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Seriously considering moving to Melbourne. Please tell me all about it, good and bad. Thanks

(45 Posts)
woosam Mon 08-Feb-10 16:49:36

Hi
The firm DH works for has offices in both Sydney and Melbourne. The opportunity has come up to possibly go out there initially for 2yrs but for good if we want it.
I think we've ruled out Sydney due to the heat and cost of living but we're both more than interested in the idea of Melbourne.

Weather wise, my ideal would be somewhere with warn reliable summers but much cooler winters and I'd like somewhere with rain (I know that sounds crazy)and a bit of greenery.

Budget wise we'd have about 400k (Sterling) to spend on the house. Not sure what that is in Au Dollars.

Visa would come with the job. I'd more than likely be a SAHM, at least initially so I don't want to be anywhere too isolated or 'end of the line'. Good schools and family infrastructure is vital. I'd like to make friends if possible too smile

It seems like a fabulous opportunity but I'm sure I'm wearing the RTGs at the moment.

So hit me with the reality, please. good, bad, indifferent and please include whether you'd be willing to be my friend and meet me for a cuppa! smile wink

LetThereBeRock Mon 08-Feb-10 17:16:17

You should also have a look at the British expats site here

DP and I are thinking of giving Melbourne a try and it's a very useful site for information of pros and cons, what to do, where to live etc.

Here's a thread on Melbourne to get you started.

LetThereBeRock Mon 08-Feb-10 17:18:28

And here a list of other Melbourne threads to get you started

woosam Mon 08-Feb-10 17:43:34

Thank you, letthereberock.
I've just had a quick look at the site and it all seems positive so far. I'll have a closer look tonight to try and decipher the negative points.
I'm wondering that if we go on DH's visa whether I'll ever be able to work. Should I apply for one now too? Can I continue waiting for it even if I'm already over there on his visa? Such a minefield!

LetThereBeRock Mon 08-Feb-10 18:04:32

You should be included on his visa,I imagine it's the 457 visa, and therefore should also be able to work while you are in Australia.

There will be negatives too. Australia isn't for everyone and I know a few people who hated it and have returned to the UK though I also know some who loved it and have no intention of returning.

There is a forum called Moving Back to the UK on that expats forum which is full of people who found that life in the UK was better for them. If you want to know some negatives about life in Australia then you could also look there.

If you can go for 2 years and have to make no further commitment after that,unless you want to, then I'd certainly give it a try.

woosam Mon 08-Feb-10 19:36:42

Thanks, I'll have a look at the moving back stuff too.
I think I'm most anxious about schools. How the system works etc. We would consider both state and private as long as they were co-ed. Biggest worry is that the learning is very insular, very Australian centric with respect to history, geography etc. Maybe that's a complete myth though.

Paranoid1stTimer Mon 08-Feb-10 22:29:32

As long as you have plenty of money behind you or a stable job to go to (which obviously you have with DH company) then I would give it a go.

We lived in Melbourne years ago when the pound was strong and rented in South Yarra which is a really nice area near the CBD where all the main offices and businesses are situated. There are LOADS of parks, coffee shops, boutiques and amazingly beautiful places in and around Melbourne city centre.

I don't have any experience of the school system but it is more expensive to send kids to school over there are you pay for everything. There are plenty of state and private schools. I second the advice to go and post lots of quesitons on the British Expats site.

I love Melbourne and would move there in a second. We have our visa's but it is just that we don't really have enough money behind us to go yet and no job to go to yet as OH is in construction which has slowed down a lot over the last couple of years over there.

The main things we found that were actually bad points that might put you off are that you do get really, really homesick. Even though English is the main language, the dialects and colloquialisms (sp??) mean that they don't always understand what you say and you don't understand them at first (mainly they don't understand you at first). It is very very far away. This may be obvious but although it is much quicker to get to and fro between UK and Oz, it is expensive and still at least a day away. Sometimes when you are homesick and just want a friendly voice from home, you pick up the phone and realise "Oh, can't just phone home cos it is 3am there just now" and you have to wait. That was the real bug bear for us. Just ride it out though. For most, the homesickness passes. They pay a lot more tax, there are cost issues they don't mention when you go to buy a house (also involved with tax) but I am not sure of the ins and outs since we rented.

