Living in Australia

by Bob Sheth on December 13, 2009

in Australia, Australia Immigration

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Australia is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. It ranks among the highest in health care, life expectancy, quality of life, human development, public education, economic freedom and the protection of rights and liberties. It is also one of the major players in the United Nations, the G-20, the Commonwealth of Nations, the OECD, the WTO and its regional partners in ANZUS.

The Geography and Climate of Australia

This island continent is the sixth largest country in the world with a total of 25,893 square kilometers. It has its economic zone that includes part of the Antartic. The western half of Australia, called the Western Plateau is flatlands broken only be some mountain ranges such as the Hammersley, the MacDonnell and the Musgrave. The area is generally arid with large rivers such as the Murchison, Ashburton and the Victoria. The area known as the Australian Outback is located in this region.

The west is separated from the east by the Great Dividing Range. The east has the coastal plains, the most rainfall, the most abundant wildlife the most human settlements. Off the coast is the world’s largest coral reef system called the Great Barrier Reef. Also located nearby is the mountainous island of Tasmania. Most of the region is tropical in clime with winters and summers varying in the most urbanized regions in the country.

The Central Lowlands has the Great Artesian Basin and the Australia’s largest river systems. This area experiences large rainfall with much of the forest as well as lush marshland that remains in the region. With the varied and wide terrain of the country, you can opt to situate yourself in an area of your choice that is best suited to your capacities and taste.

The Major Cities in Australia

The following are the major cities in Australia:

a)      Canberra – This is the capital of Australia. The city was the result of a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. It is a highly planned city uses natural vegetation and the cityscape to form an environmental haven.

b)      Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and the state capital of New South Wales. Its inhabitants are called Sydneysiders and Sydney is often called “the Harbour City” with the Sydney Opera House as one of the major centers in the area. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants to Australia. According to the Mercer cost of living survey, Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, and the 66th most expensive in the world. Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most livable cities in the world /

c)       Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities and has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia’s most modern and multicultural cities.

d)       Brisbane is the state capital of the Australian state of Queensland and is the largest city in that state. With an estimated population of approximately 2 million, it is also the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane is fast becoming a world city renowned for its culture, architecture and landscape.

e)      Adelaide is the capital and most populous city of South Australia, and is the fifth-largest city in Australia. The city’s design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parkland. Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food, wine and culture, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It continues to rank highly as a livable city, being in the Top 10 in The Economist’s World’s Most Livable Cities index.

f)        Hobart is the state capital and the most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, Hobart is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania.

g)      Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and is the second most populous city in Australia. The Central Business District is the anchor of the greater geographical area. T he metropolis is also notable for its distinct blend of contemporary and Victorian architecture, expansive parks and gardens, alleyway and arcade culture in a diverse multicultural society. It is also home to the world’s largest tram network in the country.  Melbourne also ranks amongst the world’s most livable cities by The Economist magazine in 2000.

h)      Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. Perth ranks fourth amongst the nation’s cities, with a growth rate consistently above the national average. Perth is tied for fifth place in The Economist’s 2009 list of the World’s Most Livable Cities.

Cost of Living in Australia

The rule of thumb when living Down Under is where you live determines the cost of living expenses.  It is thus quite difficult to calculate the average cost as this is highly influenced by an individual’s circumstances and lifestyle. What has been observed though is that manufactured goods tend to be more expensive especially imported goods. This is due to the higher cost of transporting the goods to Australian markets.

Australia prices are nearly at the level of North American, Western European and Japanese counterparts. A basi c meal can cost between $5 to $10 while a café meal can cost as much as $10 to $15. A real fancy meal can set you back above $15.

Renting a car can cost as much as $65 per day while public transport can cost as much as $10 to $17 a day. Fuel costs in Australia are lower compared to European pump prices but more expensive than American costs. Overall it can cost around $200 per month. Due to the immensity of the country, this is an important part of your daily life.

If you are an immigrant, one of the great challenges is adjusting to the cost of living in Australia. Overall, the cost of living in Australia is high and they start even before moving into your new home. These initial costs start with traveling and the moving costs to Australia.

Upon reaching Australian soil, the immediate concern is accommodations and housing costs. This depends largely on your chosen area and the kind of home suitable to your requirements. Another aspect that needs to be considered is between mortgaging your intended home or just in renting it. The current cost of a home in Australia is at $300,000 and at the rate interest the monthly amortization can boil down to $900 a month. On the other hand, rentals can range between $400 and $1800 per month.

Added on to the cost of the home are the utilities bills for water, building insurance, electricity, gas, phone bill and Internet bill. This can amount to $100 per month and this increases the overall budget for a new immigrant. You still need to add on the food costs, though the costs are lower compared to European good costs. It would be best to budget around $400 per month for food costs.

On the upside, permanent residents benefit from subsidized health care and services in the form of hospital bill s payment and drug costs. Health insurance though is large expense for an individual as this can cost at least $70 per person.

Thus having a means of income in Australia is essential. This is the only way you and your family would be able to survive living in Australia.

The Simple Guide to Living in Australia

Once you have completed the above discussions requirements, day to day living in Australia will be a breeze. Here are some other tips that may prove to be helpful in your new life Down Under.

1)      Basic Knowledge. You need to understand the colloquialisms and the metric measuring system. This will help you in your daily tasks ahead in living in Australia.

2)      The seasons in Australia. Here in Oz, going to the beach on Christmas day is your way of celebrating a white Christmas. Also instead of Snowmen, koala bears and gum trees are part and parcel of your Christmas celebration.

3)      Immerse yourself in the culture. Australia has a different and truly original cultural history. You can do this by reading up, watching film and stopping by museums and historical places.

4)      Try the cuisine. The true Oz cuisine is yours to enjoy not only to expand your experience but also fill your palate. Also the beer is much stronger and their alcohol is rather strong compared to other spirits.

5)      Imbibe the workplace atmosphere. Here, unions are strong and getting along with co-workers seems to be more important than impressing the boss. There’s a morning break called a smoko and there is afternoon tea breaks thanks to the British influence.

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