There is plenty of literature online about how to apply for the correct visa to migrate to Australia, but how much information is there about life Down Under for those looking to move? Foreigners often believe that Australia is the land of sunshine, beer and barbeque. This colorful, exciting and slightly dangerous country is so much more than its stereotypes though. Here are some important details you absolutely need to know when starting life in Oz.
- The place is humongous.
Australia is over 3 million square miles large, which is roughly the same size as Europe. You’ll need a lot of time and energy to see even half of the area outside of your immediate city. While 90% of Australians live in cities around the coast of the country, there are some seriously spectacular vistas further inland, like Uluru, Kata Tjuta or any of the 500+ national parks dotted all over the place.
- It’s not always sunny Down Under
While most people will tell you that the sun is always out in Australia, that’s not really the case. For instance, Brisbane is known to be quite tropical, whereas you can experience all four seasons in a single day if you live in Melbourne. Some regions even get enough snowfall to actually be proper ski resorts. We bet that’s not something you were expecting.
- The Sun can actually kill you in Australia
The reason why people think Australia is a hot country is probably that it actually is. Summer temperatures in some areas can reach well over 40°C and are expected to rise even further by 2040. Recent heatwaves in Sydney have been known to melt the tarmac off roads and kill local wildlife. It’s not just the heat that can get you, either. The ozone layer is unusually thin over Australia, which makes sunscreen extremely crucial if you want to stay safe. Never leave the house without sunblock and a wide hat.
- The wildlife isn’t out to get you
For all the bad press Australia gets when it comes to dangerous fauna, it really isn’t that bad. Sure, there are a few poisonous spider varieties in the country, but there is an anti-venom for every single one. Did you know that no Australian has died from a spider bite since 1979? Stingrays also get a bad rap after the tragic passing of Steve Irwin, but that was only the second death due to stingrays ever recorded. Unprovoked shark attacks are also far less common than what you may believe. On average, there is only one per year. You have more to worry about from bushfires and the sun than you do about the local wildlife.
- The Healthcare is excellent
Free healthcare is a right that everyone with permanent residency enjoys in Australia. The system, called Medicare also applies to visitors from countries that Australia enjoys a special relationship with, like New Zealand and the UK amongst others.
- You sound consider giving up that tobacco habit
Smoking is really expensive in Australia, with smokers paying approximately 12.5% duty tax for the privilege of lighting up. So, if you’re moving to Australia with a smoking habit, you may want to quit to protect your wallet.
- Australians take walking very seriously
We all know that Australians drive on the left, but did you know that they also walk on the left? It’s a very orderly system that more countries should adopt, we feel. Unless overtaking on an escalator, keep left. It’s not illegal to walk on the right, but you’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and may get a few dirty looks from the locals.
One thing that is illegal is jaywalking. You can actually be fined a hefty $70.00 AUS for ignoring the rules and crossing the road wherever you please. Our advice – walk until you find a designated crossing spot like a zebra or pelican crossing. Your wallet will thank you.
There are many interesting facts about life in Australia, such as their love of vegemite and sport, as well as their sense of humor. But that’s a list for next time. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a trusted immigration office to get your migration plans started, get in touch with the experts at All Immigration Services today.