127 responses

  1. ALAN WATTERSON
    June 6, 2011

    Hi Bob,
    Just thought I would drop you a line and say what a mine of info you are and a brilliant website you have, nothing fancy just the truth as you see it, keep up the good work.
    I am hoping to move out to ozz after I retire in august 2011 and be nearer to my son and his family who live in ulladulla. My wife passed away last year and we went out to see our son and family in December 2007 and both of us loved the place and the way of life and of course the people, and we both wanted to retire in the sunshine and put our feet up,but the big man decided i had to go on my own, but she will be with me.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      June 6, 2011

      Hi Alan

      Thanks for the compliments about my website, I truly appreciate it. So sorry to hear about your wife, but I do hope your plans to retire in Australia come off. I’ve actually driven through Ulladulla, my wife and I had a small debate about how it would be pronounced. I went for exactly as it’s written, ull-a-dull-a and my wife went for oolah-doolah.

      I asked the girl in the petrol station, and I won!

      I don’t get many of those :-)

      Take care Alan.

      Reply

      • Anowar Hossain
        June 21, 2014

        Have a nice time

        Reply

  2. chistian gilbride
    July 13, 2011

    hi bob, great site, loads of great honest info. My family and i are moving to campbelltown in november as soon as the army are done with me hehe. Ive heard a few rumours that campbelltown (nsw) has a bad rep ? Whats your take on it ?

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      July 18, 2011

      Hi Christian,

      I’m afraid I can’t help you with that one, I’ve never been.

      Maybe someone else knows some information about Campbelltown in New South Wales?

      Reply

    • alan watterson
      September 17, 2011

      I have lived in Campbelltown area for the last ten years and have found it to be no better or worse than any other part of Sydney.Best advice ,there are so many places to live better than Sydney,actually just about anywhere in Australia.Your pick.

      Reply

      • christian
        September 18, 2011

        cheers alan, not got a lot of choice though coz my new job is at the airport, campbelltown seems to be a cheap option, my friend has bought a house in the currans hill area, we will rent for two years and have a good nosey around…… beach life seems unattainable so we gonna look at something affordable and with a pool (is that too much to ask for these days), would like to go to wollongong but everything seems far too expensive ?

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        September 19, 2011

        That’s a thumbs down for Sydney from Alan, and I’d agree from my very limited knowledge of the city. I don’t really know enough to vote, but this is coming from a resident.

        That said, I know some people who love it there, hopefully you’ll be one of then christian.

        Thanks Alan!

        Reply

  3. AndyWindow
    July 21, 2011

    Hi Christian,
    Campbelltown can be a bit on the hard side. Better than Blacktown or Mt Druit or Rooty Hill. It has a diverse cultural background and is typical “Westy”, where the people are fairly pragmatic about life and just on with living. Not particularly scenic. Probably a better area as far as rent costs go. Good access to the city via the M5.

    Reply

    • christian
      September 18, 2011

      hey andy, thanks for your advice, truley noted, im out in 12 days and the family follow in november so there is little choice to change my mind. campbelltown will do for now (gotta be better than england) will have a good look around before i make any commitments. my friend has bought up in the currans hill area and says its very nice ? i am staying at his house for 4 weeks until i get my own place for the family. its all a bit ooooeeer lol x

      Reply

      • Josey
        February 24, 2015

        Campbelltown could in some ways, all but very remotely be likened to a gi-normous version of Milton Keynes.The great thing about the place, is that it’s like being in the countryside out there with bags of wide open space set between many new housing & industrial developements.Also very close proximity to The Royal National Park & a reasonably short drive to the nations capital Canberra.Admittely it has its share of social problems,same as many areas.If one choses to reside there, obviously one would have to weigh up the costs of travelling to work against other factors.
        To sum up,having your own vehicle is a definit plus in that area.I have not lived in Cambelltown myself but have lived in nearby suburb & driven extensively in that region of Sydney.
        DRIVE-TIME: Sydney approx 45min (off peak) / Canberra 2.5 hours
        TRAINS: 1:35 min journey to Central Station
        BUSES: NIGHT-RIDER once an hour from Broadway

        Reply

  4. christian
    July 22, 2011

    Cheers Andy,
    I will be out 2/3 months before my family so can have a good look around….. a friend of mine has moved to the mount annan/curran hills area and thinks its ok around that area, think its camden and not campbelltown though.
    Would there be a nicer area for the same rents in that area or do you simply pay for what you get !!!

    Reply

  5. Kaitlyn Gladiator
    August 4, 2011

    Hello,
    i think you disgrace our country and your map of Australia is plainly RUDE expecially to Steve Irwin !

    I dont like you

    cya

    Reply

  6. Isabella Swan
    August 4, 2011

    Hi Bob,
    I would like to say that i strongly agree with Kaitlyn !
    I think it is totally disgraceful how you discribe your country !!!

    xxx

    Reply

  7. Isabella Swan
    August 4, 2011

    Hi Bob,
    I would like to say that i strongly agree with Kaitlyn !
    xxx

    Reply

  8. BobinOz
    August 4, 2011

    Wow!

    Kaitlyn and Isabella, I don’t know what you girls put into your coffee this morning, but I wouldn’t use it again. I’m really not sure what either of you are on about, unless you think this is my map of Australia. It’s actually a map to show people where New South Wales is in Australia.

    My map of Australia, with all the Australian states on it, is on my page called, unsurprisingly, Australian States.

    Great emotional use of Steve Irwin’s name, although I’m struggling to see why you brought him into it.

    But I’m just guessing, maybe you’d like to pop back and explain what exactly your problems are?

    Cheers

    Bob

    Reply

  9. ALAN WATTERSON
    August 4, 2011

    Hi Bob, could not agree more with you, cannot see what they are talking about that is so offensive to ozz or the memory of Steve Irwin and look forward to their explanation which i am sure will be just as whacky as their complaint.
    Keep up the good work.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      August 8, 2011

      I don’t think we’ll ever know what the problem was Alan, seems the girls are too busy to give us a response. Maybe they are posting more wacky messages on other blogs? Never mind.

      Reply

  10. christian
    August 6, 2011

    Hi Bob,
    Great news, our visa,s have come through and im flying out to NSW on 30th sept to set up shop prior to family joining me in November. Got a job at Sydney Airport but will be travelling to all Airports throughout Australia so you never know, best get that kettle on standby hahaha.
    We all very excited now and i have been pleasantly suprised how smoothly everything went.
    Keep up the good work Bob and standby with that kettle (and pg tips lol).
    Take care
    Chris

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      August 8, 2011

      Congratulations Christian, and welcome to Australia. I hope everything goes smoothly and yes, the kettle is on standby. Long way to come for a cup of tea though, it’d be about 14 hours by car, hehe!

      Reply

  11. Veronica
    October 6, 2011

    Welcome?back to Oz Alan Watterson (are you the same AW who wrote he lived in Campbelltown for ten years?)! Sorry to hear about your wife. Who knows you may find another soulmate in OZ and your wife who has passed on, would be happy for you.

    Best of luck and great times with your son and his family!

    Reply

    • ALAN WATTERSON
      October 6, 2011

      Hi Veronica, there must be another Alan Watterson, surely not, as i am still living in Dunoon Scotland waiting to get approval to move to ozz to be nearer my son and his family in ulladulla.

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 7, 2011

        “there must be another Alan Watterson, surely not,” – surely there is!

        To the Alan Wattersons and Veronica, how bizarre is this? There are, indeed, two Alan Wattersons commenting here; there’s ALAN WATTERSON and then there’s alan watterson.

        Veronica, it is alan watterson who lived in Campbelltown for ten years (see his comment dated 17th September 2011 above), not ALAN WATTERSON, who, as you now know, lives in Dunoon, Scotland.

        There, I hope that’s cleared that up, I’m going to have a lie down.

        Reply

      • Veronica
        October 8, 2011

        So there is a soft alan watterson, and a shouting ALAN WATTERSON? OK.

        Reply

  12. Veronica
    October 6, 2011

    Sydney is IMHO the most beautiful city in OZ!

    As it living here, some places are more beautiful and more expensive than others. I have lived in Eastwood, Lane Cove, Westmead and now am in Liverpool CBD. Liverpool is cheaper to rent than the other places mentioned, but it is not the best place to live in though. Of the places I have lived in, I have liked Lane Cove best, then Eastwood, then Westmead.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      October 7, 2011

      Thumbs up for Sydney there then! Thanks Veronica, very useful info about those suburbs.

      Reply

      • Veronica
        October 8, 2011

        BobinOz

        Don’t get me wrong, my love for Sydney has to do with the fact it has been my only home in OZ. We all love our hometowns with all its warts, don’t we? Luckily Sydney has very few of them! ;)

        I have heard that Melbourne is always in competition with Sydney. And loses of course, all the sophistication of Melbournites notwithstanding.

        I have been to Brisbane a couple of times, and quite like the tropical air about it, but then it is something I am prepared to give up to live in Sydney, the most beautiful city in OZ.

        Reply

      • Veronica
        October 8, 2011

        Of course for those who can afford it, Vaucluse, Mosman, Potts Point etc are great places to live in. Way more classier than Lane Cove!

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 10, 2011

        Veronica, I don’t understand what you mean by us all loving our hometowns. Even though I have only ever lived in Brisbane, I am in no way biased towards it at all.

