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What's better and and what's not


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All those that moved to Oz from the UK - what do you like and you think is better than here, and what do you miss, and what is different.

I especiallly want to know about coffee shops and restaurants (I've had enough of Starbucks and other DIY coffee shops - dirty, horrid sandwiches and paper cups), shopping, from groceries to toys to clothes, stuff to do with small children (mine are aged 7 and 2) and houses, schools etc.

Also I design and sell kiddies party and christening invites on Ebay (or I did until the credit crunch) but I assume Ebay is not that big in Oz? How difficult is it doing your own thing from home?

What I like here is Marks and Spencers (just holding thumbs they don't close all their stores), mmm what else... I like the saffer friends I made here, and I like the long summer evenings on the odd days that its not raining, and I like the way the Brits drive - just like me i.e. driving Miss Daisy!! I like the order and fairness of most things. I like taking my kids to the paddling pool in the park in summer and walking everywhere and the greenness of everything. I like the fact that my daughter's school is excellent and FREE - we don't even have to pay for stationery or books or recorder lessons - and get swimming and violin lessons at a reasonable price. I like being able to drive to France and flying to Italy in 2 hours. I like the traditions at different times of the year - bonfire nights and fireworks in November, switching on of the christmas lights in town in December, pancake day on Shrove Tuesday in February, these type of things South Africans are not really very good at and its wonderful. I like the community feel of the close we live in - we know most of our neighbours and all get on well. And most of all I like feeling safe.

I hate the weather (my toes are freezing and its -4 as we speak), I hate that shopping is outdoors in a High Street (I miss shopping centers), I hate all the brown houses that are all the same. Everything is always wet and soggy. A lot of places even in posh areas seem grotty and dirty to me. Sometimes the Brits can be a bit funny (i.e. nasty) towards you if you have young children - I think they forgot that they also used to be children, I don't like paying £26 for a return train ticket to London, and up to £6 for a few hours parking, and £56 per day for my child's nursery.

Now that you've read all the useless information about my feelings regarding the UK - please share yours about Oz.

From :

Eventually seriously seeking Oz and hope its not too late...

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I have been in Melbourne for 11 months to date and before this I was in London for just less than 4 yrs, here are my betters and not betters:

betters in Oz

weather-even in melbourne, I wouldnt want the constant humidity in Brisbane

outdoor lifestyle-surfing,fishing,walking on the beach...

proximity to Asia-Indo, fiji, Phillipines.....

friendlier people

cost of living is cheaper with my current circumstances

government provided facilities-walkways,cycle routes, bbq's...

humility in defeat-lets hope we can do it in the 1dayers aswell

not as many yobbos and scum buckets

Not betters in Oz and what I miss in the UK

miss my SA friends in the UK

Major time difference

TV is pathetic

nagging boring politicians

Value of the Quid outside of the UK

international travel

Much better on-line purchase options


the rush of big city living

Scottish highlands

public transport

distance from Europe-Italy especially which I miss

Cant think of anything else at the moment, I think I have made the right choice to move to Oz. I dont have any children but if I did this is the place where I would want to bring them up and wouldnt think twice about doing it. So I think the UK would just pip Oz for me at the mo, but things could change in 2009.



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Hi there

I was born in the UK then lived in RSA from 13 to 21, then back to the UK, back to RSA mid twenties, off to Namibia for 3 years and currently in Australia for 3 years.

I mostly lived in fairly industrial areas of the UK and simply would not bring up my kids there, much freer here and less pressure to have the right trainers on etc.

Number one would have to be the weather and the lifestyle, more of a " blue skies and braaivleis" feel here.

Some poms consider Australia to be "backward" in some ways, have a look at british expats or poms in oz for more detail.

You don't need a TV license here so that might explain why the TV is not great but improving, let's see what the new free to air channels offer this year.

Outdoor lifestyle again, lovely parks and beach areas, most with free bbq facilities.

Detached houses with decent size gardens for the kids to play in.

No central heating needed although you will need some form of heat if you live in Albany, WA or Tasmania!

