I love writing comparison lists. It’s a practical decision-making technique that I come back to time and time again. I used a good old-fashioned pros and cons of living in Australia list back when we were struggling to decide whether the move to Australia was right for us. I used it again when we were trying to figure out the best place to move in Australia. I used it when trying to decide which house to buy in Australia. And I continue to write comparison lists to help me make important decisions about our Australia life and how to live in Australia even now.
The other day, as I was tidying up my office, I discovered the original list I made to consider the pros and cons of living abroad! It was a list I wrote back in 2013 while I was trying to compare the pros and cons of living in Australia vs the UK (in between binge watching episodes of Wanted Down Under!). It was so funny looking back on this time when I felt so conflicted about whether I wanted to move to Australia – would such a big, expensive move across the world really make our lives better?
I know that I’m not alone in trying to figure out why to move to Australia in this way as I get plenty of emails from people asking me what is it like to live in Australia?
Now that I’ve been living here for a number of years, I feel like I’m in a good position to put together a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of moving to Australia.
Pros and cons: Moving to Australia
Let’s start with the cons of living in Australia
As you know, I LOVE living in Australia but there are some disadvantages to living in Australia that we need to talk about. If you’ve been considering whether to migrate to Aus, here are some cons of moving to Australia.
Distance from family and friends
This is always going to be the hardest part of making the move. Living away from the people you love. You can Zoom and Facetime all you like, but you won’t be able to hug your family as regularly when you live in Australia. However, when you do see them, you’ll likely be seeing them for a longer block of time and enjoy quality time together so that’s worth considering.
The expense of travelling back to your country of origin
We’re so lucky to live in a time where air travel is so readily available (aside from the last couple of crazy years, of course!), but even though we can easily fly back to see our friends and family, it doesn’t mean it’s affordable. And the bigger your family, the more it costs to travel back. I know lots of people here who have a travel savings account and every month they put money into it so they know they can always get back if they need/want to. I think that’s a great idea and if you start it as soon as you arrive here, you’ll never miss that extra money that goes in the travel pot.
It can get so hot in Australia and that doesn’t suit everybody. (If temperature matters to you, make sure you factor it in when deciding where to move in Australia as it’s a huge country with lots of different types of weather systems). It’s not just extreme sunshine though – Australia has really extreme weather and in some areas cyclones and floods can be a regular occurrence. It’s certainly something to consider when deciding where to live and it takes some getting used to. Don’t underestimate the power of the weather – we got caught out in a terrible hail storm when we first arrived and I never want to do that again! (Make sure you sign up to council alert systems so you can stay informed about approaching storms).
Bush fires pose an ongoing risk to many parts of Australia. As the world heats up, the risk of bush fires increases. 2019 ended and 2020 began with immense bushfires in Australia and those challenges haven’t gone away.
It’s expensive to relocate to a new country
One of the big cons of moving to Australia is that the process of moving to Australia is expensive and time-consuming if you’re looking to move here permanently. It takes plenty of planning
and you need some savings behind you to be able to afford the costs involved in moving and resettling.
I personally don’t think any of these are reasons not to go to Australia, but it’s still helpful to approach your move with a balanced mindset so you’re understanding the challenges as well as the positives too!
Let’s look at the benefits of living in Australia
If you’ve been looking for reasons to move to Australia, this list will hopefully inspire you and give you a flavour of why people move to Australia.
Yes, I included extreme weather in the cons list above too but, for me, the weather is an important reason to visit Australia or to move to Australia. I LOVE the sunshine and I HATE HATE HATE cold weather. Queensland is my perfect home as it has around 300 days of sunshine every year. I love that warmer weather gives us an outdoor lifestyle all year round. Sunshine makes me so happy! (Of course, parts of Australia do get cold, and some places even get snow, so definitely do your research to make sure you choose the right place to live in Australia for your needs!) I love that my kids walk around with bare feet most of the time, and that our summer holidays consist of going on the pool non-stop. I even love Christmas in the sun! You quickly learn to adapt to the hot weather by wearing sunscreen, taking a good beach shade for days out and living in a home with fans and air conditioning.
Houses here are so much bigger! We moved from a tiny three-bedroom semi in the UK, where we had no garage and were surrounded by other homes, to a lovely leafy plot (still in a busy, popular suburb) but we can see so many trees from our backyard and we aren’t overlooked by anyone. We have plenty of space around our home, and plenty of space within our home – we no longer feel cramped! I just feel like I have room to breathe here in a way that I couldn’t where I lived in the UK as I felt like I was surrounded by cars and concrete. There are newer areas where homes and streets are cramped together but even still, most homes in the outer suburbs have 4-bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a double garage which is much bigger than we were used to.
Space and unspoilt landscape
I love how much open space there is in Australia. It’s so easy to get out into the wilderness and enjoy freedom. It’s not difficult to find an empty beach, even during the school holidays.
My experience is that most of the time, parking at the beach (and often at the shops) is free in Australia. It’s going to be so strange when we do go back to the UK for a visit getting used to paying to park everywhere again.
Owning your own pool makes you feel like you’re on holiday all the time! I will never get bored of it. And even if you choose not to get a home with a pool, you can still find free lagoons in lots of places. Nothing feels more tropical than laying by the pool in the sunshine.
New travel experiences
Australia brings with it so many exciting new travel experiences. You’ve got an endless array of amazing weekend breaks, new cities to explore, beach towns, road trips – even without needing to leave the country (but if you do decide to go abroad, you’ve got new holiday destinations like Fiji, Bali and the Cook Islands which are much more accessible than they were from the UK!)
The wildlife in Australia is incredible. Whether it’s seeing turtles, whales or dolphins swimming in the ocean, seeing koalas climbing the trees or kangaroos jumping in the fields – I’ve never been exposed to this amount of wildlife before. I love that our kids are growing up surrounded by all of this wildlife.
New hobby options
Australia brings with it so many options for new hobbies. Whether you’re thinking of taking up surfing, stand up paddle boarding, scuba diving or kite surfing, there are so many fun new hobbies to have a crack at in Australia. You might uncover a lifelong passion for something totally new here.
In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons to migrate to Australia is that you gain a sense of freedom. It’s proof to yourself that you’re capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Whether you make the move permanently or you just stay for a few years, it will have a massive impact on how you go on to live the rest of your life. And once you’ve done it, you’ll never be the same again as it changes you in so many ways.
Pros and cons of living in Australia
There are so many amazing reasons to live in Australia or to visit Australia, in my opinion. It’s a great exercise to go through the pros and cons of living in Australia though as it helps to approach it in a fair way so you’re prepared for both the good and the bad.
Why not spend some time now going through your reasons to go to Australia. Your list will likely look different to mine. Can you identify the challenges and benefits? Think about what it’s like to live in Australia. It’s a fun exercise to do, and maybe one day eight years from now you’ll also come across your list of pros and cons of moving to Australia in your desk drawer too!