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25 Pros and Cons of Living in Australia

Australia has regularly topped lists of the best places to live in the world. Expats from around the globe, especially British and American, are drawn to the mysterious outback and eternally warm weather.

With such pros to living in Australia, it’s no wonder the country has become one of the most popular places to migrate to. However, as with any destination, there are also some potential cons to consider before making the move Down Under.

If you’re thinking of making the move, you’ll need to consider the disadvantages of living in Australia as well as the benefits.

Luckily, you’re in the right place to get all that info!

Keep reading for a list of pros and cons of living in Australia.

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Australia on a map with a pin in Sydney to mark where someone has traveled or lived.

25 Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in Australia

Pro: No Language Barrier for Americans

If you’re a native English speaker, then you won’t have any trouble communicating with the locals in Australia. In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of English speakers in the world.

This can be attributed to the country’s history as a former British colony. As a result, many Australian words and phrases are similar to those used in British English.

You may need to ask some Aussies from the outback to repeat some slang you haven’t heard before, but otherwise you’ll be fine to work anywhere!

Con: You’ll Still Pay US Taxes

Although you’ll be living in Australia, you’ll still be on the hook for Uncle Sam.

All US citizens are required to file a tax return regardless of where they live. So, if you want to become an expat in Australia, you need to factor in the cost of paying taxes back home.

This can be frustrating when you factor in the higher tax rate in Australia that you’ll be paying at the same time.

Australian beach pool near Sydney. A pool built into the rocks on the shore of a beach so the tide can crash over it.

Pro: High Standard of Living

Australia consistently ranks highly on lists of the best countries in the world to live in.

In fact, it was ranked as the eighth-best country in the world for quality of life by World Population Review.

This is due to a number of factors, including the low crime rate, high average wages, and excellent healthcare and education systems.

Con: High Cost of Living

While the standard of living in Australia is high, so is the cost of living.

In fact, Australia is often ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in.

This is due to a number of factors, including the high cost of housing, food, and transportation.

It doesn’t help that most goods in Australia need to be imported, which adds extra tariffs and shipping costs to prices.

Pro: Very Warm Climate

Australia is known for its very warm climate. In fact, the country experiences an average of 300 sunny days per year!

This makes Australia a great place to live if you’re looking for some perpetual summer weather.

In fact, the country’s average low temperature for the year is 13C. That’s basically spring weather in Canada and the US!

This is definitely a country for solar powered people.

What To Wear in Australia:

Con: Bush Fires & Dangerous Weather

Although the climate is warm, Australia also experiences some extreme weather conditions.

For example, the country is regularly hit by bush fires during its dry season (which runs from December to February). These fires are often started by heat lightning and can cause significant damage to property and loss of life.

In addition, Australia is also prone to cyclones and flash flooding.

So, if you’re looking to move to Australia, you need to be prepared for some potentially dangerous weather conditions.

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Australian golden sand beach with two surfers walking across alongside the surf.

Pro: Amazing Work-Life Balance

If you’re looking for a country with an amazing work-life balance, Australia is definitely the place for you.

In fact, Australians enjoy some of the shortest working hours and longest vacation days in the world.

The average full-time worker in Australia works just 38 hours per week. That’s well below the global average of 40 hours.

In addition, Australians enjoy an average of 20 vacation days per year. That’s nearly a month of paid time off!

And they are actually encouraged to take it.

When I spent time in Australia, it was very common for people to start packing up their things at 4pm to ensure they could be on the beach as soon as possible at the end of the work day.

And that’s totally normal there!

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Con: Christmas in Summer

Although the weather is amazing, there’s one downside to Christmas in Australia: it’s during summer.

That means no snow, no cozy fires, and no hot chocolate.

Instead, you’ll be sweating through your Santa Claus outfit as you try to explain to your kids why Santa is wearing shorts.

But on the bright side, you can enjoy a nice cold beer while you barbecue your Christmas dinner. So, there’s that.

Much like New Zealand, Australia offers Christmas clam bakes and BBQs. It may not be what you’re used to, especially if you live somewhere with truly white Christmases.

But a white sand Christmas is pretty enjoyable once you get past the oddity of still wearing Christmas sweaters!

Pro: Good Quality Education

Australia has a good education system, which is one of the reasons it ranks so high on lists of best countries to live in.

The education system is well-funded, and schools are held to high standards. Students in Australia have access to a variety of subjects, and there is a focus on creativity and critical thinking.

In addition, Australia’s universities are world-renowned, and the country produces a large number of Nobel laureates.

University is also much more affordable than in the United States.

So, if you’re looking for a good place to get an education, Australia is definitely worth considering.

Plan window view over Sydney with the harbour bridge and the opera house below.

Con: Travel is Much Harder

Although Australia is a great place to live, it’s not so great if you want to travel.

The country is very isolated, and it can be very expensive to travel to and from.

