In Canada, you’re probably more used to seeing the likes of moose, deer, and maybe even a polar bear or two. As you’d probably imagine, there are no thick-coated animals to be found in Australia. The most common wildlife include kangaroos and wallabies, possums, koalas and emus.
You won’t find the majority of these animals living amongst humans, unless you happen to choose to live in the outback. With that said, possums are fairly common in urban areas – think of them like larger squirrels – and have even been known to take up residency in peoples’ sheds and outhouses. Possums are harmless animals providing you don’t pester them, though you may need to call for assistance if one ends up choosing your home as theirs.
The likes of kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and emus are all more likely to be found at zoos or animal sanctuaries. We recommend visiting an animal sanctuary to get up close and personal with these animals without the crowds of a zoo. Many sanctuaries allow you to feed their kangaroos and stroke their koalas, which is a must-do if you’re an animal lover.
As you probably already know, there are many not-so-pleasant additions to Australia’s wildlife, too. Most of Canada’s creepy crawlies are pretty harmless, aside from the odd spider or two that you’re unlikely to ever come across in your life. Unfortunately, in certain parts of Australia (namely Sydney and Queensland), it’s not a matter of when you’ll come across a horrific-looking insect, but when.
In the warmer summer months between November and March, don’t be surprised if you cross paths with a huntsman spider or two inside your home. Huntsmen seek shelter from the heat, and while they generally live in tree trunks and sheds, they can find their way into unwanted places too. They’re completely harmless, but absolutely terrifying to arachnophobes – they can reach the size of a small frying pan when fully-grown.
Another common creature to come across in the summer are cockroaches. You’ll see these almost on a daily basis, especially if you live in areas of the east coast. Again, cockroaches are harmless, but they can be a nuisance, and they’re pretty scary if you’re not a fan of insects. They like to come out at night, though it’s not uncommon to find them lingering on your walls or underneath your furniture during the day.
Staying safe in the sun
Australia’s climate is tropical, which means that staying safe in the sun is essential. Australians themselves take this very seriously, and the local doctor’s office will generally have a skin doctor who is trained to do regular skin checks – essentially just checking a person’s body for abnormal moles and cancer indications.
The best way to stay safe is to apply sun cream regularly, especially if your pale Canadian body doesn’t know what it’s like to stay under the sun’s rays for lengthy periods of time! Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes and head, and cover your shoulders for additional protection.
Of course, it’s part of the Australian lifestyle to don your swimsuit and enjoy your time at the local beach, but make sure not to overdo it. Too long in the sun doesn’t just put you at risk of sunburn; you might also experience heatstroke, which isn’t fun to deal with.
Sports in Australia
Moving from a country that’s so renowned for its winter sport (we’re talking about ice hockey, of course), to a country that, in some regions, experiences an almost year-round summer, means that unsurprisingly, the Australian sports scene is a little different.
You won’t find much ice hockey in Australia, though there is an Australian Ice Hockey League. Just don’t expect people to go as mad for it as they do in Canada.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Australia, and in this case, the country’s humid weather conditions are ideal for this outdoor sport. Australians take their cricket very seriously, and even if you have little interest in the game yourself, it’s worth watching it live for the atmosphere alone.
If you want to participate in sports, there’s plenty of opportunity to do so. You can find groups and teams for both casual and competitive play in a variety of sports – a good place to check out your local options is on Meetup.com
One Australian activity that you absolutely can’t miss out on is surfing. Australia’s coastline is almost as large (and equally as impressive) as Canada’s, so if you’re an avid surfer, you should definitely buy your own board and catch the waves at the likes of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast (the latter even deems an area of its coastline “Surfers Paradise”).
Even if you’ve never surfed before, there’s plenty of opportunity to give it a try. You can find “learn to surf” lessons all across the Australian coast, where you and a group of friends can rent out a board and take to the sea with a professional coach. For the best bucket list experience, you can even learn to surf on Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach – just expect to pay more for the privilege.
Finally, it’s worth knowing that Australia’s seasons are essentially the reverse of the seasons in Canada. Canada’s summer (i.e. June to August) is Australia’s winter, while Canada’s winter (i.e. December to February) is Australia’s summer.
Though when we say “summer” and “winter”, all seasons in Australia tend to feel closer to Canada’s summer. Even in June and July, the average temperature in Sydney ranges from 9 to 17 degrees Celsius. In the summer, the temperature can get up to 40 degrees, so make sure your Australian home comes equipped with working AC, because you will need it.
ConclusionMoving from Canada to Australia takes a whole lot of confidence, but it’s very unlikely that you’ll come to regret your decision. Many Canadian migrants end up loving Australia so much that they fork out lots of money (and we mean lots) to apply for a permanent residency. So long as you can get past the creepy crawlies and the distance from home, there’s plenty to love about Australia.