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surhythms

2 weeks in Canberra - Our thoughts so far

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Well guys ...........................................................

We have been here 2 weeks now so just to give you all an update on how we are doing. We arrived in Sydney and stayed in a hotel for 3 days in Darling Harbour and it was really nice. Sydney is a really nice place to visit and we needed the break before we got to Canberra because it has been HECTIC!!

We drove down from Sydney in our rental car which was somewhat underpowered for the size of it!! Luckily enough we have managed to buy two cars now which is great. The journey took 3 hours and we drove right into Tuggeranong (Calwell) to our short term accommodation. The drive down was not very exciting so I slept in the car while the OH drove! Our short term accommodation (Langley Heights) in Calwell is really nice – it has European heating which we are spoilt with at the moment. The accomodation has everything you will need even down to an ironing board and hairdryer which really impressed me! Most of the houses don’t have heating like we do in Ireland and it is quite cold at the moment so bring your winter clothes if you are arriving soon. The first week we sorted out our TFN, Medicare, got mobile phones, mobile broadband and drove around every inch of Canberra searching for houses and schools (government secondary schools). We also met Quoll (Angela) for coffee and she gave us lots of really useful information and in my opinion has been spot on with pretty much everything she says. Thanks Angela J Last week we went to the Catholic Private Schools and searched more houses. We have now found a house, a school, I started work today and the OH is looking for work at the moment in IT.

Our first impressions of Canberra were “ Well this is different” but isn’t that why we came? For something different and new. We didn’t come with any expectations of what it would be like really and I have to say 2 weeks in I don’t regret doing it one bit – I am so glad we haven’t spent more time thinking WHAT IF!! It has been a good move so far! We haven’t done one bit of sightseeing or any touristy type things but we have LOADS of time for that so Im not too worried that the last two weeks have been a hard slog.

Tip: Bring EVERYTHING you possibly can !!!!! Some of the stuff is expensive so if you have it already don’t bother buying it again if you can manage it. You can get great deals at the moment because of the half yearly sales on at the moment and there is really no point converting everything because it just doesn’t match up. Grocery shopping is costing us about AUD 200 per week for the 3 of us and we aren’t overly spending or anything of the sort

 

Cars

 

Visited a few dogdy dealers that I didnt like the sound of! One of them even questioned why we wanted the VIN number of the car which I thought sounded slightly fish so we ended up buying our cars from Pickles Car Auctions in Fyshwick. We got 2 good deals – one at a fixed price sale and another at the auction. The auction was an experience and a bit of fun and nerverecking aswell as I have never put a bid on anything of the sort before.You need to register your car which will cost about 900 dollars - registration needs to be done every year and you need to get a cert from a garage to make sure it is roadworthy

Pay stamp duty which is 3% of the sale price

get your own private insurance which is about 3-400 dollars. You will definitely need 2 cars in this city- we thought we would get away with one but there is no chance of that happening!

 

 

 

Schools:

 

We visited 4 government schools and 4 privates. . If you have teenage kids I would say to go to public and privates just to look at the options and make up your own mind on the schools. Not every school will suit everyone but we have enrolled the daughter into a Co-ed Catholic Private. The fees are ok but we feel the fees are worth it and if it doesn’t work out for her sure we can always change! In some of the schools the classroom doors are locked for "security reasons" - the kids can get out of the classrooms but if you want to get in the door has to be unlocked with a key. I found this really off putting. Not all schools do this and I did raise the question as to why this happens. Because we are doing the private school thing we did have to look at our finances from a renting perspective which has tightened our budget a little aswell.

Suburbs:

 

 

Gunghalin – This is not really for us. Ok the blocks are new, modern, have ducted gas heating but we could find somewhere like this in Ireland. We want to live in a more ozzie type house. If new, modern and brand spanking new is up your street you may want to consider this option.

 

Belconnen- really liked Belcoone and my favourite areas are: McKellar, Aranda, Hawker, Weetangera – The rents are quite high in these suburbs for a nice house and there were only a few around. We realised that our 4 bed, swimming pool dream was shot down in a flash. Some of the houses are pretty big and unless you plan to clean your way through the weekend maybe think again – plus there is the thoughts of heating the place in winter.

Inner North – Ainslie, O'Connor and Hackett were my favourites here but a little pricey

for us although there seemed to be some good deals around if you search for them and are flexible with your needs

Inner South - they have some really nice houses here but to be honest I didn’t even consider inner south and it was way too expensive for us anyway!

