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However, it's all too easy to see a country through rose-coloured glasses. To help expats get a fuller picture of the country, here's a round-up of the pros and cons of moving to Australia. 

Accommodation in Australia

As with most developed countries, accommodation varies with location. Compact apartments and townhouses in the city offer easy access to the hustle and bustle, while suburban dwellings a little further away from the city centre offer space and a sense of community.

+ PRO: Lots of choice There is a wide array of real estate options throughout Australia depending on an expat's requirements and budget. Renting is popular in cities and in most cases, it is possible to find a reasonably priced place to rent.

- CON: Property is expensive On the other hand, while purchasing a property in an Australian city will offer plenty of choice, home buyers need to be aware that real estate law in Australia favours the seller, so plenty of research is essential before making an offer on a home. Competition against local and overseas investors can be fierce, so expats should be prepared to dig deep into their pockets for their perfect Aussie home.

Cost of living in Australia

Gone are the days of Australia being a cheap place to live in comparison with the UK or US. In recent years Sydney has been reported as being significantly more expensive than other notoriously pricey global destinations, but it’s not all bad news.

 + PRO: High minimum wage and great standard of living There is no getting away from Australian cities being expensive places to live, but salaries are also comparatively high. The cost of living may be high but the standard of living is as well, so residents feel it is worth paying that bit more to reside in Australia.

- CON: Groceries and utilities are expensive The price of food and utilities has risen dramatically over recent years and shows little sign of slowing. The price of everyday goods can certainly be a shock to those fresh off the plane.

Lifestyle and culture in Australia

Australia is first and foremost a friendly and accommodating country. The cities especially have a wide range of residents from all over the globe. The outdoor lifestyle encourages people to come together, whether around a barbeque, at sporting events or just a gathering of like-minded individuals.

+ PRO: Great climate and lots of sporting events Australian cities play host to many sporting events throughout the year with something to suit every sports fan. Outdoor activities are also popular, so it is easy to stay healthy in Australia. Running and cycling are especially popular in cities and can be kept up throughout the winter months due to the warm climate.

- CON: Lack of activity in small towns If not living in Sydney or Melbourne, cultural activities such as opera and ballet may be more difficult to find. Small towns may have a cinema, but the main weekend attraction in rural areas is likely to be a football match.

Healthcare in Australia

Healthcare in Australia is a mixture of private health insurance and state provided care. Those eligible for Medicare, either as a resident or a citizen of a country for which there is a reciprocal healthcare agreement, are able to access subsidised necessary treatment. For those who cannot access Medicare or for treatment which is not deemed necessary, private health insurance is recommended.

+ PRO: Good quality public and private healthcare The healthcare system in Australia is of a high quality. Both public and private hospitals are well equipped and provide top-notch service. Both systems can be used by expats and it is easy to get to grips with what is and what isn’t available publicly.

 - CON: Private health insurance is expensive  Private health insurance is generally expensive and is a cost most expats will have to factor in. For some visa categories, expats ineligible for Medicare are required to take out private health insurance as a condition of their visa. 

Education and schools in Australia

Education in Australia is generally excellent with good services and teaching staff. Schools are a mixture of public and private, with parents being able to choose which suits their family situation.

+ PRO: Some reasonably priced schools and reputable universities Private schools have a reputation that often casts them as exorbitantly priced same-sex boarding schools, and although these exist, there is far more choice on offer throughout Australia. Some private schools are very reasonably priced and offer students a wider range of activities and subjects than may be offered at a public school.

- CON: High fees at private and international schools in Australia Private schooling can be expensive for families and competition can be fierce. Similarly, university-goers without Australian residency and international students can be hit with high tuition fees.

Driving and transport in Australia

Australia is a very large country and, with the majority of the population living in coastal areas, transportation between states can be expensive. The most popular way to travel between states is by air and there are regular flights between Australian cities. However, in areas that are more sparsely populated, even buses and trains can be less frequent or non-existent.

+ PRO: Great travel opportunities within Australia and good city transportation Australia offers a diverse climate and a wealth of unique wildlife meaning that only a short plane trip can feel like landing in another country. Although cities do vary, urban transport in Australia is generally good, offering trams, trains and buses, although this varies from city to city.

- CON: Travelling to isolated places is difficult and journeys between cities can be long If one is not travelling by plane, getting between states can be time-consuming and costly. Any other forms of transport will tend to take many hours.

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Originally published: https://www.expatarrivals.com

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