Lparker15

Moving to Canberra

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Lparker15    11

Hi guys, so I have a possible job opportunity in Canberra. Has anyone made the move from the Uk to Canberra how have you found living there? It will be myself, husband and 6 year old daughter. How have your kids settled into schools, my daughter is quite shy so really worried about her making friends. What are the best suburbs to rent in? Are there plently of family activities at the weekend? Is it really that cold in winter? Thanks guys 

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Quoll    3,270

I did and lived there for 32 years.

Kids are kids and schools are schools. We sent our kids private and no regrets about that. My grandkids go to public schools and they're doing ok. Some kids sink and some kids swim. Kids generally make friends and schools will help if a kid seems to be floundering.

There is no such thing as "the best suburb" - one could suggest something like O'Malley (no school) or Yarralumla but that rather depends on your disposable income! Some suburbs are ludicrously expensive these days. Where will your job be? That's usually the first thing to think about when choosing somewhere to live. Canberra is one of those places where you don't really want to trek from one side of town to the other unless you can help it. Then there are some suburbs to avoid - Charnwood, Narrabundah (although that's on the up I believe), Richardson, Isabella Plains, Chisholm (actually I would avoid all Tuggeranong simply from a pedagogical view point - all open space schools, not great for kids who could get lost). General rule of thumb - if you don't want to live in a suburb you wouldn't want to send your kids to school there! 

The closer in to the centres (and there are several) the more expensive it will be and chances are something affordable is going to be older and maybe less desirable, especially if you are renting - or you fancy apartment living rather than a house. But then, it's swings and roundabouts so you may have to pay more for transport.  Personally I like Ainslie but I lived there a long time!

Are there things to do at the weekends? Sure there are, more than you will care to engage in I am sure!

Does it get very cold in winter? You bet your life it does! Scraping the ice off the car at -7C is not a fun occupation but the daytime range is quite big so it generally warms up to at least 10C during the day. It seems colder than that though for some reason. The houses are poorly insulated too so power bills can be quite scary! It gets hot in summer though and the insulation issues are just as pertinent and the power bills just as scary as you try and cool down.

Its not a bad place but you will get many (who've probably never been or only stayed one night for work) who say it's boring - there's plenty to do. But I wouldn't say it was a hugely friendly place, it's very much a series of huge suburbs with both parents working and not the same sort of neighbourly community feel that you get in UK. After 32 years I had loads of acquaintances but very few friends and most of those were long term expats like myself. 

You could do much worse, it's a cross between a city and a large town. There's a lot of bush (oh, probably avoid the suburbs on the extreme Western edge, that's where the bushfire pathways seem to be, historically), the facilities are good, shopping is pretty good (there are even a couple of wool shops which is always a good sign). Workplaces can be anywhere between very good and very bad - quite a lot of bullying in some places.

Have fun!

Edited to say if you are going on a temporary visa (457) then check to see if you will be up for International fees for your child.  Talk to the International Students Section at ACT Department of Education.  Fees can be around $10k pa so well worth finding out first.  Secondly, be aware that your husband could struggle to get a job as a temporary dependent.  Much of Canberra's employment requires Australian citizenship or Permanent Residence because it is a  public service town. Temporary dependents will always be at the back of the queue because they could be gone within 90 days so it is often a risk for employers to have to train them up if there is a local candidate willing to do the job.  Just a heads up!

Edited by Quoll

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Lparker15    11

Hi, thanks for all the info really helpful. We will be going out on a PR visa as I will be sponsored as a Lead Educator in a childcare centre so hopefully there shouldn't be a issue with school fees. My wage will be around 56,000 AUD my husband won't have a job to start with so we will have to live off my wage at first. Do you think it's possible on this wage I have heard Canberra can be expensive. We would be willing to rent a 2 bedroom apartment at first. Thanks 

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evets    60

While I am not sure of the rental prices in Canberra, but 56k AU$ is very low in terms of cost of living. AU has a high cost of living, and just recently I have noted the amount of complaints/stories on news sites about the ever increasing electric/gas bills. I have recently moved to Canada and before I moved I heard horror stories of the electric prices hear, but in comparison to Melbourne, so much cheaper around 60% cheaper.

For a 2 bed detached unit in Melbourne single person with gas ducted heating and gas hob, to help you(Total for 2016)
Elect: $1000
Gas: $1000

As Quoll pointed out, houses in AU are generally poorly insulated and no double glazing so that means in winter keeping the electric heater on if you do not have a place with gas ducted heated heating. In winter depending on the property, you could find yourself running the heating constantly especially in Canberra which is much colder than Melbourne. Then in summer you may be running the AC. As a side note I met a Canadian who moved to Melbourne and he said he felt colder in Melbourne than back in Canada.

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Quoll    3,270

That's a really low salary for Canberra. The national average salary is around $80k and Canberra's average would be quite a bit above that. Most families are two income to make ends meet. Even before we left 6 years ago with no rent/mortgage, running two cars, just the two of us (age concessions), no real vices except a preference for organic food and a little bit of home Reno, solar hot water and scavenged wood for the wood heater we were averaging a spend of about $5k pm (i.e. $60k pa) when you take into account rates, insurances, broadband, phones, medical costs, travel, the odd coffee, and an occasional meal out, it all adds up.

If you want your child to go to groups they can mount up as well and even though as PR you won't pay international fees you will still pay for voluntary fees, excursions, stationery, visiting teachers, special activities etc.  

I doubt you're going to want to live in anything that costs you less than $400-500pw. Check out allhomes.com.au for rentals but bear in mind that the pictures often have little resemblance to the reality.

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Melb2016    13

Agree with what's been said, 56k is low for a family if 3. If you decide to make the move, you should try and see if your husband can line up a job before you get here.


Sent from my iPhone using PomsinOz

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Lparker15    11

Hi guys thanks for all your advice. Yes after adding up all the costs myself I can see that we would just get by with that amount, we have a bit of savings so hopefully we would manage at first and hubby will just have to find a job asap! We do have a possible other opportunity which is more money but in Ararat, Vic not sure if it's a bit too rural though! 

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