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  1. Hunts

    Our Australian Escapade

    After reading other people’s journals over the last few years I guess the time has come to write my own journal entry as we are less than 2 months away from moving to Melbourne on 189 visas. My family and I currently live in Dubai. My wife and I have lived here for almost 11 years and both of our kids were born here. Over the years we have become so accustomed to living without fear of crime. People leave their handbags in their trolleys in supermarkets, leave their cars running when they pop into a shop to keep the AC running etc. When we hear a noise at night it the last thing we think of is someone breaking in. This carefree lifestyle is exactly what we want our children to experience growing up. We had always toyed with the idea of moving to another country and in October 2016 I got hold of an agent and started looking at our options. I am a quantity surveyor, however I studied a different degree at university so my case wasn’t very clean-cut. This is the reason that we ended up using an agent for the entire visa process. The 2 best options that the agent recommended were a 190 visa for Queensland as a construction estimator and a 189 visa as a quantity surveyor. While we were busy collecting all of the initial documents I received the bad news that Queensland had taken construction estimator off their 190 skills list. This meant that the only chance we had of getting a visa was the 189 which meant that a positive skills assessment was crucial. I did the IELTS Academic in November 2016 (still don’t know why I didn’t do the General) and my score wasn’t enough for 20 points (9/9/8/7), however it was enough to submit a skills assessment. Our agent sent our documentation off to AIQS for the skills assessment in December 2016. She warned me that it could take a few months to get a reply due to the time of year. She also warned me that AIQS are notoriously quite strict and getting a positive skills assessment for a degree that wasn’t for QS might be tough. Literally less than a week later I received an email to say that I had received a positive skills assessment. My wife was already in Cape Town with our daughter on holiday and I called her to tell her the news. She burst into tears and that was the moment that I always look back on when I knew that she was as committed to the move as I was. Up until then she was always interested but I was not entirely convinced. That phone call changed everything. I joined her in CT for Christmas and only got around to attempting IELTS again in February 2017 (General this time). The marks came back and I was short again (9/9/9/7.5). I paid for a remark which was unsuccessful so I turned my attention to Pearson PTE and did the test in March 2017. Luckily in Dubai the centre is open six days a week with two tests per day so I could do the test immediately. I ended up getting straight 90s and suddenly we had enough points to lodge the expression of interest. The EOI was submitted in the middle of March 2017 and by the end of March we had received an invite. Our agent recommended that we submit the final application ‘decision ready’ meaning that every single document that is required is submitted with the application. We did our medical and by the end of April 2017 the final application had been lodged for a 189 visa (quantity surveyor) with 65 points (60 was the minimum back then). I signed up to Myimmitracker and visited the site multiple times a day. Visas had started drying up and everyone was talking about waiting until July when the new quota came into play. Halfway through June 2017 we received an email from our agent stating that the case officer was requesting a correct police clearance for my wife. The police officer who did the certificate in SA had written the date on the day it was issued as my wife’s birth date! The courier service missed it, the agent missed it and so did we. This was incredibly frustrating as we would have been granted the visas. We managed to get a new police clearance within 24 hours and it was loaded onto the system. The wait continued. We had booked flights to Australia to activate our visas (big mistake, I know) and when they hadn’t come through a few days before we were due to leave we ended up changing our flights to Hong Kong. There aren’t many last minute holiday options with a South African passport! At least my daughter got to experience Disney Land and Ocean Park. We also went to Macau for a few days. On 1 September 2017 (I will always remember the day) we were in the desert having a breakfast braai with some friends around one of the man-made lakes. I had left my phone in the car. I went to check it and one stage and I had emails, missed calls etc. I opened the first email and it was from our agent. CONGRATULATIONS. YOUR 189 VISA HAS BEEN APPROVED. We were so excited but also relieved. Four months of daily checking of Myimmitracker, reading forums etc. and all of that was behind us in an instant. We had been keeping a bottle of champagne in anticipation of the visa grant and we eventually opened it that night. We had no intention of moving to Australia immediately as we were (and still are) extremely happy with our lives in Dubai. We had up to early April to enter the country and we booked our flights for March 2018. We ended up going to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. We arrived in Melbourne on a Friday morning in late March 2018. Quite strange setting foot on Australian soil for the first time as permanent residents. The jet lag was terrible and it took a few days to recover. We went to the aquarium, watched the Hawks beat Collingwood at the G, went up the Eureka tower etc. We really loved the place but we were only there for a few days and flew to Sydney on Tuesday morning. We did the big bus, went to Manly for lunch, saw the opera house, went to the zoo and the wildlife park near Darling Harbour, went to the Newport for dinner (we were staying in the Northern Beaches). Sydney was incredible and definitely has the most to offer for a tourist. We flew to Perth on the Friday to stay with my wife’s cousin who had moved to Perth about 20 years ago with her family. It was Easter weekend so the family were all free to show us around. Kings Park was stunning. We spent the full week there doing site seeing and spending time with the family. We absolutely loved the holiday and when we got back to Dubai we knew that once my son was born (my wife was pregnant on the trip) we would have to start the entire visa process again but luckily just a 101 visa. My son was born at the end of June 2018 and we immediately began the process of applying his Australian visa. The official website at the time said that the visa could take up to 11 months. We submitted the visa application in the middle of September 2018 and within a month the visa had been granted. We have until September 2019 to activate the visa. Fast-forward to today and we are busy finalizing the move. I have managed to get an internal transfer with my company to the Melbourne office which I am very grateful for. I start at the beginning of August so we are looking at going over towards the end of July so that I have a week to settle before starting work. We still need to sell our cars as well as furniture that we aren’t taking, ship the remaining furniture, finalise the dog relocation and close out all of our admin in Dubai. We are moving to Melbourne as we have quite a few friends who live there and my wife’s sister and her family moved to Geelong a few months ago. It’s about 8 weeks until we make the move and we cannot wait. The only problem is that we haven’t had a winter in about 6 years and Melbourne will be freezing!
  2. Hunts