        But, it is the best city in Australia :-)

        Reply

  13. ALAN WATTERSON
    October 8, 2011

    Hi Bob, Very bizzare and wait till i get over to ozz next year hopefully and there are 2 of us living in NSW.
    And another strange thing is that Dunoon Scotland where i live is just a few miles away from Cambeltown Scotland.
    What a small world indeed.

    Alan { Dunoon Scotland } Watterson

    Reply

    • Veronica
      October 9, 2011

      ALAN WATTERSON October 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Veronica, there must be another Alan Watterson, surely not, as i am still living in Dunoon Scotland waiting to get approval to move to ozz to be nearer my son and his family in ulladulla.

      Alan (Dunoon, Scotland) Watterson

      When I wrote, shouting ALAN WATTERSON, I was simply referring to nettiquette which states: ALL CAPS = SHOUTING.

      So there is a Cambeltown in Scotland? But we have CamPbelLTown, he! he!

      Two Alan Wattersons in NSW? Now that is a lot of Alan Wattersons for a state like NSW. We are going to run into Alan Wattersons on every street corner.

      Jokes aside, I wish you luck with your visa and your chance to live nearer your son and his family, especially since you are now a widower. But do not lose hope of finding a new soulmate in Ulladulla.

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 10, 2011

        Alan: yes, small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it. (The old jokes are the best).

        Veronica: yes, agreed. We all wish Alan good luck with his visa.

        Both: Ulladulla, I’ve been there, only bought petrol though.

        Reply

  14. Veronica
    October 9, 2011

    BobinOz wrote that people of NSW are known as “cockroaches.” I didn’t know that!

    Where did you get that info from BobinOz?

    Anyway those who live in Sydney (a number which btw makes up a quarter of the whole population of Australia!) are known as Sydneysiders. So non-Sydneysiders from NSW are known as cockroaches? But why? Because they live forever or what?

    To all prospective migrants to OZ: every state and every city in OZ has its charms. Just go where destiny leads you and bloom where you are planted.

    Amen.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      October 10, 2011

      Initially, I heard all these nicknames from my Aussie mate, Pete. But I got the full list from Wikipedia. Check it out here.

      As for why, well, Queenslanders are called either cane toads or banana benders. We have a lot of cane toads and bananas up here. You wouldn’t happen to have a lot of cockroaches down there, would you?

      Reply

    • Linda
      July 4, 2012

      You have never heard of “cockroaches?” Well you must be living in a different country than I am – check out the State of Origin…

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        July 6, 2012

        Quite right Linda, check out the picture on my post about State of Origin. Would that be the cane toad fighting a cockroach?

        Nice time to mention Origin to a New South Waleser, 7-0!

        Reply

  15. christian gilbride
    December 13, 2011

    hey bob,
    well we are here………eventually lol. all going very well, my job at the airport seems good, the wife loves the place and the teenagers hate the place as per hahaha ! managed to rent a nice house in harrington park not far from nerrellan/camden but the hike to work on the M5 can be emotional. having a few issues with getting a phone line/adsl broadband connection, just had a huge row with telstra (big pond) who turned me down on my credit check…..al 8 weeks of it ???? so no landline and no decent internet for us apparently ??? and i thought BT were rubbish. we get the dog on 23rd from quarantine so he’s with us for christmas hurray, they have been very strict with the visiting times, tuesdays and thursdays 1300hrs to 1500hrs so we have not managed to see him since he has been here : (. Took the family to bondi beach on sunday and it rained constantly hahaha, least we had the beach to ourselves ! weather has been pretty poor since my wife and girls joined me although i have promised it will improve, they think I’m telling porkies ha ! All in all a pretty smooth ride up to now and i must thank victoria at 4 corners immigration for all the help she has given us, now its time to get christmas over and done with and get out there and see what this huge place has to offer !!!!! hope all is well with you and yours bob, take it easy, no doubt you will lol x
    Christian.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      December 16, 2011

      Congratulations! Glad you made it.

      I think having an argument with Telstra is part of the initiation when moving to Australia. I don’t want to frighten you, but the longest blog post ever written in the whole wide world was written by me, about Telstra. You can read it by clicking this little blue link called #$@&!! Telstra!

      Some day your teenagers will love you for bringing them here, but that they will probably not be whilst they are still teenagers hehe. Hope you are settling in, the first few months can be a bit tricky, hang on in there.

      Cheers!

      Reply

  16. Anna
    May 14, 2012

    Hello all
    My hearts desire is to get a job i an office in Sydney -my son lives and works there and I so want to move from the UK and put down roots in Sydney -I need the 457 visa and sponsor.I speak fluent Spanish and French -if anyone knows of an employer who has jobs going please let me know as I could do with a few miracles!

    Love and thanks

    Anna

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      May 14, 2012

      I hope something turns up for you Anna :-)

      Reply

  17. Cristina
    August 18, 2012

    Hi, i’m planning to move to Australia and i have two questions:
    1) What is the best city to live for an engineer? I mean, a city where you can find engineer related jobs . (Industrial Engineering)
    2) What is the best city to live near Sydney? the one whith good quality of life, afforable and some how close to Sydney.

    Thnaks =)

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      August 18, 2012

      Not being an engineer or living anywhere near Sydney, I’m not best placed to help you. Hopefully someone else might be able to help out here. What you could do though, you check out my page about Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and click on the links to the three top online employment agencies in Australia the research the sort of work you want to do. That will tell you where most of the jobs are.

      Reply

    • Kathryn
      October 12, 2012

      Hope this link will help you locate a good engineering job within Australia:

      jobsearch.careerone.com.au

      Reply

  18. Patrick
    February 23, 2013

    I have lived and worked in Sydney for the past 20years and can honestly say I wouldn’t live anywhere else, the energy and buzz of this place just gets you in unlike any other Australian city, it’s got that big city feel and is the finance, fashion and food capital of Australia and has Australia’s first arts and culture precinct in Walsh Bay. The inner suburbs of Sydney have a very cosmopolitian feel and social cafe culture.
    You will never run out of things to do in Sydney, it a 24/7 city like New York.
    The longer I live in Sydney the more I love this town.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      February 26, 2013

      Big thumbs up for Sydney there, thanks for giving us your input Patrick, it’s appreciated.

      Bob

      Reply

  19. mohammed
    August 24, 2013

    this site is awesome !

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      August 25, 2013

      Thanks :-)

      Reply

  20. Leanne
    September 19, 2013

    I’ve been lucky enough to have been offered a job in shoalhaven and will be moving as soon as my visa comes through!
    It’s very exciting! If anyone has any info or advice I’d be thankful.

    Reply

    • Mike
      October 14, 2013

      G’day Leanne,

      Shoalhaven is a nice spot south of Sydney around 2.5 hours..I am guessing you would be working somewhere around Nowra as it is the biggest population centre..I used to have a holiday home down there in Jervis Bay..It is a pretty big holiday spot for people from Sydney. Many of the smaller areas in the Shoalhaven region are almost entirely dependent on the tourist/holiday trade. Nowra is like any other city it has its areas with problems and it’s nicer areas. It is usually pretty easy to tell what is what in an Australian town. generally around train stations, industrial areas is not so good.

      Reply

      • Leanne
        February 4, 2014

        Hi, sorry, I’ve just realised there was a reply on this post. I am here now living & working In jervis bay near vincentia. We totally love it here.
        It’s beautiful.. We are settling right in. Kids are enjoying school..loving life so far!
        :-)

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        February 5, 2014

        That’s great news, congratulations Leanne, glad to hear you love it.

        Reply

  21. Charlotte
    January 6, 2014

    I live in Albury and am a little confused why it’s not on here?

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 6, 2014

      Hmm, so am I. It should be on here, can we call this one a clerical error?

      I’ll fix it tomorrow, promise, and thanks for pointing this out to me Charlotte.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  22. Rosanne
    February 4, 2014

    Hi Bob,
    Have taken your advice and re directed my ques to NSW section of your absolutely amazing site/blog. You just can’t but this sort of honest info and feedback.
    Anyway, we are on with Visa 186,PR Visa. Phase one complete, 2 more steps to go. We are heading to a rural part of NSW, an area called Crookwell. It’s about 2hrs from Sydney and 1 hr and 30 min from Canberra. We have done a fair bit of research on the area but I was just wondering if anyone was familiar with the area of if anyone lives in a rural part of NSW and what that lifestyle is like?. We currently live in a very rural part of Ireland so isolation or remoteness wouldn’t be too much of an issue for us. We have a young family, 3 boys under 6 and there seem to be lots of amenities and facilities in Crookwell as well as very good schools.
    Would appreciate any feedback from your loyal and trusty fanbase!!!!
    Rosanne

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      February 4, 2014

      Thanks Rosanne, glad you like my site. I’ve only just realised how amusing this town’s name is, Crookwell. Here, and you’ll need to know this, in Australia, the word crook means sick or unwell. I’ll let you do the rest :-)

      Anyway, anyone from over this part of the country know anything about Crookwell? Can you help out Rosanne?

