As you can tell from my blog, I love to travel about! Originally from New Zealand, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over, most recently exploring Europe and South East Asia.
But I currently call the Gold Coast in Australia my home base and next year I have one more year in Canberra, Australia.
Having spent nearly a full year here already I thought I could share some lifestyle and culture tips for those wanting to move to Australia themselves, or even for those travelling here for the first time.
Sometimes experiencing a new country so different from your own can be a bit of a culture shock. The people, customs and language are unfamiliar and not always easy to understand.
Fortunately Australia is a very welcoming and relaxed country, and I’m sure once you get used to the ‘Aussie lifestyle’ you will love it.
Australians, much like Kiwis are mostly very laid-back and friendly, they like their BBQs, sports, having fun, a cold beer, tattoos, a good banter and swearing!
I really enjoy living here. Because it has such a large economy there seems to be a lot more opportunities, which is probably why it is such a popular country to relocate to!
Here are some tips to help you adapt more easily to the Aussie way of life.
Depending on how far away you are coming from, some words used in everyday Australian life may throw you a little. As a Kiwi, many of these words are normal to me.
Lesson one- Australia is commonly referred to as ‘Straya’.
People tend to greet others with the everyday “Hello,” but “Gidday” or “Gidday mate” is the very Australian way to say it.
One of the most commonly used words in their vocabulary is: mate. Australians will call everyone mate, whether they know them or not.
Do not however, assume that being called “mate” means that they like you! There is key nuance in how long the letter ‘a’ is stretched out for. If it’s a “maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate” stretching on for a while, they love you. If it’s a short, sharp “mate”- they might just be about to punch you!
The Aussie accent tends to exaggerate their vowels a lot which is why many people come of sounding rather ‘nasal-y’ or ‘whine-y’ to foreign ears.
Another common word is: “crickey” or “crickey dick,” which is a way to express surprise.
They use the word “bloody” a lot, usually in front of other words to emphasise them, for example:
“Bloody right!” “bloody struth!” “bloody oath!” “bloody hell!” and so on.
There is quite a lot of vocabulary differences so here is a handy link of more phrases that may help you online.
I would recommend watching Crocodile Dundee if you want to get a feel for the stereotypical Australian way- and also it’s a really good movie!
Australia is predominantly a clean and safe country and the Aussie lifestyle is largely centred around family life outside. The country has around 50,000 kilometres of spectacular coastline, which includes over 11,000 beaches! You can see why more than 85% of Australians live within 50 kms of the coast.
Beach and BBQ’s are heavily featured in weekly activities as well as having an active lifestyle.
Australians love their sports- rugby, cricket and surfing are hugely popular, alongside hiking, running and general outdoors activities.
Australia has over 500 national parks which cover 28 million hectares- that’s a huge amount of unique and protected nature and wildlife! Some well-known animals include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, platypus, wombats and loads more.
As well as finding them in the wild there are many great wildlife parks and sanctuaries to get acquainted with these creatures for yourself. You can even hold a lot of them like the koala, baby crocodiles and even snakes (friendly ones).
Me holding a koala at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
I had always dreamed of seeing a whale in the wild and we saw many Humpback whales and even dolphins.
Time to overcome your fear of talking to random people! In some countries, especially in Europe chatting to a stranger may seem like a very weird thing to do. I even got frowned at just by sitting next to someone on a busy train in Switzerland… But Australians love to talk.
It’s actually one of the best things about the Aussie lifestyle. Everyone is so friendly and is happy to help if you need it.
It’s considered very normal and even polite to smile, nod and say hello when passing in the streets and to have a friendly conversation at a store with say a supermarket clerk or a shopkeeper.
I’ve had conversations with people from all over the world who rave about how Aussies and Kiwis are incredibly friendly, and they had many stories to share while they were backpacking of being invited in to homes for a place to sleep and offered food.
It really warms my heart and makes me happy to hear things like that. I’ve travelled solo quite a bit and have found that so many countries do go about their own business and avoid eye contact at all costs.
So it may take some getting used to at first, but just embrace it and enjoy it!
Not many people realise just how huge Australia is- it’s the world’s sixth largest country! The sheer size of its natural attractions and landmarks are truly impressive.
There are sprawling national parks and deserts that are larger than whole countries combined. Just the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is bigger than the UK, Holland and Switzerland combined.
So don’t just stick to one state and think that you’ve experienced all of Australia! (There are six of them).
Take the opportunity to explore far and wide as much as possible. Most Australians fly between states and many cities because of the huge distance between each of them. Catching a plane is like catching a bus anywhere else. It’s easy to do and helps getting around much easier.
The classic error many first-time visitors make is trying to ‘do’ Australia in two or three weeks. It’s far better to pick two or three areas to tackle well, rather than attempt to tick off all the highlights in one visit. Otherwise, I’m sad to say most of your visit will be spent in transit.
|Sydney Opera House, New South Wales|
|Uluru or Ayers Rock in Northern Australia|
If you are planning on making a permanent move to Australia one of the first things to consider is the healthcare system. You need to pay insurance in order to get treated by the doctor and in hospitals, so it’s important to make sure you’re covered.
If possible it’s advised to get insurance in place before you turn 31, otherwise you might have to pay a health care loading fee. However, of course if you move here after that age this can’t be helped. Thankfully you are credited some of the premiums back so it’s a worthy investment to make.
Medicare provides access to a range of medical services, lower cost prescriptions and free care as a public patient in a public hospital. All eligible Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia can enrol in Medicare and access these services, so do research it and try to apply as soon as you can.
To finish up and round off- here is a list of very Australian things that everyone loves, and are definite things you should try yourself whilst here!
Pies (meat pies, that is, especially with a side of T (tomato) sauce!)
Wine (Australia produces excellent wines, both red and white)
Beach (tan, swim, surf, the beach is one of the most popular places to be on a nice day)
Lamington (a sponge cake usually filled with cream and rolled in coconut- mmm)
BBQ (snags aka sausages, prawns, lamb- everything goes well on a barbie!)
Vegemite (A spread you have on toast with butter- you must try it at least once!)
Beer (A mandatory beverage to conquest thirst in the avo sun, especially with said bbqs) Thongs (aka jandals or flipflops- are the most popular footwear to walk around in)
TimTams (the best chocolate covered biscuit ever- trust me!)
I hope this has helped you get a feel for the Aussie lifestyle!
Thanks so much for reading and as always leave a comment on your thoughts and if you have any questions or anything to add to this as well!