Things I have discovered in Australia …

Lessons learned about emigrating to Australia..

#1 Visa – Look into your options, if you are under 31 you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa (417) for this one cut out the middleman its easy to do it yourself. Apply online here and it is issued to you in 1-3 working days. You won’t get a physical visa, once approved it will be electronically applied to your passport number and activated when they scan it at immigration when you arrive in Australia. For other visa options educate yourself and talk to a professional I recommend based in Sydney as its an Irish girl and she’s been a great help to me, but there are other companies. What I would advise against is listening to other people too much, everyone is an expert but visas/immigration/customs are tricky and need to be treated with the respect they deserve – getting deported is not good! It is possible to do it yourself and I am now on the other side of the application process and feel I would have been well able.

#2 Flights – try looking on various websites such as skyscanner, trailfinders, e-bookers or the airlines own sites Qantas, Emirates, Ethiad, Malaysian Airlines etc – when you find a flight cross check it as mine were cheaper through trailfinders than directly with Emirates . I got my flights with Trailfinders flying with Emirates they were 925 euro return. I stopped in Dubai for 3 days. Emirates fly Dublin>Dubai>Perth so are very attractive in that respect but often cost will dictate.

#3 Clothes, household items & really everything is much more expensive here so bring everything with you, or ship boxes/a container. You’ll need winter clothes, coats, duvets, warm pyjamas and blankets in the Winter don’t be fooled by how they dress on Home&Away. Stock up in Penneys, Dunnes, H&M etc on cheap basics like vests, tshirts, cardis etc or else you will drive your poor sisters mad with orders for same to be sent over, or maybe that’s just me!! I also wouldn’t underestimate the comfort of having your own familiar belongings with you especially at times when the going is tough (and there will be those times, its a huge move, everything is different – go easy on yourself).

#4 Once you are here there are some handy pieces of information for your friends & family at home to send you over gifts etc 1. the Irish post office charges €70 (€75 registered) for a box up to 20kg from Ireland to Australia (and also Canada).  This is exceptional value as I recently discovered a similar box from Australia to Ireland would cost in excess of $400.  2. Asos and many other high street stores will ship for free to Australia (in some cases the order must be over a certain amount but its not excessive) So its handy coming up to Christmas or Birthdays to do up a wishlist on one or many of these sites. This also works the other way and I have found shopping online invaluable because as stated above postage from Australia is expensive.

#5 iPhone apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are great for keeping in contact with those at home. I have set up WhatsApp groups with my sisters and another with my college girls, its lots of fun really easy to share photos and videos and a constant contact to those that mean the most to you.  TunedIn radio app is another brilliant one for listening to radio stations at home, its amazing how just hearing Ray D’arcy’s dulcet tones can put a smile on my face (I’m still convinced if Jenny Kelly had not nabbed him he would have been mine). ChristmasFM is another that gets lots of listening lately.

#6 Health Insurance – get it! There is a reciprocal agreement between Ireland and Australia which entitles Irish to free emergency treatment in a hospital. Emergency treatment ONLY and this does not include an ambulance (circa $500 at least) or after hospital care (you will be billed as an overseas visitor which is very expensive). VHI Global and the like may seem very expensive but you are a visitor in this country until you get PR and won’t be entitled to Medicare (similar to NHS). If you are on a 457 you have no extra entitlements regarding healthcare than a holiday maker! My advise would be to have health insurance especially if you have children.  You can claim an exemption in your tax return in respect of your own private health insurance so you do get some rebate.

#7 Buy lots of insect repellent and carry it everywhere with you. Tropical strength. Trust me.

#8 Baby powder. As above. Trust me.

Tasty things I have discovered in Australia ..

#1 Avocados. Ok so I didn’t discover them here but I realised that the ones I have been eating and liking at home are nothing to the delicious, creamy, tasty, gorgeous ones here! I have had avocado spread on my toast most mornings instead of butter. Totally yum. If I had a blender I would make alot of this .. might try just mashing them actually, as they are super creamy!

#2 I am going to totally let my foodie credentials slip here .. Mango Chupa Chups! I don’t know if we have these in Ireland or not but I bought one the other day thinking it was a lemon flavour. Delicious. Perfect beach treat.    My new sugar free status negates this one !!

#3 Melon and Pineapple are improved immensely by the addition of mint leaves! Chopped leaves thrown in with the fresh fruit for a couple of minutes and eat .. a fantastic breakfast, lunch, snack … great with some natural yoghurt. I have no doubt its all helped by the fact the fruit is so delicious in the first place.

Interesting things I have discovered in Australia …

#1 The public transport is clean, on time, air conditioned and always has a visible security presence! They even have really cool posters everywhere telling you to give your seat up to those who need it more and not to graffiti or you’ll be prosecuted. I have seen very little unsocial behavior and any was dealt with very well. Not one to encourage junkets but Bus Eireann and Irish Rain could do with having a look over here.

#2 School PE classes! I have witnessed quite a few as I lay sunning myself on Cottesloe beach, all ages of school kids in matching bathing suits running, sprinting, relaying up and down the beach then running into the sea, swimming, racing, paddling for at least an hour at a time. Obviously Ireland doesn’t have the beach weather to facilitate the same type of classes but getting our kids moving for an hour everyday has got to be good for not only their bodies but also their brains? I am now convinced that the reason Aussies seem to all have such impossibly long, tanned legs is connected to all this running on sand as kids. Convinced.

#3 Aussie shampoo is not available here!!! Well not in the supermarkets or pricelines (similar, but inferior, to Boots) or Target or KMart. I am not sure what to do, crying is probably futile, but seriously wouldn’t you think Australia would have Aussie shampoo?? Was I living a lie all these years? And WHAT am I going to do without 3-Minute-Miracle ??

#4 Kerrygold Butter really is lovely, I am not just saying this because I used to work for them. The butter here is not a patch on Irish butter and as for the yogurts!! I’d nearly pay for Glenisk to ship me some over, so far every yogurt I’ve bought is either loaded with sugar and/or set. *I’ve found a good one Barambah Farm Organic. Yum

#5 Recycling is not the done thing. There are no recycling bins at our complex or at our friends’ places. All the rubbish goes on the one bin, there are recycling depots in various locations but none near us. It feels really wrong to put glass in particular in the bin but as we have no car at present there’s no choice!

#6 Hallowe’en is not celebrated to any great degree and Christmas decorations have been in the Dept Stores since August.

#7 The flies are VERY annoying, landing on your clothes and flying directly into eyes, ears and mouth constantly sometimes with success. I now understand those Crocodile Dundee hanging cork hats and may have to get one for my early morning walks by the river.

One Response to “Things I have discovered in Australia …”

  1. elvishendrix August 16, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    useful post. Nice

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