    Quantity Surveyor openings

    Hi everyone, I am a senior cost manager (quantity surveyor) currently based in Dubai but my family and I are moving to Melbourne in August. Does anyone have any contacts in Melbourne that I could get in touch with? I am able to move over before my family if required and we are all on 189 visas so working is not a problem. I know the usual websites like Seek however I am only starting to look for work and apply for jobs this week. If anyone is able to point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.
  3. Hi everyone! We recently received our 189 visas, flight tickets are booked to Melbourne in May. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where we can find a room to rent in the area it will be appreciated (it's just hubby and I with our suitcases)? Also, if anyone knows of any work in the area, we would be extremely grateful. Hubby has red seal trade for instrumentation and has been working in a petrochemical plant and coal mine the last couple of years, but willing to do any job really. We also don't mind moving to a more regional area (will go where ever we find employment). We are also applying for any positions we might qualify for on Seek. Greatly appreciate it!! 🤙🏼
  4. We packed our bags and everything we owned. All things were a bit helter skelter and last minute and I cannot say well planned or properly thought through. We got on a plane on 26 November, landed in Melbourne midnight Sunday night. We stayed in a one bedroom flat on the fringes of the CDB for the first 12 days. I am glad we did that, because it made the city accessible. We spent the weekends exploring the city. Melbourne CBD is really great, my favourite part of the city. Having stayed in the city means we know the layout of the CBD and came to like it. I started working almost immediately. After our cramped living; 4 people, 10 suitcases, 1 bedroom (the kids slept in the lounge on a sofa-bed) we were fortunate enough to move to a colleague’s house in the posh suburb of Kew. We had to look after their house and dog. It was a stunning house, with a nice living area and outdoor entertainment area with water fountain and lovely garden. It was nice to be able to spread out a bit. The house sitting also came with an offer of a beach house and we went to the beach house between Christmas and New Years. We had a lovely Christmas by the sea. Getting the kids into school was our biggest challenge. We arrived too late for all applications to schools. The state schools have to take you if you fall in their area. They refused to speak to us until we had a house in their area. We spent the first two weeks visiting schools and choosing a school and only once we had a school we were happy with, we started looking for houses in that school’s area. We looked at Coburg as a nice area, but the school in Coburg does not have Arnold’s year. They stopped taking in new students one year and therefore just don’t have that one year. The surrounding schools refuses to take Arnold if we live in the area with the school that does not take Year 10 because we are not in their area. All the surrounding schools are also full, because they needed to accommodate all the extra kids because the other school does not take that year. We therefore abandoned Coburg. We started looking at an area called Essendon and got a house on the edge of the zone for a very good school. One of the best in the state. However, we only signed our lease one day before the schools closed for the December holidays. The school just told us they were full and cannot meet with us. In the mean time, when we just started looking at schools, Francois visited a school called Mount Alexander College. It is close to my work, 2 km, on a tram line, the tram stops right in front of the school. It is a fairly small school, around 500 kids, the others were all around 1000. Francois spoke to the principal, saw a video of the school and sent me a message “This is our school”. He was really impressed. The school is in a not so great (for Australia anyway) socio-economic area and draws a lot of what people here call “immigrant children”. I know, my kids are also immigrant children. What they mean by immigrant children are children who cannot really speak English and struggle in school. I also have a strong suspicion that it is polite speak for black and from Africa. This school's reputation and standardised test results are not that great, they don’t get 100% pass rate and everyone going to university. In short it is not “a good school”. The principal started in 2015 (late) and all the stats you get online stop in 2015. Here is an article describing the school: http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/secondary/real-life/this-school-is-breaking-all-the-rules-and-the-students-are-succeeding The principal keeps talking about all the changes he made. They have a different philosophy about learning. They believe children should be empowered to take control of their own learning. He wants to raise independent learners in stead of spoonfeeding people. The children can choose their own subjects, no restrictions. They can evening do MOOCs and study completely on their own. He also got a lot of money from the government and upgraded some facilities. The school looks good. They do not put children in grades. You are in a class according to your ability. If you are good at maths, you move up to the advanced maths class and if you are bad you take the lower maths class. In other words, the school is not arranged according to grades. My children could theoretically be in the same class if they wanted. Francois and the boys wanted to be in this school and mom wanted to keep looking for a “good school”. Schools closed 19 Dec, we had a house in a good school area and had to wait till late in January for the schools to open again before we could speak to schools. We spent a stressfull month wondering where the kids will go to school. I had applied at both schools. A week before the schools started Mount Alexander or MAC as they call themselves met with us, discussed the boys’ subjects and sorted everything out. The Friday before schools started the good school called us. They said they had to take the kids and will meet with us the day before school starts. We spent a few hours with them. Grade 8 was easy, he does not have much to choose between, basically he had to choose his second language. The options were Japanese and German. Year 10’s subjects would not work out because they had to accommodate the roster and whether classes were full or not. He is a sciency kid and all he could end up with was music, some weird community service thing I still don’t understand, drama, geography, maths and English. This is all the day before school starts. We walked out of there at 3:30 the day before school starts and decided, this is not going to work. So we sent the kids to MAC. They seem very happy there. I have not seen any grades yet, but the school seems good. I like the smaller classes. In some of their classes they are about 10. We are renting a house. House prices in Melbourne is crazy. I cry everytime I compare what I left in Durban with what I have here. A house of $1 mil is nothing special. And that is R10 mil. We have a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, actual house. It is not too small, rooms are spacious enough (except one). The garden is tiny and we don’t have a garage. We do have a carpark with a roof. Only one. And tiny – so tiny in fact that we have already scratched the new car getting into it. And a laundry room. Not a lot of storage space in the house. We are not supposed to hoard here. When we lived in the city I walked to work, about 25 mins. When we lived in Kew I took the train, about 25 mins and now I cycle to work, about 30 mins. The boys and I leave the house at 8 in the morning, cycle together to their school and then I cycle another 2km to work. At work I have a bike storage area and showers, with hair dryers etc to shower before getting to work. It would take husband an hour to drop us all. We will reassess the cycling when the winter and rains come. What do we think of Australia? The kids answered this question in the beginning that it is just like South Africa. Especially before they went to school, they just had a very long holiday, staying at home mostly, reading and surfing while their mom worked and their dad looked at rental houses. Food wise it is just like South Africa. Because of our shared British roots you basically get all the foods you are used to seeing in the shops. Less spicy Indian, but you can find it if you try. Being close to Asia there are lots of Asian influences, so there are lots of foods we don’t know as well. Some food are really expensive; especially fruit and vegetables, but many others are the same as in South Africa. If you buy seasonally and what is on special groceries will probably cost you what it did in SA. If you insist on buying specific things you could spend a lot more. The food are good quality, the fruit are great. Things are easier. Connecting your gas, electricity, phone etc took almost no time. And all of it worked. People are quite efficient. They like doing things online if possible. Eating out is ridiculously expensive. Ice cream cones cost $6 and coffee is $4. Coffee is really good. I still don’t get ordering coffee. You go to a coffee shop. They post a price for coffee, usually $4. When you order you say you want coffee and they keep looking at you. As if they are asking: please specify. And then you say cappuccino, and they seem happy. It seems that coffee is some collective noun and not a thing on a menu. I have no idea how to get a normal cup of coffee. And I assume cappuccino cost the same as that elusive normal cup of coffee would cost. Coffee is everywhere and quite good. The free coffee in the office is Nescafe gold. The stuff that would have been Frisco in SA. And nobody drinks it. They all rather buy coffee from the coffee shop. What is different: Microwaves cool themselves after they heated the food. The kids wear uniforms to school, but they are much more relaxed than in SA. Girls wear makeup and nail polish, their hair are loose. Boys have long hair. They also look a bit more unneat than we are used to. We were not sure about hair rules and asked both schools when we met. They look surprised that people might restrict hair styles. Their question was “How will they express themselves?” And my kids are expressing themselves. They have not had a haircut since we left SA in November. They really like their long hair and mention that they like feeling their hair move. Cost of things Australia is expensive and Melbourne is expensive. Food prices can be divided into a few categories: Same price as in South Africa: milk, almost exactly the same, canned food (like beans and tomatoes), white bread, beer (some types) Luxury foods that would have been imported in South Africa were often quite similar, for example Lindt chocolates, olive oil, deli cheeses, craft beer, etc. Ridiculously expensive category: joghurt, scoops ice cream (like Mozarts), fruit and vegetables. We ate a lot of fresh fruit and veg in South Africa and I am still shocked at the prices for it here. Sweet potatoes $5 per kg, $5 per mango (they are a bit cheaper now), cherries are like $29, etc. Carrots seem to be fairly cheap. We eat a lot of carrots now. Chips is also much more expensive than back home. Actually cheaper: cream and cheese Expired food seem to be sold on special. I have seen a few really good bargains; that turns out to be food past its expiry date. And it is not like the food expired yesterday, some of it had expired months ago. I do not think shops ever sold expired food in SA. Petrol used to be similar to SA, but got really expensive overnight. It jumped by 20c. Petrol prices differ from garage to garage and seems to change overnight. So we never know whether it would be cheaper or more expensive tomorrow. Cheese here is really nice. Amazing brie, blue cheese, even the cheap Coles brand cheddar cheese is good. Driving Driving is a breeze. My kids say driving here is like playing a video game on easy. Cars move at a slower speed, people give you a chance to change lanes, they stop when they are supposed to stop, nobody tries to overtake you when you are driving on a quite single lane back road. Drivers are polite and give you a gap. Distances take a lot longer than expected. You would drive 10 km in 20 mins, Traffic circles everywhere; even in quiet residential streets and on highways. Robots are red forever. Cycling to work takes about as long as driving. There are dedicated bike lanes for most of the trip to work. If you are on a bike you zip past the cars standing and get to wait at the front of the line at the red lights. Sunsets and sunrise can be truly spectacular, as lovely as in South Africa
  5. JJDLmoving

