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About ms2oz

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  1. Hi all, Having gone through all the same stresses of moving to Oz as you are now the first thing you need when you arrive is a comfortable, quiet place to de-stress while you consider where you want to finally end up. We are new to offering accommodation and only moved in in November and have been preparing the totally self contained house and are nearly ready to accept guests, if you are new to Oz we are happy to impart any of the "local knowledge" we have picked up in our 5 years here (Sydney 1st and have moved into 6 different places in that time - rental / serviced appts etc, so we feel your pain.....) Will have more details ready soon - just wanted to get us "out there" Keep the faith, it is worth the pain !! Paul & Jackie
  2. ms2oz

    cant decide Brisbane or Gold Coast

    Hello Georgie, Having moved to the GC from Sydney in November we love it - but as you say everyone is different, obviously everything is available in Brisbane - but if you like city life. Yes lots of people do commute to Brisbane from GC but it will take 1.5hrs typically, but of course it depends what you do for work, the GC is more tourist based so the jobs / industry / corporate is limited.
  3. ms2oz

    Stupid health insurance !!!

    Does anyone understand how this system works ?? Someone told me the government stop health insurers paying 100% - why ?? What a great idea, you find out you have some serious illness, so you have to worry how much you will have to pay as well. Unimpressed of Sydney......
  4. ms2oz

    Coming to Sydney area - Good, Bad & Ugly

    Hello Kaylee, ​Just doing an update to my post and realised I never replied to anyone - only go on the site about once per year, did you come over ? and how are you getting on ?
  5. ms2oz

    Could anyone give us some guidence please?

    I am a qualified Accountant and hubby and I came over via the skills list and have got permanent residence. It took me a few months to find a job though I was being quite choosy, but there is certainly a lot of competition for jobs. We have since met people who have come over on a 457 visa with a company and with hindsight we would have probably done this as most companies fund part of the move and your visa costs for you. We have found as PR we have had to pay a lot more ourselves (of course the advantage is that we have flexibility on where we work and live and how long we stay). So for what it's worth I'd recommend probably qualifying and moving with a company you are already working for if possible. Good luck
  6. Hi All, I would like to go to the Soundawave Revolution festival in Parramatta on the 25th September 2011 - see http://www.soundwaverevolution.com/content/home The problem is my wife is more ABBA than ANTHRAX and I don't want to go on my own, so any of you new or old poms (bring your Oz mates) that like decent music who want to meet up and enjoy the gig ? Paul
  7. ms2oz

    Coming to Sydney area - Good, Bad & Ugly

    We tried to prepare as much as poss before we got here regarding a pack of documents for the rental agencies (however, most now do it online, so found we didn't need lots of hard copies of documents which is what we had been told). We would have been better with 1/2 hard copies (as some agents still like faxes) and then all on pc, so they can be attached to email/online system. ID (passports,visas), employment proof, references are all needed; you need to meet 100 points for ID, so we used Medicare cards that we had arranged as soon as we got here & driving licences and got the landlord of our serviced apartment to do a reference as they like to have some kind of reference relating to accommodation over here. We found for properties around $500-£650 pw, there were nearly always several people looking (at the Open House 15-20 minutes) and several applying, so lots of competition. Once we went up and over $700pw, there was less competition and were able to sometimes make private appointments to view properties. This is how we ended up securing one. It is a very frustrating and time-consuming process. Unfortunately lots of the properties are not particularly well maintained, so you have to look beyond the decor sometimes. Perhaps we were just unlucky and others have found something more easily.
  8. ms2oz

    Coming to Sydney area - Good, Bad & Ugly

    We started off looking at places nearer the city/beaches (in the hope of experiencing "real" Sydney life), but ended up looking further out due to cost and size. We are now in The Hills district, where you seem to get more for your money (but of course, longer commute if you are going to city).
  9. ms2oz

    Coming to Sydney area - Good, Bad & Ugly

    I guess it depends what you are earning in UK. We have found it difficult to maintain the same lifestyle without spending a lot more money. Best of luck with your move.
  10. ms2oz

