Best and Worst of Australia

Thinking of visiting Australia either as a tourist, backpacker, or on a working holiday visa?

Exotic and exciting adventures await you in Australia, with our outdoor lifestyle, beautiful beaches, and friendly multi-cultural society.

There are a few things you might want to know before you get here. Here are some of the best and worst things about Australia

The Best of Australia

Beaches

Waterfall Beach, Albany, Western Australia

It is really hard to beat an Aussie beach. I can safely say that, as I have experienced so many of them around the world.

As the biggest island nation we have over 10,000 beaches to explore. The majority of these are natural, unspoilt and wild or in sheltered coves, the sand glows white or golden, the water is clear, and the surf is usually pumping. Even our city beaches are pretty damn beautiful.

Outback

Don't miss Uluru in the Northern Territory of Australia
Uluru is a must see when you are planning a road trip in Australia

Marsupials

kangaroos on the beach

They’re cute, furry and cuddly- well not really, most of them do pack a punch. A koala is a vicious fighter if provoked, kangaroos are known to box, wombats will give you nasty bites and you never want to mess with a Tazzy Devil.

Australia is known for its marsupials; we are the only country in the world that has them (expect for some wallabies and possums in New Zealand).

Lucky for you, you will have ample opportunity to see them at our many wildlife parks. You won’t have as much in the wild, although sighting kangaroos is pretty easy.

Great Climate

Sunset silhouette at Agnes Water Beach - Queensland, Australia

Outdoor Lifestyle

Kayaking at Lara Wetlands - Highlight of our Outback Queensland road trip

Thanks to our climate, Australia has a very active outdoor lifestyle. Any chance we can get, Aussies are outside enjoying the sun.

Whether it is sport, hanging at the beach, dining and drinking outside, having barbecues and picnics, or just out walking or running, there are plenty to things to keep you occupied in the Great Outdoors. Just don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.

Aussie Slang

Aussie Slang
Aussie Slang

I love Australian slang. It is our only little language which is so much fun to speak when those around you haven’t a clue what you are saying. Power to the Aussie English speakers.

An American friend of ours often spoke of how she would sit, as us Aussies would talk, completely bewildered to what we were saying. She knew we were speaking English but could not make any sense out of it.

We shorten our words, we add things to them, and we speak in rhyming slang which turns everyday conversations into riddles.

We love it.

Aboriginal Culture

Ubirr Aboriginal Rock Art - Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Kakadu National Park

The oldest living civilization in the world, you cannot come to Australia without spending time getting to know this amazing culture.

They lived a nomadic life off the earth for 50,000 years before white people came along, without ever experiencing sickness such as the common cold.

They hold so many secrets about life that we could all learn from.

Seafood and Mangoes

Delicious - BBQ Moreton Bay Bugs at 2Fish Restaurant, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

‘Mango time with Mummy‘ is one of Kalyra and my favourite things to do. Australian mangoes are delicious; I’ve never tasted a better one anywhere else, even when I had them dropping on my tent all day long in Malawi. As we have a tropical climate, a lot of our fruit is something to rave about.

With all that ocean on our shores, it is no wonder that we have an abundance of seafood to enjoy. There is not much that distinguishes our food from other countries, but our seafood is definitely a stand out. Our prawns are big, sweet and tasty, our calamari soft and succulent and our barramundi fresh and flaky.

You want oysters? we’ve got fresh ones. You want fresh and juicy balmain bugs, mud crabs, lobster, scampi, octopus? We’ve got those too!

It’s time I fired up the barbie and cooked a seafood feast.

The Worst of Australia

Internet/Telecommunications

stay internet safe when traveling with VPN NordVPN

If you have been following our tweets over the past year you will know just how irritated we are on a daily basis by Australia’s internet and telecommunications. They border on the edge of embarrassing.

I can’t believe how dreadful it is in comparison to other countries around the world, especially considering we are quite a wealthy first world nation. The internet is slow and costly, and mobile phone service is never reliable.

Telstra is our major player and if you intend on visiting areas outside of the major cities then you have to go with Telstra or you just won’t get quality service. Telstra, of course, is the most expensive and their customer service is ridiculously bad. They are my most despised company in the world.

Optus are the next biggest provider and while their prices are cheaper, they provide value and their customer service is better, their connection and service reach is not great.

