Daddy, There Must Be More to Life Than Australia?

If you haven’t yet read Vivienne’s email to me which was the subject of yesterday’s post, it might be an idea to do that now before reading my reply.

My reply.

Firstly, wild horses couldn’t drag me back to England now, I love my life in Australia and I’m here to stay. We all love it here, so if I did want to go back I’m pretty sure my wife would say “bye” and my daughter would say “bye daddy”.

Luckily that’s not important, we’re all staying.

So now for my thoughts on Vivienne’s comments starting with those that I feel I can answer.

Cost of living.

I really couldn’t agree more with Vivienne’s comment here, there isn’t much between the UK and Australia in terms of cost of living and I’m sure Australia used to be much cheaper than England a few years back, but it certainly isn’t now.

In fact as the pound weakens, and it has done significantly even since I first posted my cost of living comparison on petrol back in June this year, Australia will begin to appear to be much more expensive than the UK.

But because salaries in Australia are around 30% higher on average, that isn’t the case in reality. As I said to Vivienne in my reply to her, neither Australia nor the UK are “cheap” places to live, if you want cheap there are plenty of other countries to choose from. But you probably wouldn’t want to live there.

Quality of houses.

They certainly knew how to build a good quality home back in England 100 years ago. But modern estate homes which are prefabricated and erected real fast these days are not in the same league.

Homes in England do need far more insulation to keep out the cold and almost always have double glazed windows. So I’m not surprised she can’t hear her neighbours. I on the other hand do not have double glazing and almost never shut any windows because it’s just too hot. I can’t hear my neighbours either, they are just too far away.

I have only lived in one house here in Australia, but it’s a pretty solid construction as far as I can see. Like with the cost of living, I don’t think there’s much in it.

England’s rich history versus Australia’s bland scenery.

Vivienne’s biggest argument seems to be based on the bland scenery of Australia compared with the rich and fascinating history of England and the surrounding Europe. And I’m not surprised, because she is right!



There are five continents in this world and in my mind, without any doubt, Europe is the most fascinating. Is there anybody on the planet who would disagree? So much history and so many different cultures in such a very small space.



So, as Vivienne says, the UK and Europe beat Australia hands down for history and tradition. Anyone who has read my about me page will know that for five years our intention was to move to France. We had already holidayed in Australia and discounted it because it was just too far away from Europe and all that wonderful architecture and history.



But in the five-year run up to our move to France, we saw more and more of Europe as we continued to holiday there. Finally, we felt we’d “almost” finished it and because of that, Australia became very attractive because it was so different.

Of those five continents I mentioned earlier, the two we had seen the least of were Australasia and Asia. But now we live in Australia, we’ll be seeing plenty of both of them.



Why we moved to Australia.

There are two reasons why we moved to Australia. The first was so that we can bring our daughter up in a better environment. As Vivienne herself says “I am totally in love with England apart from the crime and the really cold weather”….. well us too! We decided we wanted a better outdoor life and less crime. Australia is perfect for that.

The second reason is that I believe we only get one life, why would we want to live in the same place ALL of that life? It’s a big world, surely it would make sense to experience living (not just holidaying, but living) somewhere else?

So that is why I AM RIGHT and Vivienne IS RIGHT! We have both chosen to move to the opposite side of the world at “around” the halfway point in our lives and we are both loving the new scenery. I suggest everybody else does the same.

But that does mean at some point I guess I will be hearing the question “Daddy, there must be more to life than Australia?” or, if she’s in her teenage years it will more likely be “Why did you make me live in Australia? I want to go back to England! I want to be there NOW! It’s not fair! It’s all YOUR fault!”

But if Elizabeth could hang on until she was around 40 years of age before deciding she wanted to live in another country or declaring she was going to return to England, I wouldn’t argue with that.

But then I’d be 90 something, I’d probably just say “Okay dear, will you be back for tea?”

And the comments I can’t answer….

