Queensland, Australia... maybe?(16 Posts)
We are considering our options.
DH and I, mid 50's, were seriously considering a villa in southern Spain for retirement, but 'recent events' have slung a spanner in those works, so now we are beginning to think about Qld, probably Sunshine Coast or further north to Maryborough. Can't afford Briz!
We'd have £350k to spend on a house, and immigration won't be a problem.
If you have knowledge of recent life thereabouts, could you please share? DH and my's last encounter with the area was 15 years ago! And, tbf and without drip-feeding, as residents. So we can dispense with the 'two week holiday and I wanna emigrate' issue!
How does it feel socially? Economically? Politically? What's good/bad? What direction is it heading? Has the Chinese economic slow down had much effect? Are supermarket prices ever-rising? What's racism and homophobia like? We're not directly 'affected' by either but consider both a bellwether of a society's maturity.
We have DC but older teenagers, so Oz uni might be an option (which we need to research), but that's not 'primary' right now.
Your thoughts are very welcome!
There are plenty of Aussie mumsnetters, but I can only speak second hand. My brother moved to QLD from UK a few years ago.
They feel things are much better economic than here. They didn't have a recession. The cost of living is high. Supermarkets are pricey as for most things. Clothes are getting better, but still no cheaper end clothes. the quality for the price isn't good.
It rains a lot!
They have health insurance. No NHS obviously.
I lived in QLD for 4.5 years - though Brisbane area not further north. Standard of living is good but comes with a hefty price tag. Shopping is expensive and limited compared to Europe but that might not matter to you. Other than that it is difficult to gauge the 'social' aspect as where you end up and with whom you socialise can vary enormously. I found Brisbane a pretty international transient sort of place but I can't say it would be like that on the sunshine coast. Travel within and outside of Australia by air can be hugely expensive so if you are planning lots of holidays then you will find all your money going on that. If you like camping and the beach then fine, that can be done fairly cheaply (although not in peak season!) and if you live near the beach then even better!
There's a lot of talk of a potential recession here once Trump takes power. China buys a lot from us and sells to America - if Trump has his way America won't buy so much from China, so they won't buy so much from us. As with everything it's all very up in the air but the mining industry has def slowed down, which has affected a lot of people.
Cost of living isn't too bad, though - but internet shopping is awful (we're about 15 years behind the UK).
With uni fees, unless you're a citizen you have to pay up front but the costs will be set as domestic students - not international - so not horrendously expensive. Citizens can defer there fees with a govt loan that's only paid back once you're earning over a set amount.
I grew up in Brisbane and my parents now live on the Sunshine Coast. Culturally and politically it's more conservative than Sydney or Melbourne, for example. The MP for my parents' seat until recently was a billionaire of questionable character. There's still some surprisingly open racism according to my dad, who is relatively conservative himself but has been shocked by a few comments recently. It's definitely not multicultural in the way a city like London is and that has a knock-on effect on people's attitudes. Homophobia is less than it was in years gone by, I'd say. I live elsewhere in Aus and find there's a degree of casual racism and sexism in the country that is more noticeable than what I saw in the UK (I was in London for over a decade so may be different elsewhere).
There's plenty of good food on the coast but not a lot of 'high' culture per se, although there are thriving craft groups (eg painting, knitting, weaving etc) and sports clubs. There's plenty to keep you occupied but people travel to Brisbane or interstate for theatre and art.
Food is relatively expensive and tends to be seasonal. As pp said, internet shopping is rubbish as deliveries take ages. It's a long way from everywhere else, which I think is its biggest problem. It's a lovely place but takes a lot of effort to get anywhere much different. The places you can drive to or fly short distances to are all quite similar. Travel abroad is expensive and travel interstate can be too, although you can get some cheap fares on the budget airline. The economy...who knows. So far things haven't crashed but everyone knows the boom days are winding down.
You've lived here before, where are you leaning towards? You could afford a nice house inBrisbane with that money. Will you be working or retiring? That may be a big factor in where you end up.
Thanks for the responses.
I'm not sure if I'd be doing any work or not, it would depend when (if!) we go. I believe I wouldn't have much trouble finding work in my line.
I am interested in what people say about fearing a economic downturn when Trump kicks in as the only way he'd be able to bring jobs back to the US is to stick barriers up to China, destabilising the Chinese economy and thus their willingness or ability to buy Australian
iron goods. Was always amused at how many Australians think their prosperity comes from the easy life style/she'll be right/no worries attitude, rather than the fact they're shipping raw materials clawed out of the Australian ground to the world's next booming economy!
Speaking of mining, I'd heard there was a bit of a split in Australian society between 'those who have benefited from the latest mining boom' and 'those who didn't'. Is this true?
Zero am a bit surprised that the SE Qld you describe sounds very much like the one I left 15 years ago! My DH comes from Gympie, a place back then I could not have tolerated living in; but, 4 years ago (last visit), I did find it rather less parochial- and considerably bigger!- than before. But possibly a bigger population inevitably is going to bring some new ideas with it.
I found central Brisbane a mess of freeways and tunnels, and South Bank a victim of its own success and will be interested to hear the views of an Oz friend who is currently there on holiday.
