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Our experience of living in Oz


Mrs Fabricator

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Hi everyone

We have been members of PIO for a couple of years now and before we moved to Oz, we found this forum very informative and a good place to meet like minded people and share their experiences and get some advice. We arrived in Oz in September and wanted to share our brief experiences so far.

Unlike many members we do not have any children and so it was just us that we needed to worry about. The process to get here was very long and very stressful (as many of you know) We had always planned to arrive, buy a motorhome and do a tour of Oz, that was our dream and we did exactly that. We went from NSW over the top to Perth, it took 8 weeks. In that time we experienced and learnt a lot, many things that we had never even thought of before we arrived.

You research everything from rentals, licencing, medicare, jobs, and think you have a good grasp of what you are going in to however in some cases this is not enough and there is always more to consider that you don’t think of. I hope that our experience may help others. We purchased our motorhome in NSW, we did not realise that we needed to change the plates and get it registered for WA, this was a huge stress and ended up costing a lot of money, especially as we had to get engineer reports to have the vehicle re-classified. We did not know that if you get a vehicle in another state it must be registered to the state you are living in, plus the stamp duty etc and all of this needed to be done within a certain time frame or else you get fined. We were unaware of any of this until we reached WA so was well over the time to get paperwork etc done, luckily we got there in the end.

I often see posts on here about registered addresses, on our travels we met many people and found out that your address is where you are staying that night, for example if you are staying in say Broome for 2 weeks, that is your address, it doesn’t matter if you are not permanent for a long time, so if you wanted to get your medicare card sorted before you settle properly, you can do it that way, all you need then do is change your address details when you are in a more permanent place. There is also suggestions of getting a PO Box, this is a good idea and we did this, except we opened ours in Bundaberg thinking that we could just have our mail transferred to us when we reached WA, this was what we were told when we opened the PO box, unfortunately you can’t just ask for them to forward your mail, your can do a re-direction, however, that doesn’t let you get mail that is already in the PO box, we spent many weeks trying to sort this out as we had mail that we could not get, luckily it is sorted now but was still a pain to sort.

When it comes to employment, we have found through experience and talking to people we have met that the best thing to do is to take pretty much any job you can, it is easier to get the job you are looking for when you are already in work, at least you are earning, the typical minimum wage we have seen in our area is $21.50 per hour, this does change. My OH is a very skilled tradesman, but took a lesser position to begin with in order to A, get work and start earning, B gain an Ozzie reference and C, get to know how things work over here. Now he has a very good job doing what he does best and happier for it.

 

I have found that many people move to Oz with a dream of sun, sea, blue skies, great jobs, good money, house with a pool, car etc etc, and this is great and these things are here, but some things take time. I did come over here thinking that life would be totally different and to some extent it is, but really the day to day is very much like life was in the UK. My OH still works 6 days a week, up very early and home around 6pm, by the time you have dinner etc it bed time. The difference is that in Oz, we can sit outside in the evening, we don’t spend a fortune on heating bills, we can have dinner on the beach if we want to, you can plan for your weekends and be pretty much guaranteed that you will have a nice day. We have decided to stay in our motorhome for as long as possible because right now we don’t know what areas are best, we don’t know where work will take us and it is the cheaper option.

To me moving to Oz feels like leaving home again for the first time, you are in a place where you really know nothing about and you have to start at the bottom, yes with the benefit of experience behind you, I have had to learn so much and I admit when we first got here we were very ‘green’ now, we are more savvy to things, but it is the little things that make life easier. To us Oz is the opposite to the UK but not in a huge way, for example, in the UK, in the winter or when it raining you plan your day around the best time to venture out, if it freezing in the morning you may wait till the afternoon when it warms up a bit. In Oz, you know that the hottest time of the day is around 11am – 2pm ( or all day at the moment it is so hot) so you go out either before this time or after. You have to make the same adjustments here as you would in the UK, this is just one example.

 

A quick one for the ladies, I was aware that when I first got to Oz, I would possibly bloat or put on some weight, I didnt realise that I would put on weight and my skin would seriously change and my hair would become very dry etc, again if I was aware of this before I arrived I would have been more prepared, my skin is horrendous at the moment I have never known anything like it but you can sort it out. Also some medication is not recognised over here, I am on the Cerazet pill, my dr here has never heard of it, another thing to be aware of.

 

When you arrive in Oz, it is natural that you will make comparisons to the UK, we certainly did, however we found that many Ozzies are interested in where we are from in the UK, they will strike up a conversation with you, you just have to be open to it. There are many things over here that I can’t get my head around, but it is nothing major it is mainly the names of things, but it is more funny than anything else. I won’t go in to driving or any of that because it has been talk about to death on here.

