Pros and Cons of Living in Australia vs. North America

WhiteKangarooHeaderI spent some time living in Sydney last year and  I just wanted to make a list of advantages and disadvantages to help out people who are planning to move there.


The people are friendlier

Sydney has the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Nobody cares about anything and it’s really easy making friends, especially if you’re a foreigner. Once in Melbourne, I passed a group of people taking photos and they just invited to their friend’s birthday party, just like that. Amazing.

Fruits are cheaper

You can get like 5 apples for just a few bucks at any supermarket.

The weather is amazing

It never gets past 30 degrees in Sydney. It’s also very dry and windy instead of humid. It doesn’t snow or rain a lot.

There’s always something to do

The locals always want to go out and do something. People never really stay home and watch television like they do in North America.

The universities are easier

The work load is a lot lighter. People don’t really study that much there and they rather go to the beach instead. They also only take 4 courses there, as opposed to 5 per semester.

The beaches are wonderful

The beaches are so pretty. My favourite ones were Bondi and Tamarama. Surfing is part of everyday life.

The transportation is convenient

There is good transportation everywhere in Sydney. The trains are amazing and can get you anywhere. They also come frequently.

The wages are impressive

Minimum wage is much higher there. For instance, if you work at McDonald’s, you make like $25/hour.

The ice cream is great

Sydney and Melbourne has some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Messina’s and Anita’s gelato have the most flavours.

Dating is easier

The guys aren’t shy there and they will hit on you, unlike North America, where girls have to work hard to get a date. The guys act more like ‘gentlemen’ as well.

The Nightlife is spectacular

One word = Newtown.

The Airfare is cheap

You can fly between Melbourne and Sydney for as low as $70 on Jetstar.

There is no tipping

This is the best, especially when you go to expensive restaurants. Taxi drivers also don’t expect tips.

Taxes are included in prices

You don’t have to think about how much something is going to cost when you go up to the cashier. What is says on the tag is what you pay. Also, all the prices are rounded to whole numbers.

Phone plans are much cheaper

I had 12GBs of data on my phone for just $50/month. In Canada, I pay $100/month for 5GBs. I recommend Vodafone for the best prices.

There are month to month leases

This is great, especially if you can’t commit to an apartment. In North America, one year leases are the norm.

The animals/wildlife is like no other

You can see Kangaroos anywhere outside major cities. They are so cute and friendly. Also, you can visit them at Wildlife parks. A nice one is Featherdale in Sydney.


The food is worse

The food is terrible compared to North America. There’s hardly any variety and nothing special. Finding a Greek or Israeli restaurant is tough in Sydney. I also got food poisoning twice.

Homes have no installation

It gets really cold in the winter months and the houses don’t have installation. You either have to buy a portable heater or suffer. The apartment buildings also aren’t built well for cold weather. It gets down to below 10 degrees and life is really difficult without heating.

There are heaps of cockroaches

I don’t think this is a problem in Melbourne. But in Sydney, there are cockroaches everywhere in the summer. You’ll see many different types and some of them fly. You can’t escape them. I’ve also seen them in shopping malls  and in restaurants during the day.

There are no bathrooms in fast food places

Yeah, if you need to wash your hands before you eat, that’s going to be a problem.

Alcohol is crazy expensive

It depends where you go, but cocktails can cost between $10 and $28. The cheapest drink you can get would be a gin and tonic for about $6-8.

A lot of places don’t take credit and debit cards

This is really annoying because, you have to make sure you always have cash with you.

Famous bands and musicians hardly tour there

If you’re really into international musicians, you might miss out by living in Australia. I never went to a concert in the 6 months that I lived in Sydney.

There are no dryers

Most people hang their clothes after washing them. This takes so long and takes up so much space, especially if you live in a small apartment.

Food portions are smaller

This is only an advantage if you don’t like to eat.

Stores and fast food places close really early

In sydney, stores and shopping centres normally close around 5/6PM everyday except Thursday. On Thursday, they’re only open until 9PM. Also, many fast food restaurants close around 8PM. If you eat dinner really late, this can be a very difficult transition. This is probably the worst thing about living in Sydney.

Regardless of the flaws, I’d pick to live in Australia over North America any day. It’s just way more fun.


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