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Are you planning a life in Australia? Have you been dreaming of sunshine and beautiful beaches and a life in a country famous for its laid back way of life?

If so there must be a million questions you have about Aussie life such as: ” What is the cost of living in Australia?” “Is moving to the other side of the world really worth it?” as well as the obvious “Are all Australian animals deadly??”

Well after 6 months living in Queensland (we spent 3 months in Mackay in Northern Queensland and moved to Brisbane 3 months ago) I can sum up our experiences of life here and hopefully it will answer some of the questions you may have! If not come back for my soon to be updated “Australia Travel Guide” which will cover things more in-depth.

I think the best way to give you a flavour of the last 6 months is to look at what our experiences have been in terms of pros and cons. There were many times in the UK prior to our move when I totally panicked and didn’t want to leave the UK. It was a roller coaster of emotion and to be honest some days it is still like that! So as I like lists I decided to look at the pros and the cons of moving to the other side of the world (as they love to say on Wanted Down Under!!!) for us.



I think this will be the number one concern for most of you and I admit it is at times difficult. Missing Christmas for the first time with my daughter was hard. Missing being there for elderly family members is hard. We have a sim only deal with Telstra which gives us unlimited calls to a number of countries including the UK which helps as many elderly people don’t have Skype/Facetime etc.

However calls/Facetime/Skype don’t make up for not being there.

I also don’t speak to friends as much as I had hoped to either (time difference and everyone is getting on with their lives) but we are expecting our first visitors later this year which will be great!


We made the decision to leave our elderly dog in the UK and that has been very difficult. We miss her very much and although she is settled and being well loved and cared for my heart still hurts when I think about her. I would bring your pets if they are well enough to come. It may be a little more difficult to get a rental to begin with but not impossible.

sally the daschund


It is just basically a pain in the neck and you have to factor it in whenever you want to make that call back home. (And it is not easy to watch English football matches but to be honest that is a pro for me!!!!)


So featuring on both lists is the weather! Well basically in Queensland the humidity! It can be extremely humid and it isn’t pleasant. I saw a joke the other day about Queenslanders drowning in their own sweat in the summer and it is totally true! It is essential to put on sunscreen and a hat too or you will end up looking like a lobster or worse. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world so taking precautions to stay safe in the sun is a no-brainer.

hot weather in australia


Queensland doesn’t have daylight savings so prepare for darker evenings than you maybe used to particularly if you are from the UK!


This does balance with higher wages but be prepared for some crazy food prices! A big tip is to buy fruit and vegetables when they are in season as they will be far cheaper. Also if you like cut flowers in your house prepare to buy plastic ones if you live in Queensland!! Coles and Woolworths basically dominate the grocery shopping side of things though there are Aldi stores in Brisbane! I buy a lot of our fruit and veg from the local market which can be cheaper too.

Meat is excellent quality here (not bacon though or sausages) and I have found a local butcher too which is helpful. (North Lakes shopping centre if you live in Brisbane’s northern suburbs)

Books cost a fortune here too and if you love any particular magazines I find a subscription the best option if it is available to Australia (it works out cheaper than trying to buy them here – if you can find them!)

money money money - piles of coins


OK not all of Australian wildlife is cute – there are plenty of other critters out there that are not quite as appealing as a koala or wallaby.

So snakes, insects and bugs and yes blooming huge spiders are not on everyones “can’t wait to see that” list!! I have met 2 snakes so far in 6 months which is 2 too many in my view. We did expect to see them in Northern Queensland but I did rather jump when one crossed my path at the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane city last week!!!!

It is useful to learn a little about snakes in my view but to be honest I just assume every one I see is deadly and get out of its way.

scary animals in Australia include snakes spiders and crocs

Things I don't love about living in Australia



Yes I know thats obvious but seriously sometimes I pinch myself that I am living in such a beautiful country – so much to see and do. It would be impossible to see all of this magnificent country even in a lifetime I think – there are so many incredible beaches, amazing cities, the Great Barrier Reef, natural geographical marvels, islands that are paradise on earth and some of the most weird but wonderful wildlife you could ever possibly see anywhere! (More on those later)

The Best Things to Do in Queensland Australia


I do not miss a northern hemisphere winter that is for sure!! The weather is beautiful and I know that winter here will be amazing – warm days, cool nights and blue skies! I can only speak for Queensland here as I know my friends in Melbourne have a very different experience of weather (sometimes all in one day!)


I love the wildlife in Australia. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a wild koala or kangaroo! You will be woken up to a cacophany of birdsong every morning too.

cape hillsborough wallaby

A guide to the best time to see Cape Hillsborough kangaroos


This may not apply to everyone depending on their job but some professions such as nurses earn more than in the UK.


