Our First Full Year Living In Australia

What’s it really like to up sticks and move all the way around to the other side of the world?

We have now completed our first full year, the whole of 2008, of living in Australia. Here are the highlights, in a 3 minute and 33 second video. My intention was to launch this website on Christmas Day with this video, but this was not possible due to technical issues, Christmas hats and some beer. But I decided not to let my tardiness to deny you the pleasures of the accompanying music. A very special version of Jingle Bells.

Did we make the right decision coming here? See what you think?

Why Australia and What Do We Think of It?

For almost half a century, I lived in the UK. On November 12th, 2007, I boarded an aeroplane, bound for Australia, with a one way ticket. On November 14th, I landed in Brisbane. What has life been like since?

Even I can’t believe the enormous transformation that has taken place in our lives. I have come here with my wife and my (at the time) 3 year old daughter, to build a new life. My wife and I had always planned to leave England at this stage of our lives. For us, living in the same country for your whole life just didn’t make sense. You’re only here once, right? But for many years the destination was always going to be France.

Then along came our little girl. Our attention slowly moved from France to Australia. Australia is such an outdoor sporty kind of place which suits our daughter down to the ground. Whereas France is more of an indoor food and wine kind of place. There; two nations summed up in two sentences. How unfair is that!

After a holiday here in Australia, our third visit, we finally fell in love with the place and decided that this was where we wanted to live. So in January 2006 we initiated the paperwork. Over the coming months I’ll be running through the entire process with you. I will also be doing my best to describe just how amazing it is to live in this country.

It is difficult to comprehend the difference living here can make to your life.

If you are thinking of coming here to live, or even just considering a holiday, it is my hope that the information that I am going to provide on this blog will help you with that decision. So please bookmark this page or subscribe to my RSS feed.

And don’t forget to watch the video.

Want to see more videos in this series?

Visa Assessment Service
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Sharon July 14, 2017, 11:08 pm |

    Hi Bob thanks for your email. Anyone on here that can give me advice about Canberra? I have been told it’s the only place accepting hairdressers on a 190 visa. Having never been there can anyone give me any pointers is it good for schooling/healthcare/jobs? Hubby it IT. Have two active kids 12 & 9. I’m 44 and also been told I need to act pretty sharpish to start application as cut off is 45. Some forums stating it’s a boring place to live and others saying it’s a great place to be? Any advice greatly appreciated. Cheers Sharon

    • Sue Lockyer July 15, 2017, 10:38 am |

      Hi Sharon
      Having been to Canberra many times – it is definitely not an exciting place to live… I have friends living there (only because of work)
      Canberra is Home ground for our Parliament House/Federal Government.
      Most Canberrians are Beaurocrats & work for the Federal/State Governments – if you are a Jeremy Corbyn fan you will fit in with the locals perfectly.
      Canberra is freezing in the Winter & like Hades in the Summer.
      If you enjoy skiing you are very close to the ski fields.
      American Consul’s Wife said Canberra is the A…… H…e of the Earth. (I agree with her)
      She escaped to Melbournes at every opportunity.
      Canberra is a big Country town very clicky with not much happening….personally I couldn’t live there it is very boring with extremes in temperature.

    • Mark July 16, 2017, 4:09 pm |

      Hi Sharon Im no good on Canberra but read your post and thought id chip in with some bits, No one, only a MARA is allowed to give immigration advice but we are allowed to say what our experience is/was. My point is if you are coming up 45 in say February id get a wiggle on a serious wiggle the earlier the more wiggle…It not impossible over 45 to 50, we were told but its so much easier under 45…If your 45 in August then it may be tougher. Higher scores on English test etc and so on to get the points. Id seriously consider using a MARA agent you need one thats honest and active and itd say thats 99.9 percent of them If they can get you the visa they will say so..the no visa no fee ones might be better here…As for spending £2000 maybe £3000 with them then its worth it by far…Ok so you get a visa for the ACT you dont have to stay there forever, your in and can move.

    • Debbie Buskin September 23, 2017, 5:02 pm |

      Hi Sharon I’d recommend going to one of these info events http://www.downunderlive.co.uk you’ll get so much insight and practical advice, tips, costs, etc

      They have lots of experts and companies there.

  • Deepika February 28, 2017, 6:20 pm |

    Hi Bob
    Can you please tell me the min age child start education in Queensland..
    As per my knowledge it’s 5 year . In India child goes school by 3 year of age.
    So my concern is what will child do before 5 year of age?

