3 Things you should know before moving to Australia

3 Things you should know before moving to Australia

Endless sunshine.  Beach after beach, hugging the coastline as far as the eye can see.  BBQs everyday. Koalas and kangaroos in your back yard.  Who wouldn’t want to move to the lucky country? Move to Australia?

Well, the reality is slightly different to this, yet Australia does remain, one of the best places to live on this amazing planet of ours.

The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder beyond its inclusion in the seven wonders of the natural world. The world’s largest coral reef system, stretching some 2,300 kilometers off the coast of Queensland.

Uluru, once known as Ayers Rock, dominates the dead centre of Australia. A monolith rising up from the dusty red earth, changing colour with the setting of the unforgiving desert sun.

Melbourne, and Melbournians rightly claim the title of food and culture capital of Australia. Sydney wins the beauty pageant. Perth takes the title of sunniest state, and has the added appeal for European expats of being 3 hours closer in time through most of the year.

And who can forget the actual capital, Canberra, home to the seat of the government, if anyone can remember who is actually governing this week, in what appears to be a revolving door of politics, and a very impressive war museum.

Australia is the planet’s sixth largest country, and it has more than enough to keep it’s lucky 23 million residents, and it’s 7.5 million visitors happy and occupied, whatever takes your fancy.

But there are a few things to consider when thinking about a move to Oz. Firstly, what is the first available flight you can take? The decision to come really was that simple for me, and once you have sorted out all your logistics at “home”, and decided what, if anything you are going to ship to Australia, make your way to the airport.

Depending on your “risk appetite”, there are also a few things you can arrange before arrival in Australia.

Location

I have briefly highlighted some of the main attractions of a few of the major cities, but the first thing you need to decide is where will you live? And your personal circumstances will drive this decision. Perth, on the west coast, is one of the smaller cities. The capital of Western Australia is a favorite with expat families. Small, easy to navigate, and laid back, many families choose to start their new life down under in Perth. It is worth noting though that the economy in Western Australia is taking a bit of a dip after the mining boom, and the employment market is not as buoyant as it once was.

Melbourne attracts people who want to live the city lifestyle. Being the closest you will find to the major cities of the world, Melbourne prides itself on the 24 hour culture, meaning you can eat and drink into the small hours. And the sport isn’t bad either, hosting both the Australian Tennis Open, and the Australian Formula 1.

Sydney is the one place that probably everybody on the planet could identify in a picture. The iconic Opera House, and no less iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney embraces the beach culture, where you shed your work clothes, get on your board shorts, slip on some flip flops, crack open a stubby (bottle of beer) and sit back and enjoy life.

Job opportunities

Before coming to Australia it would be a good idea to do a number of things. Firstly dust off, and polish that CV. Make sure that as you prepare to enter the job search, your CV reflects your most recent skills and experience. You may also want to have a browse of the local job market using online search tools through apps and websites, such as www.seek.com.au or www.indeed.com

Also, reach out to any contacts you have currently living and working in Australia. These days it seems we all know somebody in the family, or within our friends who have made the leap to Australia. Contact them. Ask what the job market is like where they live. And whether they have any contacts in HR that you could drop a speculative note to.

Cost of living

This is something that has changed so much in the years I have been coming to Australia, both as a visitor, and now as a resident. Depending on where the dollar is fluctuating against the British pound, I have either cheap, or very expensive holidays back to the UK. Just seeing prices on goods and services initially takes some getting used to. With the Aussie dollar being twice that of the pound, everything looks very pricey on first glance. At least double the digits you are expecting if from the UK, and it does take many months before you finally stop converting it in your head, saying “well, that’s only £500.00, when in fact you are earning $, and paying in $, so it is actually $1000.

The cost of living in a large city are somewhat offset by higher salaries, comparative to the UK. In my particular field, IT Project Management, the salaries are quite a jump up from what is on offer in the UK for like-for-like roles. Particularly from my home of Yorkshire, in the heart of England. After a few years of paying Sydney prices for drinks, meals and entertainment, by which point I have stopped having a minor coronary every time I go out, when I do visit Yorkshire, everything feels so ridiculously cheap. A glass of wine in a bar in Sydney will set you back upwards of $12 (£6.41 at today’s exchange rate). You can almost buy the whole bottle for that in a pub in Halifax. And maybe get a packet of pork scratchings thrown in for good measure.

Mind you, the days (or nights) of painting the town red, and partying in Sydney, have been severely impacted by the now notorious “lock out” laws. But that is for a different post, I fear I could go on and on and on…

Leave a Reply