Ten Crucial Things to Know Before Moving to Australia
It is always a daunting task of relocating to a foreign land. There are so many new things that you should be prepared to face. Every country has its own peculiarities and Australia is no exception. Hence it is imperative that one fully understands the important issues of relocating to Australia. Some of these issues can be devastatingly immobilizing if left unattended. Moving to Australian cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth can be very rewarding and exhilarating. They keep appearing on the top 10 charts of most liveable cities of the world with a world-class restaurant, well maintained open green spaces and excellent user-friendly public transit system. But still, there are some crucial things that you must know before moving to Australia so that you do not get stumped once you land up there.
1. Realize the Vastness of Australia
Australia is a massive country, and its best to realize this fact as early as possible before moving to Australia. Due to its size and vastness, you need to take some measures so that you do not get caught out in some dire situations. When we say Australia is a big country, realize that we mean an entire continent. It is as big as Europe, so make sure you keep that in mind while planning for travel within Australia. Many a time it will be more prudent for you to fly from one place to another instead of taking the road. Distances between cities can be too large for contemplating any road journey between them. For example, the distance between Perth and Sydney is more than the distance between Lisbon and Kyiv. You may like to be more flexible with travel plans to get great deals on flights between places in Australia.
2. Understand Australian Weather
Before moving to Australia you must come out of the popular myth that Australian weather is pleasantly hot throughout the year. It is quite the opposite, as the weather here varies from one region to other. It is logically to be expected also since we are talking of a continent-sized country. The geographical spread of the country will ensure that the climatic and weather conditions will vary greatly between places and regions. So make sure you are well catered for in Melbourne for a stiff Australian winter since you will not find central heating in most of the buildings. Your winter coat and woollens will be your saviour then. However you will encounter a rather mild winter in Brisbane, so won’t need heavy woollens there. Weather in Melbourne is quite quirky since, after a very cold winter, there will be very hot summer temperature hovering around 42 degrees Celsius. Weather here is very unpredictable and temperatures can change by 10 degrees Celsius within a short span of one hour. Hence it will be helpful if you be prepared with correct weather information of the city you are moving into and not be swayed by popular beliefs.
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3. Be Aware of Road Rules
Before moving to Australia keep reminding yourself that you will have to drive on the left of the road. This exercise is not required for people who already are living in countries where you drive on the left of the road. But if you have grown up driving on the right side of the road; as in the US, this change of driving sides on roads can be very challenging and upsetting for many. So psyche yourself before moving to Australia. It is just not the road, you are expected to even walk on the left of the sidewalk and express walkways or stand on to the left side of the escalator. However, you may use the right side for running up the stairs or sidewalks. You should also be informed that here in Australia Jaywalking is not allowed under any circumstances and you will be ticketed for doing so. Ticket price will be generally 70 AUD for not crossing the road from designated crossing points like a zebra crossing or pelican crossing. In case you cannot find a designated crossing point at the place where you are standing, then start walking till you find a designated crossing point. You simply cannot cross the road from where ever you please, here Down Under. In matters of Jaywalking expect no laid back style from the Australian Police. They will swoop down upon you the moment you Jaywalk.
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4. Be Careful of Magpie Attacks
You must be getting information from well-meaning friends about the dangers that lurk around the corners in Australia like deadly snakes, dangerous crocodiles, venomous spiders and devouring sharks. That is the stereotypical image of Australia built for the rest of the world. However, if you are living inside an Australian city, you will not meet any of these dangerous marauders of the animal kingdom. Instead, what you have to realistically ward off are the attacks from Magpies. These harmless-looking cute birds are the real dangers to city dwellers. You will have to keep devising innovative ways o ward off these attacking birds on the street. They are a real menace for six weeks in a year during the nesting season when the male Magpies protect their young ones from perceived threats from humans and dogs. They come down swooping on unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists and are known to draw blood with their sharp beaks. Some experts have claimed that these Magpies can memorize faces and recognize targets 80 m away. You may need o take local advice and take precautions for such an eventuality.
