There's been so much negativity on here recently, I thought I'd post our experiences so far after just over a week and a half of being here:
1. We rented for three weeks with Tamara (HomesDownUnder) and she and her OH Shaun could not have been more helpful. We stepped off the plane with our two year old and a bad case of dis-orientation to be met by Shaun and his trailer and taken back to our (well equipped!) accomodation. Since then, they have helped us with car hire, driving licenses and Medicare, even to the point of driving with us to the offices and waiting whilst we did all the form filling and waiting. Shaun even entertained our two year old during the boring bits. :)
2. I've got a job. Don't believe everything you read - the jobs are out there if you're prepared to be flexible. I'm a finance manager, and had to take a little less money than I was hoping for, due to the lack of exposure to the 'Aussie Way', but it's a foot in the door and a good start. Hays were, contrary to reports, just brilliant, and if there's anyone in finance out there, then Caroline Rosenthal is your girl.
3. Should give a mention to the ladies in the clothing stores who were so keen to help me out for my interview that they actually offered to drive to other stores to get me a business suit in my size - customer service out here far surpasses anything I've been used to in the UK. Also should mention the landlord at the Hallett Cove Tavern, who found us food for our little one despite it being outside their serving time, and then refused any payment (on our first visit!).
4. We've bought a house! Despite our lack of time in the country, ANZ have offered us a mortgage. (We did have a substantial deposit). But the woman we've been dealing with has been in constant contact with us and has bent over backwards to help us (see customer service above!!).
5. Supermarket prices are actually cheaper than the UK, although I suppose it depends on what you've been used to buying, and the choice is overwhelming - we don't have butchers half this good where we were living, and the fresh fruit and veg is fantastic.
6. We've found a lovely nursery for our little boy, with a lovely outside area that he cried to leave today. He can't wait to start there. :)
7. Finally, we have found nothing but helpful, smiling people everywhere we've gone, and it's made the settling in process so easy - absolutely no doubt that we've made the right choice for all of us. Just need a little down time now - it's been a bit hectic!!
Best wishes to all of you, wherever you are in the process - the streets are not paved with gold, but they are serviced by the nicest bunch of people we have ever had the pleasure to meet.