The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything…

How much is ……?

glass of water 300x225 The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything...

Let me tell you.

When I first moved to Australia in 2007, shopping online wasn’t what I was used to back in the UK. Most major stores had a website, but they weren’t quite ‘finished’.

By that, I mean almost all websites had a picture of their store, a way of finding where the store was, the telephone number of the store, but very rarely had any information about their products and almost always no pricing.

If you did find exactly what you are looking for, with full details of the product and the price, it would invariably turn out to be a site from the US. Their $ sign and Australia’s $ sign both look like $.

Today it’s a much different story, which is why I can present to you….

The cost of absolutely everything in Australia!

But before you check out all these prices, a word of warning. If you take these prices and convert the Australian cost into your currency, you will not be left with a fair reflection of the cost of living in Australia. Why?

If the Australian dollar is strong against your currency, then Australia will appear to be a very expensive country to live in. If the Aussie dollar is weak against your currency, Australia will seem like a cheap country.

But when you live here and earn Australian money, exchange rates mean nothing. And as salaries here are generally higher than the countries, prices won’t seem so bad once you’re here.

But to understand this fully, you need to read the following two posts…

Now we’re ready for the cost of everything……

Houses:

I’ve got a separate page for that…..

Cars:

Here are some great resources for checking out the price of cars in Australia. The first one is the big one; it’s where both private sellers and dealers can advertise their cars for sale online.

Here are some other options to search for second hand cars, in fact all…

Second Hand Stuff

Not just a place to buy and sell second hand stuff using video instead of conventional listings, but a great website to discover emerging handmade designers and entrepreneurs…

Then there’s …

Food:

Our two major supermarkets here are called Coles and Woolworths. We used to have a couple of independent websites that would check both of these supermarkets prices side-by-side, but sadly those websites no longer exist. I’ve looked at the Coles website, it doesn’t seem possible to easily find out the price of things, on Woolworths though, it’s a different story.

So, it’s all down to Woolies then, from bakery to toiletries, click below to find out the prices for your grocery shopping…

Utilities:

This is a difficult one, because there is gas, electricity, water and telephony as well as rates. Prices vary from state to state too and with eight states there would be a lot of links.

To make things worse, utility companies hide their pricing structures behind plans, tariffs, peak times, off-peak times, they build in surcharges, standing charges and sometimes make the whole lot inaccessible by insisting you enter your address and postcode before giving you a price.

But I hope these links help.

Electricity:

This is one of those “switch providers” websites and if you “invent” your location and answer some other questions you will be able to get prices for gas and electricity across Australia. And if you are already here and you can save some money, then why not switch?

Or you can read my posts about electricity prices…

Water:

Water prices in Australia are the best kept secret in the world. I am flabbergasted at how difficult it is to find the price of water from these utility companies. Do you think they are trying to hide something? Here are links to what I think are five of our states water suppliers.

Here’s a tip though, don’t bother trying to look for prices, life is too short.

The information is probably there, although you’ll need to dig deep. But on top of water, there are also sewerage costs. And I know, there are 3 more states to go, but as a guide, you’d be better off reading my post about it…

Telephony:

The national telephone company here in Australia is called Telstra. You can find out about their various plans here…

I found them way too expensive, especially for international calls. So I set up a VoIP telephone system which wasn’t that difficult to do. This is the company I used…

You can read my post about it here….

And of course, there are mobile phones too. I used to 3, but they have now been taken over by Vodafone. You will get better countrywide coverage with Telstra, but these people are much cheaper…

But if you really want to research all of your telephony needs, these are the guys to visit…

Rates:

Rates vary from state to state, from council to council and from one year to the next. So I won’t list them all here. But if you search Google for “average council rates” you will get an idea. But make sure you search the Australian one….

Clothing and small household items:

The following three stores are amongst the most popular in Australia for what I used to know as “department stores”. So they are like a mix of John Lewis, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer’s, but if anything, a little downmarket. You can buy all sorts of stuff from these people and their websites now show pictures and prices….

