Moving to Australia for the Kids: Our Sixth Full Year in Australia

Time to reflect back on 2013. Actually, it’s way past time, I should have reflected on last year sometime in January really, but this is not the first year I’ve been late.

What am I talking about?

It’s time for another of my ‘summing up a full year in a five-minute–ish video’ videos and this one I have excitedly called…

jumpLife in Australia: Year 6 Living Down Under

This marks a major departure from tradition for me, previous exciting titles have been:

So this year, I’ve really mixed it up a bit and let my imagination run riot.

Six years

So, we’ve been here six years, the honeymoon period is definitely over now and those rose tinted glasses have been put away for so long, I don’t know where they are.

We’ve been here through droughts and floods; two of each I think. We’ve seen bushfires burn down houses and we’ve seen cyclones tear off roofs; fortunately for us though, only on the news. We now know most of the top politicians by name and we understand their policies well enough to know whether to laugh, shake our heads, or do both at the same time.

So what do we think Australia now?

Well, we’re still having a ball; we are loving it and we are, as they say, ‘living the dream’.

I’m not just saying that because it’s what I’m supposed to say on this website, this website is and always has been about “what it’s really like to live in Australia”.

And it still is really great.

If you are thinking of moving here for your kids, to give them a better life, you’ll want to watch this one. Here’s the video…

My thanks to Dano of DanoSongs for the music.

Want to see more videos in this series?

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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Alma Strickland September 15, 2015, 9:07 pm |

    Hello Bob, I am so fond of Australia. I am going to move there with my family next month. I read sooo much information online… I love your blog. Best regards! Keep posting! 🙂

    • BobinOz September 16, 2015, 3:30 pm |

      Thanks Alma and good luck with your plans, hope it all works out.

  • Brett Courtenay January 19, 2015, 12:59 pm |

    Dear Bob,

    I was doing some research about Australian wages and hourly rates earlier today and came upon a helpful article written by you on your Website and just wanted to say thanks…

    BUT.. after reading the article I had a bit of a look around, read some bits and bobs (no pun intended!) and read some reader feedback and quite frankly, was totally Gobsmacked!

    You are probably familiar with the Australian derogatory of “The Whingeing Pom”?

    Bob, you are the complete antithesis of that and as far as I am concerned…

    Mate, you’re a Bloody Legend!

    (Quite possibly the best accolade an Aussie can say/give as a compliment to another person)

    Bob, as a proud Australian, for whatever its worth, I’d just like to say Thank You Very Much for your passion, help, energy and motivation for helping and inspiring others to call Australia home. What a great Ambassador for our Country (it is most certainly yours as much as anybody’s) you are for sharing your love and optimism for the country that you and your family now call home with others who you have inspired and helped in all the ways you have and continue to do as they consider and/or decide whether Australia is the place for them.

    And in my opinion, you do a bloody good job showing, telling and presenting all the very good reasons why they should!

    And so much more.

    Far to many of us take our country for granted and don’t realise how fortunate we are to be living here…

    You do.

    …as do most of those who you have inspired and helped to decide to build a life here.

    We live in and are of The Lucky Country and should never forget what this means, and why, and it is such a compliment to Australia and for us to see someone that understands so well , you literally radiate the very best of exactly what it is and means more than most.of us!

    I’m just an Aussie Guy who just wanted to say well done and thank you Bob. My Dad was born in South Africa and came to Australia in 1958 after meeting an Aussie girl in London that same year. They married and 3 years later I was born, the first of 3 sons.

    Dad became an Australian about 10 minutes after the boat from England passed through the Heads into Sydney Harbour (the official paperwork took a bit longer!)

    Dad had always wanted to be a writer but did not get a chance to give it a go until he was 56 when he wrote a book about Africa called The Power of One in 1989….6 years later, he wrote his first book about /of Australia and 10 more books covering stories and events from the first days of white Australian history to the end of the Vietnam war followed. A good few would say he is considered one of Australia’s best/greatest Authors…I know one thing for sure, he was a great and very proud to be Australian and a fantastic Dad.

    His name was Bryce Courtenay

    Welcome to Australia Bob. I may be 6 years late with that, but I think you know what I’m saying..

    Keep up the great work you do us so proudly by, true blue!


    Brett Courtenay

    • BobinOz January 21, 2015, 4:57 pm |

      Hi Brett

      Crikey, your dad may have started late with his writing, but he sure caught up fast. I’ve just searched Amazon for his work and the results said “1-12 of 193 results for Books : Bryce Courtenay”! Wikipedia says “He is one of Australia’s best-selling authors, notable for his book The Power of One.”

