An eastern water dragon posing

Best and Worst Things About Living in Australia

A quick run down on the benefits and disadvantages of living in Australia. I’d love it if you can help me out and pitch in some of your ideas about the best and worst things about living in Australia by leaving a comment at the end.

The Benefits and Best Things About Living in Australia

  • Great weather
  • Interesting birds and wildlife
  • Good schools
  • Friendly, funny people
  • Safe and politically stable
  • Great and diverse scenery
  • Swimming in warm ocean and excellent public pools
  • Outdoor Lifestyle,  lots of bike and walking tracks
  • Sporting opportunities
  • Camping galore
  • Beaut beaches
  • Surfing all year round
  • $4 clean skin wines from Dan Murphy

The Worst Things About Living in Australia

  • Very suburban
  • Skin cancer rates, highest in the world
  • Complicated tax system and high taxes – Business owners need to get a good accountant and decent online tax software to stay on top of it.
  • Dangerous wildlife like snakes and spiders
  • Droughts, water shortages and forest fires
  • Cockroaches, in every Queensland rental house apparently
  • Surf Rage incidents and crowded surf breaks
  • Hideous crows cawing at all hours and raiding bins

Well, the benefits and good things about living in Australia far outweigh the drawbacks so that seems to be the right balance for a happy lifestyle.

What do you think are the benefits of living in Australia? What are the best things about living in Australia and what are the worst things?

Please add your comments below.

Related articles

>> New to Noosa
>> Best and Worst Things About Living in Queensland


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Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

snow white July 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Licensing laws. They have laws for everything possible, making work and earning a living unbelievable in some trades.


Bob May 27, 2014 at 11:19 pm

So you think that we should give guns away in banks like the USA?!?!?


Daniel September 2, 2015 at 4:09 am

That doesn’t, and never has, actually happened. Michael Moore made it up with paid actors. This is kind of common knowledge.

Annabel Candy July 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Once again, you prove to be more informative than me. Thanks! Huh, maybe you’ve got used to those rules and regulations:) The Alice licensing laws sound like an effective barrier to drinking. I’m not averse to seeing the odd snake from a distance after being conditioned to living with snakes in Costa Rica. Recently, I did skid to a halt outside a neighbor’s house at the sight of a ten foot python lounging on his front lawn but it turned out to be a loved pet!

Wow, it looks like I missed out on a lot of worsts. Luckily we don’t have box jellies or salties here on the Sunshine Coast. But you’ve got me worried, what on earth are irukandj and coneshells. No, on second thoughts I don’t want to know!


Andy MacGregor July 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Ive always found it strange that Aus has such a high suicide rate amongst young males when it appears to have so much going for it. Sorry to be morbid !


Janet July 20, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Down side: Your children will grow up to be Aussies!
Up side: Savings on heating your home!

PS You need to read up on cone shells if you are going to live in the tropics! Wear good water shoes.


Teresa July 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm

ooh I am not sure I would go into the water after reading all that!


CoralM July 21, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Hi Annabel

I think the Noosa area is just fantastic. I love walking in the National Park and I love the beautiful white sand beaches. The people are nice too! The government pay our medical bills, our power bills are low, we have fresh tropical fruit for breakfast and prawns cooked on the BBQ for dinner. The sun shines in a cornflower blue sky. It is indeed the ‘Lucky Country’.

Negatives? I seem to be buying a lot of sunglasses!


Janine July 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Perscription charges
The state of the roads (pot holes)


Sharon (thesunlitdesk) July 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm

You forgot Cane Toads on the Worst list (at least for Queensland). Cane Toads on the road, in the dogs drinking water, drowning fish in the pond (it happened to my mother’s fish), choking water ways with their eggs, croaking in drain pipes at all hours of the night. I’d also like to add mosquitoes. They’ve died down now because it’s winter, but the little buggers are still around and come out when the weather is warm enough. I’d also add ants and Medicare. On the best list there’s also Cherry Ripes, Jack’s salt and vinegar chips and Aussie beef (I’ve had it in NZ, USA, including Hawaii, and Ireland and my butcher beats em all).
Great post, mate.


