What I love (and hate) about Australia

November 2, 2011 in Australia,Places

When the sun is shining, when I’m sipping a latte with perfectly frothed milk, when I’m watching the sun set over St Kilda beach–I think, I could stay here forever. I could live here. I could raise a family and have a career and own a dog here. I could be happy here. I am happy here.

Sunset in St Kilda beach, Melbourne, Australia

My job offered me sponsorship, and it was a very difficult option to turn down. There’s a lot that I love about Australia, and I’m certainly not opposed to living here one day–unfortunately, now’s just not the right time.

What I love

  • The people: Australians are incredibly friendly, laid-back and fun. The boys are good-looking with an adorable accent. The girls are gorgeous and heaps of fun. They’re always keen for a cold beer and to chat about where to go in Australia (or, more likely, the shenanigans they had on a gap year in Europe). As with everywhere, there are a few bad apples–but overall, I’ve been overwhelmed by how many brilliant Australians I’ve met.
Manly Beach on a sunny day, Sydney, Australia
  • The variety of landscapes: Gorgeous beaches, stark red outback, towering rainforest: whatever you’re looking for, Australia has it.
  • The slang: I’ve started replacing “z” with “s” and throwing in an unnecessary “u”. I say “how ya goin'” instead of “how’s it going” and pepper my speech with arvo, mate and exxy. Australian slang is heavy on abbreviations and the accent is impossible, but it’s fun to listen to an Australian speak in what’s supposedly English and have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
  • The liveable cities: While Melbourne is rated the world’s most liveable city by The Economist, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide are also in the top 10–based on the stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure of the city. Add in four weeks of vacation and state-sponsored medical coverage, and I’m sold.
Breakfast at Kanteen, South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia
  • The food: Vegemite, Milo, pavlova–what’s not to love? Plus, I swear Australia does a better brekky and a better coffee than anywhere else in world.
  • Sunday sessions: There’s no better way to end the weekend than a few cheeky ciders and acoustic music with good friends. My personal favorite is The Branch in St Kilda: great music, $5 pizzas and always plenty of eye candy.
Hobart, Tasmania river at dusk
  • Tasmania: It’s an incredibly unspoiled and unpretentious part of the world–but it also features a world-class modern art museum, award-winning wines, a sparkling harbour. I just spent a few days in Hobart, so there’s still so much of Tassie I’d love to see.
  • The sports: Aussies are certainly passionate about their sport, and whether it’s an AFL game at the MCG or a day out at the Spring Racing Carnival, they don’t do anything half way.
Three Bags Full exterior and cyclist, Abbotsford, Melbourne, Australia

What I hate

  • Isolated: It’s so far away from the rest of the world! This really comes into place with flight prices: it’s difficult to get away for less than $1500 round-trip. Intense jet lag also comes into play, which is why when Australians go overseas for vacation, they tend to stay a while.
  • Very big and difficult to travel: Area-wise, Australia is about the same size as the United States, but it only has about six major cities. There are vast expanses of land that aren’t populated because of harsh weather conditions, whether it’s being prone to drought or frequented by monsoons. Flight prices across the country aren’t exactly cheap either.
Latte at Three Bags Full, Abbotsford, Melbourne, Australia
  • Expensive: The Australian dollar is remarkably strong at the moment, making it even more difficult for foreign tourists. Once you’re earning Aussie dollars, the prices are comparable to any other big city–but things like movie tickets and public transportation fares still come as a shock.
  • Internet access: There’s free Wifi in McDonald’s and libraries, but not many hostels or individuals can afford unlimited Wifi. Broadband sticks are the way to go, and if you plan on Skyping or uploading many photos, they’re not too cheap.
What do you love and hate about Australia? 
  • Anonymous

    Qantas is doing an INCREDIBLE deal to get back to Australia this summer from LAX…just saying! And I found it super easy to get a job while I was there, the economy is really strong and they’re hiring in all sectors. Much better situation than the states or Europe.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard a few Australian-owned cafes have opened in Paris…might be worth a trip over!