 

Weston Creek - too far out - no bus service and very little facilities for kids getting to and from school outside the Creek

 

Woden - We liked Lyons, Curtin, Mawson the best – we put an application in for a house in Curtin but we decided not to go for it in the end.

Tuggeranong - this is where we are staying and the views of the mountains are just fab. Our favourite suburbs are Calwell and Fadden. Anything further than Calwell is just too far for us. It took me an hour to get to work this morning from door to door. Something that I am not used to (it took me 5 mins in Ireland). This is the sacrifice I am willing to make though to live on a hill. We are just about to sign our lease for a 4 bed house in Calwell – its not overly expensive either which is a bonus

Dont be fooled by the pictures of houses on the internet - they look about 20% worse in real life plus until you get to the actual street you wont know what it is really like. The house may look ok but then you see the real street and may change your mind!! Quolls advice on “check out the neighbours” really springs to mind and we were told by someone else to drive around the area at night which we did.

 

 

Houses

 

You can get really big houses if you like and some of them are just amazing!! None of the houses have real insulation so I have been told so bring oiled filled radiators, blow heaters, electric blankets - whatever you can for winter!

The people here are really lovely and everyone so far has been so helpful and nice to us. I was quite shocked by people generosity overall. As I said already we haven’t really explored much over the past couple of weeks because the aim was to find a school, car and house and we have found them all.

We went out walking up the road from where we are staying last Sunday to be met by about 30 kangaroos - it was really amazing!! A kangaroo also jumped out at us when we were driving aswell which was funny and a shock aswell. Lucky we were going slow or the poor kangaroo would not be bouncing around anymore. I think they are amazing so if wildlife is your thing you will love it here. There is loads of bushland around aswell which I love and the views are spectacular. All I would say to people is don’t rule anything out before you get here. We were dead set on living in Belconnen and I guess if a house came up that we liked and suited us we would be living in Belconnen or Inner North but it hasn’t panned out that way so I guess all I would say is be realistic in your expectations, be willing to compromise on your ideals and don’t be too shocked about the price of duvet covers J

Suzanne

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Guest smileykylie

nothing to add or comment on except I had no idea Quoll's name was Angela!!!

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Suzanne, thanks for the great post and all the info in it, very helpful. Glad that you are all enjoying Canberra and hope the next few weeks give you time to do some sightseeing.

 

Rich

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Glad you are enjoying Canberra and your all sorted with the cars. You might want to drive one of the cars around Tidbinbilla as that is some really nice parts of the ACT there. The drive down to the coast isn't too bad either

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nothing to add or comment on except I had no idea Quoll's name was Angela!!!

 

Hmm, she'd much rather that wasnt spread around, it's a small town!!!

 

Well done on getting settled so soon Suzanne - blue tailed flies have nothing on you guys!

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Great post Suzanne, glad you have managed to get settled quickly. We can't wait to be there now, just another 14 weeks for us.

 

Enjoy your first week in work.

 

Claire


Pete, Claire, Jaime & Maisie

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Guest ClaireBrown

Hi Suzanne

 

Welcome to Canberra! I am glad you are enjoying it so far!

 

We arrived here in around October 2010 and have really been enjoying it since. We too are in Tuggeranong (Bonython) and have friends in Calwell so know the area well. We love living in 'Tuggers' as it is so close to the outskirts of the city and yet not that far from the city either. When we first arrived, we only had the 1 car and that was why we planned to live close to a good shopping centre and so far the Hyperdome has mostly what we need but we have bought another car as the public transport is nothing like the UK.

 

What time do you leave in the morning as it only takes my hubby about 20-30 mins to get to work in Barton. I may soon been working in Civic so will be interested to know if that is where you're going and what time you leave.

 

Which Visa are you on? We are on a 457 visa and were extremely surprised to have to pay almost $9500 for a year (upfront) for our daughter to go to a government school. Apparently in Sydney this is only $4500 and actually in Jerrabombera it is the same as that is in NSW. Thankfully we managed to get our daughter in to a Private school which we had her name on the list from the moment we knew we were coming and got a refund from the government pretty promptly as the Private school is way cheaper!

 

Have you registered at a doctor yet? If not, make sure you find one you like and the trick is to then keep seeing the same person. I did not realise at first but it is actually up to the doctors discression whether or not they bulk bill (charge straight to Medicare) or whether they add their surcharge and make you pay. The lady at Medicare suggested to me that there is no guidelines for which the doctors have to follow as to how much they charge either so it is worth checking the costs before registering. Spoke to a friend who lives in Garran and her doctor charges on average $100 per appointment but yet mine either bulk bills or charges $68.