      Reply

  23. Mike
    February 8, 2014

    I have stopped in at Crookwell a few times it is a small town only a few thousand people from memory so it would still have a village feel. I live near Grafton in the North of the State, which is a large town but in a rural setting (Read farms and mooing cows in the morning) generally if you have a job already you can get a much better lifestyle in the smaller towns for children in their younger years, when they get older (High school) and up they won’t have the same opportunities as someone in a big town or city with things like subject selection and the like. If you don’t have work, then the chances of getting work in a small town is close to zero. I have always lived in small towns as villages and find the lifestyle much more to my liking, I did have to do my high school in a near by town and university studies though a few hours further from home.

    Reply

    • Rosanne
      February 10, 2014

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for taking the time out to answer my question. Wasn’t too hopeful that anyone out there would even have heard of Crookwell. It’s still bigger than where we are at the moment and has a lot to offer us, particularly, as you mention, for our young family. My husband has a job and as I am a teacher and there are lots of schools in the area, I’m hopeful of securing work!!!! Thanks again, nice to know we are hopefully heading to somewhere that does exactly as it says on the tin!!!!
      Rosanne

      Reply

  24. Elisa
    February 11, 2014

    I came across your website, probably like many, trawling for information about moving to oz. my family and I are based in the uk currently but are looking for a better quality of life. Moving to oz is def. in our 5 year plan! My husband may be able to get a transfer with his job to NSW. His office will be based in padstow ( not a great place to live I hear!) could you suggest some suitable areas around there which may be good for a young family?

    Also, what’s the situation like for a teacher?mits my profession but I heard there is currently a glut of qualified teachers in NSW who can’t find jobs!
    Just to add, I have found your website very informative and extremely useful! Many thanks for all your hard work with it.

    Reply

    • Rosanne
      February 11, 2014

      Hi Eliza,
      Can’t comment on padstow. I am also a teacher. If you check out NSW .teach. gov.au(I think that’s address), you can subscribe to a jobfeed where you get an email notifying you about jobs in the area. I have also figured that you need to register to teach with the equivilent of Teaching council before you can teach in either public or private system. None of this can be done till you get over there.
      Not sure where you heard about a glut of teachers, it’s quite the opposite, just look at jobfeed and you’ll see how many jobs there are every 2 weeks. You can also register to be on a casual teachers list where you sub on a day to day basis in schools within a certain area.Great pay but unreliable. Some schools allow a rental subsidy of up to 90% and you get allowances for cold weather and bad roads!!! Imagine. All in very rural places though, there had to be a catch!!!
      Hope this is helpful. Best of luck with move;don’t delay!!!
      Rosanne

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        February 11, 2014

        Good information Rosanne, thanks for helping out.

        Elisa, hope that helps, as for Padstow, I’m afraid I have no idea, maybe somebody else can help you out with that one as well. Anybody know anything about Padstow?

        Reply

  25. Shaun
    April 5, 2014

    I’ve just been offered a job in Bega, and am considering living in Merimbula. I currently life on the UK. I’m pretty nervous at the prospect. What do you think?

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      April 7, 2014

      I’m not sure what you are nervous about, but I’d go for it. It’s probably a bit quiet down that way, but it is a great part of the country, beautiful scenery. Good luck, Bob

      Reply

  26. Shaun
    April 11, 2014

    Cheers Bob

    We’re a little nervous, because it doesn’t matter how much research you do, there’s always the fear the grass isn’t going to be any greener on the otherside. That being said, we live to the philosophy that’s it’s always better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven’t; so our visa application is now underway.

    Wish us luck … Shaun

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      April 14, 2014

      That’s exactly what I say Shaun, if you don’t try it, you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering “what if?”

      I’m wishing you luck, do let us know how it goes.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  27. saska
    May 24, 2014

    Hi Bob, could u plz name top 3 livable places in NSW except Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong ?

    Reply

    • Mike
      May 25, 2014

      Hi Saska

      It would depend what you are looking for in a place to live. If you love city life you have named the biggest cities in NSW, if you like country life away from the coast, you have Tamworth, Armidale (Inland towns west of the Great Dividing range) or Albury on the border with NSW and Vic they have universities and as they are large better job prospects. Coffs Harbour has a good year round climate in the Banana Growing Region of northern NSW. It just depends what you are looking for. Outside of the Newcastle,Sydney, Wollongong trio houses tend to get cheaper and you will get more for your money.

      Reply

  28. Shaun
    May 27, 2014

    I wonder if anyone can help answer a question about South NSW weather. We’re moving from the UK to Merimbula, and wondered how the weather compares in that area to the UK. I’ve heard some say the weather is similar to the UK (which would be disappointing), does anyone have experience of that area?

    Many thanks … Shaun

    Reply

    • Mike
      May 27, 2014

      I think it is still warmer than England..summer it gets to the 30’s winter probably as low as 5-10 ish. So warmer than England at least the England I remember. It just isn’t hot nor is it even close to as wet as England……my memories of my childhood in England is rain almost every day..Merimbula probably 50 or so days a year of rain..it isn’t a high rainfall area.

      Reply

  29. Milly
    June 6, 2014

    I want move to Sydney for daughter go to high school. Can you advise which area around Sydney is good for girls go to high school and also good for living. Thanks!

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      June 6, 2014

      I can’t help but hopefully someone from Sydney will chime in, other than that you can do some research on my page called Which school?.

      Reply

    • Mike
      June 7, 2014

      Hi Milly

      It would depend on how much money you have and what type of living you like to do, if you love inner city areas or would rather be in the suburbs. Also if you are thinking about sending your daughter to a private girls only school and private co-ed or a government school.

      Reply

  30. Shaun Favell
    July 18, 2014

    Well, we started this journey in March and I’m pleased to say I now have my visa and professional registration sorted. Flights are booked for August the 4th. See you soon :-)

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      July 18, 2014

      Congratulations Shaun, hope the move goes well and you get to love this place is much as I do.

      Reply

  31. jess healey
    August 19, 2014

    Hi there,
    I’m currently living in Victoria and looking to make a move to the upper NSW coast somewhere where it will be warmer all year round and have enough for my two girls (12 week old & 2 yr old) to keep them entertained. Along with good schools, parks/playgrounds, walking/riding tracks are there any suggestions you could give me on where to relocate to? Don’t mind being a bit back from the coast either, about half an hour out.
    Thanks

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      August 19, 2014

      Yamba is very nice, that is on the coast, or a little further inland is Maclean, bit of a Scottish town, but a decent looking place. Byron Bay is very much a hippie/surfer dude type of town, plenty going on if you like that kind of thing.

      That’s about all I know, maybe someone else from the area can give you some tips.

      Good luck, Bob

      Reply

  32. jess
    August 21, 2014

    Thanks bob. Will look into those areas first. Cheers.

    Reply

  33. usa2oz
    September 24, 2014

    Hi,
    I live in the U.S. but have been reading Australian websites for many years now, mostly abc.net.au so while never having visited I have done a lot of research (including number of daylight hours in winter, average temp, rainfall etc) so I thought I had a good start..and I guess I do..but your website was a great find, thank you for all your work!

    Question, the video here:

    http://www.bobinoz.com/living-in-australia/

    says every city over 10,000 is profiled…but for Coffs Harbour I only found (via google) this page (and a few others like the climate and ugly side of Australia meet, and such that didn’t seem relevant) is there a profile somewhere that I’ve missed?

    I use wikipedia and other searches to find out a lot but if there’s profile by you or even if you “farmed it out” to have readers (but you created a page for each one) I’d love to read that…as a place to ask questions and share info, for every city over 10,000….I’m actually looking at Grafton but Coff’s Harbour (which wikipedia says is now over 70,000 metro area and the city proper is over 45,000 it says) is the nearest larger place…But would love to see individual pages for each of those and others…or even just “over 30,000″ which wikipedia says there are only 45 or so…sorry if I missed the page (url please…?) otherwise if your video meant brief mensions and it’s too much then please accept this humble suggestion to just create a page for each of them and let commenters submit posts with info, questions etc?

    Also a map would be great – for where each of these several dozen cities are in NSW…seeing largest cities on wikipedia did not give me any clues where…which were 7 hours away which were shorter…over time I leanred that Yamba is NE of Grafton, Coffs is SE, where Lismore is, and a few others..but a map of each State with the state’s top 20 or even 40 largest cities/towns would be great..I couldn’t even find one of those old style “driving distances” charts, you know where the row and column is found to find the distance between…so just slowly I learn each one, but it would be nice to have a quick glance map…so when one hears a list of 3 other interesting towns, one doesn’t have to look up each one separately on googlemaps but immediatley know which ones are nearer to where one is thinking of having one’s “base” at least initially, and which ones are way farther off…

    Sorry for the length here, and thanks again for the website!
    Harry

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      September 24, 2014

      Firstly, let me clear it up for you Harry. This is the only page I have that mentions Coffs Harbour, the video refers to the fact that I have simply listed all the major towns in all the states with a population in excess of 10,000, and this page, for example, has the list of towns for New South Wales.

      In the comments on this page people can talk about what it’s like to live in any of those towns, and if you look through all the comments that’s what most people are talking about. Some of the towns you mention, including Coffs Harbour, have been mentioned briefly here.

      I’m trying to give people a platform here to tell us what it’s like where they live, and many people have done that. But if I try and isolate small towns onto single pages, then some of these towns simply don’t attract enough comments to make it worthwhile.