Relatively well behaved drivers.

Clean cities

I think quality and service in the food industry here is variable, probably better in the cities, really bad where I am- I have just had the worst fish and chips of my life.

But I live in a mining town where our limited takeaway options are battling to get employees, KFC etc are closing at 8pm because they don't have workers and have just brought a lady from RSA out on a 457 to manage the store- this would probably only happen in rural areas.

Ebay is very popular here and going by a segment on the show " A current Affair" the options for home based mums with on-line businesses is quite good.

You get the feel that anything is possible sometimes.

The negatives I find are that each state seems like its own little country with different rules and fees and licenses needed.

We have just moved from WA to Queensland and hubby had to apply for a Queensland Electrical license, we had to pay for new drivers licenses and change our car insurance as rac WA is a different company to racq in Queensland!

I love the way you can get anywhere in the UK or from the UK very easily, here moving from one side to the other can mean 3 plane changes- hell it is so much bigger though.

Lots of exciting new Asian destinations to visit- plenty of places to holiday over the years.

A whole continent of largely pristine beaches and wilderness.

Traditions are respected and celebrated here, Australia Day, Anzac day, Melbourne cup day!

The whole nation seems to come to a halt then.

I hope I have whetted your appetite a little.

For me Australia ticks most of the boxes and the annoyances and irritations are relatively small and grow smaller each year as you become more chilled and Australian like.

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I have just come from Ireland and not the UK but did live in London for 5 years so will jump in with my opinion!

Coffee shop wise, I find it pretty similar to Ireland with a few big chains and a few little ones. They do the coffee shop in the bookshop thing here which I love and there is a good variety of different coffees. I am yet to find a little cafe style coffee shop but have only been have a few months so I hold out hope! Shopping centres are big here. Westfield owns most of them so check their website out to get an idea of what they are all about. Most parking is free out of the city centres and all the ones near me have underground parking which is great.

There is lots to do with kids and the Aussies are big into picnics (in or near playparks) and group outings to the beach etc. If you come, kiss Guy Fawkes goodbye and forget Hallowween. ;) Some kids do dress up but we had all of 3 kids come to our door, and we had decorated etc!! Christmas made up for it though but lights and concerts etc. The good weather means people walk around looking at Christmas lights which I loved.

Don't worry about eBay. It is HUGE here. Lots of moms sell on there and the community is very active. You should be able to log in from there and have a look it there are many products like yours and how they are doing. I miss M&S too and am yet to find anything like that here.

Depending on your visa status schooling may be free for you too. Swimming lessons near us are about 150 dollars for a term to give you an idea. I find the driving here pretty good too. They regulate well and have the demerit system with double demerits over long weekends and holidays.

I'll reply to your PM asap and answer q's there too (kids permitting of course)


Less materialistic feel. So far there is a lot less focus on lables

The range of fresh foods and the taste of locally grown product (not having spent weeks in cold storage)

The friendliness of the Aussies (the Irish are a tough act to follow but the Aussies have been so welcoming)

The weather, of course.

The relaxed attitude of parents, the way kids are allowed to be kids but expected to behave.

The active lifestyle.

The beaches, parks, bush walks.

The way there is a nice, clean, maintained play park every few blocks.

Getting decent cricket coverage again.


Choice of kids clothes. I miss Next!

The fact that we don't have PR yet.

The time difference.

Lack of public transport

The cost of phone calles, but VOIP has sorted that out for us.

The way each state seems so different.



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Thanks for you replies so far ... its exactly the type of info I need.

I will also miss Italy a lot - we've only been once but I feel like I've left my heart there (maybe its because I'm half Italian though never knew my father).

And its great that kids are allowed a bit more freedom there - I'm used to the UK now but in the beginning the paranoia seemed kind of weird to me.

Thanks for the tip about the clothes - I will stock up here and maybe a bit in Woolies in South Africa (I do miss Woolies the most).

And I can't wait to experience free parking and shopping centres again!!

Hope to hear some more...

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