    Home Bakery Rules & Laws

    Hi Everyone I am looking at starting to bake some desserts from home and selling them to restaurants / coffee shops in Melbourne. Does anyone have any idea of the laws & regulations around this? From both a commerce and health and safety viewpoint? Any pointers would be much appreciated. BTW: NOT IN MELBOURNE JUST YET - WILL BE THERE VERY SOON! Many thanks in advance!
  6. dlmonnink

    Moving In A Week - Things To Know

    Hi All So I officially leave SA this Sunday and arrive in Melbourne on Monday evening with my GF. Does anyone have any advice on what I should do or remember. We have friends picking us up from the airport and will be staying with them for roughly 2 weeks at which point my GF will be coming back to SA for a while. I plan to fetch my bank card ASAP and from there hopefully buy a car, sort out centrelink and medicare. Next I need to try secure a software development job. Any advice from personal experience and what to do and look out for will be greatly appreciated. A bit nerve wracking knowing I've packed in my whole life and moving to a whole new continent - I've never been without a job since I started working straight out of varsity either so it's a whole new experience for me. Thanks everyone for the advice so far!
  7. Good day all. I have been offered a job in Bacchus Marsh but would like to live as close to Melbourne as possible and commute to work daily. I would therefor like to know what suburbs, I suppose western, would be good options for me? Obviously looking at proximity to a train station with a direct line to Bacchus. Safe suburbs are key as I hear there are youth gangs out in the west making an appearance. I was looking at Footscray. Can anybody offer any information surroundthing this suburb? Or others that might be appealing? Thank you in advance.
  8. Hi everybody, I have compiled a shortlist (ha! it is only 34 suburbs short ) of suburb options. Please advise/criticise/comment/warn/advocate... Ok, just some background. I will be working in Melbourne CBD, so I compiled this list based on commute to the closest train station (Southern Cross) to my work, homely rankings, previous comments on the forum, and a number of other website rankings. It is me, hubby and two preschoolers, so schools are a factor. My company will be giving me an accommodation allowance for 4 weeks, so we want to make the most out of this time to check out all the areas whilst staying in AirBnB. Estimate is that the container will arrive 5 - 6 weeks after our arrival, so we might add another week or two of AirBnB to scout areas. The plan is to stay in three general areas, and then drive to the places close by and check the actual commute time to work, etc. Ok, so I grouped the areas according to 6 main areas, according to preference to stay. 1. Bay/beach area (I understand commute is longer but you have the advantage that trains are empty since you potentially start at the start of the line. This will be our first stay, with a bit of a holiday for the kids) - Elsternwick - Mentone - Brighton - Elwood - Bentleigh 2. East(ish) - Blackburn - Brunswick East - Camberwell - Ashwood - Malvern East - Mount Waverley - Templestowe Lower - Hawthorne 3. North West - Sunbury (@Mara, pretty much convinced this will be our #1 destination if we go with this area, but want to check out other option as well) - Bacchus Marsh 4. North(ish) - Kew East - Fairfield - Kew - Montmorency - Moonee Ponds - Essendon - Greensborough - Ivanhoe - Pascoe Vale - Heidelberg Heights - Preston - Brunswick 5. Relatively close to the CBD - Williamstown - Spotswood - Prahran - Yarraville - Kensington - East Melbourne 6. West - Altona North I know opinions differ, but any input would be appreciated. Obviously my list is too long and we now need to start making bookings so input please... Thank you!
  9. JJDLmoving

    GYM AND SWIMMING

    HI Everyone Im coming to Melbourne in December. I would love to know if there are public pools like in SA. Here we pay R10 per workout in a pool. Is there something like this there? Also cheap monthly gym sessions? Many thanks.
  10. Yolandie