High Cost of Living

There is a reason why 4 Australian cities just made the Top 15 most expensive places to live in the world. I am shocked daily, not just by the high price of everything here, but by the poor service and quality that comes with it.

Australia is not going to be a cheap destination to visit. You are going to have plan carefully to reduce your costs while travelling here.

Craig and I often call it the Land of Taxes, Fines and Fees. Everywhere you turn there is a new tax law being introduced or a rule that will impose a fine or a fee on you for something or another.

Many Rules

koala spotting on Kangaroo Island South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on Kangaroo Island

My brother has always joked that soon they will be fining us for farting in public in Australia. We are not too far off it. You can now get fined for offensive swearing in public, or soon to be introduced, fines for walking and texting.

Instead of implementing programs that teach our citizens how to be responsible and productive members of society, our government believes that to control the masses more rules need to be introduced. Rules made for the minority of idiots who can’t act like grown-ups, which affect the majority of responsible, hard working people and so limiting their freedoms to enjoy their life.

The lunatics run the asylum.

Don’t think of entering a pub with a hat on your head, ditch the rat’s tails (really a good rule) keep your shirt on at football games…

Poor Customer Service

If you are American, you are really going to notice this. You are not going to have wait staff appearing at your table every five minutes to fill up your water glass, check that your meals are okay, or ask if you would like anything else.

In fact you could be sitting there for half an hour before someone even comes over to take your order. Don’t expect a smile or “Come back next time.” Then again you don’t need to tip in Australia.

Deadly Animals

Get up close with saltwater crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Eight of the world’s most poisonous snakes, the deadliest spider,  box jellyfish and conefish that can kill you within minutes, shark filled oceans, and crocs that lurk beneath the murky waters, Australia is the land of creatures that are out to kill you.

Just make sure you do through your day in Oz projecting the energy that you believe Australia to be the greatest nation on earth and they will leave you alone.

True.

Many people won’t visit Australia because they are scared of our deadly animals. Don’t be. I’ve rarely seen any of them. Alas though, they are there, so err on the side of caution and use your common sense.

As we like to say in Australia “She’ll be right, mate!”

Harsh Sun

Streaky Bay is a must stop on your road trip with kids in South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on the Eyre Peninsula

There is a reason why Australia has the highest case of skin cancer in the world. Our sun is brutal.

I have olive skin so I don’t really burn, except for when I am in Australia. Give me half an hour in the sun I will start to redden. You can feel the heat searing your skin.

Many cars have wool steering wheel covers. If you don’t and your car has been sitting in the sun for an hour, as soon as you put your hands on the wheel they will sizzle. It makes driving near impossible.

It doesn’t matter what country you visit, there are going to be bests and worsts. All you need to do is be prepared to overcome the challenges of the worsts and concentrate on thoroughly enjoying the best the country has to offer.

Useful Australia posts

59 thoughts on “Best and Worst of Australia”

  1. Hey guys great balanced post, as someone who has just moved to Australia on a working holiday visa I can relate to alot of what you are saying now. Especially things like the cost of living here and strickt ruleswith thinks like drinking and RSA. I hope however that the positiveslike the good weather, beaches and outdoor lifestyle will make it a great adventure!

    1. It certainly will! The bad stuff sucks but you can work around it. There is plenty of adventure to be have and you will have such an amazing time

  2. Ok I agree with pretty much EVERYTHING you said… Except the spider!

    The Brazilian wandering spiders appeared in Guinness World Records 2010 as the world’s most venomous spider.
    I know I know but I had to be anal about something! lol

    The high cost of living is disgusting and so is the internet/mobile service or lack there of.
    Cost of food is so prohibitive that many elderly people and low income earners are havign to choose atm between eating or paying their electricity and heatign through winter.

    We are moving to Malaysia to cut our own costs and save money.

    1. Have not heard of the Brazilian wandering spider. It needs to go an wander away so we can still claim the deadliest spider 🙂 I don’t blame you for moving to Malaysia. We want to move somewhere where the cost of living is less too. Quality of life is what it’s all about

  3. So true. The rules, the poor customer service, the embarrassing internet connections … when I got home after living in the US, I was appalled by these quirks. TELSTRA deserves its own headline under ‘cons’ as they encapsulate everything bad about Australia! Oh well, each county has its pros and cons. As for the so-called ‘great climate’—that’s a bit Queensland-centric of you. I’m freezing my ass off in Melbourne. 🙂

    1. I’m glad we aren’t the only ones appalled by these things! We are not the only traitors hey!! You’re freezing down there. We have just had about 3 days of warm spring weather in Sydney and its set to stay that way for the week. Awesome!!

