The things I don’t love about living in Australia

This blog is all about balance. This blog is all about keeping it real. I told you the things I love about living in Australia, now it’s time for the not so good stuff. In the spirit of openness and transparency, here are the things that I don’t love about living in Australia.

Sometimes expat life isn't all roses - nowhere is perfect, so I'm sharing what I don't love about my new home country of Australia. See more at www.anestingnomad.com

It gets dark really quickly

Nights fall super fast in Australia. I’m used to the long twilight of the UK, particularly in summer (in the winter you don’t really notice it because it falls so early…). But here, it seems like it it bright sunshine one minute, and dark the next. If you want to enjoy the sunset somewhere, you’d better have your wits about you. And I find it makes me feel like I need to be going to bed far too early! To me, it being still hot at 8pm and also pitch black is very bizarre.

Sometimes expat life isn't all roses - nowhere is perfect, so I'm sharing what I don't love about my new home country of Australia. See more at www.anestingnomad.com

Taken at 6.15pm in September. About three minutes later, it was pitch black.

The cockroaches

You guys, they FLY. Enough said.

Drivers are not good

I don’t mean to go on a driving related rant here because nobody likes those. But drivers here tailgate so badly, drive unnecessarily aggressively, and regularly fail to indicate. It honestly makes me, normally a very confident driver, not want to get out on the roads at all. It doesn’t help that a lot of people here drive big SUVs or utes; seeing your entire rearview mirror full of grille is quite terrifying. What if someone then switches lane suddenly in front of you without indicating? What do you do??

Public transport is not good

So you decide you’re not going to risk it on the roads but instead will take public transport. Good luck with that. For a new city, things seem to have been cobbled together rather rapidly and without a great deal of thought. So you’ve got bus stops in the middle of motorways/freeways. Bus lanes crossing traffic. No cycle lanes. No metro/underground. Small patches with great and regular train options (luckily the case where we live, which is why we picked it) and huge swathes of the city nowhere near any trains whatsoever. New train stations are being planned with no parking. No real viable intercity travel. Definitely no high speed trains or anything modern like that. No real future planning. Heck, they’re just rebuilding the tram system (at huge expense and disruption) that they tore out 50 years ago. I don’t get it.

Sometimes expat life isn't all roses - nowhere is perfect, so I'm sharing what I don't love about my new home country of Australia. See more at www.anestingnomad.com

The trains are double decker though. That’s pretty cool.

Bushfires are scary

I still don’t really understand bushfires – in terms of, if you’ve never grown up with any sort of extreme weather/nature scenarios, it’s hard to fully appreciate them. I think most kids here are brought up with the knowledge of what to do if there’s a bushfire near you, but at the moment I feel totally uneducated and likely to do exactly the wrong thing should something bad happen. I live in the middle of a built up area so I’m pretty sure my fire risk is very small, but it’s definitely a risk eg when we’re travelling to more remote areas. Basically, bushfires terrify me.

House prices

I’ve banged on enough about this so I’ll keep it brief. I know it’s bad for the economy and whatnot but I secretly hope for a house price ‘correction’ so folks my age can stand a chance of getting on the property ladder. When the very ordinary flat you rent is worth $1.5m you just think why even bother?

Believe it or not, this hovel property sold recently for just over $1m. Which was over the guide price, may I add. Don’t believe me? Check out the property info here. It makes me wonder what kind of nutty city we live in where a 2 bed, 1 bath dilapidated shell (that requires you to sign a waiver before you walk inside!) sells for over the estimated value of a million dollars.

And on that mind boggling fact, I’m off to go and cry into my smashed avo*.

What do you not love about where you live? Dish, I’m nosy.

-Rachel

*Sydneysider in-joke. Apparently us millennials are spending all our money on avocado on toast and that’s the whole reason we can’t afford property. Not the fact that the required deposit for this particular hovel would be $200,000 (in order to avoid paying loan protection insurance of up to 4%). Don’t forget your stamp duty of nearly $41,000 and other buying costs so let’s round that up to an even total cash requirement of $250k in savings for the pleasure of buying a home you can’t even walk into without wearing full-body PPE.

