30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia

Since moving to Australia in 2014 I’ve learned that some shiz is really weird in the land Down Under. Here are 30 random things you discover when you move to Australia.

1. A milk bar sells more than milk.

2. It’s weird having Christmas in summer, that’s why Christmas in July was invented.

3. Bank Holidays are called Public Holidays and they happen for events like Australia Day, Anzac Day and the Queen’s Birthday.

4. That EVERYTHING shuts on Good Friday and there are funny rules around the consumption of alcohol. (No takeaway booze and some joints make you order food with your drinks.)

30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia
Avo is life. So is coffee

5. You can’t buy booze in supermarkets or at the local convenience store but you can buy it from a drive-through bottle shop. (That will never not be weird to me!)

6. Renting a house is super competitive. They have Open Inspections (that last a whole 15 mins) where all interested parties view the place at once and you’ll overhear people applying to move in before you’ve finished checking out the bathroom.

7. Flats are called units.

8. Most houses don’t have an upstairs.

9. Trains (in Sydney) do though.

10. Unfurnished properties literally come with nothing. You have to buy your own fridge and washing machine, although most places have dishwashers integrated.

  1. 30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia
    Our first few weeks in Sydney looked like this as delivery takes 2.5 million weeks.

11. 9 out of 10 ATMS will charge you to withdraw money. It’s only free if you withdraw from your bank’s ATM or open an account with ING. (Update: These fees are in the process of being scrapped, hurrah!)

12. You’re going to clock up a lot of air miles.

13. And crap yourself each time you come through customs. (Does Cadbury’s count as dairy? I still haven’t worked it out.)

14. You’ll have to fill out a form to leave the country, which goes in a box and no one seems to read it. (Update: This has since been scrapped, hurrah!)

15. Distance is in km and you’ll see signs saying the next city/services/food/toilet is 3.5 million km away. (Or that’s how it feels to my bladder.)

30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia
Sunsets are regularly a marvel

16. Sourdough is everywhere, ditto avocado.

17. But you’ll struggle to find a good lemon drizzle (IMHO) and develop embarrassing cravings for Pret.

18. There’s a knack to eating Vegemite – lots of butter apparently. (I still don’t like it!)

19. Netflix is different – there’s a major lag on all the good stuff. Try subscribing to Stan to supplement it.

20. Sunscreen is always necessary.

21. The ocean is deadly.

30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia
Doesn’t stop people going for it!

22. So is the bush.

23. So is the city – you’ll always remember your first encounter with a ‘bin chicken’. (Is it just me they scare the bejeezus out of?)

24. You will pronounce lots of words incorrectly much to the amusement of the Aussies. (My serial offenders include Woolloomooloo, Wollongong and Wagga Wagga – and yes I googled all three to make sure they were spelt correctly.)

25. Flat Whites are overrated. (Sorry but it just tastes like a sour latte to me.)

26. Cup holders are not a thing. You need to adopt this weird finger and thumb grab on the lid and bottom of your coffee or else forfeit a layer of skin.

27. Visa paperwork is A PAIN.

30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia
We went to Wollongong once and I spent the whole journey saying it in an African accent. I don’t know why.

28. Posties don’t know how to ring doorbells and getting ‘carded’ is not a football reference.

29. Or footy, or soccer, or whatever you call it.

30. BUT there’s a big chance you won’t regret moving, even if just for a short stint.

Moving to Australia? Here’s everything you need to know to get set up and settled quickly. Or click here for more of my Expat Diaries.

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

11 thoughts on “30 Things You Learn When You Move To Australia”

  1. BIN CHICKEN! Yes. When I worked at a pub up from Circular Quay, people at that McDonalds were always feeding their chips to those beasts. They’re aggressive! They’d jump on tables and start chowing on customers food and we had to shoo them away.

    • I never eat outside near Circular Quay for this reason. I’ve seen whole sangas swiped from people’s hands!!

  2. Haha I actually worked at a sourdough bakery in Australia! (selling it, not making it) I couldn’t believe how popular it was, and avocados! Also lol’d at the “bin chicken” – I crapped myself the first time I saw one, too! Brush turkeys are weird as well… in fact, Australia is just weird!

  3. Australia is my priority for the next years (when travel is available again). I have always found this country unusual, although its climate and diversity of fauna are sometimes frightening.
    “Visa paperwork is A PAIN” is a good warning 😀 but I hope I will go through all the stages and not go crazy.


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