For example, a flight from Sydney to Perth (on the other side of the country) can cost over $1000!

And that’s just one example.

If you want to travel outside of Australia, you can expect to pay even more. So, if you’re a fan of travel, Australia might not be the best place for you.

However, the long holiday periods and the Aussie love of nomading around the world mean that extended vacations and sabbaticals are the norm.

No one will bat an eye if you plan a one month ski vacation in Vancouver. In fact, they’ll probably have done it before!

So while you need to plan for additional flight costs and long travel times, you won’t find the pushback for vacation time that you do in the US and sometimes in Britain.

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Pro: Excellent Healthcare

Australia has a public healthcare system, which means that residents have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.

The system is funded by taxes, and it covers a wide range of services, including hospitalization, GP visits, and prescription drugs.

The country operates like the UK with a public and private health sector. So you can receive free treatment, especially if your home country has an agreement with Australia, that is high quality.

Expats don’t have to sacrifice their health to move to Australia. In fact, you may find a better quality of care with the option to switch between public and private.

However, a negative of the healthcare system is that private health insurance is massively expensive.

Most Visas in Australia will require you to get a health insurance plan, which can eat away at your budget very quickly.

Permanent residents often don’t need this, as they can use the Medicare systems for free or low costs. So at least the insurance costs aren’t eternal.

Con: Embedded Racism

There is no denying that racism exists in Australia. While the country has made great strides in recent years to become more multicultural, there is still a long way to go.

Indigenous Australians are disproportionately affected by poverty and poor health, and they face discrimination in many areas of life.

In addition, Muslim Australians have been targets of hate crimes and discrimination in recent years.

So, if you’re moving to Australia, it’s important to be aware of the racism that exists in the country.

You may not experience it firsthand, but it’s important to be aware of the issues that minorities face.

That being said, every country I’ve lived in has had some level of racism. Unfortunately, it’s a common issue to consider.

As a white woman, I never faced any issues in Australia. But I’ve had friends who have experienced racism and the systemic racism in the country is a well-known issue.

Beach view from the air in Australia. Golden sand and turquoise waters.

Pro: You Can Live By the Beach

One of the best things about Australia is that you can live by the beach.

In fact, many Australians choose to live in coastal cities like Sydney and Brisbane.

The weather is warm year-round, and the beaches are some of the best in the world.

80% of Aussies live within 100km of the beach. That means within about maximum 2 hours they can be zipping up their wetsuit to catch some waves!

Since most Canadians live within a few hundred kms of the US border, I have to say I’d much prefer living closer to the ocean!

Con: Very High Housing Prices

Housing prices in Australia are very high, especially in the larger cities.

In Sydney, for example, the median house price is over $1 million.

And in Melbourne, it’s not far behind at $847,000.

For many people, this makes buying a home out of reach.

Renting is also very expensive, with the average rent in Sydney being $440 per week.

So, if you’re thinking of moving to Australia, be prepared for high housing costs.

You may need to make some sacrifices in order to afford a place to live.

Pro: Several Visa Options

There are several Visa options available for those who want to move to Australia.

If you have a job offer, you can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa.

If you’re a student, you can apply for a Student Visa.

And if you have family in Australia, you can apply for a Family Visa.

There are also a number of temporary visas available, such as the Working Holiday Visa.

So, there’s a Visa option for just about everyone.

This makes it slightly easier to get into Australia as you have a number of options to find the right Visa for your situation.

Check out the various options here.

Con: Character and Medical Tests to Pass

There are a number of character and medical tests that you’ll need to pass in order to be granted a Visa to Australia.

The character test is designed to make sure that you’re of good character and not likely to engage in criminal activity. (It’s a bit ironic since the country is literally a former penal colony full of criminals, but they’ve got to keep some of the riff-raff out!)

The medical test is designed to make sure that you don’t have any diseases or health conditions that could pose a risk to the Australian population.

So, if you’re moving to Australia, be prepared to take these tests.

They may seem daunting, but they’re just a formality.

I had to do similar tests to move to New Zealand for a year, including a chest x-ray for TB thanks to a few months travelling Morocco and the Balkans.

It’s over quickly, but it will be expensive if you need a full suite of tests, as the cost if your responsibility.

Uluru rock in Australia. A golden hill raised amongst the outback of Australia's bush.

Pro: Lots of Natural Areas to Explore

Australia is a large country with a lot of natural areas to explore.

From the Great Barrier Reef to Uluru (otherwise known as Ayers Rock), there are plenty of places to see.

There are also many national parks and reserves, such as Kakadu National Park and the Blue Mountains National Park.

So, if you love nature, Australia is the place for you.

There are also plenty of opportunities to go camping, hiking, and swimming.

So, if you’re looking for an active lifestyle, Australia is a great choice.

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Kangaroo in golden hour light.