Baby and Nursery Goods

Insurances:

There are hundreds of insurance companies, all will require you to speak with them at length before they will quote you a price. We did, (well Mrs BobinOz did) and these are the companies we chose for our insurances. That doesn’t mean they are the best, but they were good enough for us and we haven’t been disappointed with the service we have received from any of them.

Electrical goods:

This is one of Australia’s biggest electrical goods retailers, but more important than that, they have a good website….

Entertainment:

I’ve divided entertainment into 3 sections, alcohol, TV and going to the pub! Use these links to find the prices of alcohol and your digital TV package.

I’ve got quite a lot of posts about going out drinking, here’s a few of them….

Find bargains here:

We don’t have Amazon here, but we have these people…

And for product reviews, go here….

And with that, I think I’ve covered everything.

More useful links:

But if I haven’t, and you can’t get what you’re looking for from here, then I just don’t know. Well, I do, this lot sell everything….

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa August 3, 2011 at 4:32 am

Myer and David Jones are more of an equivalent to the department stores you mentioned in terms of being ‘upmarket’ and price also

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BobinOz August 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Of course, yes, I don’t know why I missed them out. They are exactly like Debenhams and John Lewis, for example.

Thanks for pointing that out.

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gerrard doyle December 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm

i am moving to queensland on a 457 sponsor visa…
i wont be eligible for most if any benefits , but if eligible for the lafha, i am led to believe that this is being done away with ,or is it just becoming taxed….is the goverment going to introduce anything else to help overseas workers….i have 5 kids…….can i apply for anything else,i will be paying tax so would immagine there would be…its my only concern as my partner is staying at home with babies…

i am a diesel mech/fitter.
cheers

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BobinOz January 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I’d never heard of LAFHA until a couple of weeks ago when it was discussed on this post….

http://www.bobinoz.com/3335/cost-of-living-in-australia-school-fees/

Take a look at it for yourself and read the comments that follow it. There is a bit of a discussion about it there and also a link provided by Kathleen to some further information.

Hope it helps.

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Sudha10 February 25, 2012 at 4:08 am

thanks bob
i’ve got some information here. i got to know that we shouldn’t convert the prices to our country’s currency. that’s the matter

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BobinOz February 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Yes, always try and use the hard yakka.

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julie freeman March 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Hi bob , it was good reading all about your move to australia . We are meant to be going out oursevles , got our visa’s & just sold our home . Can i ask about hime appliances and taking things like washing machines , tv etc .The cost if taking all my home out is going to cost between £3000-£5000 , my husband wants to sell everything and buy new once we get there is this a cheaper way to do it or is it cheaper to pay the £3 – £5000 & take all our stuff ? does our uk washing machines work out there ? many thanks julie

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BobinOz March 27, 2012 at 12:00 am

Personally, I’d say bring your stuff with you, it’s very expensive kitting your house out with everything from scratch. The only electrical item that won’t work here is your TV, although you could buy a digital box for about $40 to fix it.

Read my post about what to bring with you for more information.

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Random Tip April 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Actually 5000 pounds is about 10,000 aussie dollars last time I checked. If you’re looking to deck out a three bedroom house, you can probably do it for less than 10gs depending on where you move – the further out bush the more transport AND finding new furniture will cost. Even in cities it relies on a bit of pot luck sometimes and the idea is you buy cheap basics to tide you over, save up later for nice things when you get the hang of the seconds/local markets (factory seconds / floorroom displays are often quite handy). But you can also use your computer as a TV if you want – will need adapters (if bringing overseas plugs) and a tv card but it’s cheaper than transporting a tv especially now digital is being rolled out (and analog cancelled) and the cost of monitors / hardware in australia is getting cheaper if you know where to look. Save transport costs for the things you can’t replace like heirlooms, knitted baby booties nana made for the kids and stuff like that if moving to a city. Get insurance too.

