Step 11 – Dispel some of the myths of life in Australia

So sometimes people (who want us to stay in Canada and shall remain unnamed) or people on the internet, share “facts” they’ve “learned” about Australia.

Today, I’m going to clear the proverbial water and dispel some of these so called “truths”.

(Sidebar – I’m reminded of when we moved from Ottawa to Calgary a few years ago. My dear friend Sarah helped us pack, and surreptitiously wrote “facts” about Alberta on each of our moving boxes like, “Ontarians have a higher quality of life” and “All Albertans are unhappy” and “Alberta sucks” to deter us from leaving – bless her heart).

Here are some of the weirder rumours we’ve heard about Oz:

Myth: Australians don’t have Air Conditioning.

Truth: When you google “Air Conditioning Companies Australia” – 127 million results come back. I feel like that’s a pretty good indicator that AC is available down under. Also, its a billion degrees and people must need to cool down. I almost hope they don’t have AC, and we’ll start a company and get stinking rich, freeing sweaty Aussie’s from the sun.

Myth: They sleep on straw mattresses because good mattresses are too expensive.

Truth: I have found new king sized mattresses between $600 and $11000. Some people have said buying a mattress in Oz is a cinch – others (like one of our favourite ex-pat bloggers bobinoz) have said that he recommends bringing your own mattress from your home country – even if you have to “shove it in your suitcase”.  Since finances preclude us from bringing our own, and flight regulations prevent us from shoving it in our suitcase, we’ll have to take our chances with the Aussie mattress scene.

Myth: Kangaroos are like deer there. It’s as common to hit a kangaroo there as it is to hit a deer here.

Truth: There were 1500 kangaroo accidents in at five year period in Queensland (population four million at the time) compared to about 5500 deer hit by cars in Alberta (population 3.2 million at the time) during the same five year period.  So fortunately, I’m less likely to hit a kangaroo there, than a deer here.  Does that make sense? Does that matter?

Myth: They are all racist, chauvinists, homophobes.

Truth: Like anywhere, there are racists and chauvinists and homophobes. Also, its hard to quantify racism and chauvinism and homophobia. However, I think I can comfortably say that the above statement is a myth, since its unlikely ALL of Australia’s population is racist, chauvinistic and homophobic. But I’ll keep an eye out and get back to you if my experience says otherwise.

Myth: They are 30 years behind in entertainment.

Truth:  They may be behind, but they aren’t 30 years behind.  The movie Thor was released in Australia in April 2011 and didn’t get to Canada until May.  Though, Thor is Australian – so that could have had something to do with it  (1 month earlier than Canada).

My favourite movie, The Princess Bride was released in Canada in September 1987, and didn’t open in Oz until December (3 months later).

My second favourite TV show, Parks and Recreation, aired April 2009, and didn’t air in Oz until December (8 months later).

My first favourite TV show, The West Wing, aired first in North America in September of 1999, and in Oz in November of 2000 (14 months later).

Now, to be fair both of my favourite TV shows are American centric – so I understand there may be a small/medium bias.

Myth: Flights to Australia are prohibitively expensive, so we’ll never see you again.

Truth: Depending on where you’re looking, flights are getting cheaper. I’ve searched loads of flights – Calgary to Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, any date range and found round trips for the following prices:

Google’s Explore gave me $1500 to $2500.

Expedia gave me $1500 to $2300.

Rome2Rio gave me $1000 to $1700.

Whichairline gave me $648 to $1300.

Dear friends and family: Please feel free to use the above websites to come visit us once we move to Oz. Cheaper flights = more frequent visits right??

I’ll also take this opportunity to highlight my friend Russ’ travel website, on which you can find info on his book which is just about to be published.

Myth: They get snow in parts of Australia.

Truth: This one is true. But we’re hopefully not going to live in whatever part that is.  I think I could be totally happy never seeing another snowflake again in my life.


Myth: Everything, especially food, is so expensive there – that’s why people go for a year and then come back.

Truth: Lots of people go for a one-year work visa then come back.  While some things are more expensive (imported foods like Doritos and Haribo Gummy Bears), Australia grows much of its own food.  Naturally occurring fruits and vegetables include: apple, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwifruit, lemons, mandarins, honeydew, watermelon, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, quinces, raspberries, strawbs, artichokes, asparagus, beans, bean sprouts, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, chillies, cukes, eggplant, fennel, leeks, lettuce, mushies, peas, taters, pumpkins, rhubarb, spinach, onions, corn, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini. Fishing for sustainable seafood is an option which can keep prices down. And who could forget the infamous cattle industry, made famous by Hollywood for those meat-lovers among us.

I’m actually looking forward to growing our own food! You can bet there will be a future post on that.

Myth: Minimum wage is $45 an hour.

Truth: The national minimum wage is $16.87.

Myth: Most of what you bring with you will be confiscated on entry to the country.

Truth: There are strict restrictions on wood products, food and beverage related products, animals, insects and other items that may affect biosecurity.  But if you plan ahead, your stuff won’t be impounded on arrival.  Things not to bring: wooden picture frames, glazed ceramic-ware and electric fly-swatters.


8 thoughts on “Step 11 – Dispel some of the myths of life in Australia”

  1. Hi Marilee and Dan – this blog is just so great!! I am really going to miss you though 🙁 But you can definitely do this!! I know this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime and I wish you all the best! Please keep these posts coming! Its so fun to keep up with your lives!


    1. …I don’t know – they seemed pretty happy in Alberta 😉 I think they’ll be happy in Australia too, as long as they survive the flight and don’t pick any fights with spiders bigger than they are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *