Well not been on here for a long time so would like to start by saying welcome to all newbies, congrats to everyone granted their visa's recentley and for all those still waiting.....hang in there it is sooooo worth it!!
We have been here almost 14 months now and love it.
We are currentley renting in Mornington ( Victoria ) whilst our house is being built in Mount Martha.
We are so pleased with the area we have chosen to live. Its so beautiful and the people are so friendly. There is so much to do, especially during the summer as its a tourist destination.
Both us and the boys have made many friends and we have just had a fantastic christmas and new year, spent at pool parties, barbies and the beach with many of them.
Its hard to believe that we have only been living down here since feb last year.......it took us 2 1/2 months to find a rental but luckily we were staying with family so it wasn't too much of an issue.......In december we had a party to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and had about 40 people at the house, some of them pio'rs!! None of these people we knew 10 months ago so for all of you out there that who have just arrived and struggling with the homesickness and loneliness it just goes to show what you can achieve when it comes to making friends if you put yourself out there. Some of the people we have met, we know will be friends for life BUT you are not always going to get along with everyone, which is always a gamble you take when you meet up with someone you have only ever chatted to on line. When this happens, just let it go, you tend to know instantly if you are going to make a friend of someone or if they are going to just be an acquantence. It is hard, especially when you are feeling lonely and desperate for a friend but its not worth forcing it as you will have the other person running a mile!!
So let me share with you some of the things we have found and please remember this is only our opinion and everyone will find things different.
People in general here are very friendly and will always say g'day when you pass them on the street. As soon as they hear the accent, they want to chat and hear your story, amazed that you have moved to the other side of the world and proud of the fact that you have chosen their country to live in.
Schools in our area are pretty good and much more relaxed than in UK. I'm sure they are not all good all over Aus as with any country you will get good and bad. We are lucky enough to live in quite an affluent area and rightly or wrongly the stanards here are higher than in some of the poorer suburbs. Our youngest is in state school at the moment but they are building a new private school near us which he will be joining next feb' when he starts in grade 5 the fees for this will be around $5000.00 pa. We are not unhappy with the state school, we are just fortunate enough to only have one child still in school, making it possible for us to give our son this opportunity.....something we never could have done in the UK.
House prices and land are pretty expensive around here and have gone up a lot in just the year we have been looking. The block we bought has gone up in value $100.000 in the space of a year.
Sport in Aus is BIG, especially in Melbourne. They love their Ausie rules and the state came to a standstill last september when one of our teams made and won the grand final. They also love Football here, both of my boys play in teams. The older of my sons at 19 is playing for one of the best teams in the area and is on a wage, which is fantastic as he is still at college and means he doesn't have to work in Safeway or Macas as most of the other kids do. Our youngest at 9 is also a member of the local athletics team and has represented Mornington in the 4x200 m relay at Olympic park in the city.
On the work front.........I'm still a lady of leisure and Paul is working bloody hard!! He is a bricklayer and travels all over, sometimes working half hour up the road sometimes an hour and a half away. The wages are pretty good, conditions ok.......he describes them as 20 years behind the way things are done in the UK. He has been lucky enough to get in with a good crowd of blokes with plenty of building site banter going on.
Life in general is slower, more relaxed. We do much more as a family, we do things in the evenings, we cram lots into our weekends and we socialise lots.
We have all been lucky enough to not get homesick. The only thing I miss obout the Uk is my eldest son and a good curry. Our 19 yo went back for a holiday over christmas and all he had to say was "yea same ol', same ol', nothings changed" At least now he has got it out of his system and realises hes not missing out on anything. He misses his mates like mad but loves what he has got here. He is doing fantastically well at college getting 4 distinctions and 4 higher distinctions.
Australia is not heaven on earth and for many it is a big challenge moving here. We have been lucky enough to have come here with a decsent profit from our Uk home and at a time when the exchage rate was good compared to now......$2.52 to the pound. For the average Ausie family life here is hard, interest ratesare high, wages low and property prices increasing at a rapid rate. This is not a country I would want to be poor in BUT if you ask most Ausies they wouldn't want to live anywhere else on earth.....and why would they.
Everthing here is done at a much slower pace and in general things can seem very disorganised when you first arrive from the UK, people never phone back when they say they will and tradesmen and the like often just dont show for appointments and really dont see what your getting so streesed about when you call and complain.
Driving here is dangerous beyond beliefe, its the only time you ever see an Ausie in a hurry. Crime here dose happen, especially the closer to the cities you get. Drug use is common place as is alcholism. Gambling addictions are common place, food prices high but if you shop around you can soon work out the best places to go for a bargain. Petrol has gone up about 30 cents a litre since we have been here and changes 3 times a day. The best time to buy is tuesday or wednesday around mid morning!!
Taxes are high and if you have to be GST........like VAT.......... registered it cuts into your wages even more. Medicare is probabley on a par with the NHS but it dose seem cheaper if you pay and go private!!
We do not regret our decision to come here one bit, we just sooo wish we had done it years ago!!
Right, hope this helps some of you waiting for visas or thinking of applying. If anyone has any other questions pm me.
Good luck to all.