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About pandv_2000

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  • Birthday 27/08/1978
  1. pandv_2000

    Got myself a parking fine :(

    Received a letter from the car rental company yesterday - sent out mid-December to tell me they have charged my card with $50 for the priviledge of filling in a form to inform the state recovery people (NSW) that I was driving the car at the time of a parking offence. I haven't received an infringement notice but I had a look at the incident online from the number on the letter and I have been fined $165 for parking facing against the flow of trafic outside our apartment in Sydney. I didn't realise this was an offence and just wanted to warn others in case they get hit by the same thing. So I have been fined by the rental company for receiving a fine in effect :arghh:.
  2. pandv_2000

    Brisbane/ Sydney brief reccie report

    We decided we would drive down the coast from Brisbane to Sydney to try to see as much of Australia as we could. We got a few suggestions on here and planned our route. Our first stop was Byron Bay. We weren't overly impressed with Byron. It just wasn't as well maintained as other places we visited. Everywhere else the kids play areas were immaculate and this was the only place where we found the park covered in grafitti. We had struggled to find somewhere to stay in Byron bay and were quite pleased about that when we got there. We had booked into the Ramada in Ballina about 30 mins south of Byron. Ballina was beautiful. The hotel was on the river and from our room you could see the river stretching out to the ocean. It was really quiet and peaceful and it's somewhere I would have liked to stayed longer. Our next stop was coffs Harbour. It started to rain on the trip to coffs and it was really quite miserable. Topped with the fact that the holiday let we had booked was the worst place we stayed in whilst in Oz (it wasn't bad it just wasn't as good as other places) and I don't think this is somewhere we would return. We ate at McAuley's in Coffs - the food was really good here and we all really enjoyed our meal. It didn't stop raining whilst we were in Coffs so I don't think we had a fair view of it. The final stop on the way to Sydney was Port Macquarie. We really liked it here even though it rained! We had two nights here and on the first night it rained. We had booked a surfing lesson for DH and our eldest son but we woke up to the sound of the rain on the roof and it was VERY heavy so we decided to pass on the early morning lesson. By 11am the rain had gone and we knew the surf school had another lesson at 11 so we headed down to the beach. It did start raining again whilst they were in the water so we took shelter in the car while the boys surfed. They really enjoyed their lesson and Wayne at Port Macquarie surf school was excellent. We headed back to the apartment and the boys got changed. The sun was out properly now so we went to the Koala hospital. We were in good time for the 3pm talk which was really informative and we really enjoyed the tour. Some of the koalas there will never be able to be released into the wild for one reason or another but they are well looked after there. One lady had one of her back legs amputated and we saw her climbing a tree - they told us they are really hopeful she can be released. This is probably a good time to leave it again as our next stop was Dee Why.
  3. Hi We flew out to validate our visas at the back end of October. We had a stopover in Tokyo on the way out for 4 nights and I really wish we'd had longer there (I keep telling myself that was not the purpose of the trip). We all absolutely loved it and it was action packed - we managed to squeeze in Tokyo Disney Sea, Ueno zoo, some temples, Tokyo skytree, Akihabara, Harajuku.... it was exhausting but amazing. We flew overnight from Tokyo to Sydney then a quick flight to Brisbane. The time difference from Japan was only 1 hour so the worst of the jetlag was over. We had booked a house through Redlands Retreat (Rudi on here) and it was lovely. It was in Thornlands, about an hour south of Brisbane on the train and quite quiet and peaceful. We had a real hassle when we landed as Thrify didn't have any car seats despite me making a note on the booking we would need one. We ended up having to drive to Toombull shopping centre to buy one so we ended up lugging that back home with us. We also had an appointment with the bank at 3pm to collect our cards which would have been fine if we hadn't had such a hassle with the car seat. We ended up driving straight into the city and I wanted to cry when I saw the parking prices. The lady in tha bank was lovely and very chatty but I was aware of how quickly the parking charges were racking up - it cost us $46 for 1 hour and 1 minute :arghh: At least that was out of the way so we headed to the house. We went along to Victoria Point for something to eat. We ended up going to Woolies to get a few essentials and had a Dominos (miles cheaper than here if you convert at $2:£1). On the Sunday DH went to use his card in the cash machine at Birkdale and it was swallowed. I then didn't dare put mine in the machine in case the same thing happened. Luckily we had enough cash to see us over the weekend. We caught the train into Brisbane on the Monday and went straight to the bank. Apparently DH had been sent 2 cards and the bank cancelled the wrong one. I tested mine in the branch machine and it worked ok. We ordered a new card for DH and ordered chip and pin cards for both of us (I wasn't going to do this yet but as we had to go to another branch to collect DH's new card I thought we might as well). We ordered them to go to the Dee why branch as that was where we had booked to stay in Sydney. After the bank we had a good look around the city, put a bet on the Melbourne cup and wandered through the botanical gardens and over the bridge to south bank. We hadn't brought swimming stuff but we had a swim nappy in our youngests bag so changed him into that and our eldest just rolled his shorts up. They spent ages running around in the water fountains and it's at this point DH and I fell in love with Brissie. I know it was a Monday afternoon so most likely much quieter than a weekend but I could just imagine Saturday afternoons spent with the kids there. We went up into Tamborine mountain one day which I thought was beautiful. We went on the skywalk where we met a couple from Penrith at the foot of the blue mountains. We got talking and they invited us to visit them when we arrived in Sydney. We swapped details and promised to visit. We also visited the distillery and DH had a tasting session (I was designated driver that day :mad:) We also had a trip down to Surfers which the boys loved. We were really quite sad to leave Brisbane - we only had 6 nights there but it had started to feel like home. I will pick this up again later as I'm starting to ramble :biggrin:.
  4. pandv_2000

    What are entry options under 175 Visa?

