Hi Colin I do live in Perth.
Depends what you are looking for. Perth and Adelaide are pretty family friendly, Sydney and Melbourne have a bit more happening. Perth a long way from the othere states too so more expensive to travel around.
It's a brilliant place to bring up kids (my opinion though you should check it out for yourself). Sydney and Melbourne obviously being bigger have a lot more nightlife etc.
Have you been for a visit?
I haven't been to NZ I know it's beautiful though.
Gee, do I think Aus?NZ is a better place to bring kids up than here? That's a tough one. Obviously I have no experience of NZ, though I do have a good (Aussie) friend who lived there for over a year. She found it very hard. It's a very small population, hence limited facilities. She was bored out of her mind. It all depends upon what you have now and what you are hoping to leave behind.
We live in rural England and I feel safer here than I would living in Sydney (sorry, I have no experience of Perth either). But then I feel safer here than I think I would living in London or Birmingham, or even St Albans. I feel as if we live in 1956 where we are. My children have a very leisurely life where with lots of outdoors play in the warm months, with nothing more than road safety to concern them.
I can't say whether you'll feel safer in Aus, but there are some cultural differences - things that even I noticed as a parent. My daughter cam home from kindergarten (reception class) one day and asked me if I thought she was sexy. I nearly fell over. In the last 10 years especially, Australia has been hugely influenced by America. There is very little independent media, and all of the rest is very commercialised. You'll notice that there are ad breaks on TV every 15 minutes. You may not watch TV, but children are certainly influenced by it. You can't isolate your own children from their peers. The media is very biased, and pretty one-sided (thank you, Mr Murdoch) and has a huge effect on the populace. People seem to believe whatever they hear on the News. There's no healthy scepticism of the media. It certainly makes for a new parenting challenge.
How old are your children? Or daughter was 4 years old when we went back to Australia. She found it a terrible wrench. We moved to a place in country NSW (Bowral), about an hour south of Sydney. Bowral is full of English people. They all said the same thing to me about moving children around the World - it takes about 2 years for them to settle. My little one missed her home in England so much and cried and cried, especially when the weather was over 45C degrees for days on end (yes, most places suffer this at some time during most Summers). If I had realised that it would take my 4 year old 2 years to recover from the move, I would have left it until she was much older. After talking to a lot of expat Brits in Bowral, and after my own experience, I would think very seriously about moving children when they are at those crucial, formative ages - moving into school, and between about 13 and 15. It could take them a long time to recover.
No matter what some Sydney-siders say, the culture in Australia is still very macho, regardless of your gender. Australians can be very conservative and judgemental (I watch Neighbours every day to remind me of this). It's un-Australian to dislike the heat, or 'disrespect' Australia in any way. If you're having difficulties with any aspects of the place, be careful not to 'whinge' or people will judge you. You have to find a way to say, "Hey, I wonder what I could do to improve such-and-such- for my family", or to "make this easier for them". That will get people onside much more than, "Why don't they just do it the way it's done in Britain, it's so much better?"
I don't say these things to put you off or worry you, but emigrating is no picnic, and if you know what to expect, then you'll have an easier time of it. When it comes to concerns about fitting in, just stand your ground, and be yourself. This will earn you (and your children) much respect. And yes, they will be teased about their accents, but more so if they 'try-on' an Aussie one to try to fit in. If you get out and keep showing your face, you'll make friends easily. Don't wait to be invited (though most Australians would probably knock on your door to welcome you - we did notice that this had changed a little in the 10 years we were away), take a cake next door or to school, or invite the neighbours/parents to a BBQ, and you'll be set.
As for the country itself, as opposed to the culture, It's dry and it can be very hot for many months at a time. Many Brits seem to like this. For myself, I like to see the wet stuff coming out of the sky on a regular basis, and I've had enough 40+C degree days to last me a couple of lifetimes. The wearing of suncream and hats are a daily must in the warm half of the year; sunglasses all year round. Eyes can be easliy damaged and you don't want to turn into a handbag (it doesn't take much). Be vigilant about any spot or moles. There are many skin clinics around. These things are easily monitored and removed when necessary.
Creepy crawlies. Wear shoes at all times. Don't poke things with your fingers - get a stick, poke and jump at the same time. Stay way from long grass. Check the toilet seat, behind doors, in all dark corners, and IN YOUR SHOES. Visit the lifeguards at the beach and learn what a rip looks like, and which wind conditions will bring a blue-bottle jellyfish swarm to the beach. Australia has many was to try to kill you. You have to learn how to watch it. (Only SOME sarcasm there). Millions of Australians have learned to live in the harsh environment, once you get over the initial hurdle, so will you.
When reading over what I've written, some things sound a bit worrying. Don't let these put you off. Australia is a wonderful place if it's right for you, but emigrating is not like a holiday. It's hard work. It generally takes around 2 years to really settle in. The better prepared you are, the easier your family will find it. The beaurocracy of another country is always bewildering, and gets worse as you get older. There are some ways to make it easier on yourself. I've taken enough of your time here, but if you'd like some more on that, please ask. I hope I've helped a little.
Hi Colin,you just got to way up the pros and cons.We have a 14 yr old daughter who luckily is up for a challenge and cant wait to go.My sister has lived in surfers for 10 yrs and she took her 2 boys when they were 8 & 6 and she would never come back.The outdoor lifestyle and the work hard play hard ethos is what attracts me.I love this country to bits but just think its always 1 step forward and 2 back,Life is to short to not give it a go if all adds up.Visa process takes 18 months anyway so i say go for it!!!! If you got a chance to holiday over there that will definatly make up your mind cause its a great country!!! Cheers