  • Love – landscape, relaxed attitude, most of the people, and the meat. It’s like the good bits of America with enough that’s homely from England. “Can-do” attitude that is miles away from the health and safety culture here.

    Hate – thinly veiled racism everywhere and open scorn of “abos” in most cases. Stupidly expensive versus the GBP (but that’s more our fault than theirs). The abbreviations, all of which end in “o”, “y” or “ay” – they make their dialect sound like that backwards language you make up to confuse your parents as a child. Sydney traffic. And Aussie TV, especially Aussie news.

    Overall – much more love than hate,  but I wish it was cheaper!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, much more love than hate although I can definitely relate to all of your hates–I couldn’t stand the Aussie sitcoms and dramas, although I loved The Project! And yes, totally wish it was cheaper!

  • Luke

    “Open scorn of Abos.”  ‘Abos’ is an incredibly offensive word in Australia.  It’s comparable to the ‘N’ word in the United States.  I suggest, if you’re ever there, to never say that word in public.

    Also, I’ve been to Australia heaps and I’ve never really experienced racism.  The real racist hotspots seem to be places like NQ where it’s a mainly Sicilian immigrant population.  All in all Aussies are very welcoming.  Aussies are incredibly relaxed in their views.  Which means that racist jokes really don’t offend them, but they never mean anything bad by it.  

  • Lee

    Perrh has beautiful beaches. Food is always good, though service not always great. Very expensive to live.

  • Visited Australia Once

    There’s a few in and around London:
    Outstanding coffee …

  • camorose

    Totally agree about it being expensive–but so beautiful!

  • Agree with you to a great extent! Although WIFI is not fully covered in cities of Australia, I dont think broadband is expensive and not upto the mark. I really enjoy my broadband connection. 
    Anyway, nice observation Christine! keep it up :)

  • camorose

    Glad you enjoyed it–I do miss my little broadband stick!

  • Arshisoft

    I love the compulsory vote, the status of the tradies and their services exchange system, their wine, their sailing culture, their outdoories week ends, their sense of green development, the school uniforms, the clear labels on the products, their humour and humility…
    I hate: they sell their underground to China, their administration too slow and the visa diffcult to apply for, the red necks, how they avoid the aboriginal question, Gladstone development and the threat of the great barrier reef, New south wales absurd regulations, bank loan systems corrupted, the innocence of the children from a young country, how they consider that no French people can speak a correct english…

    But I still plan to live my life in Oz… for a big big while…

  • I love all that you like! My favorite city is Brisbane (but I’ve only seen Sydney, Alice Spring and Darwin). The worst thing is the isolation but you feel like in another world and so quiet… it is a compromise! 😉

  • I love all that you like! My favorite city is Brisbane (but I’ve only seen Sydney, Alice Spring and Darwin). The worst thing is the isolation but you feel like in another world and so quiet… it is a compromise! 😉

  • camorose

    Definitely a compromise–missing Australia like crazy but don’t know if I could do a lifetime of being so far away from Europe!

  • Tracey Livingston

    Australia rocks…although of course I am a little biased. When you do visit South Australia and Western Australia you will fall in love with Oz all over again! Be sure to pop by Pt MacDonnell on the Limestone Coast. You won’t be disappointed.

  • camorose

    I actually drove across the Nullarbor from Adelaide to Perth–SA and WA are probably two of the most gorgeous and underrated states in Oz!!!

  • As an Aussie living in the UK the one thing I hate about Australia is the cost of Everything! What’s stopping me from going back is the cost of property in my hometown Sydney. even the feral and bogan Western Suburbs is expensive now!!!

  • wildwesternaustralia

    Great article – I agree with everything you mentioned! But in some ways I
    love the emptiness and vastness of the land, even if it does mean
    10 hour drives to get places. For me (speaking as an Aussie)
    the one downside as a travel destination is that the cities are so
    young, and don’t have the art, architecture and rich history that other
    places in the world have, but the beautiful beaches and wild landscapes make up for that.

  • camorose

    Very true–although I do love the uniquely Australian architecture of Melbourne and Sydney. The terrace houses are just gorgeous–AND they’re right near the beach :)

  • Joe

    And you show YOUR own ignorance using the term “Abos” don’t you!