      If you do want to ask any particular questions about Coffs Harbour, this is the page to do it, and hopefully someone who knows the area well will help you out. I have been there once myself, but stayed for just one night. Not really enough to offer an opinion.

      I hope you find the information you’re looking for. Cheers, Bob

      Reply

      • Hilary
        September 25, 2014

        Hi Harry
        Why don’t you try a good atlas? Alternatively you can order more detailed maps of populated areas/towns/cities of most states in Aus through Amazon. Both these are far better than Googlemaps in my opinion. Gmaps are fine for getting a vague idea about location but I find them disorientating. In spite of the zoom facility, they tend to show towns/cities in isolation from the surrounding area. Therefore difficult to get a sense of perspective on a place. Everything exists in a context. Without this it can be mighty confusing. Also reading a map exercises the grey matter, use it or lose it…

        Reply

      • usa2oz
        September 25, 2014

        Thanks for your reply Hillary :o)

        I did figure I’d eventually invest, probably, in a NSW paper map…In the meantime, along with using gmaps, I just might create a (more humble initially) version of a distance map, and share it here. See, when I go to meetup to look for NSW events or other websites, I can go to the NSW section usually and they list events, groups, and so on…but I have no idea most of the time if it’s a suburb of Sydney (or 7 hours away!) or else 2 hours away or what have you. This is something a distance chart can do…some old fashioned (paper) maps do have that, so I’ll eventually have it on paper..I still want to create an online version now that I know it’s not so easy to find, will share url here if I do.

        The friendly nature of this website is such that I will post some questions about the Northern Rivers region of NSW at some point, and Grafton and Coffs Harbour in particular…

        Might take a few or few though..I need some time to organize my thoughts, questions, and to do a bit more research to eliminate at least reduce the number of embarrassing questions (things I should have known the answer to by easy search) before I post, but I do plan to do so :-) Thx,
        -U2O

        Reply

      • usa2oz
        September 25, 2014

        “might take a week or few” I meant..

        Reply

      • USA2OZ
        September 25, 2014

        Thanks for clarifying Bob! You make a very reasonable point. I started thinking after I posted (and during) that I might have been reading too much into (wishful thinking? :-) the “Every major city in Australia is covered, every major city,..and every town with moe than 10,000 population” but I do see your point that one town would risk a rather empty page or one with just one or two comments, that does make sense. And since you’re clearly open to questions and so are your readers, that’s cool :-)

        Speaking of wishful thinking, maybe as the website grows, while one town is too small, a subregion of a state might get it’s page? Well if not then I hope it’s ok to post here what I find out about the region in question, I think it’s called the Clarence River Valley, or actually wikipedia says the this region of NSW is called “North Coast” with two subregions, “Northern Rivers” being the one containing Grafton and Woolgoolga. I guess if anything I “know” from the past several years on wikipedia and elsewhere is wrong (or technically right, but misleading) you or a commenter can correct me. But if there’s never a “North Coast” page that’s cool, I will hope it’s ok to post here what I find out about it, and maybe ask for info/tips, from whoever might be reading who might know :)

        I really have been impressed with your website – and I can tell it’s a labor of love not just a business. In fact it’s the first website I’ve found that along with free info offers nonfree but also non-shady extras. Other websites that offered help/info for money looked questionable.

        (Was goning to post some questions here about a town or two, but will post separately)

        Already appreciate also the friendly replies I’ve seen to others’ posts and one already (Hillary) to mine. I won’t take another 5 years to move to Oz, or I hope not…but this will be process for me at a measured pace.. so while I may not visit pages on this site every day, I do plan to become a reglar, and interacting more over time. Thanks for creating this online venue :o)

        -U2O

        P.S. I’m a very slow reader but even I loved your free 100 page eBook, already skimmed it and have started delving in greater detailed into several sections, working my way through it..Good resource, text, pictures, summaries and all!

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        September 25, 2014

        When I first started this website I did have a section called “Own Your Town” and I really wanted people to write in reviews of the town they lived in and send in photographs and stuff like that. I had hoped to map out the whole country.

        I had lots and lots of people email me to say they wanted to own their town, and I would say “it’s yours” and wait for them to send in their review and pics. But that’s where things ground to a halt, people just never got round to it. So I abandoned the idea.

        I have been to Yamba myself and also Grafton, no link to Grafton though, I didn’t actually write a post about it. Maybe I will try and dig out the photographs and do that sometime soon.

        Cheers, Bob

        Reply

      • Mike
        October 16, 2014

        G’day USA2OZ

        I live in the Clarence Valley, In Grafton, most of my unit lives in Yamba (they like the beaches) with a few living down towards Woolgoolga or Coffs Harbour.

        I have a load of photographs but I guess it depends what sort of things you are looking for when you move to Australia, I much prefer it here on the Northern Rivers rather than in Sydney (I moved from Sydney around 2011)

        Reply

      • usa2oz
        October 17, 2014

        G’day Mike,
        Definitely Clarence Valley or thereabouts is of more interest since big cities are not a favorite to put it mildly, and also climatewise so it’s great to hear from a local! (It’s interesting, not long ago I watched a youtube video on Australian slang, and one commenter said very few except older Australians use the slang words…but another Aussie quickly chimed in and posted that they were young, and they used most of the words, including G’day :-)

        I have heard of and have been on the map all the towns you mention, Yamba, Woolgoolga (have researched enough that I’ve heard of their curry-fest) and Coffs Harbour…it seems that not only are prices often higher at the coast but climate wise (if wikipedia can be trusted) the number of sunny days is often lower and the number of outright rainy days much higher (e.g. Coffs Harbour versus Grafton) are among the reasons I’ve been putting Grafton at the center of my mental plans (which remain moving forward, but at the rate of a koala …slow :-) but those plans could change. Not into big city move, but could evolve towards looking at the coast, such towns at you mention, conceivably.. (Yamba in particular I saw some short term holliday type units that were very small and minimal and affordable for a few months while one shops around for a more permanent rental, whether in Grafton or elsewhere, if I remember right, though that was 3 months ago when I looked)

        I’m puzzled by one thing, I think it may be slang that I am not familiar with..you said you live in Grafton but most of your “unit” lives in the three named coastal town…here “unit” would mean your apartment building or the like, and it’s probably not what you mean (for the people who live in your apartment in Grafton to *also* live in other towns, doesn’t seems like that would be what you meant..) so does it mean “circle of friends” or something else, when you refer to your unit? Tried to find Aussie slang page but they same as here, apartment….don’t see how your Grafton apartment/building neighbors would live in Yamba etc …so I guess I have go ask for some slang help already..? :-)

        Reply

      • Mike
        December 15, 2014

        Sorry about that

        by unit I mean the people I work with, I live in Grafton, one other lives in South Grafton, the rest live in Yamba. We all live in Houses, not that there is anything wrong with units/apartments, for the price of a unit in Sydney or Brisbane you can buy two houses in Grafton or one really large one.

        Reply

      • USA2OZ
        December 30, 2014

        Mike,
        Thanks for the clarification! (and sorry for the delay responding..the “move to Oz” peroject is so large that I have a dedicated email address for it and sometimes life is too busy to check that account more often..)

        But glad to check it and find your reply..that DOES make sense now…”unit” standing for folks you work with, some life in Grafton, others in Yamba…my confusion on this aspect is now officially cured… :-)

        Now only 99 or more other things to learn or figure out on Australia, and I’ll be all set ;-)

        Kidding aside, thanks again and wish you a great New Year for 2015!

        Reply

      • USA2OZ
        December 30, 2014

        Hi again Mike – hopefully my “thanks” reply got posted, but I do have a follow-up question…since you have co-workers who live in Coffs Harbour (as well as Yamba and Woolgoolga) I suspect you visit those towns often enough to get an “up close and personal” feel for their weather so you can give a human comparison with Grafton. Because you see, on wikipedia the climate summaries make it sound like Coffs Harbour has weather not “enourmously” but shall we say, “significantly” less appealing than Grafton.

        Wikipedia’s page for Grafton for example tells us that there are 95 days per year with 1.0mm or more of rain, versus 142 days of precipitation per year, for Coff’s Harbour. I realize it’s typical for coastal towns to have more humidity and sure, I guess also precipitation, but that sounds like a big difference to my ears. But sometimes official statistics are out of date, or in some other way, don’t reflect how it feels on the ground.

        The other data show 1700mm of precipitation annual for Coffs Harbour versus 1075mm for Grafton…so 60% more rain annually, though I don’t know if it’s mostly in a relatively small number of heavy downpours…I’m more concerned with 95 days versus 142 days…47 more days…that’s more than a Month and a Half per year, fewer/more rainy days per year…does that sound right to you based on your personal experiences, or is there a reason to take the stats with a grain of salt or, otherwise, are they in some way misleading (if so how)? Because if they are not misleading, then I’d certainly strongly prefer Grafton (all other things being equal as they say..which they never are..but you know what I mean) if other opportunities in Grafton are not far less than Coffs (I realize the population and thus options are significantly greater; I’m told 65,000 or so in Coffs versus 17,000 in Grafton). Can you shed light on these, based on your experience living on Grafton and (I am guessing, maybe mistakenly) visiting Coffs often enough to get a strong personal sense?