  4. So pleased the pluses outnumber the minuses in this post!
    Another plus is not only the outback but Australia’s rainforest and Antarctic Beech trees that date back to when Australia was part of Gondwanaland ~ magical 🙂

    1. Love the rainforest! REally want to get up to Daintree. Thanks for pointing that out. I have not heard of those treees before but I would love to see them I love trees!!

  5. Maggie from Destination Exploration

    Very good to know about all the best and worst of a destination before you travel there! Even with all the deadly animals and harsh sun, I still am dying to visit Oz!!!

  6. Great post, guys! Love what you wrote in your “best” section – I’ve only been to Bondi Beach, but would love to explore more of what Australia has to offer!

    The fish & chips were amazing, too – but not quite as good as in my native England 😉

    The sun…damn, I’ve never experienced sunburn like that in my life. I’m a blond-haired, blue-eyed thing, but I don’t burn too easily so figured I wouldn’t need it if I was only out and about for an hour or two…WRONG.

    I was wearing so much after-sun lotion that when I left via Sydney Airport, I got pulled over when going through security as the amount of liquid on my body triggered an extra security check! (it seems now that instead of the liquids-in-bags rule, it can be applied to your body, too!)

    Luckily one look at my glowing red skin was all it took for the Sheila on duty to figure out I’d been roasted by the sun and she sent me on my way!

    1. Australia has a lot of beaches that are better than Bondi- you’ll love them.
      I can’t believe you got pulled over for too much sunscreen!! That is hilarious, but what a story. Aussies can generally pick a tourist out on the beach by how sunburnt they are. You can tell they have no idea just how harsh she is!

  7. I LOVE the seafood and mangoes! Love love love them!

    The many rules and the poor customer service are things I have definitely noticed, but not the poor telecommunications. Luckily mine have been ok (fingers crossed this continues!!!)

    1. I hope you continue to have good telecommunicataions experience. I think we must have gotten all your bad stuff instead. Glad you like the seafood and mangoes

  8. I tend to always think the worst of living in America, although I find that after a long time away I miss it’s comforts. Then I get reminded of something like healthcare and I vow to always live in a better place… like Australia.

    Just about every one of these things listed I remember, both good and bad. I think I want to get away from a bad health care system and low wages and escape to high wages and no tipping; then I remember that a drink costs $15 and I won’t be able to work on the internet all day.

    I guess that just goes to show that there is good and bad about each and every country and you have to decide what’s worth dealing with in order to live in the place you want!

    The mangos… oh I have been dreaming about them since I had my first perfectly ripe and juicy one just a week after getting to Sydney! I can’t wait to get my hands on some fruit!

    1. I do appreciate not having to pay for health care right now. They are certainly trying to change things here though.
      The high wages really aren’t such an attraction anymore as everything is so expensive, prices are rising and new tax laws keep getting introduced.
      You do have to balance it up and decide what is worth dealing with. That is why we are keen to move again. For us, we aren’t having the quality of life we;ve been able to have elsewhere. Each person is different though

  9. Except for the animals and the climate, and that we have apples and blueberries instead of mangoes, this could be about Norway 🙂

    And I’ll take “bad” customer service any day over waiters introducing themselves, constantly filling up glasses, asking again and again if everything’s OK, and generally hovering about… very annoying.

    1. Interesting to hear that about Norway! Our sister country 🙂 I don’t like the overbearing service either, but sometimes when I am sitting at the table, dying of thirst and starving I do kind of long for that

  10. Totally agree with most of these–especially love the slang part! Those comics are amazing! Definitely over the high cost of living, and the rules can be a bit ridiculous. But the sport and outdoor culture here totally makes it 🙂

  11. oh how the deadly creatures bit made me laugh! i had a nasty spider bite within the first day we were in australia, and then of course the headline of the next morning’s papers was all about some huge surge in the population of deadly spiders. of course that calmed me right down?! stopped at the chemist to ask if he thought i should pop to the doctor and his answer was ‘if it was gonna kill ya, you’d already be dead’. good to know. 🙂 took 3 weeks to heal but all fine in the end! definitely made me realise i’d gone a bit soft from living in a country with no deadly spiders for a long while. 🙂

  12. *rereads the list again*

    yep, gotta nod in agreement here too. Especially have to agree with the language thing – where I live and work in England, I’m not around any Aussies, so I’ve become quite conscious of how I pronounce various words. When I do find myself chatting with Aussies, I know I slip back into my usual habits.

