Warning - this is a long post - sorry!!
Hi all, just wanted to let you know how we got on during our validation trip to melbourne. We got visa in december but house hasn't sold so our family of 5 had to make the trip out to validate the visas. we left on an emirates flight and found it to be brilliant especially for the kids, so much to do and the staff were so friendly, food nice and i was certainly impressed with the service despite a 2hr runway delay, until we got to melbourne 22hrs later with no luggage!!! - it had been left in dubai due to a baggage handling fault. Hubby was less than impressed but i just went with the flow. we did get it back 21hrs later!!
we were staying close to the city for the first 4 days (hawthorn east) with family and spent our 1st day catching up on sleep and family. my oh uncle lives in a 3.5 million $ house with pool and tennis court so not what we are used to - didn't want boys to get used to it either as we certainly wouldn't beable to afford this way of living. they took it all in their stride. loved the city and riding on a tram (highlight of my 3yr olds trip!!) and on our 2nd day they got to personally meet the socceroos in federation square and gots lots of autographs and freebies. they loved it as they are soccer made. they also loved the eureka tower at night.
Uncle managed to get the boys tickets to see australia vs japan at the MCG so that made their day. An amazing stadium and who says the aussies don't like soccer - there was a crowd of 70,000 which is more than most england games. This was really the making point for the boys and they are happy to live in australia now, even the 8 year old.
the following fews days we went to view some high schools, Hampton Park school was nice but we didn't like the area, not much there and older housing. was really impressed with the resources and facilities that government schools have, endless computer suites and high tech facilities for design and technology and cooking. preferred narre warren south p-12 school which had fantastic facilities, the boys were wow wow wow for the 2hrs we spent around the school. good signs. berwick has good results but the school is so run down and dirty, my 11 yr old was not impressed.
we then went to stay with friends in pakenham upper on the south east side. what a difference, in the middle of nowhere with 5 acres, lovely log cabin style house with chickens and a pool. the only form of heating was a wood burner for the whole house. too rural for us but on exploring we liked berwick, narre warren south and pakenham. we want newer housing with a community feel and loved heritage springs in pakenham and berwick springs in narre warren south.
the boys got to experience aus kick also - aussie rules, and my eldest won a medal for scoring a goal and 2 marks!! not sure they will take it up but who knows. we found a group training session and we asked if the boys could join in and the coach said 'no problem'. we were amazed at the generosity of australians and the no worries attitude, so friendly.
in between all the tourist bits like healesville, great ocean road, beach, zoo, sport - i managed to get a job in dingley village and hubby asked about barber positions in the areas we liked and he was successful too. the only thing is we dont really know when we will get out for good as the house has still not sold. we even managed to grab a coffee with kate - moving to melbourne - who welcomed my brood into her home and was great, i felt like we had known each other for ages. we also found time to have lunch with terry and rachel (the hearnes) and had a brilliant time - thanks guys. sorry we couldn't catch up with you velly but we will next time, not enough time in the day!!
throughout of the whole trip i must say that we had brilliant weather - 18 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. it only rained at night.
food wise i thought that it was pretty much the same price as uk and a bit cheaper than last year - i did a log last year and found that bread, petrol, chicken and meat is cheaper this year. the veg is so much more tastier and of better quality (my opinion). we were feeding 2 families (10 pax) and our food shop was $300 - i spend that in a week feeding just my lot in the uk.
as you can tell we had a fantastic time and the boys have come back to the UK saying g'day and feeling very positive about the move - the sooner the better. I am glad we did the trip for the sake of the boys, they experienced a great life to be had. Had we not done that then there may have been doubt particulary from my 11 year old.
roll on the house sale