Australia is the dream country for many. But there are things I hate about living in Australia. Really? It almost sounds impossible. In some ways, Australia is the postcard country of the world. Think amazing beaches, cute furry animals, and the most livable cities in the world. People are friendly and the weather is good (well not always).
Life is pretty great here. There are countless things I really love about Australia and living here.
However, there are a few things that really drive me crazy. Some things on this list I hate about living in Australia are shared with my fellow Australians. And the others, well they are the unspoken bond between other Europeans who moved here recently. “Only in Australia” we whisper to each other with a wink.
So here is the list of 10 things I really hate about living in Australia. Although I admit hate is a strong word, I hope my Aussie mates will forgive me for using it. No worries, right?
1. English is the official language but you will be lost in translation
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – English has its own version here, slang and abbreviations are used everywhere.
If you come to Australia and English is your second language, then you will definitely struggle to understand Australians when you arrive. You might be fluent in the school-taught British or American English, but Australian English is full of slang and what is even worse – abbreviation. Abbreviations are really one of the key things I hate about living in Australia.
Not even watching the Crocodile Dundee movie a few times will get you up to speed. (But you might get a bigger knife.)
Firstly there are the abbreviations. Australians, I mean Aussies (see what I did there) shorten everything.
For example, sunglasses are sunnies.
Afternoon is arvo. Good Day becomes G’day. Avocado is Avo and Barbeques is Barbie.
And breakfast is brekkie. Even Facebook is shortened to facey.
Here is an example of a perfectly normal sentence:
“I went to a barbie in the arvo and lost my sunnies. I might post it to facey when I finish my avo toast for brekkie.”
Then there is Aussie slang:
“Tea” means obviously tea but also dinner.
“Chuck a U-ey” means to turn around when driving.
“No worries” is often used as you’re welcome.
And if someone is looking for “a dunny” you might be thinking he is looking for a person. I made this mistake too. So I asked if “Dunny” was a girl or boy. Dunny is slang for a toilet.
2. The Speed of the Internet
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – Slow Internet? Yup. Sadly the reality in Australia.
Internet in Australia sucks. The speed of the internet is one of the things Australians, as well as foreigners, hate about living in Australia.
Whenever I need to get something done online on this website I literally have to wait for pages to load. It’s painful.
To put it in perspective, Australia’s internet ranks 68th in the world with an average broadband speed of 58 Mbps. Way behind countries such as China, Slovakia, or the Bahamas. The fastest internet at 226Mbps is in Singapore which is more than four times faster than the internet.
The biggest irony is the wifi was invented in Australia. But don’t be fooled, finding free decent wifi is very rare. It’s defo (you guessed it: Aussie for definitely) one of the things I hate about living in Australia but so do all the tourists.
3. The distances are huge in Australia
The huge distances are one of the things I hate about living in Australia for sure. No, we can’t just road trip to Uluru for the weekend.
Everything in Australia is far. Want to drive up to the next capital city? Well, you better pack a lunch. If you wish to visit one of the main highlights that Australia is famous for, such as Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, or Sydney Operas House you will need to fly around.
Every time I leave Melbourne on an international flight to Europe, it takes 5-6 hours of the flight to just leave the Australian air space. And if you decide to visit the Northern Territory, Western Australia, or some parts of the outback, be prepared for long and empty roads. I come from a country where within 2 hours of driving I can be in three different countries. Different languages, cultures. So the huge distances here are not surprisingly one of the things I hate about living in Australia.
Coffee after 5 pm? Are you crazy? One of the things I hate about living in Australia.
This sounds like a real first-world problem, but when it comes to coffee, Australia is different.
Firstly, you can find some of the best coffees of your life if you grab a coffee in Melbourne or Sydney. But once you leave the capital cities you might as well get a coffee from a coffee machine at the servo (Australian for service station=fuel station) as most cafes do coffee badly. Milk is overheated, coffee is over-roasted and it almost always costs five dollars. I could probably add regional coffee to things I hate about living in Australia, but let’s not go there.
Secondly, Australians seem to like their coffee in the morning and many coffee shops and cafes close around 2-3 pm. If you are in the city. they might close at 4 pm or 5 pm. Bad luck if you want coffee after that. Well, there is always Macca’s (short for McDonald’s)
Coming from Europe where cafes are a real social affair this takes some time to get used to. Many Europeans tend to go for coffee to meet up with friends after work or to enjoy the afternoon on the weekend. And in the summer cafes are busy until late evening.
5. The high cost of living
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – The high cost of living.
The high prices and cost of living are some of the things I hate about living in Australia and so does everyone else. Sydney is officially one of the 15 most expensive cities in the world.
A quick lunch and a drink. That’s $25. Is your dream to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Prices start at $230 per person. A 15-minute bus ride from Melbourne airport to the city? Whopping $19 per person (and no the wifi onboard the bus won’t be fast).
Now of course the high cost of living reflects much higher wages in Australia compared to other countries. Even if you compare it to Europe.