  • elif obay January 29, 2017, 6:23 am |

    Hello Bob,
    I’m a 19 year old girl who wants to study in Australia then migrate permanently,I want to become a mechanical engineer.And will be applying to RMIT and Deakin.But is it certain that I’d be able to find a job after graduating I want a beautiful life,house and children just like yours.And Australia seems to fulfill my every desire.But I doubt in a country with that amount of population would they even need my service.Cause some people wrote on blogs that not everyone may be able to find a job after they graduate.Your thoughts are very important for me because I readed your book and after reading it I was certain that Australia was where I meant to be.
    Thanks so much!

    • BobinOz January 30, 2017, 6:14 pm |

      I’m afraid there are no guarantees, only possibilities. Some have come to this country to achieve what you want to achieve and have had spectacular success, others have failed. There are no guarantees you would find work, there are even no guarantees that your studying here will lead to any kind of permanent visa, although for some that has turned out to be the case.

      Your plan has risks, but also rewards if you are successful.

      If I were you, I would make sure you speak to a MARA registered migration agent about your plans, see Migration agents, or maybe seek advice from my student visa specialist; you can read about that on my page called Student Visas.

      Good luck with your plans, Bob

  • CAM April 20, 2016, 5:07 am |

    Hi Bob,
    I am interested in Hobart and the best areas to live there within the city. I have been there but a bit scared as I hear the money is tighter there than the rest of Aus. However, I prefer the cooler weather and also a smaller city than that of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. I have lived in Perth a few months but did not like it much as the summers are long and it is very dry there. I really do not wish to live in a city of 6 million+ people so that is why I tried out Perth. I also cycle most places as I enjoy being outside most days. I do not have an issue with visa and will be able to live and get a job any place in Aus. Just trying to pick the right place and stay away from areas where the mining industry is dominant as that economy could get hit by a bullet any day now. My field is health and I can get a job working in most hospitals. Also Norfolk Island is another place I am looking at as they are starting a taxing system this year so social or medical services will start being available, though the population is small but the tourist industry does thrive parts of the year.

    • BobinOz April 20, 2016, 9:30 pm |

      If you can get a job in Hobart, and it sounds like you’d have a good chance being as you work in health, I would think it’s a fantastic place to live. Money is tight there only because unemployment is high compared to the rest of the country.

      I would think you would be hard pushed to find a bad area around Hobart, but if you want the opinion of the locals, check out the comments on my page about that city. You can find links to all cities underneath the main navigation menu Australian Cities.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Jim A June 25, 2017, 3:20 pm |

        Many Australians visit Tasmania & say the Food is fresh & amazing. Very friendly people very little work but…..too cold!
        Tasmania is still much cheaper than the Mainland….if you love the outdoors, bushwalking, cycling & fresh food you will love Tasmania.
        Personally I couldn’t live there because of the extreme cold in comparison to living in Sydney.
        Tasmania is a small Island with not a lot to do if you enjoy City life…you will be very bored.

  • wally sokolowski February 15, 2016, 12:47 pm |

    hello bob,
    i’m originally from western Europe myself and moved to the usa as a boy with my parents in the 1960’s, my parents once discussed moving to OZ if I remember correctly austrailia once offered housing for people to move there back then, but they changed their mind and moved to florida instead, i’m thinking I would love to move to oz,i am in my 50’s right now and divorced, two important questions I have I am a truckie as you call it in oz and licensed for double and triple trailers,how would my chances be getting work there and second of all and just as important how is the man vs woman ratio in oz, I would hate it to live somewhere with out a good woman in my life,hahaha!

    • BobinOz February 15, 2016, 5:48 pm |

      Well, we don’t have a shortage of women here, so that’s not a problem.

      I couldn’t tell you what your chances would be of finding work here, but what might be a problem to you is actually qualifying for a visa that will allow you to work here. They are not easy to get hold of and it gets harder for those over 50.

      That’s what I would look into first if I were you, you can do that on my page about Visas.

      Good luck, Bob

  • maria January 2, 2016, 1:26 am |

    Hello, Great videos! I was thinking of moving to Australia my problemn (I think) is that I studied law (I am from Guatemala) so I dont think I can get a job anywhere that has to do with my carrer so I dont know how hard it would be to move as someone without a carrer that is useful somewhere else. Do you have many advise? thank you!

    • BobinOz January 3, 2016, 8:15 pm |

      Only MARA registered migration agents can give out this kind of advice, so I can’t help you, other than point you to my page about Visas.

      You will find some very useful information on that page though. Good luck, Bob

  • Sally September 14, 2015, 1:17 am |

    Hi Bob, do you know if there is a certain amount of funds you need in your bank before you can get a visa? Someone told me that and I’m not sure. My husband and 3 boys (10, 12 & 13) are very keen for a new life in NSW as both our skills are in the SOL list but I am worried financially. We no not own our own home so we would be renting in Australia.
    Any info appreciated. We have booked tickets for Get me down under show next month so will find out as much as possible there too. Thanks, Sally and Mike.