SergioM July 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I haven’t been in Australia and I’d like to. However, Australia is too far from Spain and the flight is expensive :-( Well, someday!

I’m looking forward to reading more posts to leave you some productive comment. So long!


Carolyn Cordon August 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Worst part – some of our politicians
Best part – some of our politicians

There’s lots more but I think those two are important. We need to do away with State governments, I think.


Unemployed British migrant August 11, 2009 at 11:01 am

Snow White is quite correct, and I think the discussion got diverted onto Liquor Licensing Laws when it should have remained on Ocupational Licensing Laws, which in Queensland are quite restrictive.

Australia goes out to the world to recruit `skilled people’, and then when they get here, State legislation stands between them and employment. I write from personal bitter experience.

This is a wonderful country to live in, but if it is ever going to compete on a per-capita productivity basis with (eg) the US or (God forbid) China, then every person with a skill must be allowed to gainfully use it, to be able to earn their living and contribute to Australia’s development via the Taxation System.


Annabel Candy August 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Thanks for raising these important issues. One of my reasons for writing this type of post was to make people who are thinking of moving to Australia more aware of the problems. I read too many posts on forums from new immigrants who are going back home, usually because they cannot find work or afford the housing.

I agree with you that there are too many rules and regulations here. It’s depressing how hard it is to do some things.

Sorry to read about your bad experience. I recently wrote what I hope is a winning job application letter for a friend. If I’d be happy to write one for you too or help in anyway I can. Just let me to write a job application letter for you to send to prospective employers with your CV.

I recommend you keep smiling and actively seek work by applying for jobs on spec or starting your own business. I wish you luck with all your plans.


Unemployed British migrant August 17, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Thanks Annabel for your encouraging words, but I’ve already done the self-employed bit, and 5,000+ job applications down the line I’m wearing out of new ideas for those as well.
If this post is aimed at prospective migrants, my advice would be not to burn your bridges in the UK, so you can retrace your steps if necessary. We had such faith in the boundless opportunities supposedly available in the `Lucky Country’ we didn’t provide for the possibility that we might one day need to return from whence we came.


Vegemite Vix November 12, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Hi Annabel, I would say that one of the best things about OZ would be (for you, and for me a fellow Kiwi) that it’s not ‘home’. Moving to a new country offers so much in life lessons; in learning about yourself, in bringing your family closer, and in becoming more expansive towards other people and other countries.

Of course one of the downsides would also be ‘that it’s not home’. Because? Because no matter how much you like it until you really settle you will feel like the new girl at a new school!

I know this because I have lived in Australia and because last year I moved to the other side of the world (along with my dog, cat and three kids!) to live with a wonderful Englishman in rural Hampshire. II’ve been here just over a year and have been writing about my experiences in this new world (to me) on my blog. As the UK is the 4th country I’ve lived in I have a few ideas about the expat experience :-)


scheng1 November 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

haha, you will go mad if you migrate to Singapore! It’s heat and humidity, plus looking out of your window to see the opposite blocks of apartment.


Australian Sites March 14, 2010 at 12:54 am

The worst thing as far as I’m concerned is recently Australia seems content to let itself slip back into the dark ages as far as internet censorship and internet access is concerned.

Tackling access first, it is insane that the kinds of speeds and access available in Australia at a high cost is so behind other developed countries – Our fastest connections here are comparable to what is offered free as a basic service in some countries and those in rural areas suffer very much (Dial up or paying thousands of dollars to set up satellite is all that’s available in my town)

As for censorship – what a joke, we condemn other countries for doing the same yet our Gov is happy to take away our rights to control our own choices :(

I agree with every aspect of your good list though :)


Hamid March 29, 2010 at 2:43 am


Can someone please tell me how dangerous is the living in Australia to get the skin cancer because im from Persia and I luv the sunshine and have no problem with that and planing to come and study in Melbourne but people told me the ozone layer is pretty close to australia and its a big risk to live there even they told me about some spiders in the cities…and im a lil dissapointed cuz i really like AU and i think its a nice n friendly country ! :( so plz let me know about everything if you live there,,,


Abbas Hussain December 28, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi hamid, just read your comments on Au 2010, was you born there or emigrated from Iran to AU? I live in the UK and me and my wife who is a midwife are thinking of moving , had enough of the UK.