    Yolandie

    Hi all Just joined the forum! I am an attorney and my hubbie is a plumber. We have two awesome kids who are 7 and 9. My sister in law is in Melbourne and after years of hard work and struggling just to get by, we decided we are ready to pack up and start again in a country where tradesmen are still appreciated and our kids have a future. Now that the mind shift is solid to start over in Oz, I am so excited yet frustrated and impatient to start our next chapter. My hubby is a plumber (main applicant on 189 visa) and doing his skill assessment in Cape Town on 13 Sept and we are writing IETLS on 30 Sept. He needs to get at least a 7 to get his 60 points. Any tips please? I have read posts here and it seems a bit daunting. Is the skill assessment for a plumber difficult? We have our passports ready and unabridged birth certificates for kids. Are unabridged birth certificates for me and my husband also required. I still have my original marriage certificate. Should I rather apply at Home affairs for an unabridged marriage certificate as well. We send our police clearance requests to Pretoria yesterday. We will book our medicals once our EOI is submitted. Am I forgetting anything important that can cause a delay. If everything goes well and we can submit our EOI in mid October, how long will the VISA take. Will we be able to spend our first Christmas in Melbourne! And then: Will he easily find work as a plumber? At this stage I am not thinking about converting my law studies. Will I be able to find some admin position? This forum is brilliant to know that other people can support and help you through this "life changing" process. Thanks Mates! LOL
  11. Hi all, so a visit from family before Christmas fell through, but grandmother already made some small items for grandkids for Christmas. Anybody perhaps flying from OR Tambo to Melbourne sometime between now and Christmas with a little extra space in the luggage to bring a gift with? It would be VERY much appreciated
  12. Hello all. I have multiple questions and was not sure where to post. Some back story: I have been granted my 189 visa after a 2,5 year process. I have been to Australia in 2013 on vacation and have decided that Victoria would be a good place to start so I have booked a one way ticket that arrives in Melbourne early January 2018. ( I also have a friend close to Melbourne for support if things go south) Q1: I was wondering what would be the best RE accomodation in the city while I look for work and sort out the usual drivers licence and tax and bank accounts etc...AirBnB, Backpackers? How important is it to have a permanent address when doing paperwork as an immigrant starting out there? Could I use a friends address if needs be? Q2: What would be the easiest way to go about looking for work in the Education field? I am a secondary maths teacher. Any work will do. I have heard about ANZUK, SmartTeachers and of course Randstad. Contacted them all today. Any other tips would be welcome. Also any jobs you know of that a Maths teacher could do that is not necessarily in front of a class. I am keeping an eye on SEEK. And do understand that permanent posts are hard to come by. Q3: What would be the best way to transfer my funds? I have looked into FinGlobal (CashKows?) Also seen people speaking of getting a money guarantee letter then upon arrival having funds transferred. Also read people suggesting PayPal. Maybe use my SA Credit Card for the first few days over there till things are sorted. Suggestions? I am looking at National Australia Bank. These are the most pressing issues for me currently. Especially transferring funds. I have enough to gold me over comfortably for 3 or 4 months and am not keen on losing a while lot of it to the middle man. Any feedback would be appreciated. If you feel this post would get better feedback in a different section please let me know. Thank you all in advance.
  13. My experiences - hope this helps you and thanks to everyone that have helped me on the forum. We are now official permanent residents of Oz as of August 2017 (me, wife and kids (4&6yo)) We received our 189 in June and were given till august to activate. Our activation trip was 16 full days & 3 cities (Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane). We stayed at airbnb's in all cities. First tip - when renting a car (we used budget) it is $50 per day for insurance if you don't want to pay the $4500 excess if the car is in an accident (eina). This was not something we budgeted for and it was more than the price of the rental car per day. There is a cheaper option of $43 per day to reduce the excess to $500. Landing in Sydney jet-lagged and they tell you this my eyes were like saucers. We just bit the bullet and did the $50 per day. We bought an Optus starter sim card for our wifi hotspot and turned our cellular data on our phones to off. $30 gave us 14gigs which lasted us the entire holiday (sending pics in real time back home). all the airbnbs had high speed fibre internet (uncapped). There were also free hotspots all over the 3 cities we visited. Sydney is amazing - we stayed in Brighton le Sands. The area is ok (not much to do there - other than activate our oz bank account) it is 10 minutes south from the airport but we much preferred North Sydney. We met friends and went to luna park with the kids after waking up late and hardly sleeping. Lots of open spaces and parks around, drove over the bridge and walked forever taking it all in. Afterwards we went back to brighton le sands beach while the sun was setting. Coffee is $5 each, so 2 coffees and 2 hot chocolates for the kids are over R200 everytime. Dont tip your waiter, restaurant service isn't as good as in SA (i think this is because they don't get tips), when you're done you go pay at the counter. Bondi beach is my favourite beach in Sydney . Driving around its weird to see no fences around the golf courses (things you notice). Parking at the beach is expensive (I think we paid about $15 for 3 hours at Manly beach). Manly beach has nice shops and restaurants right on the beach. Driving around the suburbs we found a place called chipmunks (like a papachinos in joburg) for the kids. Lots of slides and mazes to spend a few hours in. Castle Hill has very nice homes and a big shopping centre like in SA. We only did a loop about 50kms in radius around the sydney cbd to get an idea of houses and suburbs. Self checkout at the grocery shops (Coles and Woolworths) was an unexpected surprise to me. Weirdly, they want you to deposit $2 in the shopping trolley to get a shopping trolley. Also at the airports you have to pay $4 for a luggage trolley. On the last day we used public transport to the zoo. Bought 4 Opal cards 2 kids 2 adults put about $20 on the adults and $10 on the kids cards and went from our Airbnb to the Toronga zoo (zoo has 20% discount if you pre-buy the tickets online and show them the barcode on the email they send back). We caught a bus to train to another train to a ferry to the zoo. The zoo is absolutely amazing (it is built on the side of a hill so they have a cable car that takes you up from the ferry to the entrance of the zoo and its a downhill walk all the way back to the ferry). We then did the same trip back in reverse. It was so easy. Google maps and citymapper are the best apps to use for public transport giving you times and telling you which train to get on. Junior school kids by themselves on the train on the trip back without an adult also surprised me. Off to Melbourne in the morning. Melbourne is beautiful. We stayed in St Kilda which is South east of the city on the bay. Roads are wide like in SA as opposed to Sydney where the roads and tunnels were quite narrow. Another Luna park in Melbourne and the most amazing parks with all the top end kid jungle gyms and open gym equipment for adults every few km's and right on the bay. We walked the prominade and had coffee on the restaurants overlooking the bay/beach. We drove down the east coast to meet friends in Carrum. Houses are very nice but obviously expensive along the east side of the bay. Had a braai in Carrum. We walked from our friends house with them and their kids and dog 5 minutes to the closest jungle gym. Drove back more inland to the airbnb to check the houses and suburbs out. On the last day we bought the Myki (public transport) cards to go check out the city. Again the transport is so easy to use with the apps on the phone. The tram system is amazing and we again winged it and were pros by the end of the day. Went to CBD had coffee, went to federation square (saw a Tesla electric car and walked through some of the expos they had), and lastly caught the trams to the star of Melbourne which we went on. Next stop Brisbane. Brisbane - so warm... Time for cossies and shorts with slops. Winter weather was 25deg. Had the most amazing airbnb (2 story house for the same price as little flats in sydney and melbourne). we stayed in seven hills again a few kms south of the city, it had the most amazing panoramic views of the city. It didnt feel like I was overseas. We went to Mt Cootha which was on a public holiday so it was quite busy. Then we went to South Bank Parklands for lunch. Blue pools and man made beach to chill at on the river in the city. Kids went off like pinballs and lost them a few times on the jungle gyms (again the most elaborate jungle gyms ive seen). Amazing spot for kids. Again parking in city is expensive (it was also a public holiday $16). Would have loved to have caught a ferry ride down the river but didnt have time. Next day gold coast. skyscrapers on the beach big houses boats, huge entertainment parks on the way there rollercoasters etc. The sea and beach (surfers paradise) on the gold coast is amazing, so clean. Got a parking fine though $75, oops. Next day Sunshine Coast. So quiet and much calmer sea, had a picnic on the beach for a couple of hours. We then drove back on this scenic windy route back to brisbane cbd. The GPS took us this way because their was a fire on the main route but it was such a beautiful windy hilly drive with farms. The last day was super windy and we were all so pooped we just chilled in the house to recover for the long haul back. And now the job hunt continues...
  14. GenDemo

