How is Melbourne to live in? (and AU's east coast in general)

2 months 4 days ago #32865 by MCImes
Somewhat dreaming / considering options for our future,
My wife and I are beginning to kick around the idea of moving overseas (leaving the US) in the medium-term future, and Australia's east coast is high on our list of places we're interested in. Melbourne specifically is at the top of our list so far but Adelaide, Sydney, Newcastle, and Brisbane could possibly considered too.

To any locals, how's life in AU? We are attracted to Australia because it ranks high on standard of living and self reported happiness lists, speaks English, and I have a job field that is on the priority immigration list (and surfski is very popular!)

1. what do locals know that an outsider may not consider about your culture, laws, history, customs, etc. Anything in particular that makes Australia good, bad, or goofy that doesnt get a lot of international press?

2. We value things to do on nights and weekends, so restaurants, bars, arts, culture, music, nature, ocean access, a thriving, young-ish neighborhood would be valued by us. any particular area of the city (or any city) we should look at more closely?

3. housing cost seems quite high in the cities. A quick search shows that $500k AUD is not difficult to spend within 20km of any city center, and that doesnt buy you a palace by any means. Is housing affordability a persistent problem or does the average wage make up for it. I just googled AU's median pay and ~$75-80k/yr doesnt seem like enough to live within 20km of the city in a decent neighborhood, but the minimum wage of ~18/hr is pretty good by US standards. If I have a mid-career professional job, is ~$100k+/yr a reasonable salary?

Thanks for any thoughts

Current Boats: Old Fenn XT, Stellar SR g1
Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen0
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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2 months 4 days ago #32866 by zachhandler
Marcus are you asking or just bragging? That is awesome. Go for it! If things don’t work out you can always come back.

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2 months 3 days ago #32867 by robin.mousley
This would be a good question to ask on quora too...

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 months 3 days ago #32868 by Atlas
Hi MCImes.

I've lived in Melbourne most of my life. I suppose that means that either I really like it or I'm very unadventurous.

I do like living here but I'm not qualified to say it's better or worse than anywhere else. It is certainly very expensive and very busy. I think that means that plenty of other people like living here too.

The art and culture scene here is very good and there is heaps of live sport but the paddling scene is pretty average. The latter mystifies me but doesn't bother me. We have great waters to paddle in and I'm happy to do it on my own.

I have to say that I really like Sydney too. I've never lived there but I enjoy visiting. It's always a bit warmer than Melbourne although it can be a bit humid for my liking. There is a pretty big paddling scene there. Sydney Harbour is every bit as beautiful as it's made out to be. Not surprisingly Sydney is even busier and more expensive than Melbourne. I wouldn't mind living there... But only if I was rich. If you don't have easy access to the harbour or the ocean I'm not sure it would be better than any other city.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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2 months 3 days ago #32869 by MCImes
Certainly not bragging Zach, just asking at this point. My wife has taken a liking to Australia, I'm not opposed, and we're toying around with the idea of giving it a go. Her sister lived down there for a while and liked it. A lot of things would have to fall in place, and even if they did we probably wouldn't move for a couple-few years, but its something we're seriously considering for the future.

Good idea with Quora rob, I used to read quora a lot but have kinda forgotten about it lately. I'll ask over there too. I know this is a little OT but paddlers are some of the better people around IMO, so Im curious what this group thinks, if anything.

Thanks again for the thoughts Atlas. You've been quite helpful lately. I was curious about the humidity further north. Our favorite climate zone, cold summer Mediterranean, is actually around Adelaide but my company's closest distributor is in Melbourne so that's where we'd probably end up if things ever worked out. My wife also likes Sydney a lot but like you say its so expensive I dont think it would be practical.

Do you paddle around the bay or do you drive out to the ocean? The distributor I would likely work at is about 16km north of downtown, so I was pondering how far i'd have to drive to get to the water.
I suppose with a bay as big as melbourne's, you still get some pretty decent waves too?