Vivienne did remind me with a couple of comments that I am living in a country in which each state has different rules. So in future posts I will be trying to cover:

  • School fee variations from state to state.
  • Ambulance fees from state to state.
  • Anything else I find that varies greatly from state to state.
  • I will also try to compare education standards between Australia and the UK.
  • I’ll do a more comprehensive look at doctor’s fees and medical insurance costs.

But before I go, here’s BobinOz’s quick and easy guide to the differences between Australia and the UK.

The UK is good for:

  • History.
  • Culture.
  • Cold and rainy weather.
  • Pubs and football.
  • Architecture.

Australia is good for:

  • Beaches.
  • Barbecue parties.
  • Hot and sunny weather.
  • Outdoor life and sports.
  • Community events.

Has that cleared everything up?

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{ 38 comments… add one }
  • RD January 3, 2019, 10:53 am |

    Am very late to this post, but firstly want to say that this website is a great resource!
    Now onto this post and the original letter: the sad omission from the entire discussion is the absence of discussion on Australia’s own rich cultural history; the various strands of aboriginal culture are derived from what is probably the longest continuous civilization on the planet. I realise we need to be realistic. Unlike New Zealand, Australia has done a generally terrible job successfully of integrating these cultures into something celebrated by mainstream society, and of course there are no beautiful cathedrals or buildings to admire from aboriginal past. But these rich and ancient cultural traditions, for those who are willing to invest the time, are fascinating. I’m not saying one culture is better than another, or that we all need to like the same things – just making an important qualification that seems blindingly obvious when comparing Australia and the UK (perhaps more important given Vivienne’s lazy, racist stereotyping of “aboriginal queuing up at the pub at 9am or there [sic] squalor huts” – tactfully and probably rightly side-stepped by Bob in his response). Australia is a culturally rich, diverse, and ancient country.

    • BobinOz January 7, 2019, 6:40 pm |

      Yes, that was an uncomfortable comment made by Vivienne and one that I very deliberately did sidestep, well noticed 🙂

      You’ve made some valuable points, and my response to Vivienne was in many ways meant to be a little bit light-hearted, but I do know it can be an emotive subject that can stir up some strong reactions. Further down in these comments, for example, one reader was quite adamant that I was wrong and that Asia easily has the richest history.

      Everywhere on the planet there is history, and yes, Australia does have a rather unique culture. Maybe more could be done to showcase Australia’s cultural diversity, but there is still plenty of it to be seen. I’ve lost count of the amount of events I’ve been to that start with thanking the landowners followed by an aboriginal dance and maybe fire burning ceremony, which are truly entertaining. And if proof were needed that Australia is an ancient country, I suspect we only need to check out the dinosaur footprints in Winton.

      I’m no historian, (obviously), so I really have no idea who has the most history, but I do know it is everywhere. Greece, Egypt and Peru, for example, don’t do bad. For a laugh, I googled “continent with the most history” and found a webpage where, I think, people vote for their favourite. Europe was first, Asia second and Australia is in seventh. You can read about it here…

      It’s just people’s opinions though, just as I’ve put my opinion here. But history is everywhere, no doubt about that.

  • OriginalSinXS November 24, 2017, 10:12 pm |

    Hey Bob,

    Nice to have your perspective. I’d like to weigh in on the “History” bit. Indeed Europe has a very rich history and legacy, which you come across in every city and village (France and Italy in particular). However one shouldn’t overestimate it, at the expense for instance of Central & South America, Asia or Africa who have plenty of history of their own and very ancient civilisations too. They more than compare to Europe in that area.

    Also “history” has become an easy stick to beat Oz with, along with “culture”. Indeed, like many “New World” countries (Canada, NZ), it lacks the legacy that is so apparent in Europe. But, while I love historic buildings and places myself, history is of little relevance for people seeking economic opportunity… which seems a lot more abundant in Australia right now than Europe.

    It also depends on the places. While cities that have grown more recently (Perth, Brisbane) can be very bland indeed, Sydney is full of heritage as far as I could notice (have lived personally in Brissy & Sydney), especially in the inner city.