  • Australia is a place of my dreams. I love visiting there. Although I have been there many times but never got a chance to visit different places much. I don’t think there is anything to hate about Australia. The arts and culture and most of all the cuisine there is most loved by me. Nice place. :)

  • aussie lover

    I have It seems from your trip that you travelled every major part except Brisbane and Gold Coast,the fastest growing cities in Aussie … you missed the majic of Queensland …

  • camorose

    Next time!!!

  • Anni

    I second that. I have been living in WA – it’s extremely expensive to rent, buy properties. Even to buy groceries and to dine out (especially at pubs where a main course can cost anywhere between $40 to $60), and to get a cleaner (OMG it is between $25 to $35 per hour). If you get high quality meals or good cleaning, it’s not gonna hurt as much paying those prices but I have had sub-standard meals (sometimes horrible) at pubs and have paid $50 to $80 just for a normal meal plus a couple of drinks at the local pub and I have had cleaners who have left soap scum at the bottom of my bath after 2 month’s cleaning my place and one of the cleaners I had scratched the top of my antique sideboard (like he had tried to scrub mold off it!). Most leave streaks from cleaning fluids and don’t really know how to do the job properly and claim they are “experienced” and “professional”. Those are two words which are greatly abused in Perth, as well as the words “luxury”, “premium” and “quality”. Most people who misuse and abuse these words do it unintentionally and unknowingly because they just don’t know any better (both Perth locals as well as migrants) because anyone can come here and make a living as the standards are so low. People here in Perth generally have low or no standards when it comes to quality in food, clothes, services etc and take great offence when you say you don’t like something they have produced. There is an underlying conformity expected of you and you must be “nice” and agreeable otherwise you are too rude or confrontational or you have some kind of problem when you say you don’t like something. For a city that is in the free world, there is very little freedom in this sense.

    Another huge hate I have in Oz is that despite the number of Asians here, the Asian food is not special and sometimes horrible (exactly like the lack of quality in non-Asian food). Most Asians have been away from their roots for too long and they don’t know any better either about good Asian food. Anyone who has lived in Asia, and loved the food there, would be highly disappointed, if not totally depressed by the Asian food here.

    It is also highly expensive to start or run a business here and most business-related costs are expensive too. Not forgetting that Perth and most of WA is actually still a sleepy hollow/small town which has just grown in size in terms of people because of the droves coming here to work. The place is still a backwater and there are still a huge number of rednecks here. As soon as you get outside the city, the landscape and countryside is uninspiring to say the least and the (horrible) properties still cost an arm and a leg to buy. $250k buys you only land or at the most, something with interiors from the 1950s if you’re lucky and in either scenario, you would still be looking at spending around $350k to get something decent out in the sticks.

    The pluses here: anyone can come to Perth and make a living. Because there is no class system here in Perth, some “tradies” (not all) and the non-bourgeoisie can be extremely rude or abusive (for no reason other than that they just don’t like the fact you are of a different level to them – yes, no class system and yet there is still that awareness even when you try hard to be nice to them). Still, some Perth locals are some of the most wonderful and kind people I have ever met. The sky is usually a stunning blue and Perth is full of sunshine even in winter. The coffee can sometimes be the best in the world (if you drink coffee but the hot chocolate is the worst in the world made with plain powdered cocoa). Which reminds me – the desserts are sometimes not sweet (I am still not sure why people here choose to eat something sweet or a dessert but yet don’t want it sweet?).

    I am looking at moving to a proper big city like London or Paris where the cleaners, personal trainers and dining out etc can sometimes be less than half the price of Perth. At the same price or lower than Perth, I will get all the things which only big cities can offer and not be stuck out in remote country WA.

  • I have just stumbled across your page and as an Aussie currenlty living in London, this post makes me a tad home sick! I do agree with how hard it is to travel between cities – such a massive place!

  • camorose

    I’m sure England feels TINY in comparison!

  • Jo.