But try to buy a house in Sydney where the median house costs 1.3 million.
However, the upside is that if you can earn, save and travel internationally, most destinations will be more affordable than prices at home.
6. The time zones are crazy
If you are living in one place you probably don’t have to worry about the time difference in each of the six states and two territories. But in case your work includes calling anyone from different states, you better learn this before you call someone at 6 am.
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – Confusing Timezones
There are three different time zones in Australia.
Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania follow Eastern Standard Time (AEST) is plus 10 hours (UTC +10)
South Australia and Northern territory follow Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) is plus 9.5 hours (UTC +9.5)
And Western Australia follows Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) is plus 8 hours (UTC +8).
It seems easy. Well apart from the fact that some states don’t follow daylight savings and some do. Something about following daylight savings will fade the curtains. Facepalm.
It’s 9 pm in Melbourne/Sydney, but 8 pm in Brisbane although they are in the same time zone.
In Darwin, it’s 7.30 pm while Adelaide is 6.30 pm but they are also in the same time zone.
And then in Perth in Western Australia, it is 6 pm!
This gets super confusing if you are living somewhere near the state border.
7. Shoes not worn outside but in the house
One of the things I hate about living in Australia is that people won’t take shoes off when they enter houses.
Australians have particularly weird ways when it comes to shoes. This is one of my pet peeves and I know other foreigners that hate this about Australia too.
Let me demonstrate:
Australians don’t take their shoes off when entering a house. They just wear them inside. What? I know. This is considered crazy in many cultures where you always take your shoes off when entering a house. In some European and Asian countries, you might change to home slippers.
It makes sense to me. I have just cleaned my floor and then you bring all the dirt from the outside in? Removing shoes keeps your home clean.
On the other hand, Australians tend not to wear shoes outside! Now don’t get me wrong, you probably won’t see people going into the bank in Sydney without shoes. But if you go anywhere along the coast and especially in Queensland or Western Australia you will see people just walking around barefoot. On the streets. Down to the beach. Into the bakery and shockingly I have seen people go barefoot into public toilets.
It’s perfectly normal to see signs: No shoes, No shirt, No service.
I thought they were just those tourist signs like “Life is better on the beach”. But sadly not.
8. The failure to do anything about the environment
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – Australia ranks last on climate action according to the latest U.N. report
Not to get political here, but Australia is by far the worst developed country when it comes to action to fight climate change. Did you know that Australia is one of the biggest contributors of CO2 per capita in the world? The coal and mining industry are the main contributors. Recently, Washington Post published this article: Australia ranks last on climate action in U.N. report
It seems strange that in a country that has been devasted by floods, droughts, and bushfires in just the past years’ climate change isn’t a top priority. And sadly while this is one of the things many Australians hate about Australia, the politicians don’t seem to focus on it. No real targets have been set.
9. The slow lane is completely irrelevant!
Things I Hate About Living In Australia – The Slow Lane vs Fast Lane in Australia. Is there even a difference?
Australians are some of the friendliest people in the world. That’s a fact. And they are also very polite. I am always amazed when someone apologizes to me in the supermarket when they have to walk past me in the aisle as I am browsing. With “Excuse me” most of them seem to be sorry that they have crossed my viewpoint for just half of the second. Just imagine! That would never happen in other countries.
Yet you put an Australian into a car and things change quickly.
Take the highway for example. There is a slow lane, but nobody cares! It drives me crazy every time someone overtakes me from the slow lane!
Of course, multiple lane roads have been designed with fast and slow lanes the same way as in Europe. There are simple rules. The fast lane of the highway is the fastest moving lane and it is the lane to overtake vehicles in the second or third lane which are slower. It keeps the traffic flowing. It prevents cars from crashing.
Not in Australia. It feels like they didn’t get the memo. Maybe it’s the Aussie laidback ness: “She’ll be right, mate.” as they say… It feels like Super Mario Game out there. And don’t even get me started on the indicators. Another one of the petty things I hate about living in Australia.
10. Everything here can kill you
Things I hate about living in Australia: Even cute animals can be dangerous!
If you want to live out your version of Survivor, just move down to Australia.
The picture of a beautiful beach, tropical jungle, or magical outback comes with some very dangerous friends.
Beautiful beach? Oh sorry, you can’t swim. It’s full of stingrays. Oh and mind the sharks and rips. They can be deadly.
Tropical jungle vibes? Well, look out for the crocodile in the creek. Obviously. And you think kangaroos are cute? Well, they can be vicious. Love wombats? Well, watch out for them as they can also charge you.
And the magical outback is not always so magical. Snakes are hidden in the bush and nobody warns you about the flies. There are thousands of them, all just wanting to fly into your ears, eyes, and your nostrils.
Come to think of it, the same animals Australia is famous for, might be part of things we hate about living in Australia too.
What do you think about the 10 things I hate about living in Australia? Is there anything to add? Let us know in the comments below…
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A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".