Re: Cost of living in Australia
One of my co-workers was transferred to Sydney about a year and a half ago. He says that it's brutally expensive for living expenses such as food, etc. His work pays his housing, and he says if it wasn't for that, they'd be screwed. They're a family of five tho, so if it's just the two of you it might be more manageable. I guess it depends on your standard of living, too. I guess his family isn't too happy about the move either, saying they miss the way of life/standard of living in the US. They say the people there are top-notch, but the lifestyle isn't for them. Also the food is quite different for an American palate. Not that it's better or worse, just tastes different. Guy eats like a pig whenever he gets back to the US because his money goes so much further and the food is much more to his liking. Your mileage, naturally, may vary.
I've been to Sydney and Brisbane, but just for work travel, and for short periods of time. Yeah, food and gas are expensive. To me the food didn't have much taste, but I didn't starve, either. Can't comment on the housing. There's plenty to do and the people are very cool. I think if you go into it with the mindset that you're going to enjoy your time there, you probably will. If you think you won't like it, you probably won't. It's not the US or the UK, it's Australia. Not better or worse as far as living goes, just different. If you're open minded and welcome new experiences, it might be a good move for you. If you're going to be disappointed if it's not just like the UK, I'd stay home.
As for the spiders, it's probably like it was for me moving to Hawaii. They talk about the big spiders and the giant centipedes here. The centipedes had me a little worried - I can deal w/ big spiders and other bugs, but the centipedes here ARE huge and really creepy! They're mostly in rural areas, apparently. I haven't seen a single one since I've been here (thank God!). I'm guessing the more populated the area you live in, the fewer bugs you're going to deal with.