Basically, what appealed about Spain was - its proximity to the UK (and the rest of Europe) as the DSs are pretty 'Brit' having lived here for 15 years so can easily remain in the UK; its relative cheapness; its pleasant climate; good food and drink. The downside is the language barrier (tho DH is pretty good at Spanish and the DSs both have GCSE Spanish); the flipside of cultural difference; the daily small irritations of life in a 'Manana' culture. Oh, and possibly some hostility from Spanish locals seeing Brits as being the cause of the current European lurch to the Right.
So, with Brexit diving the £ and Trump possibly destabilising Europe (and emboldening an expansionist Russia..); Spain is possibly not a good idea. Thus, looking to Australia, you'd get a Med climate in WA but I found Perth a bit sterile and isolated; Oz is an awfully long way from the UK but maybe my DS's futures might be better than in the UK, anyway; there'd be no language issues, but I accept some cultural differences. I'm interested at how the cost of living seems to have risen- were mining wages the reason?
Anyway, we're a bit torn, tbh; we didn't see Brexit coming, nor Trump but we want to try and make the best of it for the family as that's all we can influence!
We live on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.
We have been here 10 years now.
The area around Kawana if ever growing. New super hospital. Big uni.
Personally I don't find racism any worse than the uk!
Gympie is a small rural town which will have its own issues with changing demography .
We like it on the sunny coast. Very different to Spain tho!
The issues with trump etc. nope don't even consider it. I doubt he will do half the threats he touted. I'd take my chances with trumps threats over the impact of brexit.
I live in Perth. Well, in the Northern Suburbs (22kms north of city).
I've been here for a year and this is my 11th country! So far, it's my favourite. Reasons: access to sport, recreation, ease of driving, shopping, not getting stressed out by parking (free on weekends) and general ease of life. Beaches are great and I love the weather.
There are so many British people here that when you go to a bar, you end up meeting more Brits than Aussies (who tend to socialise at home).
I love it here. I regularly work in Queensland and I also love it there but it's very humid with lots of nasties in the water and elsewhere. I often feel like Perth is not the "real Australia" - partly because we're so pest-free (or is that just my feeling?) and partly because it's so British.
I would find the culture in Spain too isolating. Ie., you would just end up in a 'ghetto England" because of the language issue.
Lucky you to have such choices! Good luck!
if you like the idea of Perth weather, but don't like the isolation, then you could consider Adelaide. It's officially classed as having a Mediterranean climate. I found it very similar to Seville and Malaga -- Hot, dry summers and cool (but not freezing) rainy winters.
Adelaide has pretty much everything you would expect from a city, just on a smaller scale - museums, theatre, food and bar scene, adequate shopping, and a world class arts festival which draws people from around the world.
There are nice surroundings - you can drive 25 mins from the CBD and be in beautiful bushland, or 15 mins in the other direction and find long sandy beaches.
Housing is substantially cheaper in Adelaide than Perth, Melbourne and Sydney (I don't know about Brisbane, but I expect so). 350k sterling would buy you something very reasonable, or even a bit luxurious if you were prepared to live just outside Adelaide in one of the satellite towns. There are pretty decent connections to other destinations. Sydney is about 90 mins flight away, Melbourne, just under an hour I think. There is a choice of very good universities for the DC too.
Everywhere has its downsides as well, and I can mention some of Adelaide's if you are interested.
I think you need to decide if you want a humid heat or a dry heat, because that will narrow down the options for you as it makes all the difference.
The mining boom finished the day I landed in Oz, 2012 and the full effects were shown last year with this getting progressively worse, I hear perth is a bit of a ghost town now with salaries dropping like hot potatoes but equally rents too.
God sake don't go to Joondalup if you do you. I'd stay close to the city. Nedlands, Subiaco, Shenton park. The established areas. $700,000 will buy you a very nice house. But rents are so cheap you might want to keep the uk house where rents are rising and wait for the dollar to drop to a more normal level.
I have a love hate thing with perth but I probably will live there again
chloe -We used to live in Buderim Forest so I'd go shopping in Kawana or The Plaza. And Wises Farm was still clinging on as a farm!
I'm not sure I'd like the urban sprawl the southern 2/3 of the Coast has become, now, sort of killing the goose that was laying the golden eggs; which is why we might look further afield.
DH, as stated, is a country boy tho left Gympie at 17 to go to uni and has never lived there since (we met in Brissie). On the Coast we both worked in Nambour, which, again, I gather has changed somewhat. No sugar cane trains trundling down the high street!
I am interested to hear what PissedOff says about the end of the mining boom and its effect on Perth. My new SIL (very rural woman of 70!, in Maryborough) was constantly telling us how amazingly well her adult DC were doing, having bought houses in mining towns and making $$ renting them to the mining companies- til, overnight, the companies stopped hiring and now they can't sell the houses on for love nor money. But I guess mining is always boom and bust.
I'd need to consider Adelaide. I admit I've only been there once, in 1988! A trip to Kangaroo Island took the best part of a day and we stayed in a YHA where you were literally tripping over fairy penguins to go to the loo in the night!
But the sea's cold, isn't it?
I'm chuckling at an earlier comment that it rains a lot in qld... not for 2 years in seq. finally the drought has broken out west.. for us it's dry dry dry.. my horses have canvas rugs on for the first time in two years.. for rain..
How about areas like tin can Bay? Agnes water 1770? If works not an issue?? Lovely unspoilt areas.
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