    1. It’s so great to reconnect with Aussies after some time apart and you can slip back into that speak and know you are understood. It can be a great laugh and so refreshing.

    1. Honesty is the only way I roll 🙂 There’s good and bad everywhere, you can’t be in denial about it. You’ll have a great time when you are here though, that is for sure!

  13. Good list! I agree that it is really expensive to live there, but I found it all evened out since the wages are so high. $17 an hour for waiting tables-that’s amazing!!! I lived a great life.

    1. We don’t find that it balances out that well with the wages. If you don’t have certain other “normal” life costs then it may just work out fine. But if you look at the costs of elecricity and mortgages here for example, it is just crippling to many people.

  14. Australia would be a wonderful place to visit but as you mentioned it’s very expensive. Since I’ve got home to Canada I can’t believe how expensive it is here as well. Relative to the US, where the dollar is now higher, Canada is far more expensive. I’m trying to be really careful what I spend over the next few weeks before I head back to Korea!

    1. Sometimes you just have to hibernate in order to not spend. It is really hard to come back to after expereincing what you can get for far less in other countries. You have to try not to compare but it is almost impossible. I can’t stop dreaming of the fact that in Thailand I could have a maid, and eat out three times a day, have a massage a week and have left over money for fun and savings for no where near close to what my lviing costs are here. Now that is hard to beat.

  15. Awesome Post. I will be making my way over to Australia before too long! I used to hang out with many Aussies when I worked on board a cruise ship based in Hawaii. You should list one of your pros as their capability of consuming GALLONS of beer. lol

    1. Well that is a definite pro!! I think of a lot of unsuspecting nationalities stuck drinking with us, they may disagree the next morning!! But if you find it a great thing, then you will fit in really well when you arrive Ronald!

  16. I actually find our deadly animals a big part of the country’s charm. It’s almost like we’re this last frontier that has never quite been tamed. I’m very proud of that.

    As for our telcomms, believe it or not, our 3G network is the best in the world. It’s even in the Guinness Book of Records!

    1. You are pulling my leg Chris.. I cannot believe for a second that it is. If it is there is something going wrong with the implementation of it 🙂
      I kinda dig our deadly animals as well! Makes me feel like a wild warrior myself for surviving this long without a scratch!

  17. Totally agree with you on the high cost of living and internet.
    I moved to Oz a few years ago and was gobsmacked when they told me it would take 5 weeks to know whether I could get broadband… not have it installed, just to be told whether we could have it or not! When you work online that’s nuts. Had to spend countless hours fighting for space in the local library.

    And don’t start me on the cost of living!! I moved here from London and can say hand on heart it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay more expensive in Melbourne.

    Otherwise, I do love the place 🙂

  18. I pretty much agree with everything here. While I love travelling to check things out, there is no way in the world I would give up my Australian citizenship for anything! Can totally understand why people would risk their life on a boat to get here.

    Sometimes, I get a bit annoyed with all the ‘rules’ (holy nanny state batman!), but the diversity of Australia is the winner for me!

    With the deadly animals – you would have to be unlucky to be killed by one. They’re more scared of you than you are of them.

  19. I know complaining about the state of internet and cost of living in Australia is a big thing at the moment, but I don’t agree. I think the cost of living is a lot higher in the UK or the US and definitely in places like Indonesia if you are a low-income earner. People that visit Australia for short periods have a poor currency conversion rate to deal with. People that live in oz earn high wages. You can easily live well in Australia as waiter or cleaner.

    As for internet, Australia often ranks ahead of the USA in terms of internet penetration, speed, quality, cost and mobility. Almost everyone in metropolitan areas can access internet at about 10mbit or higher via ADSL2+ and 3G access is widespread around the country and quite cheap compared to the US.

    1. Everyone sees things differently. But after living in the US, the UK and Thailand I disagree. The high wages don’t compensate for the ridiculous prices of property, electricity, food and so forth. You can’t buy a 3 bedroom shack for under $350,000 in my home town. I could buy a massive home for that back in Raleigh. Every single person i know is struggling under the high costs of lviing here. It is constantly in the news and 4 of our cities made the Top 15 most expensive places to live in the world. WE don’t have that many cities. As for internet and telecommunciations, there is one company in this country who has the coverage and the monopoly. The majority of Australians who live outside major cities only have that as their option if they want to connect with the wider world, It’s expensive and their service is appalling.