Rosie March 15, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Don’t worry, Hamid. I live in australia and I promise that you will not get skin cancer if you are careful and always wear sunscreen and a hat.


Sara October 22, 2015 at 9:24 am

Hey my name is Sara I live in Florida USA , skin cancer is a large factor in this state, mostly because people that move here are from up north and don’t listen to the warnings of skin cancer in our state. I have worked in Dermatology with a board certified MOHS surgeon for the last 10 years. I have seen cancers aside from melanoma that people have never even heard of that are just as dangerous, people in general should protect themselves from sun to the best of their ability. I have a young family and we go to the beaches here every summer I make my kids use a high spf sunblock and reapply it every 2-3 hours. Zinc is the safest sunblock to use. Just food for thought sun is a factor in many places.

Annabel Candy March 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hamid – Skin cancer is a risk here because if the ozone, the sunny weather and the outdoor lifestyle. When you visit take precautions. Stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm. Always wear a hat and sunscreen.


Nikki November 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

I love living in Australia.
I came from New Zealand and spent too long scared of Australias spiders and snakes.
In my first year here, I had an encounter with a large fluffy spider and just recently I came across a 7 foot python. I not only survived but, once I realised they were not poisonous, fanged or dangerous, I loved the experience. The wildlife here is amazing.
It is worth taking some precautions when out in the wilder parts of the country but for the most part there is nothing to worry about.
I agree with all the best things mentioned and would like to add to that list the amazing variety of scenery, wildlife, birds and climates.
As for the bad, there are politicians, taxes, rules and restrictions everywhere. Did I mention that I love Australia?


Sarah Lawson June 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hi Annabel,
Nice list you have here! I strongly agree that Aussies are friendly and funny. Everyone has their own story to tell.. and don’t forget our unique Australian slang! I must say, we are very creative when it comes to speaking (makes it harder for other people to understand our English at times).

There are lots of good schools that’s why different people from different countries go to Australia just to study. And it’s a good thing. In fact Australia is the best place for international students.

We have a very rich culture. Learning about our undying Aboriginal culture is one of the most important things you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Australia.


Hossam June 16, 2015 at 8:01 am

Hey Annabel
your topic is so important to me, i am from Egypt and i got offer from Australia (wooow soooo far) but i am searching for new location with work, Life, fun, and future. so do you think i am taking the right decision :D ?
also do you think i may have the option to open my own business or it’s not easy in Australia ?


Jewin November 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

Hi annabel im from zimbabwe i want to know much about australia


Annabel Candy July 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Yes, this is a definite worst I missed out on, thank you. There are so many hideous rules and regulations here it’s boring and a big time-waster too.


Desertgirl July 20, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Do we really? I’d not noticed, just assumed every country had its quirky rules & regulations. Mind you, the liquor licensing laws in Alice Springs (as opposed to any other town in the Northern Territory) take some beating. I still don’t understand them. I stand outside the store, reading through the list of what you can and can’t buy, how much you can purchase in one day, and at what time of day … then I give up. House guests are requested to please provide their own alcohol. :)

As for the cockroaches … well, you are in nice, warm, humid Qld. Venture south for colder climates, fewer cockroaches and those that exist tend to be smaller.

Poisonous snakes are exciting. No, really they are. Nothing like them to get the adrenaline pumping. :) But honestly, you rarely see them, even out in the bush. Must admit that Qld’s big, bulky pythons take the breathe away … and yet they’re harmless. Well, they’re not poisonous.

As for box jellyfish & irukandj, yes well. As Bill Bryson once observed, best not to go in the water at all in Australia! We won’t mention the salt water crocodiles. Or the Great White Sharks. Or coneshells. Or bluebottles. Hmm, I’m thinking Bryson had a point. :)

You missed out cyclones & floods. :)


Annabel Candy July 20, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Thanks for raising this, it’s something I’d been wanting to tackle but wasn’t sure how to fit it in.