    Wolf Wanders

    I've been contemplating whether to write this 'blog' for quite a while now. This is not a story about how I find life in Australia, nor a story about life...but rather just odd little snippets and things I experience. I wanted to call this journal "backwards and forwards" because somethings, a lot of things, are so much better here. However, somethings are really backwards here. A part of this blog is food related, as we hear and speak to many South Africans that have moved to Auz, that "I can't find Mrs Balls Chutney!" or "The cheese here is not like Simonsberg"...some are true some are not, some just have different names. Hence, I hope through my brief, but hopefully helpful, post here the people how are sitting in SA, biting their nails "oh no! what is life gonna be like when we move?!" or "but all the brands will be different! what if I want to to this, but I don't know where to go?" (because I was like this); will feel more at ease or will see that is is not bad at all. Also, perhaps some of the recent (and perhaps not so recent) migrants will have a laugh, perhaps smile nostalgically and nod in agreement, or perhaps go "ah ha! really?". Please let me be clear, the things I highlight here, are NOT because I regret my decision to immigrate, nor that I am unhappy what so ever...but i hope to give people a little foresight into what life is like here, and how the things we took for granted has changed. Perhaps some people have tips and tricks. So I am not sure if I need to state this...but some posts will be short, some might be longer....and they will obviously be in what ever order I experience them. So lets dive right into it: There are a LOT of brands that you get in SA, you also get here - and I'll take the bold step to point out, that some brands that many of us think are South African, are actually Australian (some are just dressed in different colours): Finish (dishwashing powder/liquid), Energizer, Duracell, Osram, Raid, Bostik, Strepsels, Colgate, Fiskars (gardening), I&J, Stanley (and most hardware brands), Dove, head & shoulders, Cadbury (but it tastes horrible!), Omo, Vanish, BP and Shell, most car manufacturers (duh...but I want to point this out due to a certain someone who'll stay anonymous) and bicycle brands, Pantene and TRESemmé, Lindt (duh...but it is my favorite, so it is important to mention), sellotape, 3M (also kinda duh, but MUCH bigger!), computer hardware and electronics is just so easy to find and I won't even go down that ally, Gardena (I mention this as I had jumble sale'd all my Gardena stuff - Idiotic move!)...and the list goes on. So, the point I am trying to make is that there are many familiar faces here to make you feel at ease. There are a couple of old family faces that I miss dearly and with good reason, with I will elaborate on over time. Who are the ones I miss? Well, I don't like to reminisce about how much I miss this or that...however, there are a few things that just have NO substitute: Clover - I miss all Clover product dearly, specifically cheese and milk (and very specifically the milk bottles). They are miles ahead with designs on their bottles. Venter - if I can give anyone advise...if you are bringing a container, buy a Venter (new or used) and bring it along. The things they call trailers here, are a joke. There is a Venter dealer in Perth, but you pay an arm and a leg for it, and there are no accessories available. In the same breath, I want to mention Bosal (and equivalent) towbars. These people have no idea what a towbar is supposed to be! They have an American Mopar design which I hate (http://www.haymanreese.com.au/products/towbars). It rattles and weighs a tone...and if you are not careful, the safety pin wriggles out and you lose your towbar on the road. The trailers here are made for war (http://www.trailertrailers.com.au/products/trailers/) - they weigh a ton, being made from 4-6mm steel and they are not covered. Eskort - yes the car was awesome, but I am talking about the bacon company. Nothing comes close to Eskort bacon, sausages and polony. Now apparently, you can't get polony here (I still need to check this myself), but you do get viennas and bacon, its just different. The hot dog viennas are just not where you would usually look for them. Often they are in a 'speciality' section in the super market. Bacon is different, but still delicious. Look for short-cut bacon, it is the closest thing to what we know. Simonsberg - oh yes we miss them a lot. Feta here is just not the same...you don't get that exact crumbly texture and tangy flavour in one - you get either the one, or the other. We are still looking around for a substitute. All Gold - you don't have to go to a South African shop to get All Gold tomato sauce. Some local super markets have it on the shelf, as well as Mrs Balls chutney. However, go out and experiment...I found a delicious fruit chutney at Aldi with a nice tomato flavour. What I will say is that the "tomato sauce" here...is ketchup...IT IS NOT TOMATO SAUCE. Nothing beats All Gold...and surprise surprise, All Gold is healthier - but you pay for it ($6-$7 a bottle). Chips - I though "Oh no! now I am never going to enjoy Simba chips and Fritos..." sad sad...its the end of the world....NO! the chips here (though a bit pricey) are amazingly delicious! We absolutely love it. The flavour is clear and not to strong, not so sweet. This past weekend we had sweet potato chips that was HEAVENLY! Banking and Finance - we do miss the notification/sms you got for transactions in South Africa. It is surprising how much it helped us with staying in budget and conscious about what you spend. I won't lie, it is quite a thing getting used to the smaller magnitude of the currency. You quickly spend a $100 and you think "oh whatever..." but its a R1300 (if not more)! best is not to convert everything back and get into the swing of things as quickly as possible - figure out what a cup of coffee goes for ($3.50-$4.20), milk (cheap $1/liter), delicious bakery bread ($3.50 - if this is more than the super market, we are more than willing to pay extra), petrol (hovers around 115c/liter) [get Gas Buddy http://gasbuddy.com.au/ it is awesome, and you might win something], pies ($3.50-$5), Tim Tams ($3.65, but regular specials for $2.50, sometimes $1.82) [be prepared to spend lots of money on this...its unavoidable...collateral for immigrants!]