      In the states I can buy a six pack of beer for $6 or a jug at the bar for $8. Not going to happen here. The wages are lower but not by that much but the taxes are a lot less.
      i’m not saying all this to attack Australia, I’m just saying what I notice about the quality of my life here compared to what I’ve experieenced in many other countries, and what many of travellers/tourists coming to Australia say, and what many other Australians are also experiencing.

      1. You cannot compare major Australian cities to country towns in USA like Raleigh. IF you look at cost of living in New York or LA or even DC its same as Sydney and Melbourne. The only reason Australia feels expensive is as a migrant you only go to major cities to live and work and of course they are expensive anywhere you see in this western world.

        1. We’re not migrants, we Australian. Trust us we are born and bred and have lived around the world. Australia is expensive. If you look at the most expensive cities in the world for this year, Sydney is at 3 and Melbourne is at 5. There are no US cities in the Top 10. The US has way more cities than Australia so you’d expect that any of these you mentioned would at least be there, but they are not. And the high cost of living is wide spread for all Australians. And Raleigh is not a country town, it is a city of half a million people.

          1. I do understand your opinion and I agree that travelling, every day commodities and eating out cost more in Australia than US but housing prices and rents are similar or even less when you compare with NYC or LA ( I lived in both for a combined 10 years). But then there are positives like Healthcare and no tipping system and higher min wages that balance out for some of these things. I feel Australia is lil expensive than US and of course the number one reason is less population and less local produce competition but its not much ahead of Big Financial capitals of the world. But overall natural beauty, easy going lifestyle and sense of community in Australia makes it worth every penny.

          2. I think the post is really balanced in saying why Australia is a great country. But, I’m going to be honest with my readers, many of who want to visit Australia. It’s expensive. I’m not dissing on Australia, I’m not even comparing it to other countries. It’s expensive. And any traveller coming here needs to be aware of it. And every traveller I know who has visited here will say it’s expensive. Our aim is to show our readers how they can make it worth despite this. People who are coming here are not earning an Australian wage so it’s not relevant for them. This post is written for travellers.

  20. A great post and too true! I burn pretty bad in the UK so I was prepared for the lobster effect when I got to Australia. Slathered myself up with sun cream on the beach but forgot one important part…my feet!! Could barely walk for a good few weeks! Still, you live and you learn and its safe to say that whenever I smell suncream now, it reminds me of my time in Oz 🙂 the bad points are outweighed by the good points ten fold!

  21. I was afraid deadly animals when I was coming to Australia first time. Thought I was spending a lot of time outdoors but in 2.5 years I saw only one snake and couple spiders (huntsmans, which are not dangerous anyway).

    1. Huntsmen are hideous. They are everywhere. One dropped on my friends face in the middle of the night when she was sleeping. Gross

  22. Hello, I am from the U.S. and want to come there for vacay in December to get a feel for Australia. Is it hard for a U.S. citizen to move there and start over?

    Thanks for any comments

    1. I’m not really sure what the options are for a US citizen to move here. I know there are working holiday visa options but to immigrate I really can’t say.

      I think the options differ per nationality and according to individual circumstances.
      It is best to contact the Australian embassy to find out what applies to you.

      1. Thanks so much for replying. I think I will start off coming there on vacation first. We actually have an Australian consulate here in our building.

        Thanks again.

        1. Deborah,

          You need to check out the skilled migration job list and only if your job is in demand in Australia you qualify to apply for immigration. Other options are if you have immediate family who can sponsor or you invest in Australia which can be very expensive.

          Hope this helps.

  23. Do you mean to say your internet is even worse than that in South Africa? (and its much beloved monopoly company, Telkom?)

  24. Australia is a peaceful place, it a best country to live. Australia is third longest life expectancy in the world. It have very good swimming pool, and surf in the ocean all years around. The weather was very nice and sunshine.

  25. A great post on both sides of the argument… Australia is an expensive place to live, especially in some areas which I learn upon moving their myself. There are high skin cancer rates due to the sun – so if you have fair skin it may not be for you. But there are more positives than negatives in my experience, though I still get freaked out by the bugs and spiders!

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