    • BobinOz September 15, 2015, 12:38 am |

      There is not a specific amount that I know of, but then there are a lot of things that I don’t know of 🙂 This is the sort of question that you need to be asking a MARA migration agent about, so if you get the chance, do so at that show next month.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Kayleigh August 7, 2015, 6:27 am |

    Basically me and my husband are on about visiting the country before moving we have 2 children aged 1 and 4 we are looking at Melbourne Has we have family there my husband is an electriton and we’ve been told his trade is well needed over in Australia we’ve been looking into costs and just for shipping a container it was 6,000 surly it’s cheaper to buy new ? Also we’ve priced it up at 15,000 for everything but I think that’s very expensive is this a true cost or have I been looking at it wrong xxx

    • BobinOz August 7, 2015, 9:19 pm |

      Well, I suppose that really depends on just how much stuff you have. You can’t replace everything, surely you have some things that are irreplaceable that you simply can’t take with you on the plane.

      You might want to read the following article, it pretty much answered your question from my point of view…


      I would be really surprised if you can replace everything you’ve got for $15,000, you will have kids toys, a cot, beds, electrical goods, white goods, all your clothes and and and. So you’re going to need to pay to ship some stuff, my view is you may as well bring the lot.

  • Kayleigh August 6, 2015, 5:05 am |

    Can you please email me I would love to chat to you and find some advise out thanks

    • BobinOz August 6, 2015, 6:20 pm |

      I give all of my advice online in these comments Kayleigh, that way often you might receive advice from other people as well because, believe it or not, I don’t know everything 🙂

      It’s also better online because that way others can benefit from the advice as well, so please do go ahead and not your question or questions on a relevant page. Cheers, Bob

  • Stanley June 13, 2015, 8:31 pm |

    Hi Bob, I loveeeee your site!!! Great job.
    I recently got my PR visa to Australia as a skilled migrant, and I am looking forward to relocating to Perth in October. However, sometimes I feel a bit scared. Why? You may ask. For one, I am black. (yes!), and then a Nigerian. I live in Lagos, Nigeria at the moment. I have a good job here too. However, I want the opportunity to expose my family (wife and a 3 year old son) to a better life,hence the move to Oz.

    My question is, what do you think it is like living as a black in Australia? Reading and watching the news about happenings (the Police and blacks and racism) in the US makes one a bit worried. Add to that the added stereotype of being NIGERIAN, and you get my worries!


    • BobinOz June 15, 2015, 12:26 am |

      Hi Stanley

      And I love that you love my website 🙂

      This is a difficult one for me, I can’t possibly know what it’s like living as a black in Australia being the white skinned guy that I am. I have written a post about racism in Australia though, I suggest you have a read of it and also the many comments it attracted…


      I can assure you though that this country is nothing like the US whatsoever and I’m not surprised that you haven’t chosen to move there. Like yourself, I’ve seen quite a bit of what’s been going on over there lately and it looks pretty grim for black people.

      My personal opinion is that you will get a fair crack of the whip here, providing your decent bloke, of course. It might be a little harder for you to find work, I think it is for most migrants whatever their colour, some employers just prefer Aussies I think. But if you can get a job, and you’re an okay geezer, I think you will have a better life for yourself and your family.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Mario Puglisi May 3, 2015, 11:12 am |

    Hey Bob,

    Thank you very much for doing this site. Found it while looking for information about Australia, really great site.

    I have 24 years old and i am finishing my career in Venezuela as a Software Engineer. Really looking for options to leave this country because of the violence and insecurity lived every day.

    I wanted to ask you if you know about the job opportunities in my area at Australia, is there interest in software developers or software engineers there? It is easy to find a job in those areas as a newly graduated? I have a little experience working in my field, mainly as web developer. I also have experience working with people because i helped my mom with her business when i could.

    Thank you for any information you can provide me. Hope you have an excellent day!

    • BobinOz May 4, 2015, 6:35 pm |

      Glad you like my website Mario, thanks.

      This is a question I am quite often asked, but it’s impossible for me to answer or to know exactly what opportunities there are for all the different skills and professions. But you will find some help on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Vanessa April 22, 2015, 9:56 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Looking for info about living in Australia I got to your website.
    We are a family of 4 looking for living one year at a beautiful place good great weather and education possibilities , hope you can help.

