Get Me Downunder

The Adventure Starts Here

We are a family of 4, (Mum and dad 22 and 31, and 2 kids 3 years and 3 months).We are just getting into exploring the prospect of moving to Oz and gathering information. Can anyone advise us on the best place for a good area for families with reasonable house prices but still good employment options, ( I know you cant have it all but these are our goals!). Any advise would be greatly received. We have all the magazines and are trying to gain as much knowledge as we can but we realise the best source is people who are either there already or going through it presently.

Many thanks, Mike and Becky.

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Comment by Stuart George on February 19, 2010 at 21:01
Hi there hope all is well. My wife and I are in a similar position with a young family. We have just returned from a three week recce of Melbourne and Adelaide and by far and away Adelaide was our choice hands down. Adelaide has it all good weather, lots of open spaces with affordable housing.

Good luck

Stu and Laura
Comment by Cam on February 18, 2010 at 22:46
Hi Mike & Becky,

Australia is a very family friendly place, & very welcoming of new people. Most places would be good for a family, it depends what you are looking for, what budget you have & what line of work you are in. We have been in Sydney for 6 months (my husband, me & now 10 month old baby). It's a fantastice place & lots of things to do, BUT it's VERY expensive - way more than London, especially if you take into account the exchange rate: $20 for a Baby Gym class (£12), back home it would be £3.50, $4 for a standard slice loaf of bread (£2.25), $550/ wk for a 2 bed flat, neighbouring but not in the sought after areas. You'll also find the rental market is 2 extremes: shabby & backpackery or decent, and even the backpacker-styles come at a fair wack: $450-500/wk, and I wouldn't recommend them for a family, especially if you have a mobile baby!!

The rest of Oz are chasing Sydney & Melbourne with the prices, which makes Oz not quite the dream that we thought it would be. Even in Tasmania which should be one of the cheaper places, prices are rising fast, but do check Tasmania as it is a great place.

Also, be careful about employment as the worldwide recession has badly hit Australian industries, although as opposed to home they don't report on it & generally keep the news upbeat. But the finance, IT & any sector relying on goverment funding have been badly hit. It took my husband 5 months to get a job in IT, & back home he has always had several offers on the table, I am yet to get a job as my field out here is very immature & relies on government funding, & because each state operates independently you may find more opportunities in one than another, I'm currently looking at whether a move to Melbourne could be on the cards, although we are actually tempted to return home, it's been fun, but I'm not sure that this adventure is properly live-able for us at the moment. Also, with so many unemployed applying for positions at the moment, feedback I've had are that candidates are up 3-times & are really good quality, being an oversees person coming in makes the company more likely to lean towards someone who has been resident for a while, it's just the way things are going at the moment.

