10 Reasons You Should Move to Australia
The beaches, the sun, the wildlife – Australia has it all. Australia is regularly listed as one of the best places to live in the world. In fact, for three years in a row Australia has been rated by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, as the best place to live and work, and as the happiest of the industrialised nations. With all that it has to offer, is this really a surprise?
If you’re considering moving to Australia to retire, work or study, or you're an Australian thinking about moving back home, let these 10 reasons persuade you to make the move.
1. The Wonderfully Warm Climate
Australian climate does vary geographically, but overall the country boasts one of the warmest year round climates in the world. Expect mild winters and warm to hot summers. It also gets more than its fair share of sunshine - in fact the state of Queensland refers to itself as the ‘Sunshine State’. The Queensland city of Brisbane averages over 260 days and 2884 hours of sunshine per year!
Because Australia is a small continent and separated from Polar Regions by the Southern Ocean, it’s not subject to the movements of freezing cold polar air that sweep over the Northern Hemisphere continents during winter.
The average temperature in the winter reaches a minimum of 6°C and a maximum of 14°C. In the summer it averages highs of 26°C, but in some areas it can be much, much hotter. For example in the sub-tropic and tropical regions of the north, the minimum temperatures are between 20°C (Alice Springs) and 23°C (Darwin)!
2. Enjoy a Summer Christmas
The Australian summer runs from December through to February. That means Australia gets to celebrate Christmas in the hottest time of their year. The advantages of a summer Christmas? Instead of being stuck inside with your irritating relatives, you can escape them by going outdoors and enjoying a game of cricket on the lawn or a swim in the pool. Struggle with screaming kids trapped inside due to weather conditions? Those enjoying a summer Christmas in Australia get to send them all outside to play, leaving you in peaceful bliss.
A summer Christmas also gives you the opportunity to enjoy your Christmas meal outside. This means that you don’t have to worry about everyone making a mess inside your house. You can even have a Christmas BBQ – don’t forget the mandatory prawns of course.
A popular way to enjoy Boxing Day in Australia is to head to the beach. Relaxing on the beach, playing in the waves, munching on leftovers and enjoying an ice cold beer from the esky (that’s ice box or cooler for those uninitiated) is the perfect Australian way to recover after the big day.
3. The Beautiful Beaches
While we’re on the topic of beaches, it goes without saying that Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Expect clear blue waters and thousands of km (36,735 km to be exact) of sand. In fact Australia has over 10,600 beaches, more than any other nation!
If you enjoy big waves and surfing, then Australia’s got plenty of those. On the other hand, if you prefer to wallow like a dugong in a flat surf beach with no waves, then Australia’s got plenty of those too.
Not only is the water clean and clear, it’s also warm too. The further north you go, the warmer the water. For example, summer sea temperatures on Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach average 24ºC. North of Bondi, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, the average summer water temperature is around 27ºC. Hence it’s not uncommon to see tourists swimming there in winter when it only dips as low as 20ºC.
4. The Laid Back Lifestyle
Australians have a reputation for being laid back and friendly and it’s actually true. They don’t like to take themselves too seriously and put a high priority on happiness, family and relaxation.
The beautiful climate lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle. Even houses are designed and built to make the most of this and include outdoor living areas. Australians are generally active and enjoy sports, socialising, family picnics, parties, and a day at the beach.
When it does cool down in the south during winter, everyone just heads further north to the sub tropical and tropical areas of Australia’s. However, if you love the snow, then the southern mountains of Australia provide enough snow to offer skiers and snowboarders a good time. Otherwise you can hop on a plane for a short flight to New Zealand’s snowy slopes.
Australia also enjoys low air pollution and a low crime rate compared with many parts of the world, making Australia a safe place to raise a family.
5. The Coffee
Did you know that Australia invented the flat white? This popular style of espresso coffee was created in Australia and has gained international fame. You’ll even find it being served in New York and London cafes.
Australians are coffee snobs, so if you’re into coffee, this is the place to be. Interestingly, Starbucks, which dominates markets around the world, could not take hold in Australia. The coffee in the little cafes around Australia was too good, Starbucks charged more and couldn't compete.
To get you prepared for the coffee culture, here is a list of popular types of coffee in Australia:
- Espresso/short black: Straight shot of coffee - nothing added.
- Long black: Espresso with some hot water added to it.
- Macchiato: Shot of espresso with a small amount of foamed milk.
- Flat white: Shot of espresso with steamed milk.
- Latte: Similar to a flat white but topped with frothed milk.
- Cappuccino: Shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk added and topped with foamed milk. It is usually served with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.
- Ristretto: A shot of espresso but with less water.
- Piccolo: A ristretto with frothed milk, served in a small glass – so basically a smaller version of the latte.
- Mocha: A shot of espresso, some hot chocolate (which gives it a more chocolaty flavour), topped with steamed milk.
- Flavoured syrups: You can also choose from a range of flavoured syrups to have added to your coffee.