 

Apparently, in Canberra, most things are more expensive as they have the 'government surcharge' on it!

 

Anyway, hope you enjoy your new job and settle in nicely. Look forward to more updates.

 

Claire

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Are you planning on going skiiing? The weather forecast is saying that it's going to be a great ski season.

I think, if I lived in Canberra, this would be one of the things I would have to get into.

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Guest Bart10

Hi everyone ,

I moved from Ireland last November , only came across this site in the last couple of days. Went ski ing last weekend and snow was not great should have waited till next weekend as it's supposed to very good this weekend . It's so wet and miserable today here. For those for you who have not cone out yet , pack lots of winter clothes. We made our mind up to come out here within 6 weeks so did no research about Canberra , thinking I was coming to sunny oz I gave all my winter clothes to a charity shop !

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A kangaroo also jumped out at us when we were driving aswell which was funny and a shock aswell. Lucky we were going slow or the poor kangaroo would not be bouncing around anymore.

 

 

And your car could have suffered quite a bit of damage, too. Car meeting kangaroo is not a nice experience for either party!

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Guest ClaireBrown
And your car could have suffered quite a bit of damage, too. Car meeting kangaroo is not a nice experience for either party!

 

That is true, we just got bull bars on our car. Someone we knew, during busy time of day, in the middle of the city hit a kangaroo! They are all over the place.

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Glad you are enjoying Canberra and your all sorted with the cars. You might want to drive one of the cars around Tidbinbilla as that is some really nice parts of the ACT there. The drive down to the coast isn't too bad either

 

 

Thanks Nik-Kershaw - we have both on the list!! :)

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Great post Suzanne, glad you have managed to get settled quickly. We can't wait to be there now, just another 14 weeks for us.

 

Enjoy your first week in work.

 

Claire

 

 

Thanks Claire - all is going well in work - have to say the people are exceptionally nice here and really helpful - I dont feel at all homesick considering Ive never left Ireland permanently before ! I bet you are counting the days now !"

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Hi Suzanne

 

Welcome to Canberra! I am glad you are enjoying it so far!

 

We arrived here in around October 2010 and have really been enjoying it since. We too are in Tuggeranong (Bonython) and have friends in Calwell so know the area well. We love living in 'Tuggers' as it is so close to the outskirts of the city and yet not that far from the city either. When we first arrived, we only had the 1 car and that was why we planned to live close to a good shopping centre and so far the Hyperdome has mostly what we need but we have bought another car as the public transport is nothing like the UK.

 

What time do you leave in the morning as it only takes my hubby about 20-30 mins to get to work in Barton. I may soon been working in Civic so will be interested to know if that is where you're going and what time you leave.

 

Which Visa are you on? We are on a 457 visa and were extremely surprised to have to pay almost $9500 for a year (upfront) for our daughter to go to a government school. Apparently in Sydney this is only $4500 and actually in Jerrabombera it is the same as that is in NSW. Thankfully we managed to get our daughter in to a Private school which we had her name on the list from the moment we knew we were coming and got a refund from the government pretty promptly as the Private school is way cheaper!

 

Have you registered at a doctor yet? If not, make sure you find one you like and the trick is to then keep seeing the same person. I did not realise at first but it is actually up to the doctors discression whether or not they bulk bill (charge straight to Medicare) or whether they add their surcharge and make you pay. The lady at Medicare suggested to me that there is no guidelines for which the doctors have to follow as to how much they charge either so it is worth checking the costs before registering. Spoke to a friend who lives in Garran and her doctor charges on average $100 per appointment but yet mine either bulk bills or charges $68.

 

Apparently, in Canberra, most things are more expensive as they have the 'government surcharge' on it!

 

Anyway, hope you enjoy your new job and settle in nicely. Look forward to more updates.

 

Claire

 

 

Hi Claire

 

Sure you are only across the road from us. If you fancy a meetup let me know - we would love it! I left for work at 6.45 this morning and got there at 7.30 - maybe I should take the monaro highway instead of drakeford drive. I dont know why its taking me so long. We are on a 176 so we dont have to pay school fees for government schools but decided to go private as they arent too expensive. We dont have a doc yet so if you could recommend one that would be fantastic!

