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Australia is one of the most popular destinations for British expats, with over one million British people calling the 'Land Down Under' their home. The warm climate, booming economy and a similar culture to the UK, have all helped attract the army of British expats that have descended on Australia.
If you’re considering making the move yourself or you’re just curious about what it might be like to live in Australia, take a look at our guide! It will provide you with virtually everything you need to know about moving to Australia.
- Moving to Australia
- Money and Jobs
- Australian National Holidays
- Where Australians go on holidays
- General Information
- More Australia
Moving to Australia
Choosing Somewhere to Live
Most families who decide to move to Australia will often visit the country first, find somewhere to live and then fly out with their possessions and goods. However, if you’re moving for work and need to arrive in the country as soon as possible, there are a number of websites you can use to help you find somewhere to live.
RightMove cover Australian properties. You can book viewings with Rightmove even before you leave the UK. We would recommend doing a fair amount of research in advance, so that you can settle quickly when you arrive.
Moving Your Possessions
When we help families move to Australia, we tend to ship their belongings either by air or sea. This usually depends on how urgently their belongings are needed on arrival.
Shipping containers by sea usually take between 9 and 14 weeks door to door. However, if you need your possessions a lot sooner, you can opt to have them flown over. Depending on how much stuff you need shipping, we can either allocate your own container, or add your belongings to a shared container. Either way, your items will be safely stored and arrive in perfect condition when you get to Australia.
Learn more about our Moving to Australia services.
Travelling to Australia From the UK
Travelling to Australia from the UK takes around 24 hours in the air; this, combined with check-in times at airports and stop-overs, amounts to a very long journey. There are several routes you can take to Australia from the UK. The majority of UK flights to Australia stop in Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong where passengers change flights for the remainder of their journey.
Should you find yourself on an indirect flight, and can afford to stay for a few days, why not try exploring one of these fantastic locations! It might be the welcome break you need from all the travelling, particularly if you’re taking children.
Money and Jobs
Thanks to Australia's booming economy, jobs typically pay a lot better than they do in Europe. However, it’s important to remember that although wages are higher, the cost of living is a lot more in Australia than it is in the UK.
Here are some of the typical wages you can expect to find within different industries in Australia:
Bar supervisor $30/hour
Building and Construction
Experienced carpenters $20/hour
Administration and Office Work
Call centre workers $20/hour
Part-time retail assistant $20/hour
Marketing $93,000 per year
IT $100,000 per year
Legal roles $114,000 per year
How to find a job in Australia
Thanks to the growing economy, securing employment in Australia should be easier than you would typically find in the UK.
Approaching businesses with your CV and enquiring about vacancies is a great way to get started, but you should also consider looking at these recruitment agencies and job boards.
One of the first things you'll notice when you arrive in a new country are the different coins and notes. Australia is no different! However, what differs greatly to the UK, is the cost of goods and services.
Generally, most things are more expensive in Australia so it’s important to budget accordingly. In this section of our guide we’ve broken down the cost of everyday items so that you can plan your budget. It’s important to remember that there are roughly 1.6 Australian Dollars to the Pound.
Cost of Everyday Items
1 litre of milk $2.21
12 eggs $5
Loaf of bread $6
Bottle of wine (mid range from a bottle shop) $20
Cigarettes (pack of 20) $19
Eating and Drinking Out
Meal for two in a mid range restaurant
£80 - $100
McDonald’s Meal $8 - $10
.33 L bottle of imported beer $8
.33 L bottle of local beer $6
One-way ticket on local public transport $4
Monthly pass on local public transport $120
1 gallon of petrol $5.40
The average rent for a fairly reasonable four bedroom house in most Australian cities is around $2,000 per month.
For more upmarket properties in city centres, you can expect to pay around $4,000 per month.
House prices are generally cheaper in the suburbs of most cities. If you’re thinking of moving outside of the city centre you need to consider transport links and the cost of travel, particularly if you’re working in the city centre.
Australian National Holidays
Australian national holidays, or ‘public holidays’ are quite similar to those in the UK. Each state celebrates a public holiday for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. However, there are also a number of national holidays that are unique to Australia. Anzac Day is a public holiday for Australians and New Zealanders to remember the soldiers that died, fighting in wars for their country. During the summer Australia also celebrate the Queen’s birthday with a national holiday on the 2nd Monday in June. Those from Western Australia however, celebrate the Queen’s birthday around September or October time.
The Inhabitants of Australia are able to nominate which days they would like their public holidays to fall on. For instance in Victoria, residents hold a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup Horse Race every November. Southern Australia chose to hold a public holiday for their big horse race, The Adelaide Cup in March. And locals in Western Australia, celebrate Western Australia Day in June.
National Holidays in Australia 2013
- New Years Day 1st January
- Australia Day 28th January
- Good Friday 29th March
- Easter Saturday 30th March
- Easter Monday 1st April
- Anzac Day 25th April
- Queens Birthday 10th June (30th September for Western Australia)
- Labour Day 7th October
- Christmas Day 25th December
- Boxing Day 26th December
Most of Australia’s population live in the major cities on the coast. This is mainly because it’s far too hot in the middle of Australia to be inhabitable. Australia’s major cities are ethnically diverse and usually contain large British, Asian and European communities.