        While “sunnier climate” is not in my top 3 or even top 5 reasons for wanting to move to Oz, it’s still a strong factor – overcast days do strongly affect how cheerful my mood is (or isn’t) so this would be helpful to know..

        Or could I have the best of both worlds? I found a fantastic looking house rental (virtually certain to be gone by the time I’m ready to move..but still interesting) in Wells Crossing which is very roughly, halfway between Grafton and Woolgoolga…I’m wondring if the weather there is maybe far away enough from the coast that one gets more sun (more like Grafton) and at the same time, shorter commute to Coffs..(of course such a “best of both worlds assumes I want to get a car right away rather than try public transit– which might not be great for reaching very small populatiosn like Wells Crossing– while I take my time getting used to driving on the “opposite” side of the road) This is a “bonus” question and if you don’t have info that specific,that’s fine..the simpler weather comparison question above about Grafton vs Coffs is most of what I’m curious about now (though would be fantastic if you or anyone else can speak about how weather tends to change, sunny days etc, X kilometers from the coast, for different X..)Thanks in advance :-)

        Happy New Year to all you Aussies reading this, you’ll get to 2015 earlier than us in the U.S.

        Reply

  34. USA2OZ
    October 5, 2014

    Thanks for this update, sorry for taking a week+ to reply, the “there is a new comment in…” auto-notificadtion got lost in the inbox as they say…

    I can totally understand what you mean, it happens sometimes that people are excited but then life gets busy when it comes time to pitching in their part of the idea they were rooting for (or cheering for? not sure the Australian expression) The .ksou.cn website someone posted elsewhere (which I thought surely must be spam to be .cn but was very legitimate) is very detailed, though I also like the one you mentioned (realestate.com.au) for looking at rentals.

    It’s not until late summer or early fall (USA seasons) of 2015 before (if all things go well) the move but still peeking a bit now at rentals; realize they will be gone by then but just getting to know general prices, locations, amenities etc.

    On housing a question or two – and let me know if this is better moved or copies to one of your housing specific pages and I can re-post there instead but: I have long ago figured out from all the listings that it’s weekly rather than monthly rent that is listed, but what is a) typical payment schedule; does one write a check once a week rather than once a month? Would they find it odd if I/we wanted to pre-pay 4 weeks in advance? and b) for apartment and house rentals are 12 months leases still the norm, even if rent is listed in weeks? a mixture of some week-by-week, some 12 months, some (??? in-between? 6 month?) leases?

    And does a slash, the / symbol, just mean apartment number, because I saw it for houses (not just apartments) for rent…like “2/444 Such and Such Street” or a house that is “153a such and such St” even though it’s a house…so the “2” in “2/444″? the “a” in 153? Probably a very ignorant question but might save me (and some others) a bit of time unraverling. Thanks (if someone knows answer before BobInOz needs to jump in to save him time on this very “basic, noobie” question, go right ahead :-)

    Reply

    • USA2OZ
      October 5, 2014

      And while I’m looking for a bit larger population than Yamba, and looking probably for non-coastal I’ll definitely have a look at the Yamba post, it’s always good to be able to delve in more detail are surrounding areas and this one is within an hour so definitely of interest. :o)

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 6, 2014

        Yes, whilst rentals are quoted weekly payment is usually four weeks in advance, or five weeks if it’s a five-week month and 12 months is the standard term of a lease, although other periods can be negotiated. Six months is probably the lowest you will usually be able to get, but at the end of the day it’s up to the landlord to decide.

        And I think the slash you refer to is probably the apartment number, or maybe when a house has been divided up into units. The only way to know for sure would be to look at the full details for the property.

        Hope that helps, Bob

        Reply

      • usa2oz
        October 6, 2014

        Very helpful indeed! In fact there is a woman I have been seeing here in the US and it was she who asked me about lease periods, frequency of rent payments and so on. I knew that rent was quoted in weeks, but didn’t know the answers (and couldn’t easily find, either) to her good questions, which you’ve now answered :-)

        Incidentally, I’ve been doubly blessed, in that I’ve not only met this woman, but that when I shared with her my tentative plans to move to AU (with some hesitation if not trepidation..) she indicated she was at a time and place in her life where she was very open to doing the same (which is far from a given, what with family friends and so on over here in the U.S.) Hence my solo research project slow but over some years now, has recently started becoming a ‘team’ research project to learn more about Oz and possibilities of moving a year or two. Thanks again.

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 6, 2014

        Well good luck with your plans, I hope it all works out well.

        Cheers, Bob

        Reply

  35. michelle
    October 10, 2014

    Hi usa2oz,

    The number before the slash (ie 2 in the sequence 2/144) is the apartment or unit number of the property. When it reads (for example) 22a it usually refers to a stand alone house but the original block of land (number 22) has been subdivided for two separate and often unattached residences. They might be a battle axe block with one house in front of the other or situated next to one another (and the original block would still be 22 and the new block would be 22a.

    Also rents are per week but they are usually paid fortnightly in advance. Most landlords wouldn’t have a problem with monthly payments and often automatic bank transfers are used for rent payments (cheques are generally not accepted much in Australia anymore). Leases are usually 12 months but can be signed for 6 months (although 12 is usually preferred). Any less and you may find it harder to secure a property for lease.
    Hope this helps…

    Reply

    • usa2oz
      October 11, 2014

      Thanks, Michelle..

      Reply

      • usa2oz
        October 11, 2014

        that’s helpful and I’ll keep this page and your comments marked as my plans going forward evolve..thx :-)

        Reply

  36. Kerry
    November 19, 2014

    Hi Bob,

    What a wonderful website you are running here :) Well done! It certainly has been a pleasure reading through the bits n pieces.

    I have a question for you particularly about the Central Coast, NSW. Currently my family (hubby, 3 young kids and I) live in Adelaide. It was challenging moving here a few years ago (from Sydney) and I always missed my family and friends back in Sydney but we were fortunate to find excellent jobs, great childcare and health facilities. We are now planning a move to Terrigal, Central Coast soon.

    I know you cannot give me specifics but I am hoping maybe some of your readers can help out an apprehensive mother? I keep reading a lot of negative stuff about the central coast – high crime rate, bad schools/childcare, lack of good medical facilities. Although these websites don’t like they have been updated recently. So I am hoping that the central coast isn’t all bad??

    Secondly Bob my question is to you – I thought that I would be excited to be moving back a bit closer to those family and friends I left behind a few years ago but I certainly am not feeling that way. I am quite apprehensive about the move & starting my life all over again (with young kids) hence I am beginning to doubt my decision to move. Do you have any advice?

    Many Thanks

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      November 19, 2014

      Hi Kerry

      Thanks for the complimentary words about my website, much appreciated. I can’t help you too much with the Central Coast and what you’ve heard, but hopefully some of my readers from that way will be able to help you out with that.

      As for the apprehension you feel about starting all over again, I think that’s understandable, but moving can also be looked at as a new and exciting challenge and an opportunity to meet new friends and enjoy new surroundings.

      And those young kids, they can only help, they are your key to meeting and talking to other adults simply by taking your kids to school, waiting at the gate, picking them up from play dates and taking them to parties which they will no doubt end up getting invited to.

      And of course, having your own party for their birthdays and inviting all their friends and possibly parents. And as a plus, you will only be a much shorter drive away from your old friends and day trips to Sydney will be quite easy for you.

      Something has made you want to move again, embrace it and see where it takes you. That’s what I think.

      Whatever you do in the end, I really do hope it works out well for you.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  37. Shaun Favell
    January 4, 2015

    Hi again everyone

    Just to go completely against the spirit of this website, my advice is avoid Australia if you have choices.

    Why? We’ve just returned after 5 months in NSW, we couldn’t stand it any longer.

    What was wrong? Racism, monoculture, violence, misplaced elitism, poor medical model (looks good to the layman, but to senior healthcare professional like myself it’s bordering archaic), a latent inferiority complex that if uncovered results in reactive patriotism, insecure over regulation, more nanny laws than the UK, did I mention monoculture?

    What’s right? Beautiful beaches, beautiful scenery, fantastic wildlife, great fishing. If you work in a trade you’re also likely to increase your income and housing status.

    For those of us with choices, we’ve returned to Europe and are enjoying the ozone protected sunshine of the Med. The culture here is 1000 times richer, and we’re very glad to be back.

    Think hard about your decision to move to Oz, it’s not Utopia, and for many it’s hell.

    Good luck … Shaun

    Reply

    • Mike
      January 5, 2015

      You are right, no one should go anywhere thinking it is a Utopia, I lived in the South of England for many years, and it certainly wasn’t a Utopia there either. Sadly Racism is everywhere, it is insidious blight on all societies, but appears worse so in western permissive societies that have let is fester just under the surface. Funnily enough the only country I have lived in that I haven’t experienced racism directed specifically towards me was Bahrain. It was the only country that I didn’t experience violence directed towards me. Crime stats show that assault is far more common per capita in GB but that will of course vary with location.

      Reply

      • Shaun
        January 5, 2015

        Crime stats are often flawed due to reporting errors, and my experience of Australia is that negative exposure is swept under the carpet to perpetuate the Utopian illusion. Transparency is not one of Australia’s strengths. Sadly racism is everywhere, though I’ve never experienced school teachers in any other country we have lived swear at my 12 year old children, tell them they are stupid, and tell them they “don’t like unhappy people, especially the English”. Of all the countries we’ve lived, NSW was the first to charge me $10,000 to school my children in a state school, and forbid them to use the school bus because they are on a temporary residents visa. We did meet some wonderful people while we were there, but sadly they were not the norm.

        Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

        If you’re considering moving to Australia, please read all the negative comments posted around the Internet too. Many of them ring very true for us.

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        January 5, 2015

        I think it’s a little hasty to judge all of Australia based on just 5 months living in NSW although it sounds like that was long enough for you to decide to go. You also say “teachers” but I suspect it was just one teacher who spoke to your child like that.

        I can assure you it isn’t standard on the Australian curriculum to tell the children they are stupid :-)

        Monoculture isn’t a crime either, although I think it’s a strange accusation to make against a country that has some of the most multicultural cities in the world and is populated by something like 25% immigrants.

        Enjoy the Med, I was going to move there originally before I changed my mind and came here to Australia instead, I’ve never looked back since. Everybody is different. Good luck, Bob

        Reply

  38. Ashton
    January 5, 2015

    Hi Bob

    After searching the Internet for some helpful info on moving to Australia, I was beginning to lose hope! Until I came across your website and I must applause you for all your good work.
    Shaun Favell’s post above has unfortunately made me more apprehensive as I and my wife are in same profession and also of African background.

    That said, I am hoping you and your good readers can help ease my apprehension. 7 yrs ago I had a job and was all set to move from England until my wife grew cold feet. Now she is a nurse and is desperate to move down under for better quality of life for the family. I on the other hand, now need a lot of convincing but I want what is better for my family so I find myself here.
    I have been looking at best places to live in NSW or Queensland or indeed any other part of Aus? Not an inner city person but surburbs within reasonable commute would be a good start.

    Thanks
    Ashton, UK

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 5, 2015

      Hi Ashton

      It’s very difficult for anybody here to ease your apprehension, moving to Australia is a big move and in many ways a big risk as well. As you have seen from Shaun Favell’s post, it didn’t work out for him.

      On the other hand, it did work out for me big time, I love it here. I also have many many friends and acquaintances for whom it also worked out very nicely. But no one can predict how it will work out for you.

      I also can’t tell you the best places to live, because again, that’s mainly down to personal choice. I love Brisbane, other people think it’s too humid. Some people love Sydney, some hate it and so on. All I can advise you to do is read my page called A Quick Guide to Choosing a City in Australia to see if that helps.

      All I can say though is if you are confident in securing a job here, why not give it a go? Otherwise you could spend the rest of your life wondering “what if?”

      Good luck, whatever you decide.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  39. Ashton
    January 5, 2015

    Hi Bob

    Can I hasten to add that Shaun’s comments are also very welcome, always put things in perspective and people hopefully can make informed choices. My fear of moving is not that of racism I must say, I’ve always been oblivious to it and it’s never stopped me really.
    As stated above when my plan fell apart 7 yrs ago, I threw myself into my work focused on my career and doing the very best I can for our NHS which I am proud of. My fear is leaving a good secure job, to start afresh in the hope of good quality of life and by most comments from readers many are happy, if I do not then like it having to return to re establish myself again. It’s the fear of the unknown I suppose.

    Thanks
    Ashton

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 5, 2015

      All comments are welcome here Ashton, abusive ones aside, and Shaun’s is welcomed too. I also think it’s important that people consider the possibility that things might not work out here, my only problem with Shaun’s comment is that it’s based on just 5 months worth of experience in one place and, in my view, not representative of all of Australia.

      Reply

  40. Shaun
    January 5, 2015

    It’s true that I can only comment on the Australia I have seen, which stretches from Melbourne to Sydney. This is why I post in the NSW thread. Both Melbourne and Sydney are listed as two of the most liveable cities, though to me this has more to do with income/expenditure than it does quality of life and diversity.

    Beware of bias in your own research. We spent several years looking at Australia, and in retrospect I can see how biased our filtering became. I even had a colleague who lived there several years try to tell me about her negative experience. Somehow I just filtered her opinion out. Only when we decided it wasn’t for us did I suddenly notice the Internet is full of negative opinions about Australia. How did I miss this? I urge you to filter better, this mistake cost us over £50,000 in savings.

    As for monoculture, Bob I understand what you say about the immigrant numbers in Australia, however, I speak of multicultural, not multiracial. Most immigrants are forced adopt the Australian monoculture else be shunned. Though there is more culture in the cities I would agree. I drive for 12 hours, and when I arrive at my destination people sound the same, act the same, have the same shops, boat ramps, beaches, clothes, baseball caps, and mentality.

    No, it was several teachers, though at least 2 were also exceptionally nice. Ironically the other children exhibited little racism. A friend I met there, stated he experienced the same problems and almost returned to his home country. At the last minute he was talked into trying the Northern Territory and said it was less racist and he felt better accepted. Due to his career he’s back in NSW but he is already keen to leave.

    My hope is that some will listen to my comments and weigh them into their decisions. My opinion is that if you work in a trade the jump in living status maybe enough to overlook all the other problems in Australia. For people who have more choices, I think you’ll like Australia far less. Interestingly more people in my profession are now leaving Australia to live in NZ despite a drop in income than leave NZ to work in Oz. This is a new change in direction.

    We’ve lived all over Europe and the Med, for us we’re much much happier here.

    For those of you already in Oz I leave you with a little experiment. Pick an Australian of choice and tell him or her that the fish and chips in the UK are much nicer than in Australia, and then look at the genuine look of confusion and blank stare that greets you. IMO Australia suffers what I call Utopia Delusion, anything that suggests Australia is anything else just won’t compute.

    Good luck with your decision making … Shaun

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 7, 2015

      I’m not sure if you are talking to me specifically Shaun when you say beware of bias in your own research, I am not doing any research, I live here. I’ve lived here for over 7 years now and I love it. I didn’t even do any ‘research’ before moving here, but I did come here for 3 holidays. It wasn’t until the third holiday that both me and my wife decided that Australia was the place for us.

      Before that, we were definitely going to the south of France, we’d even picked out the village we were going to live in, it’s called Pézenas.

      As for negative things about Australia, of course you will find plenty of stuff on the Internet if you search for it. Funnily enough, if you search for “bad things about Australia” you’ll find my website right up there. And I know precisely what you mean by monoculture, it’s the Coles and Woolworths thing, same shops everywhere, but the same happens in UK high streets, Boots, WHSmith’s, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, pretty much all high streets are the same as each other, that’s what happens when the multinationals buy out all the independent stores.

      I’m pretty sure that’s happening in most countries. Here in Australia though, it’s a big country, and you can travel for miles and miles and the culture is still very much the same. Is not a bad thing, but it is the way it is. In the big cities though, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the diversity of Australia’s culture can be seen in the different suburbs, Greek suburbs, Turkish suburbs, Chinese suburbs, there is plenty of variation.

      You say people sound the same, wear the same clothes, baseball caps, have the same mentality? That’s just not true, how can the Chinese, Vietnamese, people from India, the UK or Hungary sound the same as an Aussie? It doesn’t happen.

      Australia can’t compete with Europe though, hundreds of different cultures packed into a much smaller area, it’s fantastic fun travelling across Europe, but I’ve done all that, did it for nearly 50 years, now I love Australia. When younger people talk to me about moving to Australia I do say be sure you’ve finished with Europe first, it’s a long way back, make sure you’ve seen everything you want to see. There is no rush, Australia will be here when you are ready, the world is a big place and I believe people should see as much of it as possible.

      But I get bits of where you’re coming from, what I don’t get though is how somebody thinks they can judge a country as big as this in just 5 short months. The first 4 months me and my family were here were the toughest we’ve had together, it was really hard settling in. My daughter just wanted to go home, she missed her friends in her toys, we had no work and were earning no money, no friends and no furniture as we waited for it to show up. The house we bought online was a tip, I was spending all my time fixing up. My wife was missing her friends and family and our house (which had been empty for 5 months before we arrived) was occupied by every critter and creepy crawley Australia’s got.

      We could have gone home and blamed Australia, but we stuck with it and now none of us would swap places and go back. I agree that people should be cautious and do their research, they should listen to both sides of the argument, but I don’t think they should listen to much to you, you just haven’t been here long enough to be able to give a worthwhile viewpoint.

      You’ve made some strong accusations against Australians and about their attitudes, you don’t have the right. You have a right to your opinion, but you can’t judge Australia. I appreciate you making comments here and adding to the debate, but you just cannot judge in the way you have and pigeonhole an entire nation.

      Good luck wherever you are living now, and I do mean that.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  41. Daddachimp
    January 6, 2015

    Great site guys.
    My situation is;
    Mid 40’s. Married. 2 young kids.
    I have lived in South Australia for 15 years and have loved it. I am a self employed picture framer and football (soccer) coach. My wife is in admin/accounts. We have a 30 acre property in a quaint… (ish) town in S.A which has served us well, but, as much for adventure as the betterment of the kids’ future, we need to make a change. A sea change.
    But…
    Where ?
    East Coast, but, where?
    Thought perhaps Coffs Harbour or…
    Where ?
    I like the sea, lakes,hills,trees,bushwalking,cycling and cafe culture. (And other stuff of course)
    Coastal to avoid humidity would be nice, good schools for the kids and decent happy people,but hey, you can’t have it all !
    Or can you…
    Where,where,where,where,where

    Reply

    • usa2oz
      January 6, 2015

      Hi Daddachimp,
      Interesting you should mention Coffs since I’ve been looking at it. A disclaimer first is that I can’t really answer your question since each person has such a wide variety of interests (you listed a few) and needs, dislikes, etc, not to mention family, career considerations, other cultural considerations and more.