    If he applies for another visa it will cancel any existing visa attached to his passport i.e. the 175 visa would be cancelled so if you must enter first there is no way around this.
  5. pandv_2000

    Looking for a florist in Sydney

    Thank you. I will give them a try and let you know how they are. The couple we met were lovely and we intended to just call in on our way up into the blue mountains. We never actually made it into the blue mountains but the kids had fun playing with their grandkids toys and they were really helpful, getting out a map and showing us different areas and what sort of things are located there.
  6. pandv_2000

    Looking for a florist in Sydney

    Thanks Maryrose. We are in the UK now so need somewhere I can buy and pay for them online. I was hoping for recommendations of a florist someone had used so that they can vouch for quality, delivery times etc. We met a lovely couple when we were in Brisbane who invited us to their house in Penrith when we went down the coast and I just want to send them a little something to say thanks
  7. Hi I'm wanting to send some flowers to Penrith. Can anyone recommend a good florist in the area? Thanks in advance
  8. pandv_2000

    My Australian dilemma

    I would think most people in that position wouldn't visit PIO in case it made them doubt their decision. We are in two minds. We have been together for nearly 15 years and have discussed the idea of moving to Oz many times during that period. In 2008 we started to think about it more seriously but I had just sat my final accountancy exams and was told I needed a years post qualified experience. In that year we both moved jobs in the UK and decided to stay where we were. Nearly 2 years ago I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave and just before Christmas (from that same job) and we thought it was the ideal time to start the ball rolling again which we did. In the meantime we both got new jobs again. I love mine, DH hates his. However we both have well paid jobs in the UK and, like you, in Oz the equivalent roles would pay less effectively. Also we have a fairly low mortgage here and a pretty decent lifestyle. On the other hand we always hear stories of how expensive childcare is in Oz. For us this isn't an issue as we pay for childcare whilst we both work in the UK and our childcare costs would actually drop due to the childcare rebate. Our visa was granted in January this year and we are going out for our reccie at the end of this week. We are hoping that we will either fall completely in love with the place or hate it so that we can make the decision once and for all. The problem is I do think that after all this time we would regret it if we decided not to go. Not much help but thought I would share our story.
  9. You are in a similar position to us. We both have good jobs here in the UK which we have worked bloody hard to get but we would be able to work just as hard to re-build our careers in Oz. We have a 3 bed detached house with a big green in front of it which is ideal for the kids to play out on and are nearing the end of our mortgage. It means we have a lot of equity in the house so will give us a decent deposit in Oz but we're looking at restarting a 25 year term mortgage. We would be looking to rent initially and keep the house sale funds in the UK until the exchange rate hopefully improves and we are ready to buy. We are too far away from our parents in the UK (and have very young parents anyway) to rely on them for childcare so that's not a new thing we'd be paying for (in fact with the childcare rebates we'll actually pay less in Oz than we do here as we get no assistance in the UK). We have our reccie/validation trip booked for October/November and are waiting to see how we feel when we get back. It may be that we can't shift the house anyway and I don't really want to let it out. The property market does seem to be moving a little more but 5 houses have gone up for sale in our street this year so there's a lot of competition.
  10. Hi Could you give me an opinion on the following please: - - 2009 - BMW 320d Saloon - 2L Diesel - Manual 6 speed - Rear wheel drive - 20000 - Standard UK Spec, 4 door - does it have aircon - Yes - UK value approx £17k - Australian RedBook value $58,300 to £80,400 - Australian market value $43,000 - Sydney or Brisbane
  11. We applied for a 175 in April last year and expected it to take 18-24 months per DIAC's guidelines at thet time. W ehad a CO in Nov and got our visa 5 Jn this year and I know it has sped up even since then. I would lodge now as you never know how things will change with DIAC in the future and state sponsorship is not quick to obtain. At least then you can settle anywhere and you have your vis app in.
  12. pandv_2000

    Is the UK weather really that bad

    Hoff, I think it's more that when we were kids we were out playing all day all summer long, whereas as adults we tend to notice if it's fine all week then crap every weekend. As kids everything blurred into one and it appeared as though it was warm all summer. Although we always used to holiday in the UK and the weather was great and there is no way I'd plan a holiday in the UK now so I probably just contradicted myself....
  13. pandv_2000

    Visa in Passport

    Email not displaying so pm me if you need the address
  14. pandv_2000

    Visa in Passport

    Hi we are in the same situation and have just renewed our eldest sons passport. I called Australia House yesyrrday and they told me to complete form 929 and scan and email it along with acopy of his new and old passports to london.cc**************
  15. pandv_2000

    Passport validity 176 visa

    We applied last April and our eldest DS's passport runs out next January. I'm waiting until this April then will apply for a new passport for him and then will let DIAC know and they will link the visa to his new passport. My passport runs out next April so in July I will apply for my new passport. We are flying out for our reccie/ validation trip in October so will have our new passports for that trip. Sometimes your CO will tell you to get a new passport before they grant your visa if it has a short time left to run on it. It is easier and cheaper to apply for a passport here than it is in Oz so I would renew before you leave.