The idea to move to Australia crept up on us really. We were looking semi-seriously at Canada and New Zealand but neither really ticked all the boxes. We started looked at Aus more in earnest and knew that we didn’t want to move to one of the hotter places – so we were somewhat unusual in that we were looking for colder places in Australia. We narrowed our search down to Victoria and Tasmania and came on a recce trip in late 2009.
My wife had never been to Australia before and from the first morning, wandering jetlagged down to the sunny St Kilda waterfront to have breakfast, she loved it. In the time we spent in Melbourne though, she didn’t really feel like she wanted to move there, despite really loving the city. We took a couple of trains out to the eastern suburbs and traveled to Geelong and whilst I was already sold, my wife wasn’t.
That changed about 2 minutes after flying into Tasmania.
Whilst we were still walking off the runway I had the clear thought “this feels like home” but I didn’t say anything. On the way from the airport to the city, we were just going over the Tasman Bridge and my wife lent across to me and said “this feels like home”. So we stayed in Tassie for a while, fell in love with it and decided to actually make the move.
The visa process was lengthy and frustrating. Or rather I should say that the skills recognition process was lengthy and frustrating. It felt like we weren’t making progress for ages but when the skills recognition came through the actual visa progressed quickly. My wife was also able to secure a job before moving via a telephone interview which was fantastic.
The last few weeks before moving were very strange. We made a few shipping mistakes, essentially caused by not being careful with our in-flight luggage weights, which meant that we threw away or gave away quite a few things at the last minute. It was a very busy and emotional time and saying goodbye to friends and family was hard.
When we arrived in Hobart, after a 40 hour trip door to door we were both utterly done in. On day one we sat in Nandos in North Hobart staring into space and feeling very alone and cut off from everything we knew. I know I was having serious doubts about whether we’d done the right thing at that particular moment. We were so tired that day we went back to our rented apartment and went to bed at 6:00 PM and woke up around 8:00 the next morning.
That next day after a good sleep was totally different and as we walked around Hobart we were very quickly reminded of why we had come here. We had lunch down at Salamanca and walked along the waterfront and I can truthfully say that neither of us have looked back since.
My wife’s work went well and she was quickly offered a promotion. I got a job after around a month and a half and I also quickly moved into a different role. We also started to do a lot of the things that we’d looked forward to doing when we were planning the move. Things like watching the end of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, going to The Taste Festival and, crucially, joining CrossFit. This gave us an instant circle of friends and this probably more than anything else has helped make the move the success it has been. Pretty much every week we do something social with some friends, whether that’s go for a beer, have people over for dinner, go camping or as is more frequent now, sit around eating and talking about babies!
We’ve done so much since we arrived here it’s impossible to recount it all. We’ve seen all manner of wildlife, including more than once seeing dolphins from our balcony. We’ve visited Sydney, Brisbane, The Sunshine Coast and lots of Tassie. We’ve made genuinely fantastic friends and have a completely different lifestyle from that which we had back in Cornwall.
Of course living in Australia still has a lot of the same issues as living anywhere else, you still have to go to work, pay bills, repair your car etc. Having said that, I was having a really bad day at work last week and I said to myself, “I may be having a bad day but on the bright side, I’m having a bad day in Australia!”.
I don’t think our move could have gone much better for us to be honest and we have topped it off recently by having our first child in Australia, now 9 weeks old. If you’re thinking of moving here I’d thoroughly recommend giving it a try.
Get more detail on our story, observations about Australia and loads of helpful tips for people thinking about moving to Australia on my website [http://livinginaustralia.info]