There is so much to do at a weekend here and inevitably it will be outdoors! The parks have free BBQ facilities and you will see families equipped with awnings, chairs, sports equipment, tents and all sorts of other “essentials” at parks/the beach at weekends. That is why so many people have SUV’s here I am sure – to be able to fit it all in!!!

You can be guaranteed great weather most of the time and eating outdoors is something we love.

breakfast at pethers on tambourine mountain


I love meeting new people and it has been great making friends here both with fellow Brits but also with Australians!! There are many Facebook groups which you can join to help you to settle in and you can go along to events organised by the groups too. I have started photography classes and my husband a tennis club so we are meeting new people that way too.


This makes it into both columns! Petrol is a lot cheaper than the UK though it does vary wildly from day-to-day here.

You can get some great second had deals too from Gumtree and if we decide to furnish a place (we rent furnished at the moment) we will buy most of it off there!)

K-Mart is also fantastic for kitchenware, outdoor supplies, clothes etc. I was told to pack coat hangers (?!) into our boxes as they are expensive here. I bought 24 for $2 at K-Mart so don’t bother putting any in your packing because that is as cheap as chips!

Flowers are expensive but I like this picture!

pretty pink roses


Yes you read that right! Breakfast is one meal the Australian’s excel at! And you can eat it outside…by the beach…in the sunshine!

breakfast in Oz

Yummy! 10 iconic Australian foods you have to try


We are quite far from Europe (yep an understatement I know) but we are so much closer to SE Asia, New Zealand, Japan, Fiji, Tahiti as well as the wonderful places to visit in Australia I am not complaining!


Your ultimate guide to visiting Uluru - the red heart of Australia


We have absolutely stunning sunsets in Australia – this one was taken overlooking Sydney but I have millions more photographs!

sydney skyline life in australia

15 photographs that will inspire you to visit Queensland


I absolutely love having a swim after dinner. Although we are in an apartment there is a pool in the complex so we head there nearly every evening for a dip. It means no suncream or hat is needed as it is dark. It is a great way to relax and cool off after a day at work.

Top 10 Things About Australia to Love


One of the most amazing places to spend a day in any city in the world. The only city in Australia with a man-made beach in the city Brisbane is fabulous! south bank in Brisbane Australia has a man made beach - life in australia

20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane


Ok so some of my pros and cons wouldn’t be your pros and cons – this is my experience of life in Queensland Australia over the past 6 months. And some of my pros and cons are quite little things while some of them are BIG like missing family and friends.

However the pros certainly outweigh the cons and when my daughter moves here later in the year there will be hefty swing in the PRO’S direction!

We love living in Australia and while some days I yearn for the familiarity of my old life we are starting to settle into life here.

If you want to read more about our experiences of life in Australia over the last 6 months check out my other posts in my expat diary series (including my popular “What I learnt this month” section!)





Living abroad - Australia - Rachel's story

Shopping in Australia - all you need to know!
10 Australian movies to watch before you visit!
A Brits Guide to Understanding Australian slang
How to see amazing Australian animals in Queensland


This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

50 thoughts on “An ex-pat review of life in Australia

  1. Katy says:

    I love seeing my country through fresh eyes. Missing family and friends is the hardest part about living abroad isnt it?

    I agree 100% about the general quality of pork products but we always buy from the produce markets instead of supermarkets and it is vastly superior.
    I missed produce markets and the need to eat seasonally when we lived in the UK. I found it quite shocking how much convenience and price drives eating decisions but I guess we are spoilt a bit here.

    You need to come to Melbourne one day. Let me know when you do! As you mentioned, it’s not so humid and we have GREAT coffee!

  2. Allison says:

    This was interesting for me to read as Australia is one of the locations available for overseas assignments with my husband’s company. I’m not going to lie, all the weird, creepy wildlife like spiders and snakes really scare me. But I’m sure the weather and outdoorsy things would make up for it. I’m definitely open to moving there. #FarawayFiles

  3. Vanessa Brune says:

    I can imagine that there are so many more things to love and dislike about life in Australia! When I think of the country, I certainly picture warm weather and sunshine all the time but I know that that’s not the case in reality, depending on where you actually live. So interesting to hear about the lack of daylight saving time – I certainly appreciate the long summer nights we have in Norway 🙂

    • TracyJane says:

      True Vanessa there are so many more things – I could have written forever on it! It is only Queensland that doesn’t have it which means we are time wise behind NSW and Victoria which is bizarre!

  4. Rachel says:

    I agree with so many of these things! It’s interesting to read your point of view, seeing as you arrived here at a similar time to me. You’re so right about the dark evenings, I really noticed that vs our nice long summer evenings in the UK. Even in the summer here, it’s still dark relatively early. It must be even worse up north where you are!