      Your dad truly was a great Australian and it is a privilege for me to have received such high praise from yourself, his eldest son.

      I had never written anything myself other than essays in English as a youngster at school, but when I moved here to Australia I was simply inspired by the beauty of this country to start writing about it. I had turned 50 by then myself.

      That said, I can only dream of being as big an Australian as your date was, but for now I will settle for being called a “bloody legend” and “true blue” by you. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than getting complimented for what I’ve done here on this website by a born and bred Aussie.

      Of course I’ve heard of the “whingeing pom” and like yourself, I’m aware that too many people take this country for granted, not just the English or people who move here, but some Australians as well. You are definitely not one of them and I’m not either. I think these people either forget what it was like where they came from or they’ve never lived anywhere else and just don’t realise how lucky they are.

      I get a shed load of emails from people who accuse me of wearing rose tinted glasses, exaggerating or even making up, but I can only tell it how I see it. What I see here is a great country and moving to it is the best thing I’ve ever done. So yes, I do want to inspire other people to move here. It’s a big and scary move, if I can help convince someone to give it a go, then it’s worth it because this country can be life changing.

      Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you think Brett, I truly appreciate it.

      By the way, sorry it took me a while to reply to you, I’ve been enjoying Australia, took a few days out to enjoy the northern New South Wales coast. Australia just gets better and better the more I see.

      Good on ya, as we say. Cheers, Bob

  • hazel January 3, 2015, 4:30 am |

    Thank you for your videos its making want to qualify and save to move out to oz even quicker. I have a 6 year old boy that is wanting to become a surfer and the clip of your daughter was fab.

    Thank you for all the information its really helping me

    • BobinOz January 5, 2015, 2:00 pm |

      Glad you’ve been enjoying my videos Hazel and I hope your planned move to Australia works out well, I’m sure you’re boy will have lots of fun on the surf when you get here.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Katie Cooper November 14, 2014, 12:11 am |

    Hello Bob

    Thank you for sharing such amazing videos and information with us! You have definitely confirmed my idea of moving to Australia in the near future. Due to having just under 3 years left at Univeristy, it is something that my partner and I “need to get the ball rolling” on. I came over to Oz in 2009 as a clueless 19 year old who partied hard for 6 months and luckily did visit a lot of places. Now being a “mature” 25 year old and planning my future with my partner Australia is somewhere we talk about on a daily basis! There are obviously a number of factors that scare me (not my partner) from moving but I think the positives rule out the negatives. Your website has more or less confirmed that for me but I guess every persons situation is different! I just worry that my children (when I have them) won’t have their grandparents around them when they are growing up and that is literally the only factor that scares me from moving from the UK to Australia. Hopefully it will be something I can over come when (or if) the move is made! Once again thank you for providing such an excellent website with fantastic information.

    Katie x

    • BobinOz November 15, 2014, 2:24 pm |

      Hi Katie

      Glad to hear you have enjoyed my videos and info, and yes, moving to Australia can be a little scary, but I think worth it in the end. The pros certainly outweigh the cons.

      Australia is also a fantastic place to bring up children as you have probably seen in the above video. I can see your concern about the grandparent thing though, when you have them, but hopefully they will be able to come out and visit you on a regular basis.

      I know it is not the perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing and I’m sure both yours and your partners parents would understand why you want to come here, especially once they have seen the kind of lifestyle you get in this country.

      Good luck, however it turns out, Bob

  • Fiora August 17, 2014, 11:05 pm |

    Hi Bob, this is a great website. I would like to suggest that you dedicate some space to tackling the challenges people can face when moving away from their native country or state etc.

    I have personally known of 2 couples who emigrated from the UK and moved to Qld and they cracked under the pressure. 1 couple returned to the UK after losing around $300,000 and the other couple separated / divorced and ended up in Sydney for work.

    To leave your home country, your family and all your sentimental memories is HARD. My only advice is that you need to be absolutely 100% sure that your marriage is rock solid, and that you want the same things in life. If there is even 1 tiny crack in your marriage it can become a massive crack once under pressure and homesick.

    I am Australian and I lived in the UK for a year and was shocked at how different British culture and Australian culture was. I found I had a lot more in common with Americans and Canadians.

    The pressure is huge and I just want people to think really long and hard about why they are moving. If it is to have a fresh start and improve their marriage then it will probably not work for the,.

  • Jay May 26, 2014, 4:32 pm |

    Both our kids and two grand kids live in sydney and we are still in uk and I’m wondering whether your parents joined you in oz. Australia is definitely the perfect country for young families but apart from the advantage of being with family would you recommend emigration for grandparents bearing in mind transfer of pensions, heat, humidity, cost of living etc?

