns

If not living in Sydney or Melbourne, cultural activities such as opera and ballet may be more difficult to find. Small towns may have a cinema, but the main weekend attraction in rural areas is likely to be a football match.

Healthcare in Australia

Healthcare in Australia is a mixture of private health insurance and state provided care. Those eligible for Medicare, either as a resident or a citizen of a country for which there is a reciprocal healthcare agreement, are able to access free necessary treatment. For those who cannot access Medicare or for treatment which is not deemed necessary, private health insurance is recommended.

 PRO: Good quality public and private healthcare

The healthcare system in Australia is of a high quality. Both public and private hospitals are well equipped and provide top- notch service. Both systems can be used by expats and it is easy to get to grips with what is and what isn’t available publicly.

 CON: Health insurance is expensive 

Private health insurance is generally expensive and is a yearly cost most expats will have to factor in. Ambulance trips are not covered by Medicare so making sure everyone is covered is vitally important should an emergency arise.

Although the outdoor lifestyle is supportive of health, Australia’s obesity rate is rising on par with the USA, an epidemic which is showing little sign of reversal. In addition, skin cancer rates in Australia are among the highest in the world due to high exposure to UV radiation in sunlight.

Education and schools in Australia

Education in Australia is generally excellent with good services and teaching staff. Schools are a mixture of public and private, with parents being able to choose which suits their family situation. Adult education in Australia is generally of a very high quality, with high numbers of international students and seven of the top 100 universities worldwide. With 22,000 courses in over 1 thousand institutions, Australia is recognised for having one of the best higher learning systems in the world.

 PRO: Some reasonably priced schools and reputable universities

Private schools have a reputation that often casts them as exorbitantly priced same-sex boarding schools, and although these exist, there is far more choice on offer throughout Australia. Some private schools are very reasonably priced and offer students a wider range of activities and subjects than may be offered at a public school.

 CON: High fees at private and international schools in Australia

Private schooling can be expensive for families and competition can be fierce. Similarly, without Australian residency international students can be hit with high tuition fees.

Driving and transport in Australia

Australia is a very large country and, with the majority of the population living in coastal areas, transportation between states can be expensive. The most popular way to travel between states is by air and there are regular flights between Australian cities. However, in areas that are more sparsely populated, even buses and trains can be less frequent or non-existent.

Regarding international travel, Australia is well connected with regular flights to neighbouring countries. Popular holiday destinations include Bali and Fiji, with cheap flights and great package deals are regularly on offer. Transportation within cities is generally good with trams, buses, trains and bicycle access available in most cities. Rural area transportation will generally be by car or public bus.

 PRO: Great travel opportunities within Australia and good city transportation

Australia offers a diverse climate and a wealth of unique wildlife meaning that only a short plane trip can feel like landing in another country. For example, imagine escaping metropolitan Melbourne’s chilly winter and hopping on a plane for 4 hours to Queensland, where the sun is still shining and the Great Barrier Reef is on the doorstep.

Although cities do vary, urban transport in Australia is generally good, offering trams, trains and buses, although this varies from city to city.

 CON: Travelling to isolated places is difficult and journeys between cities can be long

Getting between states can be time consuming and costly. Driving between Sydney and Melbourne can take around 10 hours versus a one hour flight, so options are limited in a hurry. Similarly, travel between more northern cities can be difficult by car as there may not be many services along the way and gas prices can vary dramatically in rural areas. 

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