Australia is the dream of many travelers and therefore I know that there will be a lot of people not sharing my opinion, but I cant help it. When I was younger I always wondered what it would be like to live in Australia. Why? I actually don’t really know. I think because it was so damn far away from Europe I’d always been super excited to travel Down Under. Australia attracts travelers from all over the world and yes they definitely offer some amazingly unique experiences like kangaroo’s, the Opera House, koalas, endless beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, etc. The best places to see in Australia are fabulous and there are tons of other reasons to love Australia, yet still it is not my favourite country!
My first trip to Australia
It was the beginning of 2009 when I first set foot on the biggest island in the world and traveled the around the country with my best friend for about 10 weeks. We rented cars, traveled by bus and crossed the country ticking off all the best places to see in Australia: Uluru, Melbourne, Sydney, Great Ocean Road, Surfcamps, Fraser Island, Whitsunday Islands, Noosa, Byron Bay, Great Barrier Reef, Surfers Paradise and many more places. And I understand that all these tourist attractions are reasons to love Australia. It was a crazy time and most of all an amazing journey!
Once back in Europe when people asked me about my trip around the world I never really spoke about Australia in such a way that I was super enthusiastic. In 1 year I traveled through 24 countries in North, Central and South America, Oceania and Asia. I would always be speaking about South America, New Zealand or South East Asia. I never said I hated Australia, my Down Under trip was an epic one, but not among the highlights of traveling around the world for a year.
I started asking myself why do tourists visit Australia? Because thinking back about what I actually did I think I can come up with some great tours, hanging out on beaches and partying, drinking, partying and drinking. Basically getting a taste of Aussie culture. ;) How much money did that cost me? I don’t want to talk about that… way too much!!! For the same money I spend 10 weeks traveling in Australia I could have lived 6 months in Asia.
Now that you know where I have been you cant say I haven’t formed a proper opinion creating a list with things I don't love about Australia. I can even tell what’s it like to live in Australia as in the end of 2016 I was living in Sydney for 2 times 10 weeks. Read here how I ended up working in Sydney on a Working Holiday Visa.
12 Reasons to not love Australia
1. Too expensive
First of all life in Australia is really expensive. The cost of living is higher than in most countries around the world. Yes salaries are really good but then again you have to work hard to play hard. In 2016 I came back to Australia to work on a Working Holiday Visa and although I had an amazing time living in Sydney for a couple months, it was nothing quite like the Australian Dream many youngster think it is.
Click on the link and let me tell you what’s like to live in Australia. How much you think my rent was per week? Traveling around is even more expensive and expect to pay a lot of money for the best places to see in Australia.
Staying connected when traveling in Australia does not have to be crazy expensive and it actually is cheaper than in many other countries around the world. Get yourself an e-sim card on the internet before your trip to Australia or buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival at any of the international airports: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney. Check out my sim card guides in the links.
2. Remote location
To get Down Under is not easy, to get away is a pain in the ass. No wonder that most Australians spend their holidays in their own country. Flying overseas take hours and is therefore expensive, apart from Bali of course. I was in contact with a couple organisations which invited me on press trips while I was living in Sydney but when I mentioned that I was based in Sydney they all bailed out. To get somewhere else in the world you at least need two long flights. Guess my blog is not yet big enough to sponsor me those trips! LOL. The fact that it is so far away was always a reason to visit Australia, but once I was there I realised how isolated it actually is.
3. Slow internet
Welcome to a third world country! Damn Australia your internet sucks big time. Your 4G connection is often not worth calling 4G, it literally was often that slow that it creeped me out. Internet in Asia is faster and more reliable. Even in Sydney there were some places were I had no phone signal. I don’t even want to start about the WiFi. Coffee shops with no WiFi? Yes these places still exist Down Under! For me a reason to not come back to a place. But even if there is WiFi available don’t get too excited it often is not worth connecting.
Get yourself either an e-sim card for Australia or buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival at the airport. Check out my guides for buying a sim card at: Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport and Sydney Airport.