However, get Skype and make sure you have lots of family video conferencing to keep in touch and actually get to see your friends and relatives back here and they can see you via Skype (or whatever package). Really helps.

Also, Melbourne is a vast city and has many, many suburbs. British Expats site is great for info on this kind of thing and especially info on schools etc.

I have heard of a lot of people who went to Oz, tried it for a while, got homesick and came home only to realise everything back here is exactly the same as when you left. Apart from everyone else has got on with their lives and are (mostly) not sitting around waiting for you to come home.

It is obviously entirely up to you. We could go in your place if ur DH doesn't take the opportunity - pass our details on to his company LOL. It has taken us a year to get our visa and will prob b next year before we can even think about actually heading over. We just want to go now!!!

I am terrified to tell my dear old Dad about it all tho. That is the hardest part for me....

Best of luck.

Ozziegirly Mon 08-Feb-10 22:30:55

Hi woosam, I"m in Adelaide, but have been to Melb a couple of time (originally from UK).

The weather in Mel is changeable - you get hot summers, I think it's 35 there today for example, but they do also get decent rain and chilly winters. It's certainly not right to say it's cooler in the summers compared to Sydney, they are possibly hotter than Sydney summers, but not as bad as Adelaide....

Visas - if your husband is on a 457 then you will be entitled to work (this is how we first came over).

Schools don't seem to be insular - I don't have children, but I do know some as I am a Guide leader. They still learn French and German as well as various Chinese languages for example.

They do learn about Australian history of course, as they are in Australia, but I guess you would need to look into this in more detail.

Melbourne is a nice city and there's lots of good things to do around there as well, like Daylesford, the Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island etc.

In your position, I'd definitely go for a couple of years and see how you find it. Standard of living is much higher here, in that your money goes further, and there are lots of nice cheap things to do, but equally it's a bloody long way from friends and family and expensive to travel overseas so I personally find it a bit isolating and miss being able to pop to Paris or New York for holidays.

But I can't get away from the fact that over here we can have a big family home, 25 minutes from work, we could easiy afford to send our child to private school, etc etc - but you pay the price in terms of missing your friends and family.

Paranoid1stTimer Mon 08-Feb-10 22:41:40

Oh and 2 years is a good amount of time to gauge if you like it enough to stay. After 18 months you will have learned to deal with the homesickness and it is enough time to have made some friends and settled in a bit to Australian way of life.

Meant to say, the shops are nowhere near as good as they are in UK (no Next, no Tesco/Asda home delivery service). Most of the major shopping malls are out in the suburbs so you have to drive to something like a Retail Park. There are some inner city supermarkets and stuff but in Melbourne they have a huge early morning fruitmarket where you get the best produce at reasonable prices. The main stores along the lines of Debenhams/John Lewis are David Jones and Myer. Myer is the big Harrods type store on Collins St in Melbourne CBD. Not sure if that is of any interest to you but it is something I seemed to notice on the shallower end of things!

Also, I get what you are saying about History and stuff but Australia is a pretty young country and they have only recently started to acknowledge the Aborigines who (when we were there a few years back anyway) were very much treated with disdain. This was something we ignorantly knew nothing about before arriving in Australia. Don't know if this is relevant to your question though. Just further ramblings....

I'll stop now

Ozziegirly Mon 08-Feb-10 22:48:26

I agree with Paranoid - the shops are crap - I think there is a direct correlation between this and our money going further!

Although shops in Melbourne are the height of sophistication in comparison to Adelaide.

woosam Tue 09-Feb-10 09:42:32

Thanks you ladies for all your comments.

