AUSTRALIA

Updated: 16 April 2022

BACKGROUND & CULTURE

A BRIEF BACKGROUND

Australia has a nickname as being the “Lucky Country” that was coined in the 1950s as a country for economic opportunity and bountiful natural resources.

Native Australian aborigines have been traced back to walk the lands of the country for over 65,000 years. This makes them one of the oldest civilisations on Earth. 

It was originally understood to be discovered by Dutch explorers in the 1600s, but it was not until 1688 that a more serious recognition of the land was made by an English sailor William Dampier. It was after William Dampier published his discovery urging the British Admiralty to pursue the discovery, that Captain Cook, on behalf of the Admiralty, set out on a number of voyages. By 1770, Captain Cook mapped the east coast of Australia and is considered as the official claimant of the land on behalf of Britain.

It has a large land mass which is almost equal in size to the USA and is home to around 65% Australian and United Kingdom heritage with approximatley 3% Chinese and 1.5% Indian. The remainder include small proportions of Italian, German, Greek and native aborigines. 

Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, yet its population is relatively small at only 24 million people. This means that the most of the land is not densely populated with residence concentrated in relatively small areas around the major cities.

The country is made up of 6 states and 2 territories. In the east, the states are New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (VIC). In the centre and west are Northern Territory (NT), South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA). Finally the small island south of the mainland is Tasmania (TAS.). The most populous cities are Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (VIC).

Australia now is home to a diverse culture and unique flora, fauna and wildlife. There are animals found in Australia and nowhere else in the world, such as the kangaroo, koala, echnida platypus and possum.

It is also home to some of the world’s most dangerous animals like the box jellyfish, taipan (snake), blue-ringed octopus and redback spider.

CULTURE

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

Aussies hold a unique kindred spirit, a result of its unusual beginnings as a penal colony grown to today’s diverse country. 

The attitude of many Australians is that of a serious love of nature and sports. Its climate and natural offerings lend itself to exploring on every level, whether it is simple hiking, to adrenaline seeking sports, arts and appreciation of the landscape.

The perception of locals is of an easy, laid-back, “no worries, mate” love of life. There is a clear welcoming of visitors that is reflective of the many opportunities for a relaxed lifestyle and general enjoyment of the natural beauty of the country.

WEATHER

Due to its size, Australia has a wide range of average temperatures. In the north, it is mostly warmer and more humid, while further south in Victoria and Tasmania, it is crisp and cool. The country does enjoy all 4 seasons, as opposed to countries closer to the equator that experience more wet and dry seasons.

Average summer temperatures (December – February) in
   – New South Wales (Sydney): 25oC – 30oC degrees (day)
   – Western Australia (Perth): 25oC – 35oC degrees (day)

Average winter temperatures (July – August) in
   – New South Wales (Sydney) 15oC – 20oC degrees (day)  
   – Western Australia (Perth): 20oC – 25oC degrees (day)

Overall and throughout the year, most of Australia enjoys a majority proportion of the year with sunny and fresh days. There are some humid and warm areas in the north, such as in Queensland and Northern Territory, however otherwise, it is temperate climate and pleasant. 

ARRIVING & GETTING AROUND

ON ARRIVAL

ON ARRIVAL

Arriving into Australia, most major airports are new, modern and clean. The process of customs entry is well organised and information for the right of entry is clear.

It is to be stressed that as Australia is an island, the border controls are strict and unrelenting. For example, food from the plane or ship, live plants or shoes with soil/dirt still on them can not be brought into Australia. Otherwise, all food, nuts, dairy must be declared to the customs officials and noted on your embarkation card. Mis-declaring goods will ensure that if discovered, the traveller is most likely to be fined and the goods seized and destroyed.

Holding the correct visas can be checked here through the official government website at the Department of Home Affairs.

 

GETTING AROUND

The public transport of is extensive and reaches almost all areas within a reasonable walking distance of homes and points of interest in most major cities. This is no small feat considering that the area of Greater Sydney, being the largest city, covers an area of 12,368km2.

Taxis are generally quite expensive, so reliance would mainly be on purchasing your own car, or relying on public transport. Public transport cards enable travel on all public services such as ferries, buses and trains (in NSW it is the “Opal” card – more information can be obtained from TransportNSW and in Western Australia it is “SmartRider” card through TransPerth ).

DRIVING

As a new resident in NSW, you will need to convert your licence within 3 months of arriving into the country. Conversion requires attendance at a NSW Service Centre (locations can be found here)and pass a knowledge test, depending on the country of issue of the original driving licence. More details can be found regarding the origin country here as certain conditions do apply. 

For WA, only recognised countries can convert licences by direct conversion without the need of further knowledge or driving tests. Details and whether your country requires additional requirements can be found here.

Generally, driving is safe and predictable with road rules adhered to and respect for pedestrians and bicycles observed.

HOME & FOOD

HOUSING              

HOUSING

Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, Australia

Housing in Australia can vary from apartments, houses, townhouses and farms. Accommodation near the cities are of course smaller than that further afield. Prices also reflect a premium closer to the city and certain more coveted areas of the major cities.

Depending on the city of your location, it would be good to take note of the sun aspects of your potential home as the sun tends to be quite harsh and hot during the summer months and so having afternoon sun into the lounge areas may find the home too warm if there is no air conditioning. Air conditioning is not an absolute necessity on the whole as the summer months, while can be hot, most of Australia coastal cities enjoy fresh and cool breeze when the sun goes down.

HOUSE HUNTING RESOURCES

Clifftop homes
The d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

The main property search engines for rentals and purchasing include Domain.com.au and RealEstate.com.au. There are available plenty of property brokers and relocation agents, however, given the nature of the property websites, locating a suitable property can easily be done by map location, type of accommodation or price filters. Photos are clear and agents are generally responsive to enquiries by email and phone.

Once you have inspected a few properties, you will get a strong sense of what falls within your budget, location and preference requirements. The websites can give you updates on your searches.

RENTAL INFORMATION

Example of a Tenancy Agreement (Singapore)

Australia has a strong system outlining tenant and landlord rights and obligations. All states have their own tenancy laws, which clearly and unambiguously set out the responsibilities of each party. In Western Australia, the relevant resources for tenants include government sites offering guides such as WA commerce department and Tenancy advocacy services such as Tenancy WA. In New South Wales, the source of legislative rights and responsibilities can be found at NSW Department of Fair Trading and advice can be found at the Tenants’ Union.

FOOD

Breakfast at Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia
Seafood feast of scallops. lobster and king prawns

As Australia is surrounded by oceans with plenty of internal rivers, it is natural to see that seafood can be seen on most menus. Further, it has been traditionally been, and continues to be, a farming country with red meat a staple for restaurants and homes. Lamb, beef and pork incorporate 

There is a good variety of food options available in the city and urban areas. The range of cuisines are ever growing, which include of course all corners of Asia and much of Europe, but also more unusual restaurants worth trying such as Ethiopian restaurants.

Food delivery options are also varied and plentiful. The main delivery services available are Menulog, UberEats and Deliveroo.

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