5. Learn the Local Language
You must be wondering why this requirement to learn the local language should be listed since English is the local language and is internationally spoken in almost everywhere in the world. So what is this requirement of learning the language? First of all, you have to realize that though Australians speak English, their brand of English is peppered with so much slang that the spoken sentence will make no sense to anyone who understands the UK or US English. In other words, Australians speak English which is hard to understand for people used to UK or US English. What would you understand if an Australian mentions words like Footy, Tinny, Maccas, Postie, Barbie, Doco, Firey or Arvo? You will be flummoxed. In that order these words are short form of Football, Beer cans, McDonald’s, Postman, Barbeque, Documentary, Fireman and Afternoon. You need to learn such Australian vocabulary if you want to understand what the locals are saying or everything they say will sound like a foreign language.
6. Understand Rentals
You must be aware of rental listings that you see in advertisements. You must realize that rentals for a property are to be paid monthly but the advertisements will be mentioning the weekly prices, so do not get carried away by the low perceived rentals mentioned in advertisements or by estate agents. Also, realize that you will need money to pay for the finder’s fee equivalent to two week’s rent plus a deposit amount and a month’s rent in advance. Even while having the required amount for affording a monthly rental it will be tough to find a rental property because of the stiff competition with about 50 odd people gunning for the same property. So be prepared to spend extra time initially in lodges and dorms. You must know that Australian rental property generally come completely unfurnished, so be prepared to cater to the essential furniture items that you will need to procure before moving into your rental property. You can find fully furnished rental property also but they are very expensive.
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7. Beware of Kangaroos
The kangaroo may be the national icon of Australia for international consumption, but for the locals, it is a menace at times. Looking at these weirdly jumping and cute looking animals with doleful eyes, you would imagine that the Australians are in love with their kangaroos. But the truth is somewhere in between. There are about 50 million kangaroos hopping around the outback of Australia, creating havoc on roads and pastures of farmers. They are known to have caused many serious and fatal accidents on roads when they suddenly hop and bang into motorcyclists in speed. Many Australians have broken limbs and backs because of kangaroos, in case they survive the crash. Farmers have seen their standing crop being devoured by these kangaroos. Every year Australia goes on a culling drive of their kangaroo population and hence you will find these famous animals listed in the menu cards of many restaurants in Australia with dishes like Kanga Bangers ( kangaroo sausages).
8. Know that Australia is Expensive
Before you move to Australia, take it into your budgetary calculations that living in Australia is pretty expensive. It is one of the most expensive countries on the map of the world. But then you are going to be offered a high quality of life and good pay, so enjoy your stay. And if you are on a budget, then you should refrain from eating out and frequenting pubs. If you are searching for work having moved to Australia, then cater for at least 5000 AUD to survive a couple of months in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Even with work, you must consider few facts like housing is going to be expensive and so would be buying even a second-hand car. Smoking will burn a hole in your pocket as the Australian government levies stiff taxes on tobacco to deter smokers from smoking. Health insurance is very expensive and you may also have to take out insurance for ambulance cover. Food is also going to be expensive so plan to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from local markets and not supermarkets.
9. Do Extensive Visa Research
Understanding your proper visa requirements will take time and effort from your side before moving to Australia. You need to do thorough research before applying for a particular visa. There are various types of visa to choose from and you better not make the wrong choice for want of knowledge and proper information. There are work visas which will prohibit you to even change your position within the company. So be very meticulous in choosing your visa. You need to check whether your job is on the Skilled List of the Australian government and apply accordingly. There are Points Test for some visas and knowledge about your job category status may win you more points to qualify for that visa. Since rules about visa change from time to time, make sure you get the latest information from the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs before applying for it. One more thing to understand is that you have to budget for the visa fees since it is expensive to get an Australian visa.
10. Mind the Sun
You have to be mindful of the sun in Australia. Here the sun shines really hard. The temperatures over the years are going up and it can be very unbearable with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in summer months. Heatwaves are becoming common and have melted tarmac roads even. So be very careful to excessive exposure to the sun. In Australia, the sun is more scorching because the ozone layer directly above this nation is rather thin, which exposes you more to harmful UV rays from the sun. You should realize that sun in Australian skies is more powerful and accordingly take due precautions. You must wisely choose your time of the day to venture out in the sun in the summer months. You must cover your skin properly with full-length clothes, apply sunscreen cream generously on your exposed portion of face, neck and hands, and use a hat and sunglasses to provide shade to your eyes and face.
Australia offers a very exciting and rewarding stay for those planning to move to the country. However, there are some crucial things that you must know before moving to Australia so that you have smooth sailing once you reach the Australian shores. Once you are well informed and well prepared for the issues discussed above, you will fully enjoy your stay in this amazing country.