    Coming to Sydney area - Good, Bad & Ugly

    Hi Thanks for comments, Yes allowing for current exchange rate prices are appx double. Example there was "trouble ahead" as reported on the local radio when supermarkets tried to sell beer for less than $38 (appx £20) for a crate of Fosters lager (smaller containers also) this would probably be £10 in the UK
  11. Hi We have been here for appx 2.5 years now and thought I would pass on some of the good and bad experiences so far. General Info Before you set off.... Make sure you have a job to come to, low unemployment means not much to go after and a lot of competition, especially for part-time. Also to maintain your same standard of living you will need appx twice the salary you are earning in the UK - 95% of stuff is appx twice as expensive here - salaries are appx 1.5x here. If you are bringing your DAB radio make sure it is DAB+ otherwise it will not work. TV's - my friend works in TV broadcasting and says "won't work due to different number of lines that make up picture" - good enough for me, we did not bring ours and some reasonable bargains to be had on new here. (Several good electrical outlets - Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, J&B Hi-Fi - so plenty of competition) It will help to pack a multi-gang socket extension lead in your hand / hold luggage - remember all those gadgets (phones / ipods / laptops etc) with ac adaptor type power supplies, where are you going to plug them in when you arrive ??? find your nearest Bunnings and buy an bag of Aussie plugs for appx $3each Books are horrendously expensive, so yes heavy and take up room - but if you have space in your container - bring them. In fact make sure your container is full to bursting, because "we will buy that when we get over there" will hurt your wallet. Do not throw away you winter clothes - it does get "cold" here - it may only be 5C overnight in winter, but most of the houses are so poorly insulated it will feel much colder, likewise they do not retain heat so heating costs can mount up. No joke sometimes you put you jumper / jacket on to go in the house!! When you arrive Parking - roads are marked very well for where you can or cannot park, a 4P sign means free parking for 4 hours, but also 4P with "ticket" in small text - so be careful. You have to park facing the direction of traffic (1970's UK?) but I do not know how strictly this is enforced. In the city parking ranges from free (if you are lucky enough to find one) to $10 per hour and $15-30 all day at weekends - again worth weighing up public transport cost option. Sign up to "stardeals / groupon" on the web, excellent daily offers - just landed a diving course for half price. Been meaning to get open water certificate for years. The Entertainment Book" is a good buy (appx $65) you get a mass of vouchers for all sorts and easily pays for itself - any makes you get out there and try new stuff."It is available via schools and other organisations Good Weather (obviously) People - generally very friendly and helpful, but strangely lacking in manners - must be a city thing? (If someone lets you out at a junction, they are probably British) Facilities - when you start to find where things are - I am not a great shopper but there are some massive multi-level shopping centres (got lost several times) if you are. Plenty of gyms available and reasonable costs - like everything quite a variety and shop around. Also bartering is the norm so shake off that reserve and ask for a discount in almost anywhere - even small purchases - my wife just purchased an alarm clock which was priced at $24.90 and got it for $22. Food - The quality of the food when you eat out is better here generally than the UK but there are not the range of places to eat, a cafe will generally provide a very good meal (not the dried up leftovers you sometimes get in the UK) but there is not much difference between the "cafes" and "restaurants" - unless you spend big bucks. Service - The customer service is much better than UK when eating - genuinely please to serve and NO TIP expected (are you listening USA) so if you are more then happy you can leave a tip for that extra mile. Public Transport - The public transport system is excellent, efficient and reasonable price - use buses with a "ten-use" multi or single zoned ticket (cannot remember real name) and save more. You cannot often pay cash when in the city so better to have ticket to hand. Car Travel - Overtaking on the inside - brilliant! the UK should have adopted this years ago, no more "middle lane hoggers" (forget your years of lane discipline, quite often you will get over to the left only to find "lane ends in 200m sign" - very common on A/B roads) mostly automatic gearboxes of course - also good. Festivals - Again excellent (it's not called the city of festivals for nothing) something different in the city almost every weekend - and mostly free, you can find all day parking for $10 if you shop around. Bad House Prices - Purchase prices are bad enough but rental, as most of you will be doing at first are even worse. We had to raise our budget to over $650 PER WEEK to find anything half decent - it really is a sellers / landlord's market due to the shortage of housing Prices - OMG it is expensive here (I though I had done my research) If you are coming over make sure you are going to earm at least twice the