Australia is a dream country for many and was for me too. I moved to Australia more than a decade ago to pursue further education and as you can imagine I’ve had my share of struggles adjusting and living here. So although I call Australia home now, I’ve also lived as a digital nomad in Bagan, Banff, Bangkok, Bali, Vietnam, Kathmandu, and Laos. With that said, I can assure you this is my unbiased view on the pros and cons of living in Australia.
This island country has 6 states and 2 territories. ie Sydney – New South Wales, Melbourne- Victoria, Brisbane- Queensland, Adelaide- South Australia, Perth – Western Australia, Hobart – Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and Darwin -Northern Territory.
Digital nomads and location-independent individuals are always looking for the best places to live and experience life. So I hope this article sheds light on what to expect when you live in Australia as a digital nomad.
I will be giving away handy tips to Australia at the end so, keep an eye out for that.
Living in Australia Pros and Cons
- Living in Australia Pros and Cons
- What are the advantages of living in Australia?
- 1. Great weather
- 2. Refreshing Nature
- 3. Multiple Visa Options
- 4. Guaranteed Minimum wage
- 5. Extra $ for your retirement
- 6. Public Health insurance
- 7. Foodie Heaven
- 8. Opportunities
- Read all other digital nomad articles
- Pros and cons of living in Vietnam
- Pros and cons of living in Laos
- What are the disadvantages of living in Australia?
- 1. Lack of accessibility
- 2. Not a great Internet speed
- 3. So Expensive
- 4. Housing Market that costs your kidney or more
- 5. Lack of culture
- 6. Difficulty making new friends
- 7. Just Too Far
- Let me know in the comments:
What are the advantages of living in Australia?
1. Great weather
Australia has four seasons. Summer is between December to February, Autumn falls from March to May, followed by Winter from June till August, and Spring from September till November.
Although for many the first choice to visit would be during the summer season, you would be surprised even in winter times, the temperature rarely goes below 10-15 degrees and the sun would still be shining with blue skies all around. Australia has great weather throughout the year compared to other countries, perfect for that laptop on the beach insta lifestyle. Obviously, the coastal areas would be slightly chilly with wind and ocean but even during the off-peak season, this country offers sunshine and barely any rain except in Melbourne as it is famous for having 4 weather in one day but even then rain only lasts for an hour or so.
Having traveled to all 8 major cities in Australia and lived in 2, IMHO living in Australia is a blessing with great weather. But if you really want to hit the nail in the head, the best months to visit here are September and October because, during these months, it’s often still warm enough to hit the beach in the southern states, it’s cool enough to tour Uluru, and the humidity and rains have not come to Darwin or Cairns (although it will be very hot by Oct).
2. Refreshing Nature
As a digital nomad, you are almost always in front of a screen so having refreshing nature near you plays a great role in your mindset and experiencing life around you. Australia is an island country so, there are tons of jaw-dropping rockpools near the coast and gardens within the cities. Every state in Australia boasts proper national parks that are filled with countless waterfalls, and hiking trails, some also come with free camping and swimming holes, rock climbing spots, and more. Needless to say, some of the best beaches to surf in the world are in Australia too.
As metropolitan as the cities are, there is so much beautiful nature that is easy to get to and if you want to be surrounded by nature as you live your digital nomad life, this could be your best best.
3. Multiple Visa Options
After solo traveling, to over 45 countries and applying for many visas all over the world, I understand it can be annoying and takes so much work just to grasp what, how and the process of each visa application.
Compared to other countries, Australia offers straightforward visa options and not one but multiple ways you can come and live here. ie student visa, work visa, working holiday visa, visitor visa, spouse visa, defacto visa, skilled migration visa, and more.
In fact, there are more than 100 different types of Australian visas! You just have to find out which one is best for you depending on your circumstances. That said, they still haven’t come up with a digital nomad visa so maybe that’s on the card soon but hey still a great pro to be able to come and live here given so many options. And if you run out of your existing visa, there are again at least 90+ visa options that you can run with.
4. Guaranteed Minimum wage
Another benefit of living in Australia is the minimum wage guaranteed. Whether you work casual, part-time, or full-time, Australian employers have to pay you minimum wage by law and you can find what that looks like for you online. I think it is a great way to not feel like you are slaving for less money and get paid what you are worth at least according to the law!
5. Extra $ for your retirement
Superannuation is your retirement fund. In Australia, your employer pays 9.5% to the superannuation company of your choice. Maybe New Zealand or the United States have this too and call it something else but I just think this is a great way to be able to save for your retirement and if you contribute extra on top, the government will match it which is definitely one of the advantages of living in Australia!
6. Public Health insurance
If you have gained resident status before or after living in Australia then you are entitled to medicare which is public health insurance provided by the government for its citizens. This healthcare system covers normal health checks, and free or low-cost medical and hospital care but doesn’t cover eye or dental checks, or blood tests but still is a great option to have when you are not paying anything for it.
Private health insurance is a different thing and could probably cost you arms and legs so choose wisely.
7. Foodie Heaven
Being a multicultural country, Australia offers a vast variety of cuisines. All Australian cities run food markets or offer some international tastes in their restaurants. So whether you are a digital nomad or ex-pats from Hong Kong, South Korea, or South Africa, I am sure there is a restaurant for your national cuisine in Australia. It’s funny I have actually eaten some of the best Thai curries in Sydney than in Thailand itself!