It is still very early days for us in Oz, but so far we have no regrets and are glad that we made the move and did so with eyes wide open. I have had some moments where I have struggled but again this is natural, it took us over 20 years to get established in the UK, it is not going to take 4 months to get established in Oz it will take much longer. It had been said many times on here, many people think that Oz is the answer to all their problems, moving to the other side of the world will suddenly make everything perfect. For some this may be true but in my experience, you have the same problems here that you do in the UK, the same stuff to deal with, what you do get in Oz is opportunity to make a better life for yourself, but you need to be open to it, open to the differences, embrace the Ozzie way whether you agree or not, in the privacy of your own home say what you like. Hope this is of some interest to you, if I can help with anything I will be happy too

 

:)

Edited by Mrs Fabricator
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Guest The Pom Queen

Hey Hun lovely to see and hear from you. It sounds like you are having a ball. I am sure one of the members said you had both got married, did I miss this? Are you our first PIO wedding?

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Hey hun, no, we not married, looks like it will be next year, unless we decide to just do it, there is a chance we could be the first hehehehe, yh all is good, had an amazing tour, we are now settled down in to life really, work, shopping the usual, boiling in the heat but it all good, hope things are well with you xx

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Guest The Pom Queen
Hey hun, no, we not married, looks like it will be next year, unless we decide to just do it, there is a chance we could be the first hehehehe, yh all is good, had an amazing tour, we are now settled down in to life really, work, shopping the usual, boiling in the heat but it all good, hope things are well with you xx

Its lovely to see you back on here. So where was your favourite place on your travels?

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Great update and i envy the freedom you have in a motor home, it must be great to move on as and when you want.

 

One thing in your post i totally agree with and i recall saying it myself when we arrived was '' To me moving to Oz feels like leaving home again for the first time, you are in a place where you really know nothing about and you have to start at the bottom, yes with the benefit of experience behind you, I have had to learn so much and I admit when we first got here we were very ‘green’ now, we are more savvy to things, but it is the little things that make life easier.'',,

 

Cal x

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That's a great informative post for a few people who might want to travel when they get here. Sounds like you've had an adventure already. Why do you say you expected to "bloat" or put weight on? I've noticed a few female backpackers look a bit on the tubby side and just assumed it was because they were a bit lazy and got into the booze, which is probably the done thing if you're backpacking around.

 

If you want to stay in shape though it can be easily done. Running is free wherever you are and it's a great way to get to see the local bits of where you are staying. See a lot more running than in a car. Or get a couple of bikes, park the motor home up and go for a ride together. You could even have a night out and a few drinks on the bikes and not worry about drink driving.:cool:

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When I was backpacking with Paul I put on weight. We were doing a lot of driving and i had gone from riding my bike all day for work to not doing a lot apart from short walks for touristy things...and had one too many maccas. This time round i've lost weight lol, because i'm walking at least 2 hours a day and i'm not eating as much as I did when I was in the UK.

Edited by BritChickx
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Fantastic post and what a good idea to live in a motor home until you work things out- fabulous! Also- I think people in the camp sites tend to be very friendly so that is another advantage. I was interested in the 'bloat' bit, though, as I thought you would be more likely to get skinny in the heat.

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When I was backpacking with Paul I put on weight. This time round i've lost weight lol.

 

Does it have anything to do with your starting weight BC. Like were you skinny when you came and put on weight and then when you came back a second time a bit overweight and lost it? It's got to be a lot to do with diet too. Not rocket science, diet and exercise is all it takes to go one way or the other. Bit like the mushroom in Alice in Wonderland.:biggrin:

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I wasn't skinny but not fat...i'm 5 ft 6 and 10 stone...well I was 10 stone to start with then i put on half a stone, maybe even more when travelling. It went back down when i started working again in the UK. But this time before I left the UK I was a bit over 10 stone, now I feel like i've lost half a stone, i need a belt to keep all my shorts up! (sorry Becky going off on one now)

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"I have found that many people move to Oz with a dream of sun, sea, blue skies, great jobs, good money, house with a pool, car etc etc, and this is great and these things are here, but some things take time. I did come over here thinking that life would be totally different and to some extent it is, but really the day to day is very much like life was in the UK."

 

Hit the nail on the head.

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Thank you for all the replies guys, the bloat thing, is due to water retention, changes in temperature, water, even down to the food you eat, it is your body getting used to the changes it is going through, it is the same with your skin, I have found that I have to drink so much more over here to flush my system, also your blood is thicker from coming from a colder climate, all of these things add up. I keep being told that I will settle. I have very sensitive skin and since being here with the heat and sweating so much, it irritates my skin, trying to find a good moisturiser has proven hard as many are water based and when it dries it doesn't really do anything, however, I have discovered extra virgin coconut oil, amazing, can be used for so many things plus it great for your skin and very cheap to buy.

 

as for favourite places we have visited, there have been so many, Broome was awesome, Exmouth was defo one of the best, would go back there in a heart beat. We saw the dolphins feed at Monkey Mia, going across NT was an experience we went for days without seeing a soul, the odd road train but that it, all we say were termites, blown tyres and lots of road kill, but it was still one of our top 5 experiences. I consider myself so very blessed to hav had this opportunity, as for the future, who knows, we are settling into life here, if it works out fantastic, if in a few years we return to the UK at least we have given it a really good go and put everything in to it. I have grown so much as a person since coming over here and no matter what it was totally worth it.