Con: Dangerous Animals

Australia is home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world.

From snakes and spiders to sharks and crocodiles, there are plenty of creatures that can kill you.

In fact, Australia has the highest number of deadly animals per capita.

Be sure to educate yourself about the dangers of living in Australia due to the wildlife.

For example, koalas are extremely vicious. Do not approach them on the road.

And kangaroos have a terrible habit of drowning dogs. So keep your dog leashed and away from any kangaroos.

And always be sure to take precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and not swimming in areas where there are crocodiles.

When my older sister lived in Australia, she actually had a spider the size of a man’s hand on the wall of her shower.

He would hide whenever the landlord came to try to get rid of him, but otherwise just chilled on the shower wall for the entirety of her study abroad period.

They named him and he was a chill dude.

I’d still have run for the hills!

But apparently the bigger the spiders are, the less likely they are to be poisonous.

So small mercies, I guess?

Pro: Extremely Friendly People

The people in Australia are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met.

They’re always up for a chat, even if they don’t know you.

And they’re always willing to help, even if you’re a stranger.

In fact, they’re prone to popping around for a beer on the patio or a friendly BBQ.

I think this is a way of life more common in midwestern America. But coming from a big city in Canada and having lived in a big city in the UK, I can say that it’s unusual for city dwellers.

But it makes it literally impossible not to make an Aussie friend while you’re living in Australia.

Australian highway running alongside the ocean empty of cars.

Con: Isolated From the Rest of the World

The reality of living in Australia isn’t always as glamorous as sunset beach shots and adorable koalas would make it seem.

In fact, it can be quite isolating.

Australia is a long way from anywhere else in the world.

It’s not exactly a convenient place to travel to or from.

And that isolation can make it difficult to adjust to living in Australia.

I’ve found that the further away you are from home, the more homesick you’ll be.

And when you’re living in Australia, you’re about as far away from home as you can get.

So, if you’re thinking of moving to Australia, be prepared for the isolation.

It can be a big adjustment, but it’s not impossible to overcome.

You’ll eventually get used to being a day ahead of everyone you know, and calling them for their dinner while you’re eating lunch.

It even becomes kind of funny to watch family groan about the snow while you’re sipping a beer on the beach in summer.

But it’s definitely something to be aware of before making the move.

Pro: No Tipping

Tipping isn’t a thing in Australia.

That’s right, you don’t have to worry about leaving a 20% tip at a restaurant or bar.

In fact, you don’t even have to leave a tip at all.

The service charge is usually included in the bill, so you don’t need to worry.

Even the tax is included in the bill – so the number you see is all you have to pay.

Much like in New Zealand, you can tip a few dollars when you feel the service was outstanding, but it won’t be expected.

They may even try to correct your “mistake”, as many American tourists make this error.

Con: No Tipping

While it may seem like not having to worry about tipping is a good thing, it can actually be a bit of a downside.

For many service industry workers, tips are a big part of their income.

So when you don’t tip, they’re not making as much money.

In Australia, service workers make a living wage that’s higher than the minimum wage.

But when you consider that when I used to bartend I could bring home hundreds of dollars a night from a small town in Canada, you start to get a bit salty about your fixed wage.

Sure it sucks when someone stiffs you, but it’s amazing when you get a 25% tip on an expensive meal.

So if you plan to work in the service industry, be prepared that your wage is going to be fixed.

Pro: Strong Economy

The Australian economy is strong.

It’s one of the strongest in the world, in fact.

And that means that there are plenty of jobs available.

In fact, unemployment is quite low in Australia.

Even if you don’t have a job lined up before you move, you should be able to find something pretty easily.

Of course, the type of job you can get will depend on your skillset and experience.

But if you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job in Australia.

I recommend this platform to find jobs as a foreigner.

Sydney harbour full of boats and a cruise ship. View of the opera house in the background.

Con: High Competition for Jobs in Cities

While there are plenty of jobs available in Australia, the competition for those jobs can be quite high.

Especially if you’re looking for a job in one of the big cities.

Melbourne and Sydney are especially competitive.

So if you’re looking for a job in one of those cities, be prepared to put in a lot of applications.

And don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from most of them.

It’s just the way it is in a big city.

If you plan to work for a major company in one of these big cities, it can be best practice to begin looking before you arrive in Australia.

Another option is to arrive on a Working Holiday Visa for a temporary stay for up to two years. Then work to get your foot in the door at these major companies.

When you get a job offer, you can then apply for a more permanent type of Visa.

Pro: One of the Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship

If you’re looking to become an Australian citizen, it’s actually quite easy.

Compared to other countries, the requirements are quite low.

You just need to be a permanent resident for four years .

You also need to be over 18, have a good character, and be proficient in English.

If you meet all of those requirements, you should have no problem becoming an Australian citizen.