. Vegies - the vegetables are amazing. We've found them flavourful and so much easier to cook. Also be prepared for choices: Today I went in to Woolies to get some potatoes. That's a simple task isn't it? go in, get a bag, compare the price of a small and bigger bag...walk out. oh no...Washed/unwashed? 1kg/3kg? white/red/brown? what do you want to use it for baking/roasting/mashing/grilling/salad? small/big? There are so many food items that just has so many 'options' you can choose from. Shops (chains/speciality) - get used to less chain stores and more private speciality shops. Sure, there are chain stores like Officeworks (Incredible Connection/CNA), Bunnings (Builders warehouse), Woolworths (Spar [no, it has NOTHING to do with Woolworths South Africa]) etc. However, you won't find the extensive bakery section that we are used to in Spar, because you have real bakeries here. We have a strong suspicion that the different grocery chains have different 'faces' in different states, just like in South Africa. I'll try and give an example, and choose my words carefully.....We've heard that Aldi in Queensland is not so nice, like Checkers...while around our area (Victoria, Belgrave), we prefer Aldi to Coles. Roads and driving: it is a breeeeeeze.... It is not like europe, where is is scary to drive. The rules are very straight forward and the drivers friendly. The other drivers don't make your blood boil and there are no minibus taxis!!!!!!! Something that does frustrate us immensely, are the road signs: they don't believe in the incredibly logical approach to signage that uses pictures for everything and that you can interpret in miliseconds...nope, most road signs are written out in words.. so that it takes you....oops I missed it. Oh and u-turns...they are legal here! it makes life so much simpler. Sometimes there are even robots (I mean traffic lights) for u-turners. Telephones and Internet - we now have a telephone table in the hallway, with pen and paper and an adress book...because why? the telephones work here...most of the time national calls are free and you don't wait for hours holding the line to speak to an operator. The internet is slightly backwards here. I must say that even with Telkom and all its troubles, the internet in SA was better. Not that it is bad here...but don't expect to move heaven and earth with your internet speed. Last year I was finding out about the internet packages, but I just could not figure out what the line speeds were. Now for those who know me, I am a very tech savvy person, so I know where to search on the net and how to analyze these things, but I just couldn't find anything. So I went into a shop and asked...the guy looked at me like I was an alien. "What do you mean what speed is the internet?" he asked after a minute. So feeling like an idiot already, I asked "Like do you get different connection speeds one can choose?". "oh yes" he says and I am flooded with relief, "you can choose between mobile, or fixed line.". Then we stand in silence for a couple of seconds before I realise there is no more. "So what speeds are they?" I ask again. He replies, "Well mobile is a 3G connection, and a fixed line is either ADSL or NBN." and he says this with an air of someone who just solved the world's problems in one short simple elegant solution. "yes, but what speed is the ADSL?" I ask. Then he looks irretated, "What do you mean what speed is ADSL, its ADSL." he states matter of factly. So I felt really stupid and walked out of the store. Anyway...bottom line is, 3G is 3G...ADSL (actually ADSL2+) is up to 20mbps and you get what ever you get depending on your area and distance to the exchange, and then there is NBN (National Broadband Network) or plain fibre optic (to the curb though, not to the house). Cellphone contracts are also much simpler as is the whole banking system. Housing - housing is a completely different matter, and I am not talking about prices...I mean the physical houses. As kids, we used to clamber around the house, lean on walls, throw the occasional ball against the wall, do pull ups on the door frames, bump something occasionally into a wall....and nothing happens, because it a brick house. Want to hang a painting? hammer a Hilti into the wall and hang it. Not here. Dry walls on the inside, and an outer brick wall if you are lucky. it is so easy to put a hole in a wall, whether on purpose or accidentally (I speak from experience here) [apparently an easy fix is builders foam into the hole and sand the outside?]. Though 3M has made the business of hanging pictures much simpler - it just costs you a couple of dollars. Also, these people have a misguided idea on what a proper garage is, as most properties have only car ports. Also we have a strong suspicion that the Aussies and South Africans have a VERY different opinion regarding the number and situation of bathrooms and toilets. Ok, I'll leave it there for now... Cheers vir eers. GD
  15. Hi there, So we are activating our PR visas in a few weeks with a whirlwind 4 day trip to Melbourne (1 day either side spent traveling). Yes, I know it is a little mad. Will be making the permanent move at the end of the year. Reasons for very short visit now are: 1. Daughter writing matric and her final exams end a week after our required entry date; 2. My husband and I both consult/ freelance, so basically earn R0 if we are not working. Trying to save as much as possible so taking more than a week not an option right now; 3. We got a great Qantas deal for flights, but means that it is slightly out of season, so kids missing a few days of school. Our plans are to go to some scheduled interviews on day 1; visit the university in Burwood, schools and surrounding suburbs on day 2; and do some touristy things on days 3 and 4. It is really important to us that our kids (aged 18 and 13) have an amazing time and get excited about our big move. They are good kids who enjoy physical activity and fun entertainment. Any suggestions on things we could do in or around the city? We are staying in an AirBnB in Southbank and will be using public transport, except for the one day visiting the suburbs. P.S. We get that the weather is likely to be grey and wet. That's ok! We'll bring umbrellas.
  16. BobSA

