ok so here goes
background - family of 5, kids 10,8,3 from Ireland - receivDe state sponsored PR. never been to aus before - don't know anyone living there.
Flight- Singapore airline- will never travel with anyone else after experiencing their customer service.
nb- our stopover in Singapore airport was greater that 24 hours therefore had to pick up luggage. We had booked transit hotel but given our lenght of stay I would say it would be better value to book into one of the Hotels near the airport. Singapore Airport is one of the cleanest places I have ever been
By pure coincidence we met John and Linda (AKA Revs30) and their two kids at the playground in Singapore airport- PIO at work!!
We arrived at Melbourne on time on a Friday morning- we had a bit of luggage so couldn't fit oh and kids in hire vehicle so sent them to Seaford in taxi ($140 for anyone interested)
I proudly drove to Seaford without sat nav.
We had booked a 2 bed appartment in Seaford for 4 weeks. This apartment is perfect- loads of space - could sleep 7 comfortably. On the Nepean highway so some noise from traffic but not an issue for us. anyone interest in apt details pm me.
Jetlag- I totally underestimated the effect of jetlag. For the first week there was at least one of the family getting somethng to eat at 3am!!! It took a week for everyone to get over the jetlag.
People - We have been so impressed with the friendliness of everybody- Strangers we met at playgounds have given us their phone numbers and details to ring them if we have any queries etc etc.
Housing- Wow - Looking on google earth and researching suburbs online gives you only so much. We had initially thought we would look at south east suburbs of Oakleigh, Clayton maybe Berwick and we also were going to check out Frankston and Mornington peninsula.
For the first few days we drove around all the above suburbs and more. We fell in love with Mornington Peninsula and all it offers. We were regular holidaymakers to Vendee in France and the Peninsula is very much similar to it- Beaches, parks, nice towns with plenty of restaurants and shops.
So having decided the Penisula was for us we had to go about trying to find a house.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE PREPARES AT LEAST 5 PACKS TO PRESENT WITH YOUR APPLICATION TO RENT A HOUSE. In my opinion the packs should include a letter introducing your family, profession, details regarding existing property or previous rentals. The pack should also include character references, copy of savings accounts, mortgage statements, drivers licence, passport.
We started looking in various suburbs around the Peninsula inclusing Frankston Souh, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha and Mornington.
We were looking for 4 bed and 2 bath. Frnakston South and Mount Eliza have mainly older properties which in the main give you more space but older decor. There are some new properties in Morngton and Mount Martha on smaller plots but more mod cons.
We did several drive bys before the inspection time on properties so we rule some out on this.
After a few days of not getting accepted we then got approved for 3 properties within 24 hous. We did offer to pay 3 months rent in advance which I think will be required if you are looking at property/areas that are in demand.
Fo those of you who have smart phones domain and real estate have good apps.
Also a good webssite which gives you listings of property reduced in price forsale/rent
BE PREPARED DRIVING AROUND LOOKING FOR HOUSE FOR A WEEK WITH 3 KIDS IS NOT WHAT THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM IS ABOUT. You have to be considerate of the children and how difficult it is for them.
We picked a house in Mount Martha accross the road from Osborne Primary school.
This house backs onto a house also recently rented by Alan and Shirley (AKA Fitz sher) who wE also had contact with before we arrived through PIO. It's a small world.
So given the location of the house the choice of school was a no brainer- Osborne it is. Before we had the house we also looked at Bentons Junior College - fabulous new school with great facilities and ditto for St McCartans.
SO thats all for now- kids starting school on Monday so we need to find some work now.
Overall 2 weeks in, the people are extremely welcoming. Melourne is a lovely city with the CBD quite small - similar I would say to Dublin and no way as busy as London.
Everybody is into football (afl that is) old ladies have chatted to us on the train enquiring what team we support!!
To anyone thinking about making the move and getting those nervy moments when you wonder is it the right thing I would say it is worth it- Just go for it and as Barrack would say - Is fheidir linn!! (thats for our Irish contingent on PIO)