    Umm, Joe, I’m confused by your bitchy comment about Luke’s alleged ignorance. Luke wrote how it is offensive to use that word even ‘Down Under’, which of course some people say regardless, just like some use the ‘N’ word, as Luke mentioned. Would it have been better if Luke had spelt it out (yes, spelt is a word) in full as “Aboriginal, Aborigines, Aboriginals” for you?

  • Amy

    I am about three years late to post here, but I am currently searching for a science job and have just started looking in Australia. I found this article really helpful, as well as all of the comments. Especially the point of feeling isolated. As much as I love coffee, I think I would be a homesick mess! I definitely need to at least visit there before I die.

  • Van buyten

    a lot has to do with is the Australian Dollar is over valued,
    the people, businesses , political leaders need to work on issues in Australia. to keep prices at an affordable level for average Aussie(s), come on Australia has think tanks & universities. where I see adversities I also see opportunities.

  • Linnie

    i am quite late in posting, but as Aussie, i think that you haven’t really seen the ‘real’ Australia unless you go bush. that where i live, 5-6 hrs from the city. not many shops, way hotter than being near the coast/beach.People are saying its hard to live in the city with prices etc. why not move out of Sydney…..
    Another positive would be cricket!! and i don’t watch AFL its NRL. way better!!!

  • camorose

    I had a great time traveling on the Nullarbor back in 2011–highly agree that some of the most beautiful places in Australia are quite far from the West Coast cities!

  • Wendy

    Rich history? Yeah the cities don’t but go to the Kimberly or anywhere with the aboriginal people and they can give you the history. It’s just our cities don’t provide that. You have to go searching and it’s amazing what you’ll find. In fact any area in Australia will give you this. Just not as acknowledged as it should be

  • I’m not sure what’s the fuss about the internet.
    This country is as big as Europe with only 20 million people when in Europe is a half of a billion. Telcos in Australia need to rip off their clients to get their billion dollars profits 😉

  • Steve

    I LAUGH WHEN I HEAR OF PEOPLE SAYING THAT AUSTRALIA IS THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. I have lived in Western Australia for most of my life. I can tell you that Australia is beautiful and surely very high as far as liveability goes, but lacking a lot too. It really depends on what you value most. So I thought I would break it down into two categories with honest statements for each. FIRSTLY THE GOOD:
    2. LANDSCAPES (a variety, much like America)
    4. STANDARD OF LIVING IS QUITE HIGH – People can earn good money
    5. THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE – Especially if you are into business or mining
    6. THE PEOPLE DO NOT VALUE OR LOOK UP TO STATUS (We are not as judgemental as some other cultures – in fact we actually barrack for the underdog. If you have a big car or big house – who cares…) We definitely carry some snobby pretentious people but the majority don’t care. More specifically – we are not attracted to the other sex so much by means of material possession or by how successful they are
    7. FISHING AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES – If you are into surf, fishing or any beach culture than Australia will be your paradise
    8. CLEAN AND SAFE. Australia is a great place to raise a family. The air is clean, the cities are quite clean and the future looks bright
    9. INTERESTING ANIMALS – We have a huge array of interesting creatures that will entertain you for a while. One being the kangaroo – to me it is absurd the way it has been created. A creature that bounces like a large frog on two legs with a cute fury face and a huge pouch that stores it’s babies…wow


    2. SIMPLE-MINDEDNESS AND LACK OF PASSIONATE PEOPLE. Australians are friendly and some are very smart. But there is an abundance of people carrying a simple minded mentality that can gripe you up. A huge lack in taste does’t help. People lack passion and drive and think everything will fall into their laps without working for it. People cruise and chill out with beers and laugh and joke around but don’t get anything done. They would rather watch footy and have a laugh than actually do create work. A lot of people do not even really appreciate art

    3. EVIL ANIMALS. Yes we have great scenery and places to venture to but you can’t help having this anxious twitch in the pit of your stomach as you decide to venture out into – long grass as you might step on a snake….Swim or dive in the ocean as we have lots of sharks…Crawl around caves and crevices as we have lots of mean spiders….walk bear-footed around rock pools in the northern beaches because we have blue-ringed octopus and many other evil sea creatures…Swim in the waters up north as we have crocodiles – NOT TO MENTION THE ANNOYING FLIES THAT SOMETIMES DRIVE YOU MENTAL. BUGS are also terrible – mosquito’s, fleas, leeches and various other evil creatures can drive you mad. I hate it when I pull the sheets back to hop into bed and I see a spider! It can be quite annoying

