This weeks Travel Tip comes from a pal of mine, Joe,has recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia, for a very short time, before he had to relocate to Brisbane again and you will soon find out why. You will also read about the perils of job hunting and what you can do to avoid pain and tears, thanks to his first hand experience. Joe a.k.a. Nipples (don’t ask) was one of the first bloggers who found my blog way back when I was just starting out as a blogger, and really encouraged me to pursue blogging with passion. He has an amazing blog called Lots of Cravings and here is his post on 5 Things to Speedily and Successfully Relocate to another Country.
Relocating to another country is never easy, with the headache starting way before you even reach the airport. You start by crying over smaller things such as missing the food in Malaysia and quickly progress to bigger things such as missing your family and friends. You will need to crack your head over how much cash to bring, how long it will take you to find a job, how you are going to move your entire 25 years worth of accumulated junk on the paltry weight limit that comes with the air ticket.. and so on and so forth.
If you think that once you board that flight, that everything will turn out cheery and bright…
.. think again!
The horror has just begun.
The decision to move down under wasn’t easy for me in the first place. Finally, after having taken the plunge and moved down under, it still wasn’t easy, at all! So to help ease your pain when relocating, let me share my own fair share of “headaches” so that you might have a smoother transition than me. If you ever plan to fly yourself to Melbourne and find a job (provided you have a PR), here are some things to consider:
Try and I mean try very hard, to see if you can secure a temporary place (ideally 2-3 months) to stay before you fly. You never know what you can find if you ask. Of all places, I ended up at a close friend’s younger brother who had a spare room right smack in the CBD. Paying AUD 260 a week for a fully furnished room which had Internet, heating, TV, and Playstation 3, worked out to be even cheaper than staying at a backpackers. No deposit, no upfront rent and no need to sort out admin work! Staying at a hotel is not an option, unless you printed money in your last job. Try the internet if you are more adventurous in renting a room with strangers at http://melbourne.gumtree.com.au.
If you are adamant about finding your own place(like I was), then look for a place that is near a tram or train stop. Ideally, you would want to be in the midst of the CBD, so that it isn’t too hard to attend job interviews. Places in the city will set you back by AUD350-400 a week for a 1 bedroom apartment (lucky if it is furnished but usually unfurnished). Go out 1-2 suburbs away from the CBD and you can get something in the AUD200-300 range. Just make sure you don’t go out to Zone 2 of the train lines because ticket prices are much more expensive from there. http://www.metrotrains.com.au/.
Getting your own place takes time; ideally give yourself 3-5 days for viewing and comparing. Remember you got to prove that you have a source of income or a letter from your parents guaranteeing that they will send you money every month to pay the rent (which can be embarrassing especially if you had been leaching off them). Things you might want to know as well, is that signing a lease, involves a payment of 4-6 weeks rent as a bond and another 2-4 weeks of upfront rent. Factor in the furniture that you will need, means you will need to budget around 3-4k for a simple bed, sofa, cupboards, kitchen utensils and etc.
Never enter into a lease without finding a job first, if possible. 2 weeks into my lease and I had to relocate interstate and the damage? AUD1+k.. Not funny! Once you get the lease agreement signed, remember you have to go sign up for your own electricity, water, telephone and internet accounts. Make sure you call them in advance before moving in, if not you might be living in a dark house with cold showers for company:P
Eating to me is about the next most important thing, after finding a bed to sleep in. One thing you need to do is to stop converting the currency when it comes to food. Don’t dream of your RM3-4 noodles at the coffee shops because you won’t get any and will probably starve.
Cooking can be quite a lot of fun but you do need to spend a fair bit to buy all the necessities, like your oil, sauces, seasoning and what not. That aside, bargains are aplenty especially on Tuesday and Sunday afternoons (just before closing) at the Queen Victoria Market; you get 1-2 dollar bags of vegetables and fruits or half priced meat and seafood. The local supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths also have weekly bargains so stock them up when it comes around. Learning how to cook can help pass time especially if you aren’t getting any responses to your applications. Over the months, I have learnt how to use the oven to roast chicken drumsticks, made a better steak and even cook a risotto.
Want to live more frugally? You can always go down the route of “instant”, try Indo Mee, at 40 cents a packet and a fried egg or canned soup for under AUD2!