Sometimes expat life isn't all roses - nowhere is perfect, so I'm sharing what I don't love about my new home country of Australia. See more at www.anestingnomad.com 

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21 Comments

  1. 23rd May 2018 / 23:48

    I’m with you on the cockroaches but I get the place sprayed once a year and hardly see any “touches wood.” Of course, that’s not much help when I’m out the house. Also agree about the drivers. I actually don’t/can’t drive but the drivers here make me a very nervous passenger, so much so, I’ve considered wearing an eye mask when in the car! The house prices are nuts, but I don’t think it’s much different from any other major city – rising house prices seems to be a global epidemic. The construction of overpriced housing that no (normal) body can afford really irks me plus it’s turning our beautiful city in to a high rise metropolis!

  2. 24th May 2018 / 03:26

    Oh jeez… these all sound horrible. Cockroaches, extreme weather, and over priced housing, no thanks!! Luckily there are tons of other good things about Australia that you love lol!

    As you know I’m currently based in Michigan and there are quite a few things I dislike, even though I’m happy living here at the moment! There is basically NO public transport, and we get extreme weather. I love thunderstorms etc. so that’s fine, but the blizzards, ice storms, and tornados aren’t so fun. The drivers here are pretty good and we don’t have any massive flying cockroaches. However it is all pretty flat and everything is SOOO far apart. And so many people have no interest in travel or ever leaving Michigan. To each their own, but I’d prefer it if it was easier to travel. Even if that means experiencing the extreme weather and crazy cockroaches of Australia, whenever I make my way over there!

  3. 24th May 2018 / 17:46

    I also miss the long summer days that we have in the USA–here’s it’s basically 7-7 daylight, all year round. I miss nights that stayed light till 10 pm! Of course I don’t miss the short days of winter. 😛 Housing prices are crazy here, too–not nearly so high as that, but then wages in Malaysia are probably much lower than wages in Australia, I would imagine, I have a good number of friends with jobs that pay between $1-$3 USD an hour….and the little apartment we live in in an older apartment complex which is rather run down…sells for nearly $200K USD…Where I’m from in the USA you can get a nice little house with a yard if you have that kind of money!

  4. 24th May 2018 / 20:12

    Yer… many similarities to NZ, I feel for ya. Sometimes I find it all too easy to just think about the bad stuff, but sitting in the sun and fresh air with a coffee in hand always cheers me up!

  5. 25th May 2018 / 00:15

    Ha yes, as Ngaire says, a lot of similarities. The over priced housing is definitely an issue in NZ, or at least in Auckland where I’m from, and it’s a worry for me!

  6. 25th May 2018 / 07:56

    A bucketload of nope at cockroaches – I do not think I could hack that. The driving thing is really interesting – I used to live in the Midlands and the motorways around Birmingham & Stoke were absolutely awful and sound exactly like you described (minus everyone driving SUVs of course) and the motorways in Scotland, by comparison, are a dream. They’re two-lane, so much quieter, and in general, the driving is better. Whenever I go back to the Midlands, pretty much as soon as I get into the Lake District the traffic seems ridiculously heavy and other people’s driving terrifies me.

  7. 25th May 2018 / 10:04

    This is so interesting to read about!! The cockroach situation in Hawaii is rough. Well, I had never personally experienced problems with roaches until recently. They suck but I found an exterminator that works miracles. The housing situation in Hawaii is also similar to Australia, I think. For Nick and me, this isn’t a huge deal because we get a housing allowance that is separate from his base pay. When you live somewhere with a higher cost of living, you get more housing money. When you move somewhere less expensive, you get less. You get to keep whatever housing money you don’t use. Sine Nick and I live in a small, older place, we actually get to keep some extra housing money! When we move back to the mainland we will probably have less money overall because we won’t be able to pocket extra housing money!!

  8. 26th May 2018 / 07:33

    Minus the flying cockroaches the items on your list are some of the same things I don’t love about California. The difference is aside from the housing prices the other things on your list are things I’ve never actually ever had (but think it would be nice to have) since I”ve lived in So Cal my whole life. I most certainly LOVED the long days when I was in Europe and the East coast also has pretty long day in the summer. We don’t call them bush fires but October is fire season here. I hear that drivers here are bad, but I really don’t know anything different!

  9. 26th May 2018 / 08:59

    Oh gosh, I could go on all day lol.
    But in reality, it’s so nice to see/hear/read about the less-than-perfect aspects of places. I would take that over the “must-see/must-do” blog posts. I just find it more interesting?