I know this isn't as positive news as you'd like to hear, but I think it's only fair to let you know how it is so that you can make your plans to work for you & your Australian adventure dreams come true. My one piece of advice is, where possible see if you can secure a job before you come out. It is a truly great place, with fab weather - beware the Health Service adverts that scare you off going in the sun!!! & it can be great. Some of the expat forums have a wealth of info, so it may be worth checking some of them out. Good luck
Comment by Claire Punchard on February 18, 2010 at 14:03
We are a family of 4,I have 2 girls aged 1 and 3, we are in the process of moving to Oz, well, we submitted our visa about 9 months ago and after a lot of research we have decided on an area called Gosford which is about 1-2hrs from Sydney. It looks like a lovely place to bring up children, and being that far out of Sydney, house prices are still affordable. We are looking at about a 2 yr wait though to get here, if we chose to go to Perth we could be there in about 5-6months. If you have any more questions, I would be happy to share my research with u
Comment by Michael J Kelly on February 18, 2010 at 11:46
Oz is such a large place, it really is like asking how long is a piece of string? Most peoples choice is governed by work commitments /location. Have you ever been to Australia? If not how do you know you will like it? It's not as cheap to live here as most people assume. Food is around the same price as in the Uk, possibly a little dearer. Meat is definitly dearer than in the Uk. Chocolate is double the Uk price. Eating out was cheap 4 years ago, not any more. Cars are expensive, petrol cheap. A good house price average for a reasonable neighbourhood in the suburbs of most cities for a 3 bed bungalow would be around $329,000. We currently rent a nice 1 bed apartment, pool in complex, short stroll to beach for $170 per week including bills. This is cheap and only because its a 3 hour drive back to Sydney and most people can't live here due to work commitments.
The good points are the sun shines most of the time, although this summer is a bit of a cool wash out and yes Australia has a winter! The beaches are fabulous, the countryside is green and full of trees (depending on where you go). If you love an outdoor lifestyle then you will love it. I'm not trying to put you off but ask yourselves, what it is you are hoping to gain? Paradise it is not. Do I want to go back to the UK?.... NO WAY.
Comment by Dee-Anne on February 18, 2010 at 10:12
Good luck with your homework.
You may find my website useful too:
Comment by Dee-Anne on February 18, 2010 at 10:10
Hi Becky and Mike,
Your request popped into my email box just now.
Good choice moving to Australia. It does depend a little on what your employment skills are as to how you approach the move.
Western Australia, where I live is booming. We didn’t really have much effect from the recent GFC that hit the rest of the world over the past 12 months or so. There are excellent employment prospects in the mining industry and any other industry which supports them, like the engineering and financial sectors.
The Government is keen for people to live out in the country and although it isnt for everyone life can be great there. Lot's of people fly-in-fly out to jobs up in the North of the state.
Perth is a lovely city about 1.7 million people here now. about 2.2million in the whole state which is the size of Western Europe. house prices are high in the beach, river and inner suburbs but if you buy either an older place in a not so popular suburb or a new one in an outer suburb they are still affordable. A newish 4bed x2 bath home will be around $500,000 and above.
I believe Queensland is also having boom period too in similar industries.
Comment by janice on February 18, 2010 at 10:08
Hi, we spent three months in oz travelling with our kids. It does really depend on what you want for your family. Runaway Bay is a great place, just outside of Surfers Paradise, if I'm correct about an Hour from Brisbane. So two places of work there, depending on what you do. Surfers can be fun although really touristy and a bit tacky but they have concerts on the beach, ripleys believe it or not for the kids, an outdoor cinema screen in town square, Depending on your finances you can buy some great houses and gorgeous low rises (bungalows to us Brits) Also as the kids get older there is wet and wild water park, which if i remember rightly they can get a bus to not far away, movie world,sea world and dream world. Jumping Pins is a sandbar close by to Runaway Bay and great to spend some time on, if you want to have a go at fishing we went just out of the seaway looking out over surfers and watched dolphins fish, dodging the kids with their surf boards making their way out for an early morning surf before school, great as your kids get older. Also the shopping mall was a good one as well and there were a few nice restaurants dotted around as well. I don't know about schools here though. Brisbane we only drove through but for me it was the only place that had bit of a feel like london, as I say we only passed through here but we did stay in Runaway bay.North Stradbroke is cool as well, I'm sure there is loads within the area. You wouldnt be far from Byron Bay to go and spend a great long weekend.I found the temperature when we were there in the aussie winter was great, warm by day but jumper needed early morning and night. Good all round place I'd say. Hope this is of help.
Comment by Chris Haydon on February 18, 2010 at 10:06
From personal experience I can recommend Canberra for families and work prospects. The weak pound and strong dollar has made houses appear somewhat more expensive than they have been in the past however.
We arrived in Canberra on 2nd Jan and we love it here...
Comment by John on February 18, 2010 at 9:25
Aussie house prices aren't as cheap as they used to be and the poor exchange rate doesn't help.

Obviously job prospects (depending on your trade) are better in the cities, but the house prices can be a bit mental, especially Melbourne and Sydney.

We did a 5 week tour of Oz last year to see Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and points in between to get a feel for each place and we have kind of plumped for Brisbane with Adelaide being a close second, however it all depends on the jobs.

Going to one of the DownUnder Live events would be a good idea too.

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