Friday, 4 October 2013

Country in Review: Australia

When expats move to Australia, they can expect wide variety combined with an all-round laidback lifestyle and atmosphere. The beautiful beaches of the Whitsundays on the east coast are a stark contrast to the tropical rainforests in Cape Tribulation, Queensland, or the dry landscapes of the Kimberley. Wherever you’re heading to, ‘Down Under’ is sure to have something to offer adventurous expats.

Image Source: Wikicommons
The Australian map is scattered with amazing and diverse cities, each claiming a different character. In fact, more than 90% of Australia’s population live in coastal cities. Sydney is home to the iconic Port Jackson harbour, which is one of the most identifiable city landscapes in the world. Visitors flock there to view the spectacular sights and landmarks. The Opera House which was designed to look like an orange, has become a symbol synonymous with Australia, and the huge Harbour Bridge frames the city, nicknamed ‘The Coathanger’, links the Central Business District to the North Shore of the city.

One of the most enjoyable things for expats to do as they settle into Sydney is take the ferry out of the CBD to one of the northern islands. Not only is this a great way to travel, but it provides a great view of the city with its famous landmarks and allows you to take in the grand natural harbour.

On the other side of Australia, the city of Perth has become increasingly popular with expats.  The growing prosperity of the city and the modern CBD which sits on the Swan River has drawn people away from the traditional eastern hotspots. Perth is home to a trendy nightlife and close to beautiful Indian Ocean beaches and Swan Valley vineyards. It is also a great place to enjoy the favourite Australian sports - Aussie Rules football and cricket.

Image Source: Wikicommons
The sunny climate and laidback Aussie attitude means that even city dwellers head to the beach at weekends. Australia has over 10,000 beautiful beaches to enjoy. Classic Aussie activities happen at the beach with people regularly surfing, diving, sunbathing and enjoying barbeques- it has become quite a tradition for expats to get a photo at the beach wearing a Santa hat on Christmas Day!

However, when visiting the beach, you must be careful to only swim in safe waters and take precautions. Australia has the second highest number of shark attacks in the world, and is also home to poisonous creatures like the box jellyfish.

Despite this, Australia is a great place to enjoy the marvel of the ocean. The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and as the world’s largest coral reef system, it can be seen from outer space. Turtles, dolphins, mantarays and tropical fish make their home here and snorkelers and divers can swim amongst the sea life.

Image Source: Wikicommons
Australia does not just draw people to the beaches. The ‘outback’ also attracts tourists and expats alike. The outback is one of the best places to find the native animals that Australia is famous for. It may be fluffy and appealing, but some Aussies take a dim view of what might be its most famous breed of wildlife; the kangaroo. Although a herd can cause damage to crops and fields, they still provide enjoyment to visitors. The endangered koala bear has suffered from massive urbanisation in Oz, but plans to protect the eucalyptus loving animal have been quite successful. Many living in Australia enjoy the opportunity to take a trip to the outback to see Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock near Alice Springs.It is a large sandstone rock formation and is sacred to the aboriginal people. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a plethora of springs, rock caves, water formations and ancient paintings.

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