4. Only a few amazing places to see in Australia
Australia is a great country for travelers, but not for traveling! That sounds complicated, I know... but I will explain it later. Traveling around is expensive and the worst thing is that everything is freaking far away from each other. Compared to its massive landmass there are actually very few tourist attractions. Yes the Great Barrier Reef is fabulous and so is the Great Ocean Road, but they are 4 hours flying away from each other. That is like from flying from Argentina to Panama. Ever wondered what you can do in and between those countries?
In Australia there is Fraser Island, Bayron Bay, Sydney and Melbourne. If you take an extra flight you will get to Uluru, and no the Blue Mountains are not a touristy highlight, they are nice to see when you are bored on Sunday when the train is only $2,50 to get there from Sydney! I don’t want to sound too harsh and I know these endless empty roads are reasons to love Australia for other people, just not for me.
5. Very patriotic
The funny thing is Australians often think Americans are pathetic in the way they talk about the US, but in fact Aussies are exactly like them. Walking around in a supermarket it is hard to miss all the made/grown/produced in Australia signs. They are everywhere and the funny thing is those products are way more expensive. Why would I care where this carrot comes from? A carrot is a carrot! I wont pay 3 times as much for a carrot that is grown in Australia, but believe me some Aussies do. I have heard it many times: Australia has the best this, it is great for that. Sorry I have been travelling all over the world and I have see places that are definitely more interesting to travel around. I don’t want to compare, because I think every place is unique and therefore beautiful in itself, but if you try to convince me that Australia has some of the most amazing waterfalls in the world I have to fire back: ever heard of Iguazu Faals, Victoria Falls or Angel Falls? ;)
6. Time difference
To keep in touch with the rest of the world is another disadvantage of being in Australia. Time difference with Europe is around 10 hours; with the US it is around 15 to 18 hours. If you sleep 8 hours and your friends somewhere around the world do so too, there are 8 hours left to get in touch. When they are free you will be at work or the other way around. Phone calls have to be planned in advance or simply often don’t take place. It is a great reasons for being disconnected though and that is why people love Australia.
7. Too many rules
Australia is a country with many rules and according to Aussies it is a good thing. If there would not be that many it would be chaos some say. But sometimes I had the feeling that the country is too regulated. I know it only counts for Sydney, but the lockout laws to close all pubs and clubs at 1.30am are the cherry on the cake regarding this! For the rest of the world this is your capital (no one knows about Canberra) and every tourist gets disappointed with your crazy nightlife rules.
No shots after midnight, you cant order more than two drinks in once unless everyone comes to the bar to make themselves notice to the bar staff and so on and so on. When I arrived in Sydney to work on my Working Holiday Visa I found out that if I wanted to work in a bar, I had to take a responsible alcohol course. The most idiotic thing I have ever done, but I had to pay a $130 and sit in a classroom for 6 hours. I love Australia because the people can be so laid-back, but hate it for its many rules.
8. No real culture
Of course there is the Aboriginal culture and I have been in touch with it a little while traveling in the Red Center, but not too much to be honest. In general there is not much culture to discover apart from the beach and barbecue culture, which by the way are things I love about Australia. But this is more a lifestyle rather than something unique.
A great lifestyle I admit and I totally love Aussies for that, but it always made me joke saying the Aussie culture can be found in the fridge! Anyone wants another beer? :)
9. Things get lost/stolen
I can’t blame Australians for not bringing my shit back cause in the first place Traveltomtom is chaos and unfortunately I tend to forget a lot of stuff. In those couple months I was living in Sydney I forgot a pair of shoes, my electric toothbrush, my hat and many other things. Strangely enough none of them were handed in at reception or brought back to lost and found! Fair enough it is my own fault in the first place, but anywhere else around the world things always come back to me. I lost my iPhone 6s out of a running train in Sri Lanka: a local brought it back. In Peru someone ran after me to bring back my credit card, in Thailand someone dropped my passport back at my hostel and I can go on with stories like this.