I’ve done a little research at the Australian Department of Health and Aging website, ($File/8aust.pdf) and this is what I’ve discovered:

1. There are plenty of countries with higher suicide rates than Australia, such as Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium, Japan and, the worst affected, Russia.
2. Suicide rates for Indigenous Australians are significantly higher (maybe as much as 40% higher) than for the Australian population as a whole.
3. Indigenous Australians are high risk for suicide due to more frequent exposure to risk factors such as poverty, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence and abuse, crime leading to arrest and imprisonment and living in remote communities.
4. At a recent talk on the stolen generations by Judi Wickes it was suggested that some social problems experienced by Aboriginals today are a direct result of Aboriginal children being taken away from their families many generations ago. This resulted in traumatised parents, and children who were raised in institutions without parental role models and with a loss of cultural identity and pride. It is felt that the repercussions of this are still being felt today, several generations later.
5. So what can be done to resolve these problems many of which are leading to high suicide rates? I recently read a very interesting article in The Australian by Peter Shergold, Devolve Power to the People, (,,25761425-5014047,00.html) which recommends that the current policy of making Aboriginals victims reliant on the state in the form of state benefits be reformulated so that Indiginous people can work together to create solutions to the problems that effect them.

There, who says we can’t tackle some tough issues here? But fear not, I’m aiming to provide a bit of light entertainment with my next post.


Annabel Candy July 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Haha! Actually they will be dispossessed Kiwis. I just got some new Chaco rafting sandals to replace the one (no typo!) that got stolen so they’ll be ideal for wearing in or out of the water. Yes, we are making a big saving on heating, thermal undies and ear muffs. But we shell out vast sums on suntan cream, rash tops and membership of the Australian Surf Life Saving Club, so I think it all balances out in the end!


Desertgirl July 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm

You do get box jellies & irukandji on Sunshine Coast, just not in big numbers. They often stop around Fraser Island, but some years drift further south. They put out warnings when that happens. Most Aussies are not aware of the dangers of picking up live coneshells. :(


Desertgirl July 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Rates in rural areas used to be much higher than in cities, not sure if that’s still the case. And it was mainly farming communities affected rather than the townies.

With the Indiginous rates of suicide amongst young males, much of the problem lies in the fact that it is considered a taboo subject within their culture (in the NT & northern WA at least). The organisation I now work for is doing a lot of suicide prevention work aimed at the aboriginal communities, with some degree of progress. To be hoped funding and success continue.


Annabel Candy July 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

Hmm, I can see another post coming: the dangers of living in Australia.


Annabel Candy July 21, 2009 at 7:46 am

DG: That’s great that you’re involved with this and doing your part to improve it. I suppose that the more awareness and discussion around the topic, the better.
T: The outdoor public pools are great! I think you would enjoy the red rocket. Pictures here:)


Annabel Candy July 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Yes, indeed, and we’re pretty lucky to live here too!


Annabel Candy July 21, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I guess that all of these are negatives, but I could be wrong:) It costs an arm and a leg to get prescription medicine, even if you ask for the cheaper Australian made brand. So, I agree, GST, prescription charges and graffiti all suck. Drugs, I can’t comment as I haven’t tried them. Just kidding, judging by the safe places to dispose of used syringes in every single public toilet there does seem to be a drug problem though I’m not sure if it’s worse than anywhere else. As for the roads, trust me, they are dreamy after a year in Costa Rica where the potholes are so big you could lose you car in one. Thanks for pitching in!


Annabel Candy July 22, 2009 at 5:43 am

I know cane toads are supposed to be a huge problem here, and I’m writing a short story set here in which they play a pivotal role, but I’ve never actually seen one in the wild since I’ve been in Australia! In their native Costa Rica we had the exact problems you’re describing though. So, the worst comes down to beasts and bugs and the best food. It is great here and there’s such a huge range of fresh fruit and veggies too. Cheers, mate!


Annabel Candy July 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Sergio, you will be welcome any day. I met one of your country men this evening, he’s living here in Noosa and loving it. I hope you’ll be able to visit soon, con suerte. Muchas gracias para sus palabras lindas y hasta pronto:)


Joe April 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

The places to dispose of needles in public bathrooms are also for people with diabeties who need to take insulin


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