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Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen0
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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2 months 3 days ago #32870 by Atlas
Port Phillip is quite shallow and being so wide can get pretty rough as you mentioned so there are regular opportunities for downwinders in semi protected waters. I mostly paddle on Western Port because I live down that way. Western Port is really interesting because if you check it out on a map you can see the potential for ocean swell. The tidal movement is much lager than in Port Phillip because of the small opening of "The Heads" in Port Phillip so Western Port can be tricky but very rewarding when everything lines up.
Melbourne's climate or more specifically the weather is quite variable. It is sometimes said that if you don't like Melbourne's weather; just wait five minutes. I quite like the contrast between seasons but some people hate our cold wet winters. I don't think winter here is too bad. It doesn't stop me paddling or riding my bike to work. Speaking of cycling; there's a big cycling scene in Melbourne. Maybe that's why the paddling scene is a bit ordinary.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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2 months 2 days ago - 2 months 2 days ago #32871 by feeny
1. Australia like most places has it's own unique culture. For example, we prefer not to have a firearm culture and we seem to naturally believe in public health care. We fund our healthcare by making alcohol and tobacco very expensive (both have high excise tax, which goes towards public health), as well as a "medicare levy" on income. We don't have a bill of rights, nor do we have a "popular" constitution. Most Australians couldn't quote a single clause from our constitution, and instead would quote lines from a popular comedy movie, called "The Castle" (worth a watch :-) ). Oh, and voting is compulsory in Australia, that's how we roll. This all contributes to a more frank debate when it comes to political issues, although at the moment our political parties seem to have forgotten to discuss anything meaningful, which may just be normal for these times. We are a very large country, with a relatively small population base that provides unique challenges and as a result, there are few if any mid sized cities in Australia. That means that there is at least one flight approximately every hour from any major city to any major city. AFL (Aussie Rules Football), Cricket and Rugby are the major sports followed, and Australia goes nuts over sport. If you listen to the national news radio, 15 minutes of every hour is dedicated to sport. There are two public holidays in Victoria (the state Melbourne is in) dedicated to sporting events, one the Melbourne Cup (a horse race) and two, Grand Final Day, for the AFL grand final. When it comes to labour laws, Australia has a much better minimum pay rate than say the USA, as well as entitlements, with employees receiving a minimum of 4 weeks paid annual leave per year, plus 2 weeks of public holidays per year, plus a minimum of 10 days paid personal per year, plus a one-off "long service" leave entitlement, which works out to 3 months paid leave every 10 years. Also, superannuation (which is like a 401k in the USA) is mandatory for Australian companies to guarantee on behalf of employees. That guarantee is a minimum extra 9.5% on top of normal salary. For this reason, Australians don't usually tip, as people are presumed to be paid fairly, although from time to time Australians will tip at a restaurant for a meal. However, if you tip your hairdresser in Australia, they will look at you with confusion and wonder if they did something wrong.

2. Melbourne topped the "most liveable city" every year from 2010-2017 and has been in the top 3 or so cities every year since the survey begun. Melbourne came second in this survey in 2018 but still topped the index for arts, culture etc. Anywhere in the inner-city will tick this box. Most of those locations can put you either directly onto Port Philip Bay, or within a 15 minute drive or so. Very accessible for a paddle!

3. Housing cost is high, and Australia is starting to acknowledge it has a housing affordability issue. This has been caused by a number of factors and there is a "royal commission into banking industries" (basically the highest level judicial enquiry possible) that has uncovered abhorrent behaviour across the financial sector that may be behind some of this. Many believe that the housing affordability issue now has momentum that is bringing prices back down, whilst many others believe that house prices only ever go up. So far, in the past year, house prices are down 7% in Sydney and a little less in Melbourne, with a political and economic environment that on the surface would appear to support house prices continuing to ease. Yes, $100k p.a. for a professional job is well reasonable, particularly in Melbourne or Sydney.

4. Paddling scene: The paddling scene in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth is stronger, largely as a function of these cities being located directly on the ocean vs. the bay, plus experiencing warmer weather and water. The water in Port Philip Bay drops to 10C in winter, which, by Australian standards is cold. That said, Melbourne has a fairly robust paddling scene, the Peak Adventure squad is well attended and goes out for squad sessions every day of the week. There are some terrific downwind routes around Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay, and this week alone there is 20+ knots of wind on 3 or 4 days of the week, which means there will be downwind paddling. For world class surf and ocean paddling, Torquay is just an easy hour or so drive away.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32903 by Stew
I moved to Australia in 2000 from Ireland. It really is a fantastic place, but like anywhere, does have its challenges also. In pure paddling terms, it is amazing and you really can enjoy every all aspects of the sport in some stunning places right across the country.

It's definitely not a cheap place to live anymore, certainly in metro areas, so do your research. I'd definitely recommend trying it, what's the worst that could happen? You don't like it and move back home.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32908 by ysu
I've moved to Aus in 2001, from Middle-eastern Europe. It was an incredible, awesome change. Our impression was that people are extremely friendly here compared to anything over there, services are darn good, and you can live on a single salary. If you've two average salaries, you'd have no problems buying house, car, and living comfortably. (unless you have a tendency for wastefulness/extravagance) This sadly has changed a bit for the worse in the last few years with the "housing bubble", but the prices may still come back.