Australia is one of the developed countries and with that, comes tons of opportunities to join different sectors and industries. That is a professional aspect, but outside of that also, there are many opportunities to meet others. I am not saying you will meet fellow digital nomads but certainly other travelers and visitors through meetup or FB groups online or in person.
What are the disadvantages of living in Australia?
1. Lack of accessibility
And that brings me to Cons no.1 Accessibility for transport. Can you believe they are still working on the public transport networks to be fully accessible by the end of 2022 (with the exception of trains and trams, which have until the end of 2032)?! Yep, it is a developed country but we are still so behind on many levels, especially public transport and accessibility. Main cities are alright but if you want to explore a bit outside of your city, you either have to drive, rent a car, book a tour or the public transport will take 5 hours+! I understand it a distance factor also because Australia is so big (you can fit all of Europe in it and still will have room for a few other countries) but having a lack of public access makes it difficult to explore the country properly. Btw, the Same goes with accessing the latest fashion, it arrives a season late in Australia ask anyone!
2. Not a great Internet speed
As a digital nomad, if you require lighting fast internet to work with, you will be disappointed in Australia. At home my current speed is 36.3 Mbps download and 5.90 Mbps upload and the best I worked with was 85.02 Mbps in Taiwan! If it compensates there are loads of coworking spaces in major cities and they may have better WIFI. Recommend to check with them in advance before booking your session.
3. So Expensive
Another negative of living in Australia is the expense. If you have lived anywhere else in the world and compared the costs, you know what I am talking about. Whether it be renting an apartment, car, or paying for a trolly at the airport! It is true, that your expense may match what you earn here but I still think paying $5 for a small coffee is a bit too much, and the more remote areas you go to, the more expensive it gets. Also traveling abroad is expensive because we are so far apart and time-consuming endeavor.
4. Housing Market that costs your kidney or more
Ok, I am not joking when I said it IS expensive in Australia! One decent small apartment in Sydney city center costs $700,000 + So unless you go to regional areas, or have a partner then it is easier to buy or build a house with two incomes. If you are a solo digital nomad and would like to get into the housing market here, it is not impossible but just come prepared with tons of cash as the standard of living in Australia is pretty high.
5. Lack of culture
Remember that time, you traveled and worked off your laptop in Laos, Bangkok, or Bali and also got to immerse yourself in local culture with local people? Yeah, it is unlikely to happen here in Australia.
The reason is, that Australia is a modern country made of people who immigrated/migrated here (apart from aboriginal people of course). We celebrate cultures that are actually from other countries and when we say Aussie culture, it basically means beach lifestyle ie Surf, Beach, BBQs, Pies and Koalas, Kangaroos, and Emu, (Btw, we are probably the only country that also eats our national animals!) and then all the other nationalities festivals and celebrations. Whether it be the Chinese new year or Nepalese, Brazilian salsa event, or Irish St Partick Day. It is basically a country where everyone who lives here has their own local ways which isn’t a con necessarily but my point is this if you are looking to experience a bit of historic or traditional culture that is not related to water sports you may feel quite unfulfilled because you could experience that and all of these other local cultures in their respective countries anyway.
That brings me to this point why there is a lack of local culture. I think it is because the aboriginal culture is fading away. Aboriginal people were the first people of Australia and there is so much history but not enough awareness. So if there is one thing I would suggest you experience is to go on experiences that explains the aboriginal heritage and then maybe you will feel as if you are intuned with the real Australia apart from going to Bondi beach. The best place to witness this is in Uluru, Alice Springs but the flight there costs double the cost to Bali and back! (update: due to 2020, flights are cheaper now, so the best time to visit there is now)
6. Difficulty making new friends
If you are in your late 20s+ you may find it incredibly hard to make friends with people who were born here and there’s a good reason for that. That’s because they went to school or uni here and have their own circle of friends so if you put yourself in their shoes, isn’t it just easier to maintain your existing friendships than start and work on new ones especially when it’s people who are passing through? Yep, I have been there too. So, you may find your friends in Australia have more friends from other countries than third-generation Aussies unless they worked with them or went to school or uni together or a rare few.
Being a digital nomad has many perks and some cons and I hope you agree with me when I say finding like-minded individuals can be a hit and miss. With many apps and websites at our fingertips, it is easy to meet people & some may even become acquaintances but if you want real friends, you have to invest time and energy. I mean it is hard enough to maintain your existing relationships, imagine getting a new one, and investing in it while at the back of your head you know you are planning your next move! So I understand from both perspectives, why digital nomads find it hard and why locals not wanting to invest fully. Can’t remember having this problem in Asia though, anyone?
7. Just Too Far
Lastly, another con of living in Australia is, it is quite at a distance from the rest of the world. Basically, it’s isolated geographically and metaphorically. Perhaps it may feel safe in a way to be in our own island cocoon but as digital nomads, we should be aware of what’s happening in the rest of the world quite simply because we are part of it. But with the great weather and stunningly beautiful places, it is rather easy to forge the world also!
The perception of home is down to where ‘you’ are emotionally speaking IMO but the fact is real. It is too far. It’s a day away from practically everywhere and nearly two days away from Uk (your best travel time from door to door is 32 hours or so) So if you want isolation and space, this is a place to be!
Regardless if you decide moving to Australia and living in your new home, i hope it gives you a unique and unforgettable experience.
Let me know in the comments:
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