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm

It must have been a long time since you last looked then, £5000 is now worth more like $7500 AUD. As you point out as well, there are certain things that you just must bring, and I know you can buy one quarter of a container on a shared basis. By the time you’ve paid for that, you may as well go the whole way, get a complete container and bring everything. Well, that’s my view anyway.

And yes, insurance is a must.

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Lauren September 13, 2012 at 5:03 am

Hi Bob

I would just like to double check with you whether there is some kind of rule regarding bringing over household furniture. We’re looking at moving to Brisbane in January 2013 and are not sure whether we should bring over our couches etc. or purchase new furniture and then ship it over? If I’m not mistaken, I read somewhere (and for the life of me, I can’t remember where) that one cannot bring over new furniture and that furniture must have been in your possession for at least 1 year.

Please could you advise me whether this is in fact true? We also have a relatively new Samsung LED 3D Smart T.V (series 6 range). Could we also just buy one of those digital boxes that you mentioned in one of the posts above?

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BobinOz September 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

The rule, as I remember it, is that you must declare to customs EVERYTHING that you are bringing over which is less than 12 months old. I remember remarking to Mrs BobinOz that I had some underpants, bought from Asda, which were only about nine months old, wondering whether I should put them on the list.

We didn’t put them on the list and I appear to have got away with it.

I think if you bring too many new things over, they will charge you an import duty, so it’s probably not a good idea to buy new furniture. But yes, I’d buy a digital box when you get here for your TV.

This is only what I think though, you can always check with your removal company, they should know the rules.

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Lauren September 14, 2012 at 4:52 am

Thank you so much for your prompt response. The information regarding your underwear was particularly interesting;) But ultimately how would they know whether your furniture is 6 months old or 14 months old?

They probably just do not want to see a container filled with products in their original packaging.

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BobinOz September 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

That’s right, I don’t think they can possibly tell, although stuff still in its original packaging would be a bit of a giveaway :-)

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norasimpson October 19, 2012 at 3:35 am

hi my family emigratedin july this year
i am the mother enquireing .if i wanted to go for a visit .around xmas 2014.can you advise wot i do?

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BobinOz October 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Hi, you’ll need to get a holiday visa from the Australian government. See my page about Visas.

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Patrick November 6, 2012 at 5:28 am

That is great info. It made me look more closely at some items of everyday life and wages… It’s reassuring to find that the food and cars costs almost the same as here in Qc, but the minimal wage is around 55-60% higher. takes the weight off about the lodging costs :)
I just got my visa for a working holiday, as the first step to building relations and hopefully move permanently soon. I will fly to Perth in July, and wish to stay around Rockingham/Warbro. In the meantime, your blog will become my home page! ;) Thank you Bob!

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BobinOz November 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Thank you Patrick! I hope you have a great time here on your WHV and that it does lead to something more permanent. Cheers!

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Richard December 14, 2014 at 12:56 am

Australian National Workplace Relations Tribunal: DATE: 14:12:2014
Award Minimum Wages 2014:
Gross: P/W: AU$641.06 (£336.38) P/H AU$16.87(£8.85)
United Kingdom National minimum wage for over 21yrs:
Gross: P/W £260.00(AU$495.00) P/H £6.50(AU12.39)
Australian Full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings: MAY 2014
AU$1,453.90 (£762.89)
All employees Full-time adult average ordinary weekly earnings
AU$1,122.90(£589.21)
Australian average full-time workers annual income AU$72,000.00(£37,779.00)
Australian Median full-time workers annual income AU$57,400.00(£30,118.00)
REMEMBER: The average gives a misleading impression / false representation
about what the typical worker earns.It is pushed upwards by the large salaries of a small number of very high income earners.One might add the term is quite often deliberately used as a spin by those whose basic honesty leaves a lot to be desired & who would like the world to believe everyone out their is as well of as & as comfortable as they are.
The MEDIAN gives a far more accurate sense of the typical workers wages or in other words, shall we say what “most” people are more likely to earn. If you earn the median salary, your wage is in the middle of the distribution – it’s higher than 50% of the workers & lower than the other 50%.Even this figure is higher than the typical workers wage, that’s because it doesn’t include the 3.5m
people in Australia who work part-time,when they are taken into consideration,
the average (mean) wage drops to AU$56,300 & the Median drops to AU$46,900.
Also even then the above figures don’t tell the whole story, just less than 62% of the adult civilians over the age of 15 have a job in the first quarter of 2014 so these average incomes do not apply to everyone.One has to make further calculations on taxpayers incomes which will give us a far more realistic picture of the typical income in Australia.
Richard