    4. LACK OF OPPORTUNITY. If you go out to a bar, forget about ever bumping into anyone cool. You will see bogans – and they talk rough, smoke, and love heavy metal. Thats not to say they are stupid. Some bogans are incredibly smart, but man alive….there is a very low chance of ever finding yourself having a deep and meaningful with a famous person or meeting anyone who can really really provide you with opportunities in the way of the arts

    5. RED TAPE LAWS. In Australia, sometimes it seems you can’t do anything. It’s funny because people look at us as chilled out and easy going. When it comes to law it seems our demeanor’s are relaxed but with it comes stubborn conservatism. In Western Australia, speeding cameras are everywhere. 100 dollar fine for going 8 kms over the limit can make you scream, especially when the limit is 60 k on a main road. People drive slow and are generally BAD drivers. Parking inspectors rule the city areas and spit you a 100 dollar fine in the city for parking too long in a bay without hesitation. Road laws are strict yet bogans still drive like idiots.

    6. THR GIRLS. A lot of girls go for bearded, rough bogan guys who talk dirty and are domineering. Lots of girls tend to fall pregnant easily with the wrong partner. However, I also find girls to be cold – even if girls like you they keep to themselves – or they will try to pick on you in a really annoying way. Girls do not eyeball you and try to dance with you. No. Girls can be conservative, rude and have terrible taste in men. Mind you the guys aren’t any better

    7. THE WORST SERVICE IN THE WORLD. You can walk into a cafe and have the waitresses screw their faces up saying: “Oh no – I have to serve you?” Table service is pathetic. Restaurants can be nice but a general lack of taste is obvious. Most places don’t think about atmosphere, music or nice service. It’s all just a process

    8. OVERLY PRICED HOUSING. The housing market is strong and Australia no doubt has a good economy. Why then, are you charged around 750,000 for an apartment on the beach with 2 bedrooms and 2 toilets? Just having an extra bathroom can jump the price up an extra 100,000. And people always go on about how we have amazing views….Mmm. Yeah if you are willing to pay millions for a house just near the ocean.

    9. CONSERVATIVE PLACES EVERYWHERE. Yes we have nice beaches but they would be better if we had a few nice bars or cafes by the sea near the sand. NO BARS allowed on beaches and no drinking. Big fines for this in some places. BORING SNORING

    10. TASTELESSNESS. The average Aussie house is tasteless and ugly as a fart. A lot of people don’t really care about what a house looks like, to them it’s just a roof over their head

    11. LACK OF ENTERTAINMENT AND THINGS TO DO – In Perth, the best theme park (or only theme park) is Adventure world. The place is so boring and the rides are so dull I wouldn’t go if someone paid me

    12. HUGE PRICES ON FLIGHTS. Isolation is a big negative and for that we get robbed if we want to travel anywhere

    13. PEOPLE LIKE TO ANTAGONISE. In Australia, males love to tease and poke, provoke and annoy. You can mind your own business and make eye-contact with someone and that can be enough for them to start a fight with you. Young kids love to bully and it;s a big problem in schools. Teasing is a massive part of our culture and it can be incredibly annoying


    So you see, there are lots of good elements in Australia but lots of BAD too

  • Aty

    Those bad perks (expenses) barely put any ransom in terms of what Australia has to offer. I have just visited Australia recently and having lived in the U.S. and Canada my whole life, I can attest Australia is a great country in my opinion to the point of which sparks my interest to actually immigrate there!

  • camorose

    Definitely some ups and downs to actually living there, but I can support that it’s a great place!

  • Rebekah

    Australia is amazing!!!!! I live here in Perth, W.A. and it is just the place that I call home. I mean in Perth the new Elizabeth Quay is just stunning and there are many more places like Hillary’s boat harbour that are along the coast of W.A. that are on the beach and have fantastic food and beverages. The people here are very friendly and the facilities here are good quality. There are also other places here like Adventure world and the great escape that brings fun alive for the whole family. Perth is a city known for it’s sport and has a very high quality of every game. I have also been to more then half of the towns in W.A and to me size of town doesn’t matter because there is a whole lot of fun things to do in these towns but my family are pretty adventurous and have a full on day together then relax back at the tent.