  10. 26th May 2018 / 13:49

    Yes, the public transport here even in Brisbane can be infuriating. We live near train and bus so we’ve got most avenues covered, but if was to go down the coast or up the coast, I’d need to go into the city first which seems a bit silly. The early night times are why I have to take my blog photos in the mornings, haha! It’s just not light enough when I get home!

    I’m lucky Brisbane isn’t as crazy as Sydney yet for house prices, but who knows what will happen in a few years. I think a lot of people are waiting for the market to go down again!

    Hope that you are having a great weekend! 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  11. 27th May 2018 / 08:18

    I lived in Hawaii for a couple of years when I was a child and one of my strongest memories is of the crazy cockroaches that were everywhere. They even came out of the faucets!

  12. 27th May 2018 / 18:27

    I hateee winter time because the sun sets so early an$ it’s so gloomy and blah – but I love summertime once daylight savings kicks in (after the first week of October).

    And yeah, don’t even get me started on the house prices. We should finally be able to buy after the end of this financial year but the prices are soul crushing. 😳😳😳

  13. 28th May 2018 / 15:53

    Cockroaches terrify me – so do slugs and snails and gawwd, there are ginormous snails here in Singy. And cockroaches but at least ours don’t fly! HA I’ve heard that public transport there is all over the place. I’m glad here its really good and super cheap. I’m not sure I’d be able to write a post on why I don’t like Sing w out getting backlash – as it’s heavily censored here……….

  14. 28th May 2018 / 16:58

    We went to the park the other day around 5 and it was so dark by the time we got there. It makes the days seem so short.

  15. KenP
    28th May 2018 / 20:56

    Thanks for the real estate post on that hovel that went for $1.050m! I live in Utah, where the housing prices are 1/10 per square that they are in Sydney ($400,000 for 3500 sq ft-353 sq meters). How can people afford a house in Newtown? Your post was just an amazing glimpse into another world that made me feel so fortunate to live where I do.

    I did live in the NT (North Territory, Australia) for 3 years and we had larger cockroaches than yours-the size of cuban cigars. They were called American Cockroaches! 15+ of them would nest in the reticulating system valve boxes and were impervious to bug bombs! The once nice thing about living nearer the equator was that we had lingering sunsets on the Darwin beach that we could have a picnic dinner watching. Too bad you could not go in the turquoise waters because of the box jellyfish and the salties (salt water crocodiles)!

    Thanks again and good luck!

  16. 28th May 2018 / 21:28

    ooooh house prices sound pretty awful! Though I find the UK very similar as I’m from Canada! It’s difficult sometimes to get used to such different cultural things, especially when they affect you, like public transport and generally accommodation prices!

  17. Lauren
    30th May 2018 / 23:16

    This post made me laugh and nod along in agreement (although not laughing about the Sydney house prices – that’s just ridiculous and sad and frustrating!!)
    In Scotland right now and have been loving how light is for so long – definitely something I’ll miss when heading back home!
    I know this is not good advice, but when people start tailgating me (when I’m going the limit and as long as it’s not busy) I deliberately slow down just to piss them off more (bad, I know… but I refuse to get a speeding fine just because they’re impatient!!)

  18. 31st May 2018 / 03:49

    yeahhhhh now i understand why people don’t buy houses at home. it was certainly never in my realm of ever-going-to-happen. pass the avo. lol.
    i will say, i do not miss cockroaches. logically i know they can’t hurt me and they aren’t dirty.. i grew up with them so whatever but 6 years without them, it would be really hard to ever adjust to seeing them frequently again, you know? the flying thing never became normal. why do they fly?!

  19. 31st May 2018 / 06:35

    That’s still so crazy to me about the property values! The amount of money that you’d need for a downpayment is what the value of our house is here in Texas. That’s so crazy! And I didn’t even realize how bad public transport was either! Houston doesn’t have great public transportation either, and I can’t even imagine how crazy it is for you to come from the UK that has a great system!

  20. 4th June 2018 / 04:56

    I loathe cockroaches. ESPECIALLY ONES THAT FLY. I’m with you on that. I remember reading that there are more bugs that can kill you in Australia than anywhere else in the world. I’m not into that life. LOL… though I would like to visit. I don’t like the getting dark early thing… when I lived in California, it was dark by 5pm in the winter. So depressing.

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