    Crossing the pond

    This forum has given me so much assistance and just reading about the experiences of others has helped me prepare for my journey and know what to do when I arrived. So I felt it only right to share my experience of crossing of the pond. After all the planning, waiting, stressing, good-byes and packing I have finally landed for my attempt at a new beginning in Strayaa! Melbourne to be specific… Where to start on this long journey- I guess many people can identify for the need to seek a better environment for family, kids and just general well-being whether your choice be local or international. Ditto for me, having had a few nasty experiences with violent crime and feeling helpless I couldn’t bring myself to let my future, including raising kids in an environment I have so little control over, be in SA. Every country has crime, problems and other social issues but unfortunately I felt there were just too much variables I could not control in the current climate with further deterioration on the horizon with regards to tertiary education, child and women safety and economic stability. So began our search and exploration of different potential destinations. The usual suspects were considered: Canada (too cold and skills not on required list); New Zealand (Not a thriving economy and limited jobs); USA (Tertiary qualification not recognised and lottery system to get selected); UK (Non EU passport holder and skills not on list); Hong Kong & Singapore (English not 1st language in public and no family) and so we chose Australia. We were on the skills list; the process had an estimated time we were comfortable with; no language barrier; we had family there who had settled well and with our background opportunities were plentiful. Fast forward to March 2016 and our PR visa (189) is granted and we are super excited and scared at the same time. We decide that there is no time to waste having already alerted our close family of our application and intent to move. Plans are put into motion and a decision is made that I will move to Melbourne in June 2016. Extended family and friends are informed. Some are excited and supportive and some are plain shocked. In a more surprising development many of these very people seek advice on how and what is required to start this journey as they have also had the same thoughts! I arrived on Sunday 12th June on Qantas in Sydney via JHB. I didn’t have a window seat so missed out on the views which was a pity. Passport control at Sydney airport was quick and painless nothing like on Border Security on tv. Soon as they swipe your passport they know you have a PR visa and its smooth sailing. I had clearly stressed more than proved necessary as the service was efficient and pain-free. Select a window seat for domestic hop from Sydney to Melbourne departing at 16h30 in anticipation of enjoying the view of my new home from up above. Forgot that the sun sets at like 17h15 in winter and when we approach for landing it is just multiple skyscrapers and lights and looks amazing and impending at the same time. Pilot decides to perform a bumpy landing and I hope this is not a sign of things to come. I am greeted with cold and overcast weather. Get scooped up by some relatives at the domestic terminal after realising you need to ‘hire’ a luggage trolley. In order to save costs you pay a fee to get the trolley and if you return it to a designated trolley area you get your money back. In this way they save on hiring staff to be trolley staff I figure. Just as a side note the bigger grocery wholesalers and liquor stores employ the same system so you need a A$1 or A$2 coin to get a trolley. Jump into the car and head out the airport and the first impression you have is of how clean everything is. The absence of litter on the ground, roads and sidewalks is impressive and continues all along my 1 hour journey to where I am staying. Secondly the sheer size of Melbourne- the amount of tall buildings, the fact that so many hi-rise buildings are actually residential in nature and how you realise you would need to have the JHB CBD up until Sandton CBD as a whole to compare the magnitude of it all. Highways are broad and wide and everybody adheres to the speed limits and there is no 10% allowance here. Also it is a toll system on some portions so you need an E-Tag. I land on a long weekend as Monday the 13th is a holiday for the Queen’s birthday so that allows me to settle in and spend some time with family and ask a few questions. Thankfully they live close to a bus stop and nothing is far from their place so even without a car this should be doable. I make a trip with them to a mall down the road. This mall has everything I will need in my 1st week: Medicare, bank branch and cellular providers. And now that they have shown me where it is located even without a phone and Google maps I will be able to get around and get started. I email recruiters, attaché CV and request appointments now that I am physically present in the country. On Tuesday, in just my second day here, I am able to verify my Aus bank account which I opened while in SA and collect my new card. I register for TFN online, go to Medicare and get a membership number with the permanent card to be posted to me (yes the postal services still work well here) and I select a cellular provider. A$40 a month for unlimited calls within Aus, unlimited texts within Aus, unlimited texts to certain international destinations including SA plus 300 mins international calls again including SA and 7GB of data. Great deal as normally it is only 120 international mins and 3GB data but due a special if you sign on for 12 months contract I figure this is worthwhile. Efficiency- what a thing! On Wednesday I make my way to Melbourne City for the first time to explore and walk around. Everything you read about coffee and foodie culture is true and there are numerous places. I have a great latte at a Italian coffee store just off Bourke St. I thankfully, get calls from recruiters asking more about my experience and when I mention I’m currently in the city they invite me over for a meeting to discuss my history and their thoughts. This happens with 2 recruiters out of the 4 I have emailed. I go home on the train after walking around for 12km thinking this has been a crazy start and how amazed I am that I have sorted out so much. On Thursday I get a call inviting me for an interview on Friday and I am in shock at my fortune and how this has all transpired so quickly. Interview goes well I think, very much a case of judging personality fit and how you cope under pressure instead of worrying about qualification and CV. Spend first weekend meeting other South Africans and family at a braai in 10 degree weather on Saturday. Brrr, wrapped in a scarf etc I taste a good Aus beer, excellent food and the post clean-up project the next day. No help here to clean the braai stand, deck, house etc. All in all a positive first week for me, while it is too early to draw any conclusions, the family here have allowed me to settle quickly and made me feel welcome. I am enjoying the liberating experience of walking around freely as a stranger and love the independence of public transport.
  17. Thestains

    Special needs schools

    Hi Forumites I've been browsing the forum for a while now & posted a comment or two to subjects that affect me. My challenge right now is trying to secure a special development school for my 17 year old son prior to us taking up our residence in July. Hubby & I have figured that a school has to be secured before we look for accommodation to ensure that we are in the school zone for successful enrollment. We have family in Sandhurst but decided that we'd prefer living closer to the city to fully experience the culture of Melbourne. Having said this, I've established that there aren't many special development schools for mild to moderate intellectual disability in this area. I've contacted MAC based on @FromDurbs posts & their response was that their year 11 class was full. Doncaster special development school advised us (during our visit to them in April) that most of their year 11 subject classes were full. So where to from here? I'm keen on following through on recommendations. I quite like the concept that MAC (Mount Alexander College) follows where kids are not grouped in years and follow a study program that suits their passion & ability. This was perfect for our son. Disappointed that we couldn't secure a space with them. I welcome any ideas or suggestions that any forumite could offer in my search. It really will ease the anxiety & stress at this very close time to departure
  18. FromDurbs

    Kangaroos and Koalas

    For those of you would like to explore the quintessential Auzzi fauna and flora, these two lists might be useful: Places to see Kangaroos in the wild for free http://www.weekendnotes.com/9-places-to-see-kangaroos-in-the-wild-for-free-melbourne/ Places to see Koalas http://www.weekendnotes.com/9-places-to-see-koalas-in-the-wild/ Both lists are close to Melbourne, but the drive is sometimes in excess of 3 hours. It sounds like fun.
  19. dlmonnink