    • BobinOz May 27, 2014, 4:30 pm |

      It would have been a miracle if they had have joined me, they both moved to another planet long before I came to Australia.

      It’s a difficult question for me to answer, ideally I suspect you would want to come here, and I certainly wouldn’t let the heat or humidity put you off, but I can’t speak for your pensions or the cost of living.

      Paying for health issues is a major concern when you are older, and sometimes it can be enormously expensive for parents to move here just to pay for the visa, depending which visa you go for. One has a very long waiting list, 10 to 15 years I hear, and the other which is much faster is very expensive. That’s under current rules as at this date.

      I think you would need to look at your visa options first before you start thinking about whether you want to come here or not, and also be sure to read my posts British pensions in Australia.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Jay May 27, 2014, 5:21 pm |

        Thanks for the reply and sorry about your parents.

        We’d be going down the Aged Contributory Parents visa route if we did ever make the decision. A few beautiful sunny spring days here made us realise how much we appreciate British countryside but today is grey and drizzly….say no more!! So many decisions in general to be made… bit of a dilemma.

        Your blogs and articles are so wonderfully detailed…much appreciated.

        • BobinOz May 28, 2014, 12:28 am |

          Yes, it’s a big decision, I hope you make the right one for you in the end. Ah, grey and drizzly, I remember it so well.

          Good luck, Bob

    • Joyce September 25, 2014, 3:50 pm |

      Hi Jay we retired out here to Adelaide on a age contributor parents visa 18months a go it was quite expensive but well worth it to be with my son and his wife and two boys ,the visa covers all your medical bills bus passes so you are same as a uk pensioner hear yes there is times we get home sick but it is still well worth it hope this helps Good luck Joyce X

      • Jay September 26, 2014, 2:52 am |

        Hi Joyce….thanks for your comments. We’re still trying to decide but think we’ll spend a few more holidays there first to help us with the decision. My daughter, her partner and two boys are in Sydney as is my son. If he eventually has a family then there would be even more reason to emigrate. I know I’d miss british scenery and bird song and I’m not sure I’d cope with very hot summers but as my son points out, NZ is only three hours away for an occasional getaway.

  • Mike Jordana May 24, 2014, 12:38 pm |

    Hey, BobinOz!

    I thought you hated snakes! Were you on a sedative while you had that snake on your shoulders?? Cheers!

    • BobinOz May 25, 2014, 7:55 pm |

      Me hate snakes? Not at all, not sure where you got that from.

      I think they are fascinating creatures and I’d go as far as to say I actually quite like them. Might change my mind if one bites me though 🙂

  • Rosanne May 24, 2014, 4:41 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Ready to lodge our Visa application next week, once funds have cleared. Have passed every part of Visa process till now so are very optimistic(186 visa subclass). Will be moving with 3 young boys under the age of 6 and I can just taste the sun, surf and sunscreen. Your info has benn invaluable. Wish us luck. Will keep you posted.

    • BobinOz May 25, 2014, 7:34 pm |

      Yes, of course I wish you luck. Sounds like you are soon to enter the scary ‘waiting period’ or stasis as I call it. All you want at the end of it all is “Yes”. I hope you get it and I’m glad my website has been helpful. And yes, do keep us posted.

      Cheers, Bob

  • ali May 21, 2014, 11:54 pm |

    I can introduce you to a good lawyer
    I would like to assign immigration

    • BobinOz May 22, 2014, 6:20 pm |

      Why do I need to be introduced to a good lawyer? Do you know something I don’t?


  • Anne May 21, 2014, 5:59 pm |

    Looks like you had your best year yet Bob!

    • BobinOz May 21, 2014, 10:08 pm |

      Well they have all been good years, but it does seem to be getting better and better.

      Cheers Anne, Bob

  • Alexander May 21, 2014, 5:40 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    i’d like to thank you for your interesting blog and the valuable time you spend on sharing your experiences with us. One more thing, thanks for your e-mails and guidelines about how to get sponsorship in australia!!!
    All the best from austria.
    Cheers, Alex

    • BobinOz May 21, 2014, 10:07 pm |

      Thanks Alexander, glad you found some of my information useful. I’ll keep on writing, I hope you keep reading.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Alexander May 21, 2014, 10:09 pm |

        For sure, for sure!

  • NS April 24, 2014, 7:36 am |

    Does the humidity of Brisbane bother you?

    • BobinOz April 26, 2014, 2:51 pm |

      Slightly, but only for about four or five weeks a year. I think that’s a good trade-off because I absolutely love the weather or the rest of the year.