    I’m quite jealous of your apartment swimming pool, that would be such a great bonus. We have shops around the corner instead – you win some, you lose some!

  5. Shona says:

    I really look forward to your Aussie-based posts. It’s so interesting to hear an outside view of my home country. Being an expat, it also reminds me how fortunate I was to grow up there.
    I must admit, not having huntsmen & snakes in my expat life is one of my pros. 😉

  6. Kate and Kris says:

    That’s interesting about the petrol. I’d heard that the cost of living was much higher these days, and that’s why a lot of UK expats are moving home, but didn’t know some things were cheaper. I can imagine the time difference is a right pain. It was bad enough in Vietnam and Thailand!

  7. California Globetrotter says:

    Moving abroad and leaving pets behind is the hardest thing ever. I also left my baby girl behind and I’ve been gone now for 5 years and she died in October and what was heartbreaking was that I didn’t get to say goodbye 🙁 #FeetDoTravel

  8. Sarah says:

    What an excellent list of showing what it’s like to be an expat in Australia. That photo of the sunset in Sydney is stunning… I might move there just for that!

  9. leanne says:

    ah this bought back memories of when I lived in byron bay for 2 years! amazing time! Though i felt the cost of living was definitely outweighed by the better wages which was great! pricey for travellers though!

  10. Sarah says:

    Awesome post, I find it really interesting seeing it from an expat’s POV, the things we take for granted, or just learn to live with that we don’t even give a second thought to.

  11. Nicky says:

    This is a wonderfully open and honest evaluation (glad I’m not the only one who watches Wanted Down Under!), and it looks absolutely beautiful – I’m sure that all the things you miss about the UK will get easier in time!

  12. Jill says:

    What a timely post as my youngest daughter has arrived for a year of expat life in Sydney today! She has spent the last two years living in Korea and is now moving on to Australia – luckily she knows several people who live there so she has had some help in paving the way. And even though it’s difficult having her so far away, I am excited to make my first trip to Australia to see her and experience her world there.

  13. Christina says:

    I’ve always wanted to live in Australia so thank you for this awesome post! I’m still super terrified of all the critters (I mean blooming spiders, who even knew those were a thing??) but I’d say all the beautiful cities/scenery would make it worth it 😉

  14. Katie says:

    I hope you’re enjoying your time in Australia! The time difference massively sucks, we found that when moving to this side of the world! It is so hard to remember when family and friends will be around to Skype! The weather here in China is so extreme too! I don’t envy your wildlife, spiders freak me out! But yay a massive PRO is that you are living in awesome Australia! 🙂

  15. Katherine says:

    It’s nice to see my home country through someone else’s eyes! It can be a pretty expensive place to live but it sounds like you’re making a good go of it 🙂

    • TracyJane says:

      It sure is more expensive for a lot of things – I only buy seasonal produce here for example whereas in the UK you can get it any time. Don;t think that is a bad thing as it has to be better for the environment and sustainability in the long run.

  16. Pingback: Visiting Queensland - check out 20 things to do in South Bank Brisbane

  17. Rachel says:

    Hi Tracy, enjoyed reading your post. So many pros and cons to balance but life in Australia looks great for you overall. Rachel

  18. Angelina says:

    We’ve moved many times, I totaly understand how all this goes. It’s always a mixed blessing isn’t it? I missed so much of Canada when I lived in Japan, then I returned back to Canada only to miss Japan. Great story

    • TracyJane says:

      It totally is isn’t it – I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had settled and stayed in one place (probably easier in some ways) but then I think what I would have missed out on!

  19. Jenn | By Land and Sea says:

    I love the different points you raise here – both good and bad. There’s a lot to consider when becoming an expat. It’s interesting about meat being expensive because Australia and New Zealand are huge exporters, so you think the prices locally would be less.

  20. Phoebe | Lou Messugo says:

    So happy to hear the pros are outweighing the cons for you Tracy. Such a big adventure. I’m sure this post will be very helpful for anyone moving or deciding whether to move to Australia. #farawayfiles

  21. Myrrazen Kate says:

    I have always been too scared of the wildlife I always see on TV that is said to be found in Australia but it’s still a country on my bucket list. I’m not sure if I would want to live there though. Anyhow, I’m glad you’re loving your life there, Tracy! Thanks for this post!

    xx Myrra,

  22. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) says:

    Great article on an expat’s perspective of a life in Australia. I agree the hardest is missing family, friends, and pets but the excitement of exploring is so much fun. Looking forward to your Uluru Easter trip and travel tips. Good point on buying fruits and vegetables in season to help keep the cost down. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

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