Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Melbourne named world's most liveable city !!

Woot ! .. Melbourne is officially the most liveable city in the world .. What are you waiting for ??!! .. Start moving and come live here .. :D
What a great way to celebrate the city's birthday ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 176th Birthday Melbourne!!

Today Aug 30 marks 176 years of the city's founding – the day the first settlers landed on the north bank of the Yarra River from the schooner Enterprize in 1835.

The replica Enterprize, launched in 1997

To commemorate this day, here’s a few quick historical facts about the birthday city ..

  • The location where the settlers first landed is today known as Enterprize Park where Williams Street and Flinders Street meet near the old Customs House.
  • The settlers came from Launceston Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land) in search of new land on which to graze their sheep.
  • Melbourne was named after former British Prime Minister - William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
  • The 1st Commonwealth Parliament was opened on 9 May 1901, at 12 p.m. in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Australian Property Real Estate Journey - From Renting to Buying Your Dream Home !

Now that you have arrived in lovely Melbourne Australia, where will you stay? 

Well, this is a problem easily resolved if you have close family or friends that you can live with - while you patiently search for your dream home. But for many newcomers to Melbourne, this can be a lengthy and stressful process.

There are basically 4 phases (maybe less if things go extremely smoothly or if you have lots of spare cash!) that most immigrants go through in their initial years of life in Melbourne …

  • Temporary accommodation

o   It is a good idea to give yourself some time to get to know the city before committing to a rental lease - which is likely to be 6 to 12 months with penalties for breaking it early.
o  Motels / hotels are expensive options so a more practical alternative would be short-stay apartments. This can easily be arranged prior to you arriving in Melbourne.
o  I personally stayed in a short-stay serviced apartment close to the city for about a month while I settled in at work and went about searching for a rental property

  • Short-term rental property

o   At this point, you still don't really know Melbourne all that well and still undecided about which suburb/area to stay longer term.
o   However, serviced apartments are relatively expensive and you lease a cheap rental apartment while you continue your search for the ideal rental property.
o   Most likely this place will be in close proximity to where you work or around the main city area.
o   In my situation, I managed to find a place with a short 6 month lease which I moved out of when it expired. 

  • Long-term rental property

o   Congrats! You have now decided on the area you want to live in and found a great rental property!
o   Many people (including yours truly!) will remain in this phase for quite a few years while they save up a deposit to buy a home.
o   After all, Melbourne house prices are very expensive relative to many other places in the world! (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-01-24/australian-houses-among-worlds-most-expensive/1915882)
o   There are also people who are perpetual renters who choose to invest their money rather than committing to a large mortgage!

  • Home Sweet Home!

o   Even more congrats on really extending your roots and achieving the Australian dream of owning your own home! 

By this stage, you are most likely a very settled Melbournian who has decided to call this wonderful city your home. You may even be thinking of writing a blog to help others move and settle down here too! ;-)

Last but not least, don't forget to check out my brand NEW website - www.melbourneahoy.com.au - dedicated to all things about moving to Melbourne and life in general in the world's most liveable city !

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Steps in Melbourne Australia ! - Arriving at the Airport ..

I guess the best way to kick-off this guide would be .. at the Airport !

You have now landed at our smallish and quaint airport – at least compared to the mega airports like Singapore, KL or Heathrow – and heading towards customs. Its still the 1nd largest in Australia mind you ! :D

By the way, if you haven’t found out by now, Melbourne Airport is also known as Tullamarine Airport to the locals. There’s another budget airport called Avalon Airport but all the major international flights are to/from the main Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport.

There’s practically nothing worthy of interest at the Airport so after you clear customs, you can be on your merry way to your accommodation.

Here are some quick tips and useful titbits of information:
  • Shopping at the airport
o   There are not many shops at the airport (either before or after customs) and you can find better deals in the city.
o   If you are a smoker, there is a duty-free shop before the customs area where you can get a couple of cartons (not more!). You only save on the 10% GST but if you have an expensive habit like smoking, every cent counts. :D
  • Customs
o   If you have ANY food to declare, please do so! Australia Customs are very particular about this and often do thorough random checks.
International baggage carousel
o   Normally they will let factory packaged food items through; but you can say bye-bye to your homemade sambal chilli or any spices loosely packed in plastic bags.
  • Collecting your luggage
o   For international flights, the luggage collection area is in a secured area with lots of security and custom officials around.
o   But if you are travelling to Melbourne on a domestic flight, SPRINT to the luggage collection area if you can! It is open to the public and anyone can go there, pick up your luggage and walk off! I have heard of quite a few cases of stolen luggage so you have been WARNED!
  • Changing money
o   Foreign exchange rates in Melbourne are terrible; especially at the airport. Wait till you get to the city if you can.
o   If you are coming from Asia, do yourself a favour and change the cash before you come.
  • Transport to CBD
o   Due to commercial agreements with the Airport operators, other than taxis, there are no other forms of public transport from the Airport! Ridiculous isn’t it?!
o   There is the privately operated Skybus to the CBD bus terminus, but it is grossly overpriced at $16 per person. Also since you are moving to Melbourne, you would probably have lots of luggage and I would rule out this option.
o   There are no taxi touts in Melbourne so you can make your way leisurely to the official taxi queue un-harassed. No such thing as private taxis either.
o   Taxis are notoriously expensive in Australia and it costs around $50 or so to take a taxi from the Airport to Melbourne CBD. Unlike many other countries, there is no taxi airport surcharge.
o   Tipping the driver is optional; I only do so if the driver provides service with a smile and volunteers to help out with the luggage.
o   You can request for a minivan Taxi if you have a large family or tons of luggage! The fare per kilometre is a bit more expensive but definitely worth considering for comfort.

If you have any comments about this post or questions about arriving in Melbourne in general, please feel free to post a comment for a prompt reply. Always glad to help !

Now that you have arrived in Melbourne Australia, let’s find you somewhere to stay …

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moving to Melbourne Australia - A New Beginning ..

Welcome to Melbourne Ahoy! – The ultimate newcomer’s guide to settling down in beautiful Melbourne, Australia.

If you are going to migrate, planning, recently relocated or even just dreaming about moving to Melbourne, then it is an absolutely MUST to visit this Blog frequently!

What can you expect to find here?

Lots of practical tips, real-life shared experiences, step-by-step walkthroughs, etc that will help make your life transition to this lovely city as smooth as possible.

Basically, a ONE-STOP site for all things related to moving to Melbourne. A lot of the tips found here can also be applied to Australia in general. 

Why am I creating this Blog?

To HELP anyone moving to Melbourne have a stress and pain-free experience full of certainty and pleasant memories.
When I was first planning to migrate to Melbourne, I trawled through the library, bookstore and of course the internet in search of a SIMPLE and STRAIGHTFORWARD guide for someone like me.

Most of the material I found was very high level and abstract. Sure it helped to give me a general idea but none of them were really practical that I could apply immediately.

And while there were various sources that I eventually got my information from (e.g. tax website), it was far from a straightforward process and involved hours upon hours of research. And even then, the information was not very to consume.

All these led to a lot of unwelcome uncertainty heaped upon the stress of moving to totally new environment. So hence this blog .. wished I had found a Blog like this when I was moving here all those years ago !! … :)

How do I make full use of this Blog?

To take full advantage of this Blog, please free to comment, ask any questions or simply seek advice about each of my Blog posts. I will commit to monitoring the comments frequently and answering every question to the best of my ability.

Also, any requests for a Blog post on a specific topic is very much welcome too!

Finally, I hope you enjoy reading the posts here and found that the information here has help to make your new life in Melbourne just a little bit better. :)

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