 

Suzanne

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Are you planning on going skiiing? The weather forecast is saying that it's going to be a great ski season.

I think, if I lived in Canberra, this would be one of the things I would have to get into.

defintely going to go skiing - next year!

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Hi everyone ,

I moved from Ireland last November , only came across this site in the last couple of days. Went ski ing last weekend and snow was not great should have waited till next weekend as it's supposed to very good this weekend . It's so wet and miserable today here. For those for you who have not cone out yet , pack lots of winter clothes. We made our mind up to come out here within 6 weeks so did no research about Canberra , thinking I was coming to sunny oz I gave all my winter clothes to a charity shop !

 

 

Bart10 - agree with you it is cold at the moment ;ucky we brought our clothes. are there many Irish here do you now? We've met one Irish couple so far but thats it - how are you finding Canberra?

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Guest Bart10

Surhythms ,

No I have not met many Irish here at all , only know one other couple . Canberra is a very easy pace of life , everything here is just simple . No traffic and everything is so close. I have not sampled the social scene as yet because I have a new born and a toddler. I do get pangs of homesickness but think that is more to do with no one at home has met my baby yet, thank god for skype .

Looking forward to returning to work and getting out and about meeting people .

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Hi everyone ,

I moved from Ireland last November , only came across this site in the last couple of days. Went ski ing last weekend and snow was not great should have waited till next weekend as it's supposed to very good this weekend . It's so wet and miserable today here. For those for you who have not cone out yet , pack lots of winter clothes. We made our mind up to come out here within 6 weeks so did no research about Canberra , thinking I was coming to sunny oz I gave all my winter clothes to a charity shop !

 

You should have come to Perth mate. The only time I've worn my winter coat in 20 years was when I was on a course in Canberra.

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Surhythms ,

No I have not met many Irish here at all , only know one other couple . Canberra is a very easy pace of life , everything here is just simple . No traffic and everything is so close. I have not sampled the social scene as yet because I have a new born and a toddler. I do get pangs of homesickness but think that is more to do with no one at home has met my baby yet, thank god for skype .

Looking forward to returning to work and getting out and about meeting people .

 

Hi Bart10

 

We have a baby and a toddler, good fun isn't it! Both girls. Our baby is 4.5 months old and our toddler has just turned two.

 

Do you find there is quite a bit to do, I.e. Play groups, mums and tots, etc as I won't be going back to work til our baby is at least one.

 

Ta

Claire


Pete, Claire, Jaime & Maisie

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You should have come to Perth mate. The only time I've worn my winter coat in 20 years was when I was on a course in Canberra.

 

Ha ha, my brother lives in Perth and his wife is always saying how cold she is at the moment! They have been there 8 years now so are well adjusted to the weather I think.


Pete, Claire, Jaime & Maisie

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Surhythms ,

No I have not met many Irish here at all , only know one other couple . Canberra is a very easy pace of life , everything here is just simple . No traffic and everything is so close. I have not sampled the social scene as yet because I have a new born and a toddler. I do get pangs of homesickness but think that is more to do with no one at home has met my baby yet, thank god for skype .

Looking forward to returning to work and getting out and about meeting people .

 

Yeah the skype is good alright - if you guys want to meet up let us know - we'd be more than happy too! We dont have babies but a 13 yr old but that has its challenges aswell!!

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Suzanne. You need to update your location on Pio:biggrin:


Pete, Claire, Jaime & Maisie

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Suzanne. You need to update your location on Pio:biggrin:

 

 

ha ha I do indeed dont I ?I certainly dont feel like Im living in Dublin thats for sure!

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Guest Bart10
Hi Bart10

 

We have a baby and a toddler, good fun isn't it! Both girls. Our baby is 4.5 months old and our toddler has just turned two.

 

Do you find there is quite a bit to do, I.e. Play groups, mums and tots, etc as I won't be going back to work til our baby is at least one.

 

Ta

Claire

 

Hi Claire ,

I have two boys , youngest born the 12 th of feb this year he must be the same age as your little one and my other boy is 18 months , yeah it's great fun ! !

Loads of play groups , activities in local libraries , great swimming lessons for the young ones , google aquatots . You could do something nearly every day !

Are in Canberra do you hope to live ? We are in Nicholls .

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Guest Bart10
Yeah the skype is good alright - if you guys want to meet up let us know - we'd be more than happy too! We dont have babies but a 13 yr old but that has its challenges aswell!!

 

Yeah sounds good , let's arrange it

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