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Thanks for that Mrs F. We have been toying with the motor home idea when we arrive especially as you are waiting for all your stuff to catch up with you. We will have an 11 year old though so would not have gone as far as WA (save that for the future and fly I think).

 

Some really interesting pitfalls you experienced too. Thanks for the warnings.

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"I have found that many people move to Oz with a dream of sun, sea, blue skies, great jobs, good money, house with a pool, car etc etc, and this is great and these things are here, but some things take time. I did come over here thinking that life would be totally different and to some extent it is, but really the day to day is very much like life was in the UK."

 

Hit the nail on the head.

 

You have to be prepared to change a bit yourself to take advantage of the lifestyle you can have here. If you get up at the same time you used to in the UK, get in from work, settle in front of the TV like you used to, sure it's going to be much the same. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to get up at 5:30 and go for a walk, swim, ski paddle, boarding session at the beach and after work make the effort to have a ride out somewhere where you can maybe sit outside and enjoy the warm evening then it will be different.

 

I'm one of the ones who's taken to it like a duck to water. I always thought I would though. I'm up at around 5:00- 5:30 every day doing something with friends before work. A lot of the time we make the effort after work too. We feel tired when we go to bed so sleep really well too.

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Mrs F, have you ever been checked out for having prickly heat? I get it if I'm in a humid climate and don't get the chance to cool down. Used to get it badly when we went abroad from the UK and took a long time to get it diagnosed. Just put up with it for years as I knew it would be OK once I got back in a cooler climate. Usually started feeling better on the plane back to the UK.

 

Once I had asked the doctor about it and found out that a lot of people get it, you can take tablets that stop it. Luckily found out about it before we had a month in Bermuda and the tablets worked great. Otherwise I would have been itching and uncomfortable after the first week there.

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Nice one Mrs F!Have you worked since arriving?Are you looking for work?Travelling around working would be fab!You must of met some interesting characters hey?

 

Oh Yes, we met some very very interesting characters, from all walks of life, it was a very educational experience and loads of fun, made some great friends. We had some adventures, a blow out on an empty road, at the height of the heat, that was fun, also a blown water pump, and another blown out tyre just before we hit perth, all fun and games,

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Thanks for that Mrs F. We have been toying with the motor home idea when we arrive especially as you are waiting for all your stuff to catch up with you. We will have an 11 year old though so would not have gone as far as WA (save that for the future and fly I think).

 

Some really interesting pitfalls you experienced too. Thanks for the warnings.

 

Hey, I think that if your 11 year old is prepared to do the road trip, it would be totally do-able, we met many many people that have taken 2 years out, including taking their kids out of school to do a tour of Oz anf the experience the kids get is brilliant, I have seen many people do this and the kids love it, they get to see and do so much, plus you can get a motor home pretty reasonably over here, the one we got we actually saw from the UK on Oz Gumtree, ebay not that big over here, it was a really good price and came with loads of extras. That the other thing we have found, there are people finishing their tour and will sell the van and everything with it for a really good price, If I can help with anything let me know :)

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Mrs F, have you ever been checked out for having prickly heat? I get it if I'm in a humid climate and don't get the chance to cool down. Used to get it badly when we went abroad from the UK and took a long time to get it diagnosed. Just put up with it for years as I knew it would be OK once I got back in a cooler climate. Usually started feeling better on the plane back to the UK.

 

Once I had asked the doctor about it and found out that a lot of people get it, you can take tablets that stop it. Luckily found out about it before we had a month in Bermuda and the tablets worked great. Otherwise I would have been itching and uncomfortable after the first week there.

 

Hey P1P, I did think it was prickly heat, but I am thinking it is more my eczema playing up, it is mainly around my eyes that the worse, if it not cleared up in a couple weeks I will suggest prickly heat to the dr, thank you for the suggestion, it defo a possibility. Are you in Perth area? We are practically neighbours :)

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Nice one Mrs F!Have you worked since arriving?Are you looking for work?Travelling around working would be fab!You must of met some interesting characters hey?

 

Hey Melza, Im not working at the moment by my OH is, he must have applied for over 50 jobs, the one thing we noticed over here was that after you apply for a job the companies don't seem to be in a rush to contact you, it can take a week or so, many don't bother. Also I don't know if this will be any use but the other thing we have found which has been hard to get our head around is everything is very specific her, for example, a fabricator in the UK can do all sorts, mig, tig, sheet metal work etc, well over here if you a mig welder you a mid welder nothing else, we met a plasterer who only did walls, when asked if He would do a whole room he said no I just do walls not ceilings (seriously) also, we have seen many in the work place asked to say give the floor a sweep when there a quiet period at work, they have refused saying I am employed as such and such im not here to sweep the floor, or they will just do their area. We have a friend who is a manager and the stories he tells is unbelievable. When applying for jobs, we found it easier to look at everything in WA, like I say everything is so specific. In the UK, you could be employed as say a receptionist, but you do various other jobs as and when you're asked, well over here it doesn't seem to happen. This is of course only our experiences and talks with others, it may not be the case every where but it seem pretty typical.

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