    1 Year In

    So yesterday was my one year mark of being here in Aus. Got a memory notification on FB with my status saying "Landed safe and sound in Aus" and the memories of that day came flooding back. It's been quite a ride, uneventful as it has been compared to many others and loving it. I've been extremely lucky all the way through and for that I am grateful. Luckily my GF had some friends staying here in Melbourne so we had a place to stay when we got here - that turned out to be 3 months long while I looked for a rental that could take pets. The day after landing I managed to secure an interview and got the job. I was actually a bit bummed as I had to start working so early after arriving as I wanted a holiday. I did think I would struggle for a while to get a job and had planned for 3 months of expenses without a job. My GF had to go back to SA to finish her term of teaching which was a bit of a downer but it gave me time to focus on work and save cash for when she got back. The South African FB community has been great and managed to get a car for $3000 and have actually forged a good friendship with the people I bought the car from which was great. Also met lots of other friends along the way via networking etc. Middle of last year I managed to secure a rental for myself, my GF, and our 2 dogs and 3 cats People still think I'm nuts when they hear all the pets I have. There was lots of paperwork and vet appointments to get the pets here and even more money flying out of my wallet at an alarming rate but the whole process was pretty uneventful and they landed last October. I managed to secure a decent raise at my previous job and I have just moved to a new position at another company with a great salary and my GF managed to land a job as a teacher after doing CRT (substitute) work for 6 months. My brother also managed to move over just over a month ago and is staying with me. Glad he made the move to have a better life. My mother was robbed and shot 3 times about 5 weeks ago and he was there. It is a terrible feeling of helplessness when you are so far away and can do nothing to help. Luckily she has recovered. In the meantime we have been exploring Victoria. Been to several different areas for weekends away and exploring which has been great. Will also be going to visit some people in Brisbane next week which I'm looking forward to. The original idea was to go to Brisbane but the job market wasn't great and we didn't want to risk it. I'm terrible when it comes to humid weather so it's probably for the best. So only 3 more years to go until citizenship. In the meantime working hard and enjoying the great life that Aus affords me. Hoping to save up enough funds to put down a deposit for a house. If I'm lucky that will be next year some time but time will tell
  20. We are about to book furnished accommodation (I'm surprised at how affordable one can find it) We are thinking of booking it for the first month but wonder whether we are over shooting a bit. From your experience; what is the average time it takes to find a long term rental? We are looking at Melbourne specifically. One quote was R16 000 for 2 weeks and R20 000 for a month, so it feels like a month makes much more sense than 2 weeks even if you don't stay the whole month. Also: is availability mostly from the 1st of the month? In which case it would be better to book up to the end of the month...
  21. Hi All We currently have various positions available across the world but I'll restrain this post to Australia and New Zealand only. If you go to the main search, you will also see jobs from Johannesburg, and about 43 other cities across the world including America, Asia, Europe etc Jobs will change over time, but these links should navigate you to what is currently available whenever you click on them. I'm not a recruiter, please do not contact me in this regard, follow the online application instructions. We do have an employee referral program whereby I would be eligible for a finders fee. So let me know when you get the job so I can claim it and take you out for coffee, or lunch. :-D Sponsorship opportunities are city and country dependant. I know Sydney and Melbourne can no longer sponsor. Sydney (Follow links below city names) http://jobs.jobvite.com/verifone-review/search?c=&l=SYD+-+Sydney&r= Implementation Manager North Sydney, Australia Implementation Manager North Sydney, Australia Implementation Manager North Sydney, Australia IT Systems Administrator North Sydney, Australia Senior Implementation Manager North Sydney, Australia Senior Implementation Manager North Sydney, Australia Senior Software Engineer North Sydney, Australia Senior Software Engineer North Sydney, Australia Senior Software Engineer North Sydney, Australia Senior Software Engineer North Sydney, Australia Software QA Analyst North Sydney, Australia Test Manager North Sydney, Australia Melbourne http://jobs.jobvite.com/verifone-review/search?c=&l=MEL2+-+West+Melbourne&r= Implementation Manager West Melbourne, Australia National Services Manager West Melbourne, Australia Production Support Analyst West Melbourne, Australia Production Support Analyst West Melbourne, Australia Wellington http://jobs.jobvite.com/verifone-review/search?c=&l=WLG+-+Wellington&r= ADC Delivery Manager Wellington, New Zealand ADC QA Lead Wellington, New Zealand Application Support Analyst Wellington, New Zealand Development Manager Wellington, New Zealand NZ Senior Accountant Wellington, New Zealand Senior Business Analyst Wellington, New Zealand Senior Business Analyst Wellington, New Zealand Senior Developer Wellington, New Zealand Senior Test Analyst Wellington, New Zealand
  22. If you live in the Melbourne area and you haven't seen the event, go to "Events" "Victoria" Melbourne Picnic in the Park and see if you are interested in meeting other Melbournians in this relaxed social setting. It's a great opportunity to ask questions about suburbs, schools, grocery stores, public transport, banking....everything that other people might have done while settling in. Oh, and it's a picnic, so it should be fun
  23. We are planning on sending our household goods from Durban to Melbourne end of November. We estimate that we would send about 17m of stuff. I was told that if they can fill a container the stuff will arrive faster and apparently they look around at other companies as well to fill a container thus helping both. I am going with Cargopac (but could be persuaded to go with someone else). I was wondering whether anyone else has half a container going to Melbourne in Nov/Dec/Jan. Maybe we can tell the companies about each other and ensure that our loads go sooner.
  24. Hi I am in the process of moving to Melbourne. I picked it based on a really great job offer. After saying yes I discovered everyone saying how bad the weather is. I love some nice weather. Currently live in Durban and really, really like the weather. So please tell me, exactly how bad is Melbourne. Will I survive? Help.
  25. Due to the weather I think an indoor venue is our best bet for lunch, especially if their are kiddies. Below is a link to the website of the Hotel. We have been there before and found it to be quite acceptable. They have space for us, and there is an indoor playroom for the children. It is also easy to handle, you can sit down at the table, check the menu, then go to the counter to order what you would like, you pay for it at the same time, and they give you a buzzer, which will go off, for you to go and collect your meal. So no splitting of bills or anything. The bar is separate and they do not run a tab for you, so you will either make many credit card payments that day, or you can ensure that you have cash to pay for the bar, that is drinks and soft drinks. Soft drinks, if there are a few of you in the family drinking the same drink, then ask for a jug.... makes it a lot cheaper. They also have childrens meals. If you go to their website, you can look at the menu. http://www.bundoorahotel.com.au/ 12h00 at Bundoora Hotel in Plenty Road, Bundoora Please post in this thread if you plan to attend, with numbers Adults and Children. Then please PM your mobile number and email address to me, just in case something happens at the last minute that we have to contact you. I HAVE TO LET THE HOTEL KNOW WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE BY THE 16TH JUNE, SO PLEASE REPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
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