As the sixth-largest country on the planet, but with a population of only just above 20 million, it’s not surprising that Australia is filling up with new immigrants and expats who move there for college or for retirement.

But if Australia is anything, it is very unique – and that means newcomers will have a lot to adjust to. Be prepared to learn new things and way of life, and you’ll turn culture shock into something fun and enjoyable instead. But it always pays to go in with both eyes open, so here are seven tips to help you adjust to your new life in “The Land Down Under:”

1. Adapt to “Beach Culture”

Realize that, in Australia, 80% of the population lives near the beach, and the beach is a constant magnet for those who want to socialize, recreate, or just enjoy the scenic beauty of nature. Don’t be surprised to see people walking barefoot all over town or wearing flip-flops (called “thongs” here) everywhere, during the warm season.


2. Get Serious About Pest Control

Australia is home to an abundance of interesting wildlife, and of insects and pests too. Don’t delay or waste time with ineffective DIY pest control methods – call in the experts, like Knock Down Pest Control in Sydney for example, without delay. Take preventive measures and attack even at the first slight signs of an infestation with full power, because pest problems get out of control quickly in the hot, dry climate.


3. Take Time to Learn “Australian”

It’s true that Australia is an English-speaking country, but once you move there, that fact may soon seem like a mere technicality. Be prepared to learn some new words and phrases and some new meanings to old ones.

“Mate” just means “friend.” A rising intonation at the end of a sentence does NOT necessarily make it a question. “How ya going?” means “How ya doing?” or “How’s it going?” The interjection “Crikey!” is akin to English “Wow!” And “Fair dinkum!,” derived from an old Chinese word for “good gold”, means “true for sure!”


4. Coffee Up Like an Australian

Australians take their coffee seriously, and they drink it strong and in large quantities every day. Espresso, frothy-topped lattes, and high-quality brew from independently owned cafes are the norm. Almost the whole population stops off for morning coffee done professionally at a local coffee shop – and people are so demanding on coffee quality that even Starbucks can’t make inroads here.


5. Learn to Love Thai Cuisine

Thai food in Australia has become extremely popular and an integrated part of the food culture of all Australians. It’s holds a more or less equivalent place to Chinese food in the US and many other countries of the world: a very affordable, but delicious casual dining option that only seems mildly exotic.

Try especially the Tom Yum Goong and the Pad Thai dishes, and be sure to attend Thai food and culture festivals in practically all of Australia’s major cities.


6. Carry a Water Bottle Everywhere

Australian climates vary greatly since, after all, it’s a whole continent. But one stable factor in all of the country’s climate zones is that it’s rather dry. There is a rainy season in some regions, but most of the year tends toward hot and dry. That’s why Australians drink plenty of water and carry a water bottle with them practically everywhere they go.


7. Don’t Demand a “White Christmas”

Finally, be prepared for Christmas at 100-degree-plus temperatures, for December is summertime in the Southern Hemisphere. Christmas cards will still show snowy scenes, but the whitest part of Christmas will be the white sands on the beach where you go for a Yuletide barbecue, picnic, and swim!