I'm not so worried about homesickness. Not in the way that most people would be. My parents have passed away and I only have one sibling who already lives in another country. So no close family to yearn for. sad
I'm sure I'll be homesick for things like John Lewis and Waitrose though! grin

I've been trawling through the expat site esp the Melbourne thread but I'm still about 1yr behind on posts! Need to get up to date!

I think we'll probably rent initially until we have more of an idea about areas. We know Melbourne is expensive so I'm just hoping our 400k Sterling (must learn what that is in dollars)will get us a decent family home in a reasonable area.
Online, Mornington looks lovely but I keep hearing how far out it is. DH is used to a 1h commute in the morning but I'm sure would be looking to halve this. We are hoping to come over this June on a fact finding mission.

Any more info on area and general tips much appreciated. I will, of course, gleam all I can from the Expat site.
Thanks again!

lulalullabye Tue 09-Feb-10 09:58:14

We moved back from Melbourne on Sat, we were there for a year and really loved living there, but, it is a long way to go for sunshine. There are lots of other positives and we have come back to see if it is really what we want to do. We lived in Hampton in Bayside which is a really nice suburb. House price wise 400k will not get you much in an area like that. Average house price by the sea is about 1.2 million dollars for an old weatherboard 3-4 bedroom. There are lots of inner suburbs away from the sea which are much cheaper.

There are many downsides, shopping is dire but you get used to it. The hot weather is very hot, as in 44 degrees some days which is unbearable. Not really that cold in winter as in about 2 degrees being the lowest. Wet but stops raining quite quickly not like the uk. You have to also face the fact that as a country it has no water, so water restrictions are very tight, and will probably be like that forever.

The weather does allow for a different lifestyle and you have to decide what you miss in the uk is outweighed by what you get in Aus. Also the bug factor, Lots of spiders, which in themselves are not scary but the prospect of them biting your children whilst they are playing in the garden etc etc.

All that said, you need to go and visit first and then make up your mind, it is a very long way away and an expensive thing to keep changing your mind !!! grin

ilove Tue 09-Feb-10 10:02:13

400,000.00 British pounds sterling = 721,120.00 Australian dollars approx

woosam Tue 09-Feb-10 10:35:14

Thank you, Lula and ilove!

So it looks like we'll have about 720000 Aus Dollars. I know Melbourne is expensive and I wouldn't expect to get something fab and by the beach but I'd be disappointed if that resticted us to a scummy area.

Here at home we live in a stupidly expensive area with a stupidly high mortgage and I don't want to move to the other side of the world to be under the same pressure. I'm not under the false impression that Australia is cheap as chips. Just looking for a much smaller mortgage and a better work/life balance.

I don't think we'd be considering it if the opportunity wasn't coming up through DH's work but I can't help but think it's too good an opp to miss.

All these points are really helpful. Thanks and keep them coming.

Paranoid1stTimer Tue 09-Feb-10 20:19:46

Try looking at domain.com.au to get an idea of house prices. Since we rented, I am not up on the different house prices. You should be able to find a good area as most of the suburbs of Melbourne are nowhere near as bad as some areas in the UK. We were warned to stay clear of Dandenong, Springvale and were told although Geelong is very popular, there are some major factories in the North of Geelong (Just west of Melbourne but still on the coast) so all these things were taken into consideration. The most desirable area's of Melbourne seem to be the leaft Eastern suburbs such as Canterbury, Toorak and places like that. They are really, really expensive though. I think your budget for a house is actually very reasonable but it's not like some people lead you to believe that you get a huge detached house with loads of bedrooms, a "rumpus room" and your own private swimming pool. I didn't see many pools at all TBH.

Cost of living is on a par with UK really since you are paying more for cars/taxes/food but less on other stuff like heating/fuel/going out.

There are so many suburbs, it would depend on your budget, what size of house you need etc.

