Embracing the Sands of Change: Relocating to Australia and Navigating Cultural Shifts

Even more so than the USA, Australia can boast of being a nation of immigrants – recent immigrants at that. Many readers will already have near and distant loved ones who have made the move down under and have lived to tell the tale – sisters, friends, great aunts, and third cousins only known through Facebook. So what about you? Could relocating to Australia be the right move for yourself and your family? Could 2024 be the year?

Honestly, it could be. Australia is one of the most popular and welcoming relocation destinations for Brits, with thousands of expats emigrating from the UK every year. The country is set up for immigration, with good facilities and infrastructure, a strict but fair immigration system, and a largely British-derived culture that is immediately familiar to anyone born and raised in the UK.

If you’re of working age with skills to offer the country in terms of professional qualifications or experience, and have enough capital to support yourself while you get set up (or accommodating friends or relatives), then there shouldn’t be any impediment to you moving to Australia.

However, Australia isn’t simply a hotter and more laid-back version of Britain. The nation’s culture has come a long way since the heyday of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and there is definitely a cultural adjustment to be made for anyone moving to Australia for the first time.

So, let’s look at the pros and cons of relocating to Australia and any cultural adjustments you might have to make.


The Australian climate and relaxed lifestyle are some of the main factors that draw immigrants across the world from the cloudy and rainswept islands of Western Europe. Australia is a hot and dry country, and that appeals to a lot of people. This doesn’t make the country a uniform desert – far from it. The country features several distinct climatic zones, from the more hot and wet tropical North (similar to India in many ways) to the relatively cool and temperate southern coast, the subtropical eastern seaboard, a Mediterranean-style climate on the East Coast, and a burning, arid desert in the centre.

The most popular locations for British immigrants, especially people moving for work, are the cosmopolitan cities of Perth in Western Australia, and Sydney on the temperate coast of New South Wales. The endless beaches of the eastern Gold Coast are also a popular location for retirees and people who work in the tourist trade.

With this diverse and pleasant climate comes the famous easy lifestyle associated with Australia. Australia has an attractive outdoors culture, with a strong sporting scene and beautiful landscapes for anyone who likes the great outdoors. People who enjoy water sports and outdoor activities of all kinds will love Australia, especially as the relatively low population and vast area means you can enjoy the pleasures of nature without the huge crowds and traffic you’d find in similar locations in the UK.

Low population density means that traffic jams are rare outside the major cities, and many locations provide good public transport links and free parking. Alongside this relaxed lifestyle comes a strong work ethic and a thriving economy, with an industrious business culture recognisably similar to London, New York, and Paris.

There’s also the lack of a language barrier. Australians are not just English speakers, but speak a version of English that is very similar in style and content to the English spoken in the UK, with a lot of the same slang, idioms, and meanings. There is also a lot of shared cultural ground between Australia and the UK, with common tastes in humour, literature, music, and films – far more so than you would find if you moved to the United States.


So, what about cultural challenges? The biggest shock that many new immigrants find is the sheer distance between their new home and their friends and family in the UK. Not only is it much harder and more expensive to pop back for a visit, but even arranging convenient times to video call or phone your family can be problematic. Sydney is 11 hours ahead of London, so when you’re at home at 9 PM missing the people you left behind, your friends and family in the UK will be tied up with the school run or morning commute at 8 AM – which restricts the times that you can realistically communicate.

Health care can also be a shock for people used to the UK’s NHS. The Australian health system is extremely good and efficient but is not universally free at the point of service. Emergency and essential hospital treatment is free, but there are charges to visit your GP, receive prescriptions, and receive non-urgent healthcare. Australia has a universal health insurance scheme called Medicare, and other private medical insurance schemes are available. Many people take out these top-up schemes through their work, so check with your new employer about any company schemes available.

Seasonal differences in Australia can also be disorientating for someone from the northern hemisphere. From the perspective of the UK, the seasons are completely back to front in Australia. Christmas, falling on 25th December, is in the middle of the summer in Australia, and August – when you might take a sun-drenched beach holiday in England or Europe – is a miserable month in many parts of Australia, with plenty of rain and occasional snow.

And let’s not forget the (in)famous Australian wildlife. As a nod to any Australian readers who are rolling their eyes at this, Australian wildlife really isn’t all that dangerous, but there are a few nasty species of spider that naïve Brits do need to be aware of, many of whom live in gardens and houses, even in the cities. There is no need to be paranoid about this. The most recent spider death in Australia was in 2016, and this was the nation’s first recorded spider-related death since 1981. Shark attacks are relatively rare, too. However, it makes sense to pick up good habits as quickly as possible, such as tapping shoes upside down before putting them on, disposing of any spiders sheltering there, and checking the local news for shark activity before going surfing.

Ready to make the big step? Get in touch today

Relocating to Australia is a big logistical step as well as a cultural shift, with plenty of things to organise as you prepare for your big move. Galleon International can support you at every step of the way, from planning the paperwork to moving your goods, pets, and even your car across the world to your new home. For more information about our services and the associated costs, please call us today for an informal chat on 01708963270.


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