      It is both reassuring and somewhat intimidating that you as an Australian are unsure: reassuring because I’ve been more than a little unsure, and I’m in the U.S…

      Although I can’t directly answer your question, where I might be able to assist you (and hopefully, all of us as a group on this website, assisting one another) would include at least two areas. First, list my own citeria and question that I’m using as tools to help me decide..Then others can use their – probably very different – answers to these questions and criteria, to help each in their own decision. And second a few tools of the online kind, in addition to this great website.

      To start with the second type: I knew next to nothing about geography, being in the U.S., so lots of time with google maps (both regular maps to find what’s nearby: banks, credit unions, health food stores and regular supermarkets, public transit, cultural etc, even reviews of some of the latter; and satellite to get a sense of the terrain; and even streetview to get, selectively, a sense of the streets, store fronts, parking, etc) and with wikipedia. Though you’re an Aussie and know much more, you might find those helpful.

      I’ve recently posted about Grafton vs. Coffs Harbour and leaning towards the former or halfway, but I’ve since warmed up to Coffs Harbour more. But through the magic of wikipedia one does get a sense of climate, e.g. 141.7 days of precipitation per year, and 68% humidity, for Coffs, versus about 95 days per year of precip. and about 53% humidity, for Grafton which is more inland. So it seems like the opposite: more humidity along the coast. Although I’m sure you’re basing your comment on, maybe other examples where it’s the other way around? Anyway good to research. That was a downside for Coffs for me, but there are enough other pluses (for my own tates) in CH that I’m now leaning more towards CH despite the more rainy and humid weather in CH. And just when I was learning that way, I noticed an overlooked paragraph in wikipedia stating it still has more clear days per year than Brisbane, so its can’t be that bad.

      Other tools in my year long (or longer) search underway include searching for housing (rentals in my case, perhaps buying for you) and some jobs prospects though in my case if/when I come over in 9 months or whenever, it will be only as I am in a position not to need it immediately, so there is a vacation (or holiday as they say) period, then exploration of local options before settling in.

      I even had to discover other tools since I may be self employed, I wondered what Craigslist looks like in Australia and there wasn’t much to find there so I googled for “similar to craigslist” plus australia and found gumtree and a few others. Maybe other readers can list their favorite sites for 1) advertising one’s services if one is self employed 2) places to buy directly from another person, peer to peer, second hand items at a bargain. And see if there is a demand for one’s services etc.

      Criteria? Mine include size (Grafton is at the lower end but within my range, just barely, at 20,000 or so population, CH is 70,000 or so, and I want to stay under 100,000) again wikipedia or other sources can help narrow that. Knowing next to nothing of Australia geography I used the wikipedia page “List of cities in Australia by population”. So if you don’t know the area (NSW) that might be helpful to you. It’s easier than in the U.S. (where we have such a huge number of cities in almost any size range) because I only had to look at the top 50 cities, and then see which were in NSW. It just took time to get to know which were 1 or 2 hours from the general geographical area I was learning towards (northeast NSW or in or near Northern Rivers) versus which were 6 or 7 or more hours away. If I ever get around to it I want to create a little old style distance chart for the top 15 or so cities in NSW and share the url here, you know the one, triangular with rows and columns listing city names.. But other than that, this approach has helped me a lot.

      I could share more but that’s probably more than enough. I know from experience moving within the U.S. how much work it is…and so I know you have plenty to think about. On the bright side, you’re probably not sweating it like I will be before long, worrying how to get a Permanent Resident, moving overseas, learning how to drive on the “opposite” side of the road and other complications. So you have less to worry about than some of us! (then again I don’t have to worry about moving a whole family being just an individual, so each of us, all of us, have our own unique mix of areas that are more challenging, and others where things are easier) I hope at least some of the above is useful :-)

      -usa2oz

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        January 7, 2015

        Daddachimp, where, where, where indeed. I know it’s something you are working on as well usa2oz, and it’s not easy. Firstly, and this is for you usa2oz, do be sure to Google Grafton floods 2011; when we had the floods here that swept through Brisbane and the surrounding areas, Grafton suffered also. So if you do choose to live there, be sure to check out the Grafton flood maps to see which properties were affected.

        The floods were what they call a one in 100 years event, but it will happen again at some point. You need to be aware of that.

        I only stayed in Coffs Harbour for one night, got food poisoning from oysters, but I don’t hold that against the place. What is difficult about it is that it is right between Sydney and Brisbane so it’s 5 hours drive to either city. If you want to live in a smaller town, I do think it’s possibly an advantage to try and be within a couple of hours of a bigger city, if you’re the kind of person that needs a big city break every now and then. If you’re not, that is not a consideration.

        As for where, I strongly advise coming here and doing a small road trip, so you can check these places out for yourself. You can’t beat walking the streets to get the feel of a place. I’ve been to Grafton, for example, it was a Saturday afternoon and everything was closed. Very quiet.

        Looked like a very pretty town, especially driving across the river on the bridge, but just so quiet when we got into the town centre. I really couldn’t tell you if it’s a good place to live or not from my limited experience, but I can tell you they had a really fun looking American-style ice cream parlour :-)

        But as I say, you can’t beat visiting for yourself, I know that’s probably not easy to do, but I think it would be a mistake to commit to live to any town without having had a look. If it’s possible, try and get a short-term rental in the area where you think you want to live and then just explore, explore and explore some more.

        Hopefully you will find what you are looking for.

        Good luck, Bob

        Reply

      • usa2oz
        January 8, 2015

        Indeed I had heard of the Grafton floods, on wikipedia as usual…pretty serious stuff (even saw a youtube video of a bit) though not quite as scary from my limited impressions, as the Toowoomba floods…saw a video of those, that still gives me nightmares (figuratively, not literally) about drowning in my car…brave or foolish or both, vid showed one car after another slowly pulled into the rushing river as several people decided not to run away or use another’s car but to try to pull theirs out from the bank in a very last-minute way (meaning if they were unlucky, their cars, with them in them, right on the banks, would have been pulled into the rushing waters! Scary to watch…)

        You did get my attention when you suggested (as I’m inclinded to do, even though as I recently posted, I’m now leaning much more towards Coffs Harbour than Grafton..) the flood maps: “Grafton flood maps to see which properties were affected.”….can you tell me where I can find those?

        Speaking of the Graft to Coffs Harbour area, it brings up one actually quite positive aspect brought about by the exchange with the fellow who decided Australia isn’t for him after five month, concerned diversity. Since I do not like big cities I am prepared for the fact that where I will eventually (hopefully) live it will be far less diverse…but it’s not completely unheard of. Case in point: Woolgoolga which is between Grafton and Coffs Harbour. Census data: “Woolgoolga had a population of 5,050 people in 2011, including 207 indigenous persons and 3,897 Australian-born persons..Notably, from the Census data, 653 persons (12.9%) speak Punjabi at home, 661 persons practice Sikhism, and 409 persons (8.1%) were born in India” so some real diversity here, including one type of diversity almost everyone loves: food. They have an annual Curry Fest which sounds interesting indeed, and I imagine there’s at least a restaurant or two of interest. If just one tiny down near Coffs has his kind of diversity, there must be spots elsewhere. Limited to be sure, but not unheard of, even when one lives in a 50,000 to 100,000 range population type of place like Coffs.

        I agree he was too quick to judge but one area I do sympathize with him was the 10,000 charge for his kids attending public schools, and it sounds like his workplace environment, while *not* necessarily reflecting on all of Australia’s healthcare system, which by comparison to the U.S. over here is wonderful, but his own particular local healthcare related workplace sounds like it might have been less than ideal..and bad luck in teachers saying things to his kids…I guess we all must expect to deal with not only adversity but some “Bad luck” and I guess by definition, some people will get a streak of good luck and some a streak of back luck..Hopefully a combination of doing lots of prep and lots and lots of reseach ahead of time, plus an attitude of expecting some adversity, plus finding (I hope) some like minded locals wherever I settle (for mutual support) is a combination that is workable for long term life and lifestyle sustainability :-)

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        January 9, 2015

        If you search for Grafton City Council I’m sure you’ll find flood maps on their website somewhere.

        Woolgoolga sounds interesting, to be honest I’m a little shocked at those stats. I’m guessing, and I mean really guessing, but I always imagined that rural Australia, small town Australia, was mainly occupied by born and bred Australians. Not totally occupied, but mainly. This particular town is mainly occupied by Australians, but the immigration percentage is much higher than I would have thought.

        Woolgoolga may indeed be an interesting place :-)

        As for Shaun above of whom you speak and that $10,000 charge for going to public school, it’s the way it is in certain states. I’ve written about it…

        http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/11413/state-school-fees-for-temporary-visa-holders-in-australia/

        …and I certainly don’t agree with it, but it is the way it is.