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BobinOz December 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Good stats update Richard and additional advice, thank you. Anybody considering moving here should always compare ‘like for like’ when trying to work out whether they would be better off here or not.

Cheers, Bob

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norasimpson November 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm

hi bob good luck.my son and family emigrated to oz july 4th this year.guess wot they r in rockingham

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BobinOz November 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Well, I’ve never been there but I hope they are having a fantastic time! Good luck to you to.

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Alerthajdinaj February 17, 2013 at 4:26 am

hi Bob, me and my family will move soon in Australia, we are from Albania and i will get a student visa for master. my child is 11 years old and if he goes in a public school is it for free or we have to pay fees if its so how much are the fees for him ?

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BobinOz February 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I can’t really answer that question, because it depends which state you are moving to. I am also unsure whether or not you might qualify for any concessions as you will be on a student visa. You might like to read my page about school fees in Australia, and be sure to read all the comments as well, they are also helpful.

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Pavan July 23, 2013 at 2:08 am

I am looking out for Jobs in Australia – I stay in India [Hyderabad], can you suggest me how and can you give me information of cost of leaving for a family of 3.

Thanks in advance.

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BobinOz July 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

There is no set cost of living for a family of three, but that’s why I put this page up, to help you work it out for yourself as everyone is different. As for finding a job, check out my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

Thanks, Bob

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Liam Warburton October 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi I am currently at the very early stages of thinking of a move to oz to work and live.If everything goes to plan hpw much money would it yake to buy a small cheap car pay for insurance and kit out a two bedroom apartment. Thanks Liam

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BobinOz October 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Stuart Dale November 17, 2013 at 5:09 am

Hi Bob, great site very informative. I think I will be moving to the Brisbane area in early Jan. I have a job with the QGC just waiting to hear about confirmation of the visas (457) I am going to need some means of communication as soon as I get there. Don’t know if I can get my UK orange phone unlocked to work in Oz. If not what is the quickest, best way to go initially please? We like the look of a place called Petrie, north of Brisbane for a place to live. Do you know anything about it?

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BobinOz November 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi Stuart

I don’t know for sure, but I really can’t see why your unlocked orange phone would not work here in Australia, we have used Australian mobile phones abroad with different SIM cards and may have been fine. If it doesn’t work though, you can easily pick up a cheap mobile phone here from around $50.

Personally I just have a $20 a month plan with Vodafone, but there are other companies and more expensive plans depending on your needs, see my post UK versus Australia: Mobile Phone Prices Compared.

My wife tells me we have been to Petrie, I can’t remember it but she tells me it’s quite nice there, quaint was the word she used.

Good luck, Bob

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Michael January 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Hi Bob,

I found a sponsor in Sydney and I would like to come for 4 years with my family on a 457 visa.
We are trying to make a budget and thought perhaps someone has an idea of food costs for a family of 4?
We would like to know if someone has experience in Sydney, what we should expect (prices of everything)?
Thank you in advance. Nice blog with a lot of information.

Kind regards.

Michael

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BobinOz January 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm

As someone not from a family of four who doesn’t live in Sydney, I’ll start this off with a wild guess; $1,300 to $1,600 a month? We are talking just supermarket shopping for food and the other things you get there.

I may not be far away, but obviously different families eat different amounts of food, so it’s always a bit of a stab in the dark, anyone else want to say what they think?