There’s no substitute for visiting a city to find out what it’s really like. However, in the section below we’ve highlighted some of the key features you can expect to find in each of Australia’s biggest cities.
- Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world
- It’s the most western city in Australia
- Due to Perth’s remoteness from other cities, most government facilities and organisations of Western Australia are based there
- Because Perth is so isolated from other cities, their manufacturing industry has never expanded beyond the requirements of their citizens. The cost of exporting these goods to the rest of Australia would be far too high
- Sport is very popular in Perth. Due to the good climate, residents are able to participate in outdoor sporting activities throughout the whole year
- Adelaide is the capital of Southern Australia
- As the capital of Southern Australia, many government and financial institutions are based in Adelaide
- Adelaide is sometimes referred to as the City of Churches due to the large number that can be found in the city
- The vast majority of Australia’s defence industry is based in Adelaide. Many residents are employed by the Australian government to work on defence projects, or by private firms that also operate in this field
- With the city centre being only one mile squared, Adelaide is extremely easy to get around!
- Melbourne has a similar climate to Britain but it gets much hotter during the summer
- Melbourne is often referred to as 'Australia's Capital of Culture and Sport'
- Aussie Rules Football, The Australian Grand Prix, and The Australian Tennis Open are all held in the city
- The Melbourne Cup Horse Race takes place in Melbourne and is an Australian institution. The whole of Victoria has a public holiday to mark the race
- Brisbane is the heaviest populated city in Queensland, it is also the state capital
- The largest community of overseas born residents are the British, with around 110,000 Brits residing in Brisbane
- Brisbane is home to Australia Zoo which was made famous by the late Steve Irwin
- Cycling is very popular in Brisbane and the city has over 27 KM of cycle lanes
- Brisbane will hold a number of events during the 2018 Commonwealth Games
- Brisbane is home to the Gabba, which is one of the most iconic cricket stadiums in the world, hosting Ashes Test Matches against England
- Sydney is one of Australia’s oldest cities and was where the first British settlers stayed when they discovered Australia
- Home to some of Australia’s most famous landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
- Sydney is the economic hub of Australia, with the city contributing around 25% of the country’s total GDP
- Over the years Sydney has hosted many major world sporting events, including the Olympic Games in 2000 and the 2003 Rugby World Cup
As Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere their seasons are opposite to ours in the UK:
- Summer in Australia starts in December and lasts until February
- Autumn begins in March and lasts until May
- Winter begins in June and lasts until August
- Spring lasts from September until November
Where Australians go on Holiday
Many Brits think of Australia as one giant holiday destination! But if you’re actually living and working in one of the major cities in Australia, you’re going to want to take a holiday at some point. Most Australians get around 20 days holiday a year, so a 1-2 week break at some point is fairly feasible for most people.
Popular Holiday Destinations in Australia
Byron Bay is famous in Australia for its laid back, alternative lifestyle. The town is a magnet for young travellers and surfers from all over Australia. Surfers, hippies and backpackers flock to the town, enjoying its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife throughout the year.
Port Douglas is home to the Great Barrier reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Both of these World Heritage sites draw in tourists from all over Australia. Port Douglas is also home to a number of hotel resorts, popular with honeymooning couples.
The Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, provide great skiing conditions during the winter! Although skiing isn’t what typically comes to mind when most people think of Australia, thousands of snow lovers flock to the region to make the most of the huge snowfall. Unfortunately, the ski season is relatively short by European standards, only lasting from June to October. However, the area hosts a number of world-class resorts with amazing facilities and hotels, proven to be extremely popular.
Popular Holiday Destinations Outside of Australia
Bali is an extremely popular destination for young Australians, similar to the popularity of the Greek Islands with young Brits as a party destination. Flights from most Australian cities are very cheap; hotels, meals and alcohol are much cheaper than in Australia. These factors, combined with beautiful beaches and non-stop sunshine, make for a perfect holiday destination
Thailand’s beautiful beaches and tropical islands make this a popular location for both travellers and holidaymakers. From Western Australia it only takes seven hours to fly to Bangkok, then on to Thailand's coast.
- With New Zealand’s close proximity to Australia both geographically and politically, many Australians have connections with the country. It only takes a few hours to fly to New Zealand so it would be the perfect retreat for busy city workers.
If you want to visit Australia or stay there for an extended period of time, you will need to obtain a visa. Depending on how long you wish to stay in the country, will dictate the type of visa you will need.
The Working Holiday Visa
If you’re planning to spend a year or less in Australia then a working holiday visa will be ideal for you. Working visas are available to those between 18 and 30, they last for one year and allow the holder to work for one employer for up to six months.
It is possible to extend a working holiday visa for a second year if you complete three months work in a rural area of Australia.