You've touched on the biggest problem point; housing. It's simply incredibly expensive. Forget buying anything within Sydney; you cannot start below a million AUD. Renting is similarly over the top.

We've been lucky in this regard and own a house on the Central Coast (just north of Sydney) fully paid now. We bought a few years back, and made a lucky trade-up at seemingly the best time.

Central Coast is a very beautiful area, much cheaper compared to Sydney (Although AUD $500k won't get you much nowadays, sadly, even here!), lots of paddling & hiking locations, and the weather is so mild, that we've got no winter clothing bar for skiing holidays. Close to the ocean the summers are bearable, too. The one issue is jobs. A lot of people need to daily commute to Sydney, and that's not fun. (1.5-2hrs each way)

But if you can find local work, or somehow work from home, you're good.

Best of luck in any case!

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32909 by MCImes
Thanks everyone. All very good info that is great to hear from first hand sources - and paddlers too. I value the opinion of you guys much more than the average internet folk.

Basically sounds like if we can afford to live there it would be a worth while endeavor. I've decided (and science supports) happiness falls off after a 30 minute commute, so finding a place to live within a half hour of work would be a big deciding factor. Like I said, any move is years out, but getting some momentum behind the train takes a while. Hopefully things progress well because almost everything I read about Australia seems good, though the proposed cyber security bill that mandates a backdoor to encryption is extremely dangerous. Minus that, au seems like the land of happy people and good waves :)

Feel free to chime in with any more thoughts too.

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Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen0
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32920 by RedBack
Hey Marcus,

May I ask what sort of work you and your wife do?

The reason for the question is that if you can avoid actually living in the capital cities, the cost of housing is much lower and the quality of life potentially better.

I live on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and whilst it's very much a tourist destination, there's a lot of "smart" industry development happening here at present and the region's potential is enormous.

There's a focus on high tech industries, and Australia's newest international submarine internet cable will come ashore here, providing local businesses with a high-speed gateway to the world. Consequently, many high-tech companies are looking to relocate here or establish significant offices in the region.

In fact, there's a huge investment in infrastructure occurring here at present with new hospitals, a new CBD, new international airport and significant upgrades to transport infrastructure.

And the paddling? Fantastic! There's a very large community of local paddlers and they share a camaraderie you seldom find elsewhere. It's not uncommon to go for a paddle on a Saturday morning and find there are literally 100 other guys out there enjoying the waves, clean water and sunshine, not to mention the whales, dolphins, and turtles.

I guess it's the fact that the ocean here never drops below 20C, - even in winter.

(There's standing joke in this part of the world when responding to questions from "southerners" about our winters, - Q: "How was winter this year?" A: "Fantastic! It was on a Thursday I think...")

Anyway, - if you're interested, here is a KPMG report on the Sunshine Coast and it's future potential:

maroochydore-city.com.au/sites/default/f...eport_FA_Digital.pdf

Good luck with your adventure, wherever it may take you!

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32943 by MCImes
All good to know redback, thanks.

I am in the manufacturing industry. I started as a machinist years ago but now work for a large OEM and would prefer to stay in sales or support at an OEM / Distributor level. Our distributor has a few offices in Australia, but they are all within about 20km of city centers. Getting a job with them is likely my easiest path into AU, but we're open to whatever opportunities are available.

Im going to return to school for a professional degree which should open up some more opportunities as well, so like you say if something off the beaten path became available we'd give it serious consideration. I'll have to do some research into the sunshine coast. Thanks for the idea.

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Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen0
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32944 by zachhandler
From what I have heard you cant walk down the beach in the sunshine coast without tripping over a lightly used cheap carbon fenn xt-s.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32946 by RedBack
Based on your background, I though you might find this interesting.



Rather than heavy manufacturing, the Sunshine Coast is wanting to focus on "Boutique" manufacturing enterprises and this is an example of the type of company we're looking to attract.

At the moment, they're in Melbourne, but who knows where they will be in 2 or 3 years... ;-)

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1 month 3 weeks ago #32947 by RedBack
That's not true!

Why, just last Saturday I walked down the beach and managed to not to trip over almost all of them...!

OK, - it took effort and concentration, - fair call.

Mind you, with Clint Robinson as Epic's local ambassador, there's a fair few of those to avoid as well! :-)

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