It surprises many people living in Australia as an American that they can so easily become a citizen and reap the benefits of this southern nation.

Sign saying

Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Living in Australia

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of living in Australia, you can decide if it’s the right place for you.

Life in Australia for foreigners is excellent, without much culture shock to adjust to or issues with a new language.

If you’re looking for a safe, clean, and friendly country with great weather and plenty of job opportunities, Australia is a great choice.

But keep in mind that it can be quite expensive to live here, and the competition for jobs in the big cities can be tough. These negatives of living in Australia can be enough to put some people off.

Overall, Australia is a great place to live, and many people who move here end up staying for good.

Whether you’re considering living in the outback or in Sydney, this list of the benefits and negatives of living in Australia will help you decide if this could be the right country for you.

Still not sure? Take my Which Country Should You Move to Quiz (it’s free!).

You’ll find out what country best suits your needs so you can finally take the expat plunge!

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FAQs

Pros and Cons of Living in Australia vs. UK

Australia has excellent weather with 300 days of sunshine and temperates never dipping below 10C.
However, it has dangerous animals and is much further away for travel.
The UK on the other hand is notoriously rainy or overcast. Temperatures vary across the country and can dip below 0C.
However, the UK is a very safe place to live with plentiful job opportunities and cheap travel options.

Pros and Cons of Living in Australia vs. Canada

Canada has a lot in common with Australia, including excellent weather and job opportunities.
However, it can be quite expensive to live in Canada, and the winters are much harsher than in Australia.
Australia also has a lower cost of living overall, making it a more attractive option for many people.

Pros and Cons of Living in Australia vs. South Africa

South Africa has excellent weather and is a very diverse country.
However, it can be quite dangerous in certain parts of the country, and the job market is not as robust as in Australia.
Australia is also much closer to Europe and Asia for travel, making it a more attractive option for many people.

Pros and Cons of Living in Australia vs. USA

The USA has a lot to offer, including great job opportunities and a diverse culture.
However, it can be quite expensive to live in the USA, and the weather is not as consistent as in Australia.
Australia also has a lower cost of living overall, making it a more attractive option for American expats.

What are the disadvantages of living in Australia?

There are a number of potential disadvantages to living in Australia which include:

– The cost of living, especially in major cities, can be quite high.

– The climate can be a bit extreme in parts of the country, with very hot summers and cold winters.

– There can be some aspects of the culture and lifestyle which take some getting used to, such as the laid-back attitude.

– There can be a bit of a culture shock when moving to Australia from other parts of the world.

How is living in Australia?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to living in Australia. Some of the advantages include the wonderful climate, the relaxed lifestyle, and the great outdoors. However, some of the potential disadvantages include the high cost of living and the extreme weather conditions in parts of the country. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not living in Australia is right for them.

What are the benefits of living in Australia?

Some of the benefits of living in Australia include the wonderful climate, the relaxed lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Additionally, Australia is a very safe and stable country with a strong economy. It is also an English-speaking country which can make it easier to adjust for those coming from other parts of the world.

What is it like living in Australia?

There are many great things about living in Australia. The climate is fantastic, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are friendly and relaxed. There is a great sense of space here, and you can really feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. The downside is that it can be quite expensive to live here, and there are some areas that can be quite isolated. But overall, it’s a great place to live.

Is Australia a good place to live?

Yes, Australia is a great place to live. The quality of life is high, and there are plenty of opportunities to work and enjoy leisure activities. The cost of living can be expensive in some parts of the country, but overall it is affordable. There is a lot of diversity in Australia, which makes it an exciting place to live. There are also many beautiful places to visit, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and the rainforests of Queensland.

Is Australia a good place to move to?

Yes, Australia is a great place to move to! The quality of life is very high, and there are plenty of job opportunities. The cost of living can be a bit high, but overall it is a great place to live. The people are friendly and there is a lot to do. If you are looking for a new place to live, Australia is a great option!

Moving to Australia from the USA?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking of moving to Australia from the United States. First, it is important to remember that the cost of living can be quite high. Additionally, Australia is a very different culture from the United States, so it is important to be prepared for a bit of a culture shock. Finally, the climate in Australia can be extreme, so be sure to pack appropriately for very hot summers!

Reasons not to move to Australia?

Some reasons why someone might not want to move to Australia include the high cost of living, the extreme weather conditions, and the culture shock that can come with moving to a new country. Additionally, Australia is a very isolated country, so it can be difficult to get around if you don’t have your own transportation. Finally, Australian visas can be difficult to obtain, so be sure to do your research before making the move.

Reasons to move to Australia?

There are many reasons why someone might want to move to Australia. Some of the reasons include the great climate, the relaxed lifestyle, and the diverse culture. Additionally, Australia is a very safe country with a strong economy. There are also plenty of job opportunities, and it is an English-speaking country which can make it easier to adjust for those coming from other parts of the world.


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