    • BobinOz November 27, 2017, 4:49 pm |

      No, you are correct, I should not underestimate the history in other continents. That has been pointed out to me before in these comments, notably by Rahul Sharma, September 2, 2012 below, although he wasn’t anywhere near as polite as you are.

      Truth of the matter is history is being made every day everywhere and us mere mortals can only do our best to try and work out which history is good history and that which isn’t or indeed, as you pointed out, how important it is in the whole scheme of things in the first place. No easy task.

      So yes, all points taken and well made, thanks for your input.

  • saiteja March 7, 2017, 5:58 pm |

    I wanted to pursue a higher degree which country is better for higher studies

    • BobinOz March 7, 2017, 9:07 pm |

      I don’t think either country is better, each country has very good universities and average universities. So I think you need to compare the universities that you qualify for in each country and then decide which is best.

  • Rohit July 15, 2016, 1:18 am |

    Hi bob. Can you tell something about cost of living in Canberra and anything important you want to tell ??

    • BobinOz July 15, 2016, 5:18 pm |

      I have plenty of important things to tell you, over 1000 pages worth of it here on this website. Have a good look around, I think I’ve covered everything including lots of posts about the cost of living 🙂

  • michael F Nugent July 11, 2016, 2:20 pm |

    Just like you to note the following stats:
    AUSTRALIA has 3 Murders with firearms per million
    UNITED KINGDOM has 0.236 Murders with firearms per million.
    Australia’s break-ins/ burglaries Per Capita is a much higher rate, than the UK.s much lower Per Capita rate ! Fairly sobering thought !

  • Ben May 11, 2015, 4:29 pm |

    I really like your site and think it shows a realistic view of Australia.

    I am Australian but if I were British I would not move here although I don’t think I can leave due to friends and family. Then again it is up to everyone to make their own minds up and we look at things from a different point of view depending on how and where we grow up.

    Good luck to any Poms (it should not be taken as an insult in any way and if you are insulted then I think Australia won’t be for you anyway) thinking of making the move over. You will be ribbed but will be liked by most people. I would also caution people coming to Australia from living anywhere other than the inner city of the Capitals (suburbs are urban wastelands) or a big Regional Towns (small towns are pretty insular) with good transport links.

    Good luck to whoever is up for the adventure.

    • BobinOz May 11, 2015, 11:55 pm |

      Welcome Ben, and I’m very pleased to hear that you like my website.

      I kind of agree with you a bit on the where to live thing, I would also suggest heading for one of the state capitals or a big regional town, but I also think there’s nothing much wrong with the suburbs.

      I live in a suburb about 25 km from Brisbane City, I think I have the best of both worlds. It’s like living in the countryside, yet I can be in the city in 30 minutes as well. Over seven years I’ve lived here, and I’m still not tempted to move to another suburb or closer to the city.

      Each to his own though, if we will liked the same things we’d all try and live in the same place and that would get very uncomfortable 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Nabila Naorin February 17, 2015, 11:53 am |

    I have lived in both the uk and australia and i think uk is much better.. if you look at transportation i sometimes feel like the sydney trains r so’s unbelievable..nd the living expense is higher

    • BobinOz February 18, 2015, 12:59 am |

      Should have tried Brisbane, much cheaper and the bus is a like rockets.

    • louisa klimentos February 19, 2015, 8:07 pm |

      The transport in UK is better .We earn basically higher wages in Australia ,so even if it seems more expensive,it isn’t really because the wages in the UK is generally lower,So it vall balances out at the end of the day.OIh and there are countries where the transport is worse than ours,

  • Simran December 6, 2014, 7:59 am |

    Thanks for a really interesting article.

  • louisa klimentos October 9, 2014, 5:17 pm |

    Australia only lacks in man made history,however,we are full of natural history eg;ancient dinasore foot prints and ancient sea fossils.Australia so rich in natural scenery

    • BobinOz October 10, 2014, 9:01 pm |

      I wouldn’t disagree with that Louisa.