amount you do in the UK. The only exceptions are, petrol, and BBQ's (that we have found so far) on average everything is double the price. I guess the UK economy and rubbish exchange rate / growing Australian economy has something to do with it but the urban myth of "well everything has to be shipped so far / we only have 20million population....." wears a bit thin when goods from China still cost twice as much than good old/bad Tescos would charge. Example - we were paying appx £35/month for broadband+phone - including all national calls and 10 international destination for 1 hour calls. We have just signed up for broadband+phone with some bundled calls (but expensive call rates) for $89/month (but obviously you can shop around & we didn't want to do 24mth commitment, which most of them are). Customer Service - Things like sorting out phones etc can be difficult because of being "department shoved" or people not returning calls - the warning of what is the difference between mobile phone salesmen and cowboys........very true. Since our original problems on broadband installation - I must say Optus customer service was pretty good. Real Estate Agents - As one of your main priorities when arriving is to sort out where you are going to live (and you will probably be renting first) then sorry but you will have to go through the horrible system here. You are treated like second class citizens by most agents and you have to compete for 90% of properties with many others, so when eventually you find a place you like - shop around again, huge variation - you may not get it and have to start over. Of course, the higher the rent, the less competition and agents start being more accommodating. It may sound obvious, but get a few properties you are interested in and do a drive by, you will not have time to waste on the day trying to decide which one's you are interested in. Roads - Car travel is pretty slow, we are from a village, but I used to travel extensively throughout the UK (but not so much in cities) the roereads are wide, but the combination of lower speed limits, lots of speed / red light cameras and so many sets of traffic lights - (American road grid system) mean do not expect to travel around quickly - in the UK you can work on an average of 50MPH, here it is probably 40KPH. Many major routes have toll charges, you can pay cash (but not always) but if you travel regularly then you have an "etag" - fix it to your windscreen and away you go. Luckily my company pays for mine as each toll point can cost $2-3 which can add up if you go through 3 on your way to work - also my sat nav (god-send of course) gives me the options and to be honest I have tried both toll and non-toll routes and there generally is not much difference in travelling time. Ugly Nothing really, but at first sight the dumping of stuff outside houses looks horrendous - you have 2 occasions per year (I guess it varies by area) to put unwanted stuff, furniture / diy projects etc out the front of your house. But when you get used to it, it is probably a better system than everyone making short trips to the tidy tip and it is a free for all - if you see something you like, just take it (some half decent stuff gets dumped - you could almost furnish a house!) It may be obvious, but the commuting is pretty bad, we only live 25kms from Sydney centre, but my wife has appx 1.25hours each way on the bus - and quite often does not get to sit down. General Stuff Thanks to some people who made our transition easier John Mason removals UK - a very professional service and we were kept up to date this end of our stuff arriving (by Wridgeways - Aussie counterparts) Lisa and Darren - you know who you are, thanks for inviting complete strangers into your home to offer some word of advise - Darren's "the first 3 months can be ****" very true !! (about 1 month for me) - stick with it and soon it becomes "normal" I hope this helps if you are unsure of what to expect, it might seem a daft comment but it is a BIG country so expect your general travelling to be longer Aussies will say "ah yeh, it's just down the road" = 100km.
  12. ms2oz

    Newbie Question

    Hi Joe Not sure if you've already tried them - we used Ian Harrop & Associates in the UK and found them helpful (though not for same visa as you) and knowledgeable.
  13. Any suggestions on who to go with for landline, broadband and TV package? Don't really want to be committed for more than a year. Sydney area. Does one company do all or need separate (eg Foxtel for TV?)? Many thanks

    <p>Hi Jackie,</p>

    <p>How are you settling now? Have you managed to get out & meet a few more of the expats from that site? or been too busy sorting out your job situation?</p>

    <p>Actually since the Ranch night I have been making progress getting back into my accounting with a 2nd round interview coming up this Monday, fingers crossed for that.</p>

    <p>Did you get a car yet or still relying on buses?</p>

    <p>If you fancy getting together again for a chat let me know, I didn't get much of a chance to talkto you on the night when there were so many others</p>

    <p>Hope to hear from you</p>



  15. How did your meet up go? Shame we didn't see it earlier, otherwise we would have come along. Have you made any other arrangements yet? We have been here nearly 3 weeks (Marsfield) and will be up for some get togethers.