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joanna July 5, 2014 at 6:56 am

hi Bob,
your blog is amazing..so many information we can find here which is needed before start live in OZ.
i have got 457 sponsored visa for 4 years.. my wages will approx 800-850 $AU.. im coming to australia with two kids.9yrs and 12 yrs old…
im still cant figure out how much money i will have to spend for a life there? any clothes or some food in supermaket, car insurance and etc… is that amount of wages will enough to survive or rather hard on enough good standard ?

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BobinOz July 13, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Hi Joanna, glad you like my blog :-)

If your wages are $850 per week, that’s less than $45,000 a year which isn’t a very good salary here; average salary is about $70,000. With two kids you will find it very difficult I think, depending how much your major expenses are like rent and travel costs. You may want to read by page called How much do you need? as well as using the above links to research some of those costs you mention.

Good luck, Bob

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Richard December 9, 2014 at 1:21 am

A very honest reply from Bob!
AU$850.00 p/w is barely enough to get by if you have kids, in Sydney unless you live in the greater west & know where to shop & even then it’s tough because you will need a car with all the costs that entails.I am presently on an extended stay in the UK & actually right at this moment having a coffee in Asda. Even if one averages out the pendelum swing of the exchange rates the cost of virtually all basic food items in Asda, sainsburies & other major UK food chains ,excepting meat is about half the cost or less than in the two major Australian supermarkets, Bannanas are 68p kl in Asda & in Sydney over $3.00 k, a good loaf of quality wholemeal bread in my local, in Sydney now ranges from $7.50 to $9.00 (£3.99 – £4.78) Tomatoes are over $7.00 (£3.72)a kilo (seasonal fluctuations) a 500g block of local cheese like Bega is over $7.50.Luxury items: 700 bottle of Jsck Daniels in Asda is special for £14.00 ($26.33) usually £15-22, ($28.22-$41) in most cheap liquor outlets in Sydney such as Dan Murphies it was $46.00 last year which is almost double the cost.Understandably if one has a trade or professional occupation or sponsorship,like i would imagine the majority of British citizens emigrating into Australia are now required to have then they would undoubtably take the high cost of living in their stride, however for many less well off residents of this great City living off the minimum wage or in many instances far less, like the thousands of menial workers, Taxi-drivers , cleaners etc etc then life is certainly getting a lot tougher & one at times finds the ridiculously excessive prices hard to justify.When & if i do get back to Sydney i will certainly be comtemplating moving away, it’s certainly not the place i settled in many years ago,one wonders just how bad it will get, it’s already condsiderably more expensive than most American cities, including New York by a long way.

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Patricia Evans August 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I know you’re not at that stage, but could you please include some information on discounts for seniors on things like phones, Internet, electricity, gas etc.

Thanks.

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BobinOz August 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I’m not far away either :-) Interesting subject, I haven’t looked into it at all yet, but I will make a note to do so.

