Well we have been here 5 weeks now and although it has been strange at times we are starting to settle. Of course we still miss friends and family but the internet and webcams are a wonderful thing and make you still feel part of each otheres lives, and it's great to share experiences with them 'on the spot'.
The first couple of weeks were mad, lots to do; driving licences (almost $300 for 10 year licence!!!), medicare, medibank, banking - credit cards, debit cards etc. Then there is the buying of the basics if your container has not arrived. It is so busy you don't really have time to be homesick. Aquiring a car is important and that again is a costly item. Cars are more expensive her than in the UK, then you have to pay stamp duty, GST and rego on top of the price. But, you are here and have to pay it and try not to moan.
Internet connection is another pain, it is not as advanced here as in the UK and after being let down by Optus and Telstra we finally decided in frustration to go for the mobile wireless 'dongle' from 3, which works really well.
We were fortunate to aquire a rental before we arrived, if anyone is interested in living in the north east - Golden Grove, Greenwith, Modbury, Tea Trea Gully etc cannot recommend highly enough Jo Edwards from Ray White's, Golden Grove. She was brilliant, most agents don't even respond to your enquiries. If interested pm me and I will let you have ger contact details. Rentals are hard to come by and most agents want you to see the property before they will allow you to apply for it, makes it hard for you to arrange if you don't have friends willing to do this for you.
We have been fortunate with regards to making friends here. Martin & Val, from PIA, arrived 10 days after us and are living about 5 mins from us so we have had several very good nights chewing over the fat in the Golden Grove Tavern, thank's guys. Gra & Jac (PIA) have also proved to be good friends and very helpful with advice about buying BBQ's - great. As we were keen motorcyclists in the UK the OH quickly bought a replacement bike, mainly to get to work on. We have joined a bike group - Ulysses, who are not linked to the less desirable aspects of bike clubs. They have made us very welcome and allocated us a couple of 'mentors' to make us feel at home. We have been on a couple of events with them and are quickly making more friends amongst the ranks. People here are so very friendly compared to the UK, it is lovely, folks have time for you. Think what I am trying to say is that you have to be prepared to go out and find friends rather that wait for them to come to you.
Groceries are about the same price as in the UK but the meat is much better value, really good quality at a fraction of the cost in the UK. Vegetables are really good quality, as is the sea food, we are hooked on the seafood salad from Coles and Woollies. OK, they don't have Next, M&S, Matalan but they do have outlets which are as good- Target is like a slightly upmarket Matalan and there are plenty of other clothes shops to choose from and the fashoins are more or less the same as in the UK, I am not a lable chaser so have found plenty of reasonable clothes to choose from.
Jobs, not as easy to get work here as I thought it would be. Qualifications required for even basic jobs here are very different form the UK e.g. receptionist needs to do switchboard, invoicing, quoting, payroll, report writing, meeting planning etc. etc.. all for a rather poor salary. Think I will have to be a kept woman for a bit longer before I get something sorted. Advice; look on job websites before you get here to see what is available + the recession is hitting here as well as the UK so less jobs available.
House hunting is a hoot. Every Sat/Sun they list 'opens' in the Advertiser. No appointment needed to view just a military like approach to your schedule of viewings. Some houses are fab, others Doris Day would feel at home there as they havn't changed in decades! Plus, the purchasing process is very different form the UK - 4/5 weeks from start to finish.
Shipping, well that is another story. Our's was due to arrive 4th November, 3 weeks after aour arrival. It has been delayed so will now not be here until the 24th Nov!!! In the meantime we are existing on 2 sun loungers, a kettle, fridge/freezer and a bed. Feel like squatters. Perhaps that is a business idea - renting out stuff for new arrivals? Thanks to Maritn & Val for allowing us to use their washing machine, otherwise I think folks would be avoiding us by now!
Wondered what to do about Christmas, didn't want to be Billy no mates, so booked Christmas dinner on the Dolphin Princesdown at Port Adelaide. $50 per person for 3 hour cruise and 3 course Christmas dinner - bargain.
Regrets??? None at the moment, apart from pate is expensive. I am sure we will have our down days but with the help and support of the excellent friends we have made so far things will only get better. Think positive thoughts and positive things will happen to you.