Seasons, Places and Adventures: Important Things to Know When Planning an Extended Stay in Australia
No matter how interesting and accommodating a place might be, it can sometimes seem fairly tedious as a new visitor settling in. Learning to adapt to a whole new culture can be challenging to new extended stay visitors to Australia. With its intense climate and unusual humour, Australia is unique and requires time to understand the basics you’ll need to know before planning an extended in Australia.
Moving to Australia shouldn’t hold any fear or sense of regret for anybody. After all, the local people are warm and friendly, while the culture and wildlife are spectacular. That said, while some of the cultural practices are similar to those of European countries, there are still certain significant differences.
Therefore, it’s important to be prepared and bring yourself up to speed with the practicalities you’ll need to know. This includes a basic background knowledge of places, seasons and even adventures to be enjoyed. When suitably prepared, you’ll enjoy your time in Austalia from beginning to end.
It is a huge country
The entire land mass of Australia measures three million square miles, which is almost the same size as the entirety of Europe or the United States. This means that to see the entire country will take a very long time and lots of energy. Notably, most people don’t realise how massive this country is until they choose to go on a road trip of sorts. This could involve being on the road for days. Therefore, if time is of the essence, flying within Australia to your destinations might be the best option.
Thankfully, you can nearly always find good deals on domestic flights, as well as when flying to other countries. This works better when you have a flexible flight plan. Subsequently, it’s prudent to consider the distances involved when travelling within Australia – especially when you have family with you. Also, research your airline tickets carefully as you can often find flight deals that offer additional stopovers within the country.
The weather varies considerably
A city like Melbourne can almost literally experience four seasons in one day, which can leave a newcomer in shock. In other parts of the country, the weather can move from sunny to snowy in virtually no time at all. When it comes to Australian weather, it’s probably like nothing you’ve experienced before. Typically, there are no uniform weather patterns, whereby it’s either hot or cold all over the country at any one time. Instead, you’ll find that it could be summer in the south for instance, whilst being wet season in the north. Therefore, it’s wise to think of Australia as a continent where the weather can vary greatly, and you’ll need to pack accordingly.
When it’s hot, it tends to be aggressively so. With this in mind, you might want to take sunscreen everywhere you go and perhaps wear a shirt of sorts to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays. It will also make sense to have a hat with you and sunglasses, as the sun can be particularly intense; certainly, it pays to be prepared.
Drive on the left
If you’re arriving from the UK, you won’t have any trouble adjusting to this. Australians are quite robust about their driving culture though and even follow the left-hand rule when walking on the pavement. The only time you might be excused from walking on the right is when you want to briefly overtake someone on an escalator. Other than that, you should keep to the left in most scenarios. Peruse the Ausmove website for more cultural pointers.
Australians are crazy about sports
Knowing this will save you a lot of trouble. It’s common for Australians to take their sports – and their favorite sports teams – very seriously. This applies to their preferred local club as well as the national team. Most of the time, they are happy to engage in healthy sports debate – especially if you are a sports enthusiast yourself. The average Aussie will consider their country’s place in the world based on where how they are faring in sports. Here, sport isn’t just a men’s thing; everyone is passionate about it – especially when it comes to rugby and football.
Australia can be expensive
Australia is generally expensive. The general cost of living in Australia is 9% higher than the US, but you won’t really notice it if you’re from the UK, as it is still 10% lower than in London. However, this is with the exception of Sydney, which is Australia’s most expensive city. The city’s cost of living index has risen to 32 over the past year, which is the fastest in the last four years.
However, the country makes up for this in its quality of living and high minimum wage. The high cost of living is mainly felt by those who are just briefly visiting or coming to do business for a short period of time. As an immigrant, jobs and wages are highly paid and you shouldn’t necessarily see the high cost of living in a negative light.
You’ll find a fair few dangerous animals
All you may have read about Australian animals is true. The funnel web spider (the deadliest spider in the world) is to be found in Australia, while there are snakes and jellyfishes that are also highly poisonous. Meanwhile, saltwater crocodiles and sharks are large predators and very dangerous indeed. However, statistically speaking, deaths caused by these animals are extremely rare. Australia is still one of the safest places in the world, given that these animals are either found in water or a safe distance away from everyday dwellings. So, once you’re in the city, you won’t have anything serious to worry about. However, if you do venture into the wild, you should do so with a professional guide.
The terms of rentals are different
Whether you’re renting an apartment or a house for your extended stay, be aware that the terms and conditions aren’t usually what they seem. You might be more familiar with the monthly listing cost of rentals in your home country, but in Australia, this is slightly different. For example, rent is paid monthly in Australia, but each property is advertised using their weekly prices. Therefore, newly arrived immigrants can easily make a mistake in thinking they had a great bargain, until it comes to committing to a given property.
In fact, the entire process of finding a rental property can be quite tedious. Firstly, you will have to pay a finder’s fee, which usually amounts to a week or two’s rent. Also, there is typically a lot of competition when finding rental properties, which will involve unnerving interview questions and general time wastage. Eventually, if the property is rented out to you, you’ll find it comes with a two-month advanced payment requirement, and may not include any furnishings, so research carefully.
Australia is a huge country, but one that rewards like no other. There are many natural wonders to see, unique flora and fauna and a diverse culture just waiting to be explored. Therefore, you should see as much of the country as you can and savour every moment.