Cheers, Bob

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Richard December 9, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I have met many elderly folk who have been seduced to emigrating to Australia by their young, energetic & optomistic children who themselves have made the move & have good jobs & a good overall quality of life in their new found land of sunshine & opportunity. However, after selling their family home their parents
( parent) who are actually still relatively young & still have to & expect to be in the work force for another decade or so, or who only have the cash resourses they got from the sale of their home, after several years in Sydney have still have been unable to find any form of employment in basicaly a youth obsessed employment market (unless u wish to drive a cab or a bus like me) being for the most part left out of their childrens exciting & buzzing social life for obvious reasons(being oldies) eventually find themselves, without the life long friendships they developed in their country of origin to fall back on, in a very depressed & hopeless situation.They are spending their savings living not with, but in the same expensive & comfortable areas of town that their children live, but unable to buy any more than a shoe box with what they got from the sale of their house in the UK.Eventually they reach a situation where-by even if they do decide to leave their kids to their new lives & to return home themselves,unless they had large reserves they would be unlikely to return to their country of origin particularly the UK & buy back into the same neiborhood or even in the same town or area that they lived before they left.
This may seem like putting a negative light on the subject of a mature sector of the population who wish to migrate.However it is is not rearly that way.It is only to serve as warning or perhaps a reality check for those who are are a little more neive put it kindly.Lets face it if one has never been some where one is always a little unawares, i know i was.Patricia wireless broadband in the Sydney metropolitan area (Modem USB / Dongle) was before i left last June 2013 AU$3.00 a day PAYG with Optus, & i can vouch that the entire wireless broadband set up & service is so far ahead.The same in the UK is a joke & is subject to thousands of complaints daily, believe me i know,i presently rely on it.Due to the hordes of migrants in the Sydney metropolitan area International phone cards are dirt cheap & can be purchased from most convenience stores or gas stations at any time of day or night.
Patricia,please take no offence but if your worried about the cost of these basic utilities & you intend moving permantly to Australia, i would still go,but definately don’t sell up your home, rent it out, because these costs would be the least of your worries.Also one very important aspect one should consider is that if one has any medical problem any doctor prescribed drugs that one may require perhaps later in life will be met by oneself at the local pharmacy, the whole cost. I actually do not know this for sure,but i have been informed by friends (but then perhaps they don’t have medical insurance)i cant’t vouch for this one , it’s here say. If the worst comes to the worse & your out on the streets in a couple of years, don’t worry too much,you can always crash in the back of my pick up & live off bread & beans & good Whisky like myself.One great thing about Auss is their not too strict on people camping out under the stars,good job as well, because as the years go by there’s more & more.
Welcome to the Asian Pacific region & Oceana. Richard

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BobinOz December 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

It’s a fair point Richard to issue this kind of warning, the problems for pensioners who come over from the UK are also exacerbated by the freezing of their pensions when they get here as well is the poor exchange rate of the pound against the Australian dollar.

On top of that, it’s even harder these days to qualify for any kind of visa without paying a rather large contribution towards the Australian government. If I were a pensioner whose children and grandchildren had moved here, I’d probably be inclined to stay in England and come over for a nice relaxing (including free accommodation with their offspring) 4 to 6 weeks holiday during which they can demand the attention of their children and grandchildren because they’ll be living in their house.

Holiday over, they can go back to the UK, take advantage of the NHS for any of those niggling medical problems and still keep all their old friends and neighbours who will envy their suntan for about three days before it wears off :-)

Cheers, Bob

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Pam Roddick August 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Hi Bob,
I have contacted you before and love the website. Its so helpful. We are about to move over to Sydney (9 OCT!) So excited and want to ask you about the digital box you mention for TV conversion? Our ‘relocation agents’ (provided by hubby’s company to ease our move) don’t seem to know anything about it. They have been most helpful with other stuff like contacting schools and utilities etc. Just to say though that your website has proven to be more useful to us on a daily basis so thanks. I am guessing its like the digital boxes we get here in England? I know its a bore to ask about TV’s but we did spend rather a lot on a new Smart TV just before hubby was offered the relocation – typical – and we wonder whether to bother shipping it or not.

Thanks for the fab site,

Pam

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BobinOz August 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Hi Pam

I would definitely bring your TV if I were you, you may be surprised to find that some functions will still work on it, although I can’t guarantee that. And the digital boxes are more regularly referred to as a “set top box” and are available in all electrical outlets and other major stores from about $30 onwards.

It’s just a digital tuner that gets all the free to air stuff that you can read on this post:

http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/14127/freeview-free-to-air-digital-tv-in-australia/

Just plug it in and connect it with a HDMI lead and you will get Australian TV on your UK television.

Hope your move goes well, cheers, Bob

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Fredina Silva September 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Thank you so much for all your information. I really appreciate it. I am from Montreal Canada. I would love to move in Australia, my dream place!
Take good care and all the best!

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BobinOz November 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Thanks Fredina :-)

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Kamma October 31, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Bob, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you’ve only got one link under cars, yet you advertise three.

Thanks for all the links. =D

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BobinOz November 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Actually there are four links from where you can potentially buy used cars, the other three are underneath the secondhand header. Originally there were just two links there, but I recently added another one, so I’ve changed the word “three” to “some” and it’s all good again :-)

Cheers, Bob

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