  • Rebekah

    Oh I also wanted to say about W.A. is that W.A. is a continent that is known for it’s natural appearance and sport while all of the other cities in Australia are more about city life than natural appearances. Many people come from all over the globe and then say that places like Perth are boaring or have low quality city life is because they are used to what they have in their hometown and then expect the same or better from Perth when really that is not what Perth is known for. The temperature also gets very hot in summer but many people enjoy going to the beach and having in the water or in the pool at home or at a theme park. In the CBD I always feel more than just happy there because I don’t often go to the city but I love watching people perform on the street and getting to know my hometown better and it’s relaxing there because it’s never crowded or isolated anywhere you go. The people in Perth are very friendly and always happy to talk.

  • camorose

    Yes! Loved my time in Perth, and loved hearing your take on it all!

  • Rebekah

    Yeah I live in Perth W.A. and it is really the place I call home even if Perth is the smallest capital city in Australia because there are beautiful beaches to visit, there is Kings Park too which is massive and beautiful, then there is mini golf, Adventure world ( something for the whole family to go for a day), can’t forget the Perth C.B.D., definitely have to go to the New Elizabeth Quay, Fremantle and many more venues for everyone to enjoy. The cost of most things here are cheap or at a reasonable price unless it’s popular or very new.

  • JaiGuru

    …I had no idea “bogan” was an adjective as well as a noun.

  • Beety Rootred

    Nerea Carryon is on her way down under. She wants to spread smiles..

  • CAL DerO

    What i hate is that gun laws are very ruthless! Even airsoft guns are ILLEGAL!! forgot to mention that even replicas of Star Wars GUNS that dont even shoot or make sounds are confiscated and required a license to own, which is almost impossible to get one! Support a petition! Australia has a very weak internal defense compared to the rest of the world.. Heck the police even has very very limited amount of trigger training. And almost have a tiny little bit of experience about gun. What im saying is that Australia needs a gun. I SHOULDT BEEN JUDGING OR ANYTHING but im saying is what ive been experiencing living in Australia and im planning to move to other country. Sorry if this upsets you.

  • Harry Webb

    Let’s face it: Western Australian is not Australia; hardly anyone lives there except people from the UK and South Africa.

    Australians live on the other side of the continent.

  • Harry Webb

    And what exactly does the flying-time from Australia have to do with you?

  • Harry Webb

    Sydney, Australia! You had to toss in the name of the country?

  • Harry Webb

    Home town.

    Two words, not one.

  • Harry Webb

    Off you go then, and take “gonna” with you. Why on earth you stayed on the wrong side of the continent is only something you can answer, ungrammatically no doubt.

  • RockIt

    I wanted to go to Australia until I visited Canada. There are many Australians visiting and traveling through Canada. I met a bunch of younger Australians (under 40) who were extremely rude and had bad manners towards Canadians and U.S. citizens and disrespectful towards people older than them. When they found out I was from the U.S. they said really insulting things about the President elect and it was really off. I’m really shocked at how arrogant they were and how wrong they were about what they were saying, disrespecting U.S. citizens when they knew nothing about what was going on. Most Americans or Canadians would NEVER say anything about another country’s Prime Minister, President, or leader to a citizen of that particular citizen. This left a very bad taste in my mouth and I will pass on Australia. #NoClassNoThanks

  • Raye Ulibarri

    Where at eyou that the Austrains are so friendly? I moved here because my partner was here and because trump us won in the u.s. .. I assumed aussies were kind and loving and I truly expected the majority to be respectful. All I can say is I am so disappointed in moving here.. people are not kind, not friendly, I work more than I ever did in the statea even though we get “4 weeks off here” ..yeah no. . I just can’t believe it .. I agreed with the obnoxious American status 100%.. now I am convinced that Aussies have no room to talk.. at all

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