As Australians gear up for Australia Day (Thursday 26th January 2012), we thought we’d join in the back slapping and celebrations by sharing a few things that we feel Australia just does better…

We moved from the UK to Australia; when we say Australia does these things better our most recent comparison is with the UK. However we have lived in and visited other countries in Europe and across the world and feel these five things make Australia stand out amongst the crowd. Do you agree? We’d love you to share your Australia Day thoughts on what’s great about the land down under. Thank you.

1. Water and sun safety

Lifesavers keep swimmers between flags

Due to the natural environment and climate in Australia, water and sun safety are taken seriously. You won’t find many Aussies out in the midday sun. We’ve written about these topics on several occasions and highlighted the Cancer Council Australia Slip Slop Slap sunsmart campaign. Our experience is that taking care in the sun is a way of life in Australia and something Aussies do well. The rules and advice surrounding water safety are also well implemented and followed by people living in or visiting Australia. It’s impressive to witness the skills of the Australian lifesavers who keep the beaches safe.

2. Laid back dress-code

In terms of clothing Mum loves the fact that anything goes in Australia. There are areas in most big cities where the way people dress is scrutinised but these areas seem to be the exception rather than the norm. In the suburbs we know people take a laid back approach to dressing up. We recently watched a couple entering a restaurant for an evening meal: her in full make-up wearing a little black dress and heels, him in a smart collared shirt with board shorts and thongs*…only in Australia! We like the fact that anything goes, you can get dressed up if you want to but if you don’t, you won’t be alone.

3. Coffee and café culture

When we planned our move to Australia we had no idea that coffee and café culture was so big here. In London Mum was a tea drinker and occasionally ventured into Starbucks for a disappointing Latte. Since living in Sydney, a daily Latte has become essential to our way of life, we even have a favourite brand now! In Mum’s case coffee is a mid-morning treat that ensures I get out of the house with the children, and on days when I’m working from home it’s the only interaction I get besides my laptop. At the weekend, picking up a coffee and drinking it at a beach front park is a perfect, civilised start to the day. We still love our tea, but have also embraced the Aussie coffee \ café way of life.

4. Family values

To anyone who moans that Australia can sometimes seem a little backwards; perhaps regarding technology or fashion, we would say so what?! There are many things that other countries have let slip away that Australia holds onto with a vengeance. The most significant thing that we feel Australia still does better is uphold family values, especially in big cities. What we mean by this is people’s general attitude towards the family unit. If you’re out and about with children in Australia people talk to you, they make a fuss of the children, and genuinely seem to care about your well being. Even in Sydney, Australia’s most populated city, children are widely accepted in restaurants and community clubs. Free Family Fun Days take place across the city to celebrate significant dates and events throughout the year, and there are playgrounds everywhere. Whilst we’d also say it’s tough in some Australian cities for families, in terms of the cost of living, this is significantly compensated by the rich community life and child-friendly activities families can experience.

5. Drive thru bottle shops

Drive-thru bottle-o

This last one is just for fun and is going to make Mum sound like a wino (which depending who you talk to is true), but we love the fact that we can drive to and into our local bottle shop (off licence if you’re reading this from the UK). You drive in and take a few steps out of the car to reach for your tipple of choice; and if it’s not busy the attendant will come to you. You can be paid up and on your way home within minutes. It’s fast, convenient and there are several around us that stay open late…great if you’re on your way home from work or a long day out and fancy a drink.

If you’re considering a move to Australia, our pick of the things Australia does better might make your decision a little easier. If you need more food for thought please take a look at the related articles below; and, of course, we’d love you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments of this article. Thank you.

*Thongs is the Aussie term for flip-flops, jandals, slops depending where you come from, we wrote about this in Aussie English – Embrace or resist?.

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