5 Things you should know about Australia – before moving there
Tipping is a matter of conscience
For anyone who has spent time in the US, the Australian attitude towards tipping may seem a little odd at first.
Historically speaking, tipping has never been the norm Down-Under, and still isn’t expected in most establishments.
Although you certainly can tip in bars, taxis, hairdressers, hotels etc you don’t have to and won’t be causing offence if you choose not to.
However, while tipping in restaurants and cafes isn’t a requirement, it is appreciated and if you feel you’ve had good service a tip of about 10% is usual – though large groups do tend to tip more.
Due to the relaxed attitude usual in Australia, service (while still very polite) is often more casual than in other countries. Fawning over customers is rare, with most servers preferring to leave you to enjoy your meal.
Stick to one drink if you’re driving
In Australia the laws regarding drink driving are different to many other nations.
While the blood alcohol limit is 0.08% in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the USA (depending on the age of the driver and region driven in) it is 0.05% in Australia. If you’re caught over the limit heavy fines may be imposed and you could even face losing your licence or being handed a jail sentence.
The traffic and driving laws are strict in Australia, so make sure you familiarise yourself before you go – ignorance is no excuse!
Think twice before lighting a bonfire or BBQ
When exploring the Australian countryside it can be tempting to start up an impromptu BBQ or gather round a campfire. However, in Australia bushfires are a really serious concern and can be caused by a moment’s carelessness. Unless you’re with an experienced guide or in a secure/enclosed area always think twice about having a fire.
Similarly, when driving on rural roads be vigilant when it comes to looking out for kangaroos. Not only can hitting a kangaroo kill the animal, it can seriously damage your car and cause terrible traffic accidents.
Always carry vinegar (salt optional)
While Australia boasts some incredible beaches and is known for its clear, temperate swimming waters, you do need to be aware of the sea’s stingy occupants.
Certain jelly fish pack a particularly dangerous punch and if you should happen to get stung pouring white vinegar on the wound can really help ease the pain while you seek medical attention.
If you don’t fancy carrying a bottle of vinegar around at least make sure to have some sachets with you at all times.
Beware of the sun
Many people move to Australia in the hopes of enjoying a warm climate year round and glorious sunny weather.
Generally speaking, Australia is quite a lot hotter than many Western nations so if you’re moving there from a cooler climate it’s important to not get carried away.
Australian’s wear sun cream, sunglasses and hats to protect themselves from the heat and high UV levels, so no matter how much you want to get a tan make sure to follow their example and protect yourself.
You don’t want to spend your first few weeks in OZ immobilised through severe sunburn! You should also be aware that Australia’s southern regions can get pretty cold in the winter months (from June to August).
If you can think of other things you should know before moving to Australia get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!