      • Hilary October 10, 2014, 11:24 pm |

        Well, yes Louisa, I agree with you that Australia is a land with a rich ancient natural history. But don’t forget that the Aboriginal peoples carry an ancient verbal history too, at least 50,000 years of it and counting. We may not be able to (or be allowed to) access it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, all around us.

        • Louisa Klimentos July 31, 2015, 9:44 pm |

          Your right Hilary and I love the Aboriginal culture.The english sometimes forget that Australia is a multicultural country and there is also aboriginal culture.A week ago ,I had an argument with one of my employees who is from South America who thinks that there is no culture in Australia.So I said to him that he doesn’t practise culture ,nor does alot of young British and young Europeans.They don’t even know how to cook traditional foods.So why do people pick on Australia for lack of culture

  • James January 9, 2014, 9:25 pm |

    The UK in large is a dump (with exception of some parts of London, Oxford , Edinburgh etc .

    History? yeah I agree we have some great old buildings and interesting history, however it’s hardly Rome!

    I would be much more interested in looking at the Brisbane skyline and a blue sky on a (daily basis ) than admiring old Victorian buildings in England!

    The only great thing about the UK is that we have Europe on our doorstep, great for city breaks!

    Nice scenery, however we don’t get the weather to properly enjoy it!

    ps if your missing the English scenery I advise you book a weeks trip to Zealand and re -charge your batteries looking at real mountains!!

    • BobinOz January 10, 2014, 2:15 pm |

      Yes, Europe on the doorstep is the UK’s biggest bonus, I have to admit I also miss those cheap city breaks to places like Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona (one of my favourites) and and and…

      So many places to visit with such different cultures. But I’m not pining for the English scenery yet, I’m happy with the scenery I have here. I will be visiting New Zealand at some point though, I’ve heard it’s quite stunning.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Valter Russo August 12, 2013, 1:04 pm |

    Hi Bob

    i guess im 3 or 4years later to comment on this, but ”the idea” is recent and finding your blog is recent..ier.(what?.lol)
    Vivienne’s sure is right in there points, im European and i get it.
    our history is very rich,and ,at least in Portugal, we explore most of the world history except for Asia’s and Oceania’s contries.
    BUT Vivienne compares Australia’s education to a 3’rd world contry (if im not mistaken) and i know that U.S.A., a known developed contry, to have a ”very sad” history education, and they are stil ruled by the criatonist view of things that i find abominabel in the 21st century. what im try´n to say is that recent contries, despite there economic and social status, need to open there minds to the history behind there’s, allow the seed of the future to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors
    and do not walk the same path.
    Australia sure got a long way to go, but all we do.

    sorry for my spelling errors , as i said before, english is not my mother language.

    Valter Russo

    • BobinOz August 13, 2013, 12:06 am |

      I would never argue against the idea that the UK and Europe has more history than Australia, I think everybody would agree with that. I loved taking in all that history as well, I make sure I visited as many European countries as I could in all the time that I lived over there.

      Now though, I like sunshine, open spaces, beaches, barbecues and living the outdoor life. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy these things so much if I’d never seen that history, but I have seen it, so it doesn’t matter:-)

      Cumpts to you too,


  • Rahul Sharma September 2, 2012, 4:30 am |

    Yes I disagree with that statement of yours: Europe has the richest history? gimme a break. Asia clearly beats that. Look at the various groups,races, languages, religions…there is so much..Europe on the other hand is almost the same race of people..only 1 or 2 language origin and predominately one religion. Wow whereas countries like India where there are languages for each state. You need to learn your history my friend before blogging

    • BobinOz September 3, 2012, 4:50 pm |

      No need for the attitude though, is there? I’ll stick with my opinion, you can have yours.