You have the right idea about renting at first - even until you work out how the whole morgage/tax thing works out when you buy a house. Also, you might already know all this but a lot of houses in Oz are sold at action where they advertise the auction, you go round n look at the house then everyone stands in the yard and bids until someone wins. It is really strange to outsiders but really quite popular. People also tend to buy land and get a new build house built to meet their spec while they rent elsewhere. There is still quite a lot of land for building but construction is slow just now due to effects of the recession.

Anyway, not sure if that is relevant. Just another view point of the way of life.

Oh, and there is obviously a big rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney but we found Melbourne to be very cosmopolitan and multicultural but relaxed and more old fashioned in a nice way. They love their sport and there are usually lots of celebrations and festivals going on centred around CBD, Yarra River and lots of sporting events (Grand Prix, Open etc).

I am so jealous! envy

woosam Tue 09-Feb-10 23:50:40

Thanks. Hopefully I have a realistic view of what we can get for our money.

I need 4bedrooms and good schools. I'd like a park close by and some playgroups. Hopefully within half hour of the beach. Reasonable commute for DH.

We've been looking at Bayside tonight. The east of Bayside seems cheaper obviously as it isn't 'bayside'. Is this an ok area?

For those of you able to answer (thanks in advance) Where would your top 3 areas for families be? smile

esselle Wed 10-Feb-10 02:54:40

I live in Melb and just want to correct paranoid1sttimer on one point.

We have just moved into our new house which we built. From the foundations being poured to us getting the keys to move in was 15weeks. The building industry here is booming!!!

The government gives first time buyers/builders a grant of about $12k which they doubled when the recession hit. We were actually given $26k to build our own home which certainly helped. This has encouraged loads of people to build their own homes which has had a kick on effect of keeping the building industry very busy.

Our house is on a 664m square block, it has 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, 2 bathrooms, double garage, ducted heating/cooling, covered deck/bbq area. We have got all of this for just on $300k, we do live in an outer suburb but it is a very family orientated area. Great schools, parks, shopping is okay. Maybe have a look at Point Cook.

DH works in the city and has a 40min commute, I can drive into the city in less than 30 mins, it is all freeway and no toll roads.

The shopping is nowhere near as good as London but it is reasonable. Coles supermarkets do have online shopping but there seems to be one on every street corner anyway. Myer and David Jones are to only 2 big department stores - Myer is like Debenhams, David Jones is like John Lewis. The Queen Victoria markets are fantastic! You can buy the freshest most lovely produce there - fruit, veg, meat, eggs, organic too if you wish plus there is a large deli hall where you can buy cheese, bread, salamis,dips and loads of other yummy stuff. You won't starve or go without but you will probably have to pay more for such things as designer clothes and cosmetics.

One thing I do hate about Melbourne is the drivers here - arseholes!! It is like some kind of race track where no one will ever let you in. BTW I am an Aussie too!!!

I would be more than happy to catch up with you for tea and cake when you arrive too. There are a few of us Mnetters here who love a meet up.

Good site for house prices - rental/buying

SkinnyLattePlease Wed 10-Feb-10 04:40:33

Esselle - DH calls it the wacky races! Esp driving up from Geelong over the West Gate bridge.
Woosam, DH and I emigrated to Melbourne in July '06. Wouldn't change it for the world. (Except the heat - am 30 weeks pregnant and boiling - thank god for air-con!)
TBH, it is unusual to get prolonged bouts of heat - 2/3/4 days at the most and then the two best words in the English Language - 'Cool Change' grin. Then the air-con goes off and all the windows and doors gets opened. Bliss.
I would second Bayside living as well.
We also live in Hampton like Lulalullabye did (never did manage to meet up), we have a 2-bedroomed unit (a smallish house surrounded by other smallish houses on a single street number - DH describes it as 'sheltered housing!') which is a walk from the beach and the shops. In fact, one of the coffee shops in Hampton Street is one of the best in Melbourne!
Would definitely recommend checking out domain or realestate for houses. When we first moved out here we rented in Blackburn in the eastern suburbs. Also around there is Surrey Hills, Mont Albert - both on a good train line to the city.
Round about Hampton is Sandringham, Brighton, Highett and Bentleigh.
A good rule of thumb is the further out of the city you go, the more you get for your money. Yes, you may have a bigger house, pool etc but you will probably have to drive everywhere to get anything.
I have wittered on enough here. If you do decide to move over, it is a decision you will not regret.
I am also available for coffee and cake when you do decide to move!
Ooh, I just remembered - check out the weather website for info on the weather.