If you’re in a long term relationship with an Australian citizen you can apply for a partner visa.
You must be able to prove that you’ve been in a long term relationship with your partner. In order to do this you will need to supply letters, emails, birthday cards or proof of shared property.
If you are able to secure permanent work while holding a working holiday visa, your employer may decide to sponsor you to extend your stay in Australia. If this is the case they will have to make an application to the Australian government, on your behalf, to say why they want to keep you in the country.
If your sponsorship application is successful then you’ll be allowed to stay in the country for up to four years, providing you remain with your current employer.
If you manage to get sponsored by your employer, and have gone on to stay in Australia for four years, you can apply to become an Australian Citizen. Becoming an Australian citizen means that you have the same rights as someone born and raised in the country.
To become a citizen you need to pass a citizenship test to prove you’re committed to becoming an Australian. To learn more about the Australian citizenship test see the Australian government website.
Top five traditional Australian foods:
Australia is well known for its exotic wildlife. If you’re spending time in Down Under, it’s not unlikely that you’ll spot some of these creatures on the menu, as well as in the Outback! Here are a few our of favorite Australian dishes:
Vegemite - a bitter spread usually eaten on toast, that has a flavour politely referred to as an ‘acquired taste’
Chiko rolls - essentially a large spring roll that can be eaten as a whole meal. Often sold at sporting events and fish and chip shops
A Pie Floater - this is a pie turned upside down and covered with thick green soup often served with tomato ketchup on top
Crocodile meat - Despite not being native to Australia crocodile meat is synonymous with the land down under. Crocodile is considered a delicacy and is mainly sold in fine restaurants
Kangaroo meat - Australians love to eat their national animal. The meat goes well with garlic, peppers and some fruits i.e. plums
The best beaches in Australia:
When you think of Australia one of the first things that comes to mind is gorgeous beaches and spectacular surf.
If you’re living anywhere near the coast in Australia you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing beaches. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Bondi Beach - probably the most famous beach in Australia. The beach is home to the Bondi Surf Bathers, the oldest life saving club in Australia
- Byron Bay - the most popular surfing beach in New South Wales. The area has become a magnet for alternative lifestyles and is a hotspot for travelers and backpackers
- Cable beach - one of the most stunning beaches in the world, Cable Beach features 22 KM of beautiful white sand washed clean by water from the Indian Ocean
- Surfers Point - one of Australia’s most popular surfing beaches. Surfers flock here in their thousands to make the most of the great surf and fantastic scenery
The Best Australian TV Shows:
Although Australia hasn’t exported as many TV shows as America, there are still plenty of great series' that can give you an insight into Australian culture and the lifestyle 'Down Under'. Here are a few of our favorites:
Home and Away - Home and Away has been running since 1987 and is a soap opera set in New South Wales. Although some of the story lines are quite far-fetched, the beautiful Australian scenery is exactly what you can expect to find in New South Wales
Neighbours - Neighbours is Australia’s longest running TV show and is set in a fictional suburb of Melbourne. Just like Home and Away the story lines can be quite exaggerated but the show does offer a good insight into suburban life in Melbourne and the way of life many people enjoy in the city
Heartbreak High - Unlike other Australian TV shows that focus on more affluent areas, 90s TV drama Heartbreak High was set in a gritty area of Sydney and showed a darker side to the city
Border Security: Australia's Front Line - Australia’s government take immigration and imports very seriously. This fly on the wall documentary focuses on the efforts of Australia's border team make to sure their country stays safe
Average temperatures of each state:
New South Wales:
- Summer 29
- Autumn 20
- Winter 15
- Spring 22
To find out what it's really like to live in Australia we spoke to a few of our favourite Aussie bloggers to get their thoughts on living down under.
Jade Johnson of OurOyster.com:
"A lot of people know about Australia's larger wine regions, like the Hunter Valley and Margarete River, but there are many smaller lesser known wine regions that are just as good if not better. One of my favourite things about living in Australia and road tripping in Australia is all the great little vineyards all over the place. I actually wrote about a post about Australia's lesser known wine regions - take a look!"
Scottish expat Seana Smith of SeanaSmith.com:
“Much as I miss my family and old friends in Scotland, these days Sydney is definitely home. With four boisterous children, three wild boys and a lively girl, this outdoors lifestyle we enjoy is just ideal.
We're outside and in the fresh air so much of the time, and no time needs to be spent in wrestling them into coats, gloves, hats and scarves. In fact, we don't even own coats, just fleeces for chillier winter days.
And sport is such a huge part of life here, it's been so good for the kids and for my husband and I too. All the kids charge about doing sport at the weekend, and I took up ocean swimming last summer which is a fantastic sport here in Sydney.
We love the bush and the beaches, there are over 70 beaches within the Sydney city limits, it's mad. We love the Harbour with its own beaches and enclosed baths too. Then again there are the magnificent playgrounds, and the parks and national parks. So much healthy, outdoors stuff on offer and most of it free. That's got to appeal to a Scots expatriate!”
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