09 February 2013

Life living in Australia.

I had a Twitter follower ask what it's like to live in Australia so I thought I'd dedicate a post to my day to day life, answering questions so you can compare to how you live. :)

We live in the outer suburbs of Sydney, around 40kms (25mi) from the city.We live in a modest 3 bedroom house, one bathroom, pool and a decent sized yard. It is very much suburbia here, lots of freestanding houses. We are not far from rural properties, maybe a 5 min drive to the small local farms and 15mins to the wide open spaces, rural land and larger farms. Further west of us we have a mountain range (1,064m elevation, 3,490ft), complete with dense bush land, the scenery there is stunning and they do get occasional snow.


Supermarkets in Aust are considerably smaller than the Walmarts of the world. We can get everything we require food wise though at a supermarket, grocery, meat and fresh food. We have Costco, although only 3 in the country. We personally shop at a chain called Aldi, they stock home band type foods and are substantially cheaper than the larger Coles and Woolworths chains. For meat we go to a wholesale butcher as the meat is much fresher and cheaper. We buy bulk and use our freezer to store it, going 6-8 weeks between shops for convenience. Fresh food we head to the local market as the food is much better quality and again cheaper. We use other discount department stores (Target, Kmart and Big W) for clothing and other basic household requirements.


As I mentioned in a previous post I work part time, 3 days per week and Moo is working full time 5 days. We both work in office environments, Moo in IT and I am just changing roles from Customer Service and processing to a Business Analyst role. We are lucky that our offices are quite close to each other so on days that I am at work, we all pile in the car at 6:45am and drive into the city. The kids go to day care 5 mins from work, so they get dropped off first and then I walk and moo takes the car as he has a parking spot. At the end of the day we meet back at daycare and get home at around 6:30pm to do the dinner and bed time for the kids. The aim is to have them in bed at around 7:30, which we achieve more often than not, some nights are a bit later if traffic has been bad or we need to stop on the way home.


In Sydney, its relatively mild, Lows in winter (Jun, Jul, Aug) at night don't often drop below zero deg C and mid teens during the day. Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb) lows are mid teens and highs we have few days that get to 40 deg C but typically mid 30's
I hear quite a bit that its weird that we have Christmas in summer. Whats it like? Its Christmas, just like it has always been! Whats it like to have Christmas with snow? 
We do a family get together for Christmas, BBQ lunch with salad and roast meat still (usually Turkey, Chicken and Pork) and leg ham. School breaks up over the Christmas/ New Year period, just like the summer break America gets in their summer. They finish up about a week before Christmas and go back in the last week of January.
We don't get snow, only the occasional frost, although we do have alpine regions in the south where is does snow for 2-3 months of the year.

Debunking the myths

No we do not keep Kangaroos as pets, they can be very dangerous and potentially kill if you poke them or approach wild ones. We keep dogs, cats, birds and fish like everyone else!
Yes Kangaroos are pests in places and we can buy 'roo meat in supermarkets
Koalas are not bears. they are endangered so the population is protected, we don't keep these as pets either.
Would you rumble with an Alligator? Same goes for Crocodiles, they are just bigger!
Just like all of the USA isn't LA or New York, Australia is a varied place

Let me know if you have any other questions and I can answer them as best I can.

xx Natanie


  1. Thanks! I wish I lived in suburbia but that close to farms. At our butchers, the meat is more expensive but the same mass-slaughterhouse meats that the grocery stores carry, so we've started a meat CSA -- picking up pastured locally grown meats from local farms who use no antibiotics or growth hormones. It's more expensive but arguably better for us. I can't tell, yet, whether it tastes better. In the summer we do a vegetable and fruit CSA, but that only goes from June - October, so the rest of the year we're stuck with the lower quality fare the grocery store. I'd like to get our dairy from a local farm, too, but I just can't fit another thing into my schedule.

    The irony is that we've only recently started trying to eat "closer to the land", after moving to New England where you can't grow anything half of the year. When we lived in California, where things grew all year round, we didn't pay any attention to what we ate and from where.

  2. Natanie, I have some grocery shopping / food related questions for you.

    Due to my allergies (and there are many) I need to make sure the foods I eat are gluten-free. The grocery stores here (in California) have tons of products that are made by companies that specialize in gluten-free foods. Is it difficult to find gluten-free stuff in AU?

    Also, you said that you can buy 'roo meat in supermarkets. What does that taste like? Does it resemble pork, or beef? Just wondering.

  3. Jen, It has only been in the last 2 or 3 years that gluten free foods have been readily available and I believe now that there is a good range readily available. I have even seen cafe' selling GF cakes and muffins.

    'Roo meat is very rich and more game-y than beef. It has its own flavour. It is usually served medium rare to rare as it is very very lean so cooking it too much will make it quite tough. I have also tried Emu and Crocodile. Emu is much milder and Crocodile is more like a white meat, pork or chicken. They aren't as easily available.

    Thanks for your questions! :)