When I was travelling in Australia in 2009 I walked 1 week barefoot. It was a protest against all the shit that was stolen from me in a short time, especially my Havaianas! Because life in Australia is so expensive, a lot of travelers are broke and apparently take whatever they can sometimes. In two weeks 3 pair of Havaianas were stolen along with a bunch of boxer shorts, my hat, and again an electric toothbrush.
10. Service levels
Everything is regulated and either people stick to the regulations or ask money for something that is irregular. Don’t expect something to get fixed for you easily or that little bit extra service that would make life easier. I lost my wallet in Australia, yes my own mistake again, read about it in my horrortrip from Sydney to Tel Aviv, but they found it and sent it to Israel. I paid $70 for express service and it only arrived 6 weeks later. Thank you for that Australia Post! When complaining they were like sorry mate we sent it in time it got stuck in Israel. Wherever it got stuck, I paid Australian Post, it was your responsibility to deliver it in time. I am sorry I can’t help you with that, is all I got…
Some service levels are on point, but you have to pay a lot for it. If you are looking for the best Sydney Harbour view hotel then check out my Shangri La Sydney hotel review.
11. Christmas in Summer
It was an interesting experience to celebrate Christmas in hot weather, but it was nothing quite like in Europe. The year before I spent Christmas in Sydney I was in Iran so it could not get any worse. From what I know now I can’t wait to spend next Christmas in Europe again. There is no driving home from Christmas in the Southern hemisphere as it will be daylight saving time and that cosy feeling of decoration lights in the streets is hard to find. What basically everyone did was heading to the beach and getting drunk and even that is not really allowed as alcohol is banned on those days in public places.
I could not get any Christmas feeling at all! It can be good for your wallet though as the pay at Christmas is more than double, so make sure you get a good gig for those days. I love Australia because of its high salaries for sure! :)
12. Constantly getting sunburned
It is not a fairy tale that the sun is really fierce Down Under. This thing is not just hot it will burn your skin in a heartbeat. Seriously don’t forget sunscreen, you will suffer later plus it is also pretty dangerous as there is little protecting from the ozone layer in this part of the world. I forgot sunscreen many times, but the lifeguards will always supply you with some block 50. Heros!
Things I love About Australia
I know Australians might not like this article and neither will die-hard fans of this country, though the fact that Australia is not my favourite country does not mean I don’t like it. In my opinion traveling Down Under is just hyped a bit too much and therefore if people would ask me for cool places to travel I wouldn’t send them to Australia. But again I have been there now three times and always had a great time. When I was young I always said: I want to live In Australia. Been there done that! It is one of the easiest countries to adapt to the relaxed lifestyle: people are very welcoming and accepting. If your English is ok, you will fit in as soon as you land.
What’s it like to live in Australia? Read my Australian Dream blog. My trip around Australia in 2009 was a blast too and a lifetime experience that I will never forget. While travelling around you make a ton of friends with people from all over the world and traveling is about meeting people, right? If it has always been your dream to go down under do it! For sure you will have a wonderful time but as you will discover more of the world you might start understanding what I was talking about.
One of the things I love about Australia is the feeling of freedom. The country is so vast that for endless roadtrips this is the perfect country. You can drive for miles and miles without seeing anyone or anything. If you are looking for a country wto make an incredible roadtrip, want to get away from the rest of the world and sleep in a tent on a private beach every night under millions of stars then hop on a plane to Australia.
So again I don’t hate Australia, there are also many things I love about Australia. It is just that I think there are lot more places in the world where you get more value for your money. Neither does that mean I want come back, for sure I will. During my trips I met so many amazing Aussies and I hope to visit them again. The same counts for Sydney, that city definitely stole my heart, I love you...
If you are looking for cheaper countries to travel then read my recommendations for the Best Countries To Travel On A Budget or may be some more wanderlust inspiring posts like Reasons To Travel To Bali or 18 Things I Miss About Thailand.
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