  • Graeme Lloyd April 3, 2014, 6:43 pm |

    Great video, Bob. I’m sold! 😉

  • djmcbell April 3, 2014, 5:18 pm |

    Can’t watch the video at the moment (I must admit, I am at work) but this always makes me think.

    My son is going on seven months old, and I do worry for how he’ll be spending his free time in the coming years. For me, I used to live in a small “God’s Waiting Room” kind of place, where the only interesting shop for me was a Woolworths the size of a garage – everything else was cafes, charity shops etc. I spent most of my time going to friends’ houses and playing video games.

    Now we live near enough in the middle of a big city and whilst there’s a lot more interesting shops, what would there be for him to do? For anything outdoors-related he’d have to join a club, and the city has just had it’s first Scouts group open which has had all it’s places taken in the space of 24 hours. One of my aunties, still here in the UK, used to be a headteacher and has commented on how kids in the UK “basically aren’t allowed to be kids very long any more”.

    By contrast, Australia seems much more… peaceful? Forgiving? The weather is certainly a bonus and would allow us all to be far more active outside rather than cooped up inside. I would have loved that as a kid – rather than cycling to the local park and being told that they’ll call the police if I don’t leave ‘cos cycling’s not allowed in it (yep, I’m being serious).

    As an aside, I do worry a bit about the kind of school my son will go to. Around my area, the vast majority of pupils do not speak English as their first language (about 60% of pupils) and a school in Leeds will no longer teach their pupils English, but instead “English as a foreign language” because it’s more effective with their non-English speaking pupils. Would the amount of non-English speakers affect his education? Plus schools are filling up fast – there have been rumours that some schools are to start “shift systems” – ie half the pupils are taught 8am to 2pm, and the other half 2pm to 8pm. And whenever I have to travel to head office on the train I see parents taking their primary school age kids to school on the train, sometimes a few cities away.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m moaning too much.

    • BobinOz April 4, 2014, 11:54 pm |

      The weather is not just a bonus, it’s the difference as far as I can see. The outdoor life is so much more fun here, it makes it easier to find things to do that aren’t just playing computer games or watching the telly.

      As for schools, I’m not sure what you’ve been reading, or which city you are talking about, but my daughter goes to a lovely school about 500 metres from where we live and the only language they teach in is English.

      I’ve never heard anything about the shift system you are talking about.

    • Christian Narvaez April 6, 2014, 12:03 pm |

      Hi djmcbell,
      I find very interesting your thought of your concerns about kids spare time. They would defintely have more fun in Australia; but on the flip side exposing your kids to a very strong outdoor/fun oriented culture will completely change their personality and interest, specially if they are raised inmersed in that environment from very young.
      According to my observations, people growing in that outdoor/fun culture tend to be happier and healthier, but at the same time less sophisticated, less intellectual and competitive.
      The opposite side; People raised in the middle of big cities live in more confined spaces, tend to look more stressed but develop more intellectual interests and learn to be more competitive.
      If you think, the more estimulation it receives, the stronger the brain develops. And definitely city life feeds with tons more information day by day.
      Everything depends on how do you expected yours kids personality become. Coming to Australia looks a good option for you, just be careful when choosing the state/city because there is a great variety of different subcultures.
      Aside of that, This a multicultural society and the same is being observed in the schools but still with a strong Australian cultural dominance.

      • djmcbell April 7, 2014, 5:51 pm |

        Hi Christian

        An interesting point, but I don’t think it applies in all cases. My sister lives in the countryside (in Australia, but in this case that’s neither here nor there) and all her kids are excelling at school, one of whom is reading several years above where they should be at. Admittedly it is a small school so the teachers are able to devote a lot of time to the students though. Conversely, you do get all manner of “specimens” in cities who you would not count as sophisticated in any way – I believe Australians call them bogans – we call them chavs. The type who roam around swigging beer out of cans at all hours, generally being a nuisance.

        Whilst generally life is definitely more stressful in cities than in the country, I’m unsure whether this extends down to schools. I believe the only reason we don’t encounter chavs in the UK countryside is because they can’t afford to move there. Probably contrary to housing in Australia, the UK countryside is a scarce commodity occupied mostly by retired pensioners or high-flying city workers who commute into the city each day.

        I fully believe in a multicultural society – people move to better their situation, whether to another city or to another country. And why shouldn’t they? Heck, even Bob did this! I’ve had friends from all corners of the earth – India, Malaysia, China, Canada… but I do worry that the UK is becoming too full for it’s own good, or that people aren’t managing the services the population requires well enough.

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