(Note: If you want a double shot of espresso just ask for it. Some places refer to this as a ‘doppio’)
You will usually be able to find dairy – both skim and full cream, soy and rice milk at most cafes. If you prefer coffee with skim milk you can ask for 'skinny' as in 'skinny flat white' or 'skinny latte'.
6. The Delicious Food (and Wine!)
Thanks to Australia’s multicultural population, you can easily get just about any kind of food from around the globe. Thanks to this mix of cultures, the food in Australia is very cosmopolitan. Those with specialised food requirements will find your needs are generally well catered for, with restaurants and cafes offering gluten free, vegetarian and vegan food.
Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine and produces approximately 750 million litres a year. Wine is produced in every state, however Australia's most famous wine regions are mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. The wine regions in each of these states produce different wine varieties and including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon blanc.
A visit to an Indigenous restaurant or café is definitely recommended for providing you with an opportunity to eat excellent ‘bush tucker’ with a modern twist. Expect native flora and fauna, bush berries, fruits, and honeys of the Australian bush. Meat can include kangaroo, wallaby, crocodile and emu.
Australians love seafood. Australia’s 11 million square kilometre fishing zone is the third largest in the world and significantly influences Australian cuisine. Enjoy crustaceans such as mud crab, Balmainbugs/MoretonBay bugs, yabbies; fish such as whiting, barramundi, red emperor, red snapper, and a fabulous array of oysters. Australia also produces high quality beef and lamb. You can even find kangaroo and emu meat at the supermarket.
Thanks to the mild climate, outside dining is a regular part of the dining experience. Hence BBQ’s are very popular. As well as the usual BBQ fare of sausages, steaks and prawns, Australians cook just about anything and everything on their treasured BBQs. And don’t forget to serve Australia’s much loved Pavlova for dessert. Discover more Australian favourite recipes such as lamingtons, pikelets and damper in . The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook
7. The Great Outdoors
Thanks to Australia’s large areas of wilderness, Australians love the great outdoors. Popular activities include camping, bushwalking, and fishing. For those who enjoy really getting off the beaten track, 4-wheel driving is a popular past time.
Australia protects its natural heritage and has over 500 national parks. Because the winters are so mild, hiking is popular all year round. Some of my personal favourites include the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, the coastal track in Noosa National Park, Queensland, the Dandenong ranges in Victoria, and Freycinet Park in Tasmania.
Ok, I’m now going to address the concerns of those of you who have heard the terrifying stories about the snakes, crocodiles, dingoes, spiders, jellyfish, and so on… Yes, there are plenty of dangerous animals in Australia, but this amazing abundance of wildlife is what makes Australia such a unique and interesting place. Try not to focus on the scary things and instead just focus on the cute stuff like wallabies, wombats, koalas, sea turtles and the cheeky and entertaining parrots.
8. The Sports Obsession
Australians are obsessed with sports, and participation rates are high when compared globally. Australia’s achievements at the Olympic Games are testament to this. Cricket is Australia's beloved summer sport played everywhere from the backyard to the beach. Australian Rules Football (AFL), Rugby League and Rugby Union are widely played in winter. Soccer is becoming increasingly popular and enjoys a high profile.
You don’t have to go far to find a golf course as well as local tennis and netball courts, swimming pools, bowling greens, and athletics clubs. All those beautiful beaches attract keen surfers and water sports enthusiasts. You will find Surf Life Saving Clubs at the heart of the beach community, hosting competitions and events around the country. They become a real family affair with members of all ages competing.
Thanks to the mild climate, there’s never a shortage of events on the sporting calendar throughout the year. Football codes tend to dominate the winter months, followed by the Spring Horse Racing Carnival, the summer of cricket, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Australian Open tennis, Bathurst and the Formula One Grand Prix (Australians are petrol heads, I’m sure you’ve seen Mad Max) and many, many more exciting events.
9. The Employment Opportunities and Conditions
With a strong economy and low unemployment rate of around 6%, Australia is a good place to find a new job. Tourism and agriculture are two of Australia’s largest industries and many graduates backpacking around Australia under the Working Holiday visa scheme find temporary, seasonal or casual work fairly easily. Australia’s other major industries include mining, manufacturing, telecommunications, and the service sector.
Australia has excellent employment conditions and competitive pay levels. Expect 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year as well as 10 public holidays. Australia’s strong ‘Fair Work’ employment laws also ensure an excellent minimum living wage.
Working in Australia will also provide you with personal superannuation savings (funds that support you during your retirement). Employers are required to pay a proportion on top of an employee's salaries and wages. From 2014 the rate is 9.5%, but this is scheduled to gradually increase to 12.5% by 2025. These superannuation contributions are paid into your own personal superannuation fund. You even have the flexibility to choose your own super fund.
10. The Healthcare System
Healthcare in Australia is provided by both private and government institutions. Medicare is the publicly funded universal healthcare system which provides basic health cover for all Australians. Alternately, you can also purchase medical insurance and access private healthcare services.
As well as Medicare, there is also a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, also funded by the federal government, which considerably subsidises a range of prescription medications.
Although it often comes under fire during political debate, Australia has one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world.
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© 2015 C L Mitchell