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Australia often conjures up images of beach life, endless summer, kangaroos, and barbecues. But there’s much more to this island continent, which boasts a buoyant economy, sophisticated cities, and opportunities to travel to some of the most unique landscapes on the planet.
The idea of giving everyone a ‘fair go’ is ingrained in Australian culture: work hard, be nice, and you will reap rewards. Work/life balance is crucial to most Australians, and sport and leisure time is just as important as the workday. Combined with excellent weather, interesting cultural experiences, and plenty of things to do, this isolated but compelling country has a lot to offer.
The Australian work environment is usually relaxed and friendly. Management tend to be accessible and workplaces fairly egalitarian. That said, punctuality is critical and attire professional. When doing business, keep things professional. Australians frown upon bragging about education or achievements; instead, they expect the quality of the person’s work to speak for itself.
The Australian workweek is usually 35 to 40 hours, and most employees receive between 4 and 6 weeks’ holiday per year. All employers must contribute 9% of your gross salary into a retirement fund, called ‘superannuation’, and employees are entitled to contribute a certain amount tax-free each year.
Click here to learn more about Australian working culture.
Australia remains one of the most expensive countries in the world to live. That said, salaries are high, and Australia seems more expensive to visitors than residents – in other words, you’ll get used to the cost of things! Rent usually costs up to 30% of income and anything imported is far more expensive than in the rest of the world (including IKEA, clothing, cigarettes, and booze).
Since WW2, the Australian population has welcomed newcomers from throughout Europe, and in the past thirty years immigration has expanded to include many from Southeast Asia. This has resulted in multi-cultural cities with delicious restaurants, exciting events, and interesting festivals that truly celebrate the world.
Sports are a big part of Aussie life. The Australian Rules Football League (AFL), football (called ‘soccer’), cricket, and Rubgy League are a big part of life. Many Aussies have spent a year or two doing their “OE” (overseas experience, or gap years) and are well travelled, so enjoy swapping travel tales. The locals are friendly and welcoming to expats, and are curious to hear how you’re finding your time in Australia. Good weather, easily navigable cities, excellent food, and plenty of places to relax result in a very high quality of life.
It’s easy to forget how vast the Australian continent is; flights from coast to coast take around 5-8 hours. That said, plenty of exceptional experiences await: the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast, dozens of prime wine regions, Ayers Rock and the “red centre”, countless tropical islands, the mountains of Tasmania, and the rock formations along the Great Ocean Road are just a few.
Driving from place to place takes time – indeed, driving from Melbourne to Sydney takes around nine hours – so most people choose to fly. In larger cities, it’s easy to get by without buying a car, but in smaller cities and regional towns, having a car can be a lifeline.
Many Australians head to Indonesia or Thailand for their holidays as these can be cheaper than spending time in another Australian city. New Zealand is only a few hours away, and frequent flights to Southeast Asia and Hawaii can often mean reasonable package deals for those flying from Australia.