differentnameforthis Wed 10-Feb-10 05:40:09

"I'm not so worried about homesickness....

....no close family to yearn for."

Be careful...dh doesn't miss anyone from the UK, all his family are here...but he misses the UK.He is v homesick for the UK. Please don't think it is only people you can miss.

woosam Wed 10-Feb-10 10:11:02

Thank you so much esselle and skinnylatte. Great to hear good points about where to live and what we can get for our money.

Thanks also for the offers of tea and cake. I will def be up for that and/or regular meet-ups with other mnetters though I'm more of a dip in and out girl than a regular I'm afraid.

Thanks too to DNFT.(Is this a naughty thread that requires anonymity?) grin
I'm in no doubt that I will miss lots about the uk including shopping, news coverage, rain etc. I just think the family aspect for most people is the biggest downside.

I'm actually starting to think this might be a goer! smile

esselle Wed 10-Feb-10 11:00:06

skinnylatteplease This heat is pretty freakin' difficult to live with atm isn't it!! I'm 39wks preg and looking forward to the cool change at the weekend (fingers crossed)!! Todays humidity is killing me too...

Love your DH's 'wacky races'- so very very true! I swear drivers in London are so much nicer than here!

differentnameforthis Wed 10-Feb-10 20:28:17

Is this a naughty thread that requires anonymity?

Lol...not at all...I used it for a different thread a while ago & never changed back...quite like it.

sunnydelight Thu 11-Feb-10 11:09:00

Make sure your DH's company is up to speed with the ins and outs of LAFHA (living away from home allowance). It can make a big difference to your take home salary but is something that needs to be negotiated on an individual basis with your employer.

We're in Sydney so haven't any specific info of use, but if education is an important factor in your decision I would say that private schools here are far more affordable than in the UK. There is no way on earth we could have sent three private in the UK. I know a lot of people won't agree with me but personally I find the education my kids are getting here is of a much higher standard than they got in the UK (and I've experienced both independent and state schools in good areas). To be fair though I'm Irish so I was never very impressed by the British education system in comparison.

woosam Thu 11-Feb-10 17:18:20

Thank you sunnydelight.
I will be looking at all the local schools. The only thing that puts me off the independent sector is that the ones I've looked at are single sex and with 2DDs and a DS I really want them to go to the same school. Having said all that, the school websites Ive been given are all secondary schools so maybe it's different at primary level.
Thanks also for mentioning the LAFHA. They are basically offering him his same salary in AU dollars which I'm told is a very good deal so maybe thats all been taken into account already. But I will ask nevertheless.

As I scraped ice off my car this morning I was sure it was a good idea. smile

sunnydelight Fri 12-Feb-10 04:17:22

In theory that would be a good deal (OH dropped 1/3 of his salary when we moved which is not uncommon in senior IT jobs here) but the exchange rate is shocking (from your point of view) at the moment. When we moved here you got $2.5 for your pound, it was $1.76 recently. Make sure you know what currency you're being paid in and do your sums accordingly. Some friends of ours here on a 457 operate in sterling from their UK bank account and are wondering where all their money has gone!

Regarding schooling, yes they do like their single sex schools here (private anyway, the majority of public schools are mixed). It's not impossible though - one of the big attractions for me when mine started was having three ranging from pre-school to high school and mixed genders all on the same site. I'm sitting here with two fans aimed at the desk as I contemplate my third shower of the day - being hot isn't all it's cracked up to be either!

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