    • Lui October 30, 2013, 2:44 am |

      Oh mr Sharma and who are you to tell people to learn history? Since you are a mere human, it doesn’t matter how wise or your words being ‘polished’ and input here in the ‘educative and repressive’ manner… there’s no reason for you to act rude. Arrogance won’t bring your sorry self on a shrine. You may know history but certainly lacks loads of refinement in dealing with different opinions. Well, is that not the case is most of asia anyway… ‘the struggle to accept the free opinion’?… ops.

  • H September 1, 2011, 6:34 am |

    Good job, bob!

  • BobinOz March 23, 2011, 8:35 pm |

    Hi Melanie

    A salary cut? That’s very unusual, normally coming to Oz from the UK you’d get 30% more (check out my post comparing Australian and UK salaries), not less. Maybe Hubby should check out more job opportunities?

    Good luck, whatever you decide.



  • Melanie March 23, 2011, 8:42 am |

    Thanks for this page. We are actually contemplating another move. I said another as we came from the Philippines and after 7 years (being a citizen for more than 2 years), a job opportunity is presenting itself for my hubby. Great presentation of pros and cons here and so as Vivienne’s POV.

    Well, my husband and I grew up in a very warm country, I’ve realised it’s hard to grow old for me in the cold place of East Anglia (haha that’s not even that close to Scotland).

    Hubby is in consulting and though the job offer in WA is actually a salary cut for him (how we wish it’s a 30% increase) we are honestly still considering it- as you’ve said, less crime and better environment. We might end up packing our things again, though keeping our house in a good estate here in UK- but who knows we are still on the lookout for more personal experiences shared on the internet (just like yours) and hopefully we’d be able to take an enlightened journey where our feet and bags will take us.

    • Jennifer Cortez March 8, 2018, 10:45 pm |

      Hi Melanie

      JUSt read your post in Bob in oz website. ARe you a Filipino?
      ARe you now in OZ?
      My family will move to OZ in August and would like your advice pls.. Is life better there than UK . We too live in East Anglia ( CAmbridgeshire)


  • BobinOz August 4, 2010, 10:24 pm |

    Love the poem, it says it all. But you still managed to top it off beautifully Ursula, especially the comment about “more preserved history”.

    Thank you!

  • Ursula August 4, 2010, 12:01 pm |

    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons
    I love her jewel-sea
    Her beauty and her terror,
    The wide brown land for me!
    (My country by Dorothea Mackellar 1885-1937)

    I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and would never say that the scenery is bland. It is vast and very different. There is coast line forever, mountains, rain forrest, dessert and reef. There might not be much history, but there is more preserved history in Australia than the US and Canada. They tend to knock down any buildings older than 50 years!

  • BobinOz November 22, 2009, 1:54 pm |

    Hi Barbara

    Well yes, they are two different kinds of beauty that cannot really be compared with each other. I am really enjoying my “new scenery” here in Australia, it is almost completely in contrast to the scenery I have lived with all my life in England.

    I don’t think it is possible to argue that one is better than the other, they both have their own beauty. But I haven’t seen enough of the outback yet to really appreciate its glory, but I do intend to.



  • barbara November 21, 2009, 7:41 am |

    The outback of australia has a beauty of its own. If you are wizzing past in a car you just don’t see it, but talk to the people who live there, who sees its different moods and different lights and colours and they will tell you there is no more beautiful place on earth. With the Australian outback you have to experience it to understand it, with Europe it is more of a chocolate box beauty.

  • BobinOz November 19, 2009, 10:39 pm |

    Oh yes, I have been unfair, well spotted. I forgot Elizabeth is already 5 years old, so I need to subtract that….. hold on…… I’ll be 80 odd. Maybe I will realise it’s too far to come back for tea.

    I didn’t mean to do that with the comparison, but I see what you mean. It looks like history lesson versus playtime. Sort of how it feels really.

  • biffo November 19, 2009, 7:37 pm |

    “But if Elizabeth could hang on until she was around 40 years of age…..But then I’d be 90 something”

    Come on, be fair to your self – over 55?

    I like the comparison at the end. UK sounds like a history lesson in a dark classroom and Oz is a summer sports day. As a kid at heart, I know which sounds more appealing.

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