  • Dina November 19, 2014, 1:46 pm |

    Hello Bob
    I found your website a little over a year ago before we started on our immigration process. We are from Egypt and we had decided to move to Australia for us and for our 4 year old boy. Your site has been such a source of useful info and exciting pictures that made me so excited to come here as soon as possible. We moved to Melbourne 2 months back and we are looking for work. I love it here and I feel it was the perfect choice of a place where my son will grow up. I love the outdoor life and the nature which is breathtaking. First holiday we went on a 2 day trip to the Great Ocean Road and Apollo Bay. Amazing!!! Thank You for your hard work and passion you put in this site. It is a source of inspiration to people thinking of moving here or are in the process…. Have a lovely day!!!

    • BobinOz November 19, 2014, 6:54 pm |

      Hi Dina

      Ah, the Great Ocean Road, fantastic isn’t it? So glad to hear that I have helped you in some way, that’s what this website is all about. Moving to Australia can be daunting and for many people it’s a decision they make without actually physically coming here at all to take a look.

      So, I try to help them with that with my stories and pictures, it looks like that approach has worked out for you 🙂

      Have a lovely day yourself, and I hope you find work soon.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Jackson Wong October 14, 2014, 8:20 pm |

    Hi Bob

    Your introduction 20 reasons to move to Australia is just too amazing ,much netter than immigration promotion to Australia ,I am am not sure if they discriminate against asian from Singapore , am I too old to move to Australia at the age of 55 and I am not a rich man divorced , no special skills whatsoever , I am thinking of giving up my citizenship , sell my existing property and car and get a move to Australia to get a job and live there , What do u think ? my email : longman_emperor@yahoo.com.sg

    • BobinOz October 15, 2014, 7:28 pm |

      Before you go selling all that stuff to come here, you would certainly need to secure a visa, and one that would allow you to work whilst here. That isn’t going to be easy for you given what you’ve said about yourself, but the only way to find out for sure if you have any chance at all would be to speak to a MARA registered migration agent.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Walid September 15, 2014, 6:37 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    thank you very much for your amazing website, that is all 😉
    walid from egypt

  • Ashley Howard September 3, 2014, 12:03 am |

    G’day, Mate….!

    • BobinOz September 3, 2014, 9:33 pm |

      G’day to you too mate 🙂

  • Kirsty Imrie August 13, 2014, 7:49 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    Myself, Husband and 2 year old daughter will be moving to Brisbane from Scotland next April/May time. We are so overjoyed to be through the visa process and ready to book those flights!

    Your blog is amazing and I read through your ’20 reasons why’ yesterday, to say we are excited is an understatement and are fully open minded and ready for our adventure, we are so looking forward to watching our little girl thrive and experience everything this beautiful country has to offer

    From the Imries x

    • BobinOz August 14, 2014, 6:02 pm |

      Congratulations on securing your visas, it can be a bit of a nerve wracking process, can’t it? Glad my website has helped, and I hope you find Brisbane as fantastic as I do.

      It’s a great place to bring up children, I’m sure your little girl will love it here and I hope you do too.

      Good luck, hope it all goes smoothly, Bob

  • mike and nikki wilson June 4, 2014, 6:41 am |

    Where would we find recruitment agencies or find someone to ask about work available? Mike is a carpenter and not sure if work is all around or if specific areas are better?

    thank u

    • BobinOz June 4, 2014, 8:03 pm |

      If you check out my page about Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and click through the links to visit the online employment agencies, one of them, can’t remember which, has a link to a long list of recruitment agencies.

      Worth a look.

      Also, the book advertised on that page, that also has a very big list of recruitment agencies and also a ton of tips on how to find a sponsorship.

      Good luck, Bob

  • BobinOz January 2, 2009, 9:53 pm |

    Hi Dawn and Pete

    Thanks for the kind comments. If you’re thinking of coming, stop thinking and just do it. It’s paradise here!
    I have a friend who finds work placements here for nurses. Drop me an email if you want his details.

  • dawnanpete January 1, 2009, 3:36 am |

    Hi just found your site you have done a great job, Oz looks and sounds great, myself and my husband are considering relocating to Oz or NZ, i work as a dementia care nurse for BUPA and they are now in oz and nz so fingers crossed! my husband is a plasterer and has recently built an extention all by himself to our house!
    Happy New Year to you all
    take care
    love Dawn & Pete x

    • CAM April 20, 2016, 5:12 am |

      I do not recommend NZ over Aus. Check GeoNet for earthquakes. The South Island is not stable and nor is Wellington. You would need to consider living up North and the best places are Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, Hamilton. We are having a high housing cost boom right now so the best area is Hawkes Bay or Napier or out of earthquakes areas. Wellington and Auckland are the best for jobs but Wellington is still having earthquakes so you are better off living areas outside flood zones to be safe.

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