        Reply

      • Mike
        January 9, 2015

        Woolgoolga is a big Indian area, they have a large temple on top of the hill and own a number of the Berry producing farms in the area. There is a degree of diversity now on the coast, My wife is from the Philippines and has had no trouble making friends in Grafton, as there is an ever increasing number of Australians from a non-aboriginal or English background. There is of course like any place a few rednecks, but they are in ever shrinking numbers.

        2013 was the biggest recorded flood in Grafton, the levee wall held, but I would recommend that if you looked at getting a place in Grafton you look at Junction hill (funnily enough on the hill) or find a place with a floor height above 8m. My place is at 8.6m. It isn’t as scary as you might think as unlike other places, in Grafton you get advanced warning, it requires most of the tributary rivers to the Clarence River hitting peak flood at the same time and that water all arriving in Grafton.

        Reply

      • BobinOz
        January 9, 2015

        Thanks for clearing that up Mike, both Woolgoolga and the flood information. Handy to know.

        Reply

  42. Daddachimp
    January 7, 2015

    Wow. Love you’re style bob, love you’re literary response. Very good point re: Being halfway between both cities. I currently only have to travel 1hour 20 mins to get to Adelaide. Ideally, transposed into N.S.W related distance, that would put me somewhere around Buff Point. Bearing in mind that working in the city will probably never happen through choice..!
    So….
    Anyone have reson to avoid the buff point/budgewoi area ?
    Oooh. Where would that put me if I were south of Brisbane ? Mind you, doesn’t the mid summer humidity get a bit too much up that end although (of course that is relative to how long you’ve been there and how tolerant you are).
    Again, reason to move from S.A is not because of dislike. S.A is a great place, a little too quiet (and reserved) at times but, a great place. From the aspect of quiet, it doesn’t matter so much until you start struggling to find things for the kids to do during holidays. That’s all, not a real biggie really !
    So, Buff Point or Macmasters Beach/Bensville area… Who out there knows something?
    Respect to you all

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 7, 2015

      Firstly, about an hour and 20 minutes south of Brisbane will put you in the Gold Coast, the seaside part of it is quite commercialised so I don’t think it’s what you’re looking for, you could live up in the hinterlands, but I still don’t see that as the place for you.

      Whenever you want to go to the beach you’d be finding yourself on the glitter strip. As for the humidity, I reckon it gets sticky and uncomfortable for about 30 to 40 days in the year, but I am more than happy to put up with that for the glorious weather we get the rest of the time.

      Budgewoi and all around that way, I drove through it on my road trip and I thought it was a fantastic coastline, very understated, quiet and a bit rugged. I really liked it, but I was just driving through, I have no idea what it would be like to live there.

      I wrote a post about it…

      http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/165/back-on-the-road-again-heading-for-sydney/

      Even The Entrance looked nice as we drove through, but we didn’t stop. All places worth looking into, but what we really need is to hear from somebody who lives in them. Anybody?

      Reply

  43. daddachimp
    January 9, 2015

    Awesome responses. Thanks to all for taking the time. I hear you regards Grafton.
    So, might I broaden my search and exclude Sydney as the major city as it would seem that perhaps, on the surface the city and areas 2 hours north don’t really seem to suit me.
    What if I were to say Brisbane ? I’ve never really been into the big city thing (found London a nightmare with over-population) but, of course, would like the choice to work in or visit. What if I were to mention; BALLINA. SAWTELL. COOLANGATTA. BRUNSWICK HEADS. BYRON BAY. Now the latter may get you all screaming aaargh or yeah, but are their drug and alchohol issues that bad ? Surely there are some schoolies that act up no matter where they are ! Sawtell and surrounds for example, seem to be on my geographical wish list. Hills and Forrest Rivers and Sea. Near to a big town or two. Within 2 hours from a city and, hell, there is even a volcanic crator thrown in for good measure. The fact that it is fairly close to the Gold Coast isn’t a problem…Is it ? C,mon people…The truth, be it the ugly truth or not. I’m an adult I can handle it. Ahem, I think !
    As for climate,see,I’m not really into cold. Cool I can bear but, cold, hmm…not so much. In a perfect world temperatures would travel seasonally between 20-32 degrees c, in which case doesn’t that put me somewhere near there ?
    I have holidayed in Port Douglas (much further north I know) and Noosa. The two places have very different climates. The latter being more “Acceptable” but still fairly humid in my oppinion. So, would the areas I’ve mentioned previously be even more acceptable bordering on damn near perfect ? Of course I know it is dependent on the individual and one’ s expectations.
    As for work I’m open to change. I have been a Fine Art Trade Guild qualified Picture Framer for 30 years and a Soccer Coach for the last 4 years and have coached school children as a community coach with the Active After School program for the last 2 years. I am sure there is still more i can do. Would I be employable ‘Up there’ ?
    So then, what nasty surprises might await us to dampen this otherwise idyllic destination ? Cyclones, Snakes, Spiders, Culture. Political Corruption. What is the real Underbelly ? There has to be at least a few so, what are they ?
    I’m all ears…

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 9, 2015

      Well you’ve gone a bit off subject now for this page about New South Wales and asked a lot of non-related questions, but if you check out my page about the Gold Coast and look through the comments, you will see that Byron Bay gets quite a few mentions, have a read. If you also use the search box on the right-hand side of every page to search for Byron you will see I’ve written quite a bit about the place.

      Similarly, you’ll find out a lot about Brisbane and Queensland by looking at my pages dedicated to those places as well.

      Good luck, Bob

      Reply

    • Mike
      January 15, 2015

      Daddachimp

      Sawtell is a small place just south of Coffs, I don’t know that it is pretty as most people just drive past it…the only claim to fame it has is a fridge magnet I have from a club there that states “Sawtell..She’ll do ya!”. I am unsure as to how to take that and what it is implying. Ballina is good sea side town. It is now bypassed by the highway which has cut the traffic that used to run through the center of town. Byron Bay I have been to a few times, it does have a fair deal of trouble but mostly at certain times of the year..it is easy enough to organise to be not in Byron during those periods.

      If you are willing to try your hand at anything then there is work around..at least to get you by until you find something better. I am married to a lovely lady that after a week at home was bored, phoned me at work and said “I am bored do you mind if I get a job?” that call was followed about an hour later saying “I have a job I start Monday” she has worked in what I thought was a crappy job picking fruit at a local farm (I expected she would work for a few weeks and quit) earning about $1100 a week pre-tax which for unskilled work is pretty good (she was a teacher but didn’t want to teach in Australia) she has since been promoted three times and I might never get her to leave the farm now. She works year round which is good and stable.

      Reply

  44. Liz
    January 20, 2015

    Hello Bob.
    We’re a couple of seniors living in Darwin, looking to live six months here in our cooler Dry Season, close to family, and the rest of the year elsewhere in Oz to escape the heat and humidity of our Wet. I was born in Sydney (Bondi Beach) – nice place to visit but I would never live there again. My partner loves Newcastle but I’ve not been there. His reasons are the climate, historic buildings, medical facilities, beaches, vineyards, hinterland etc.
    Is it as good as the picture he paints? Are there any bad points? Any Newcastle residents out there who would like to comment please? Thanks Bob. Cheers, Liz.

    Reply

  45. Shaun
    January 31, 2015

    Re: Bias in your own research

    No Bob, I wasn’t referring to your research/info. I was referring to others who are researching whether Australia is for them. It’s easy to want Australia to be Utopia, so any research you do is in danger of carrying this bias.

    I write here of only my experience, which I feel others should consider.

    We’re now much much happier in the Med.

    One last parting comment. The Australian medical system is pretty poor in my opinion, and despite the USA having its fair share of problems, their medical model is far superior to Oz. It can look to the outsider that Australia has a good system, but their enthusiasm for over testing and over treating brings great harm IMO. The abundance of money in the Oz health system helps them do this with ease. Over treating and over testing always looks to a lay person like a good thing, but alas it is not. America now is becoming a great academic influence in a growing culture of balancing treatment risks. Australia I’m afraid is about 20 years behind this philosophy.

    Good luck

    Reply

  46. Shaun
    January 31, 2015

    Bob,

    I lived and worked in Australia for almost 5 months. I lost over £50,000 in the process. I believe I have every right to judge/give you my opinion of what I experienced and what I believe. Unlike many visiting this forum, I have tried. Many have yet to. My negative view of Australia and Australians is equally as valid as all the positive one. Balance requires both sides of the argument. Mine is presented here. I hope others find it useful. Immigration is serious business.

    Again .. good luck to those considering this change

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      February 2, 2015

      Five months is not long enough to judge Australia. You keep mentioning this £50,000, I think it has made you bitter towards Australia and Australians.

      Do remember it was YOU who did your research and YOU who made the mistake to move here only to find you didn’t like it. No point in blaming Australia and Australians for your mistake.

      You are right to warn people to be diligent with their research, but you cannot accuse all Australians of summer things you have accuse them of based on such a short visit.

      Good luck in the Med. Bob

      Reply

  47. Karen
    February 28, 2015

    Hi Bob, great site lots of info ! We have just received our confirmation for sponsorship for 489 visa for RDA southern inland NSW. My husband and I are both hoteliers in management roles (GM ) and have concerns about being able to find jobs in such a small region that appears to be very rural.

    Any suggested towns or extra info would be a great help,
    Thanks very much

    Reply

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