I hope you are having a good weekend
I have talked about exams, finding a job and a short introduction of working as a doctor in Australia
This time around I would like to write about the first few months living in Australia
When I first came to Australia, I spent most of my money on the exams and flights
I got a job in regional Queensland
I saved up as much as I could.
My credit card was almost maxed out paying for the expenses mentioned above
I was travelling with my wife who also had some savings aside
We pooled our resources together
My employers offered us lodging for a month until we found a new place
We took full advantage of it
We stayed there shorter than we anticipated because we found a good deal on a semi-furnished house. By then we were already earning salaries so we could afford to move out.
In the first few years in Australia, you will be moving around a lot. So, it does not make sense for you to buy a house unless you are 100% sure you want to commit to the place.
Rent is paid weekly
The cost of rent depends on where you are. In ulu places, its cheaper compared to the city.
One good site I would recommend is this
Working in regional or rural areas can save you a few thousand dollars a year in rent money
The real estate agency would want a few details. Mainly ID documents like passport, work offer letter and a recommendation*
* this is basically a letter written by your previous tenants. If you’ve been staying with your parents all this while, don’t la ask your parents to write this letter. One way is to ask your hospital admin in Australia to vouch for you by saying you’re responsible in answering your emails, providing documents bla, bla, bla.
The first thing I realised in Australia is how big it is. In Kuching, everything is so close to each other.
The first thing that we got was a used car.
Why a car? Well we needed to move luggage around and buy more stuff.
We didn’t know anyone in the place we were posted at.
Carrying all these around by hand and walking several kilometres was not feasible.
Hiring cars would cost even more money.
So, we decided to buy a used car.
We went to this website https://www.gumtree.com.au/cars
- One piece of advice I will give you: Do not buy cars from personal owners. Always buy cars from a dealership. They will make sure your care is road worthy (need certificate one), not stolen, serviced, road tax (here they call it rego)
Buying cars in Australia is not as expensive as buying a car in Malaysia.
There is a running joke in Malaysia that goes like this “When you buy a car in Malaysia you buy two for the government.” Its most likely to support Proton. Anyway, I’m not going to talk about Malaysia’s cars here
A decent used car can cost between AUD 3500 to AUD 6000
I bought a used Nissan Tiida 2009 model costing less than AUD 5000. It was under the ownership of an old couple who really jaga it nicely.
They just need your passport to confirm your identity. I also brought along my international driving license too
If you want to change your car later by all means do so. Once you have a pay check, you can apply for a loan to get a newer car if that’s your thing.
How is food in Australia?
In urban areas where there is more cultural diversity, the food can be delicious (no where near our Malaysian food la but still not too bad). Finding work in urban areas though, not so easy.
In regional or rural areas, not so much in terms of food
You might get a few Korean, Chinese or Indian restaurants around, but they really toned down the spiciness to fit into the local palate.
Oh, by the way, no 24 hour mamak also.
This was a big culture shock for me as a Malaysian. For us, food is everywhere 24/7, 365 days a year. To come to a place where the 24 hour food joints are McD’s (Macca here in Aussie) and Hungry Jacks (Burger King) is depressing.
Eating out is also expensive and lacking variety. There is only so much eggs, bacon and avocado I can take.
The coffee on the other hand is amazing due to the Greek and Italian influence. If you are a coffee aficionado (atas coffee drinker) you will like it here.
The only other option is to masak sendiri which brings us to
Raw products in Australia is cheap compared to Malaysia. Don’t take in the conversion factor, you can afford to eat healthy here without blowing a big hole in your wallet.
Almond milk here is AUD 3 (can reach AUD 1 if on discount) compared to home RM 12-15
Even if you’re not into these sorts of food, the other products here are affordable
I moved here with my wife. We don’t have kids yet.
We spend roughly AUD 90 a week for the both of us. This includes food and other stuff i.e. washing detergents, toiletries etc
Most areas have Aldi, Coles and Woolworth.
If you really want to get a good bargain on raw products, you can go to the farmers market.
Cooking at Home
Something I would recommend you doing.
Buying a slow cooker is the best investment you can do.
The first hardware I bought in Australia. A 3.5L slow cooker costing AUD 32.
There is so much you can do with this with so little effort.
So many recipes are available. I got mine from:
We cook a few days’ worth, keep it in the fridge and reheat it when we want to makan.
We cooked different dishes, so we won’t get too bored of what we are eating.
Don’t worry, this slow cooker won’t burn your house down. It cooks the food slowly over 6-8 hours time.
Just pre-cut your ingredients the night before, chuck it into your cooker before going to work. By the time you come home, got food liao.
I will state this here.
Internet in this country isn’t as good as Malaysia.
Maybe the country is big, but I don’t know the exact reason.
Compare internet plans before getting one.
And when you’re renting, make sure your house can support NBN (fast internet connection sort of thing)
Put aside some money to enjoy yourself.
Yes, you need to save money.
But you came here wanting a better life for yourself. No point saving all the money you can and end up miserable.
Its ok to spend a bit of money to relax and have fun.
Don’t la sampai make it rain ok.
I personally like to drive down to the nearest big city and spend the weekend there makan and jalan jalan. My wife likes to watch the orchestra live. A change in scenery occasionally will recharge you, but to each their own.
You have time to exercise.
Australians pride themselves on being active.
There are tonnes of gyms out there.
I chose Jetts Gym that offers 24 hour services
Working out is one of the subjects I can spend the whole day on.
I may write an entry dedicated to weightlifting another time.
Ok I hope this gives you a short glimpse of how its like here in Australia in the first few months.
Till next time!
Enjoy your weekend!
10 thoughts on “Living in Australia: The First Few Months”
Very informative. Cleared a lot of my questions.
Thank you , Sebastian
No problem siaw chin
No problem. Glad I could help
Hi, can I contact you for sline advice on working thrrr
Hi GJ. I am only contactable via this blog. It is mainly for privacy issues. Thank you.
Hi. I have 3 kids;10,8,5 years. Can you advice me location can I seek a job /choosing location of future job place as I need to settle their schools and commute to work place. Considering to move there in 1-2 years time with my husband as well. Meantime , gathering info is it worth to do that or not. Thank you in advance
It’s hard for me to advice you on that. You’d have to do your own research on where you want to raise your kids, what your speciality is. I won’t be able to answer that question for you, but all the best in whatever you choose.
HI there, thanks for sharing your experiences, really useful info .. I’m a GP with a FRACGP and considering a job offer in Geelong, Victoria (about an hour from Melbourne CBD). I’m a 39 years old and single. My question for you is, was it challenging from a social aspect for you and your wife to find a community where you feel like you belong to? As a single guy heading to a regional area (although its only an hour away from Melb.) with no family or close friends in Geelong I’m concern on the loneliness and social intergration aspect. Any advice for me a fellow malaysian? Thanks in advance.
I’ve lived in several states and towns in Australia. To be honest I always felt I was an outsider looking in. Things would have been different if I’ve moved when I was younger. Then again everyone is different. Who knows you’d make new friends. But the social isolation can be very real indeed.
I see.. Thanks for your reply, appreciate it.