Still can’t be bothered? Try these cheap eats:
Don Don (321 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000) – Craving for salmon sashimi? Get plentiful on top of rice for AUD8.90.
Camy Shanghai Dumplings (25 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne, 3000) – Famous for their cheap dumplings; 12 dumplings for AUD6 explains the long queue through the night.
Hanaichi (QV Square, Melbourne, 3000) – Their Japanese Curry Chicken or Pork Rice or Katsudon is to die for and it can be all yours for AUD 6.80.
Other great places for Food:
Rose Garden (435 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000) – Roast duck rice, Braised eggplant with minced pork rice and a ton of other rice and noodle dishes, prices between AUD 6-8. Take away and split it into two meals if you are a small eater.
Pacific BBQ (213 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 3000) – Mouth watering roast duck rice with portions enough for 2 small eaters, slightly pricier at AUD10-11.
Pho Dzung (234 Russell Street, Melbourne, 3000) with Pho starting from AUD8. For AUD10-11, get the enormous one and take away half for your next meal.
3. Bank account
Unless you plan to stash all your cash under the pillows, first thing to do when you arrive is to open a bank account. Choose any of the Big 4 and you will be fine, namely: Commonwealth, NAB, Anz or Westpac. Most of them issue a debit card that has a Mastercard or Visa function and give similar interest rates for saving. Another thing you got to do is to apply for a Tax File Number. Without this, banks will charge the maximum tax rate of 40 something percent on your interest! Visit the ATO website to get that sorted.
4. Look for work
Remember the following websites by heart: seek.com.au and mycareer.com.au. The two directories will be more than enough for you to look for jobs. Look out for recruitment agents like Hays, Robert Walters, Hudsons, Chandler Macleod, Freedom, Westaff and the list goes on! Drop your ego and remember a part time job is better than no job!
In Malaysia we are blessed (or cursed) with townships sprouting up, on every corner possible, making it impossible to travel about without a car. Not only that, the weather is just not conducive for walking. Walk a kilometre and you would be soaked in sweat.
Melbourne is a different story. Did you know with approximately 21.5 million square feet in space, it is only slightly bigger than Mid Valley City (mall, hotels, condominium and etc) which is 18 million square feet in size? With a CBD that is 2km by 1km, every nook and corner serves a purpose and it serves it well. So the places to explore?
Chinatown – Junction of Swanston Street and Little Bourke Street. Get your instant curry packets to remind yourself of home. Otherwise indulge in Asian delights that are littered around this side of town.
Queen Victoria Market – Your one stop shop for fresh produce. Just looking at the bright red meat and the pink salmon fillets and can make you go weak at the knees.
Bourke Street Mall – The centre of attraction and that is where the shopping is at.
Flinders St Station – An iconic train station and a hop from here is, Federation Square, which houses cultural events and exhibitions and Crown Casino at Southbank where entertainment extends beyond gambling.
Flinders Lane – Fancy street art and fine dining? This quaint lane is a joy to behold.
Hardware Lane – Littered with cafes and restaurants, you be surprised it is just a street away from the main Elizabeth Street of Melbourne.
Done with memorising the street names? Try remembering the horizontal streets with the names “King William and Queen Elizabeth”. You just need to remember from left to right; Spencer, King, William followed by Queen, Elizabeth then Swanston, Russell, Exhibition and Spring.
Finished with the CBD? Buy the weekend saver tickets and it’s only AUD3 for a whole day of tram, train and bus rides! Go down to Prahran where the famous Chapel St is, St Kilda for the beach, Richmond for the Vietnamese experience and Yarra Park where the Rod Laver arena and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is. Got a budget? Take tours from AUD99 a day out to the Great Ocean Road, the Yarra Valley wineries or Philip Island.
One of my favourite ways to learn about the area was to visit all the famous coffee places. With such an immense coffee culture, spend AUD3.50 for a cup at all these famous places: Brother Baba Budan, Sensory Lab, Seven Seeds, Market Lane or St Ali. Learn the differences between a flat white, latte, mocha and a cappuccino or an espresso from a ristretto or a cold drip from a syphon filter.
Once you are done with the exploration bit, let’s hope you have that job offer on the table. Anyway, even-though this was a lengthy post, there is still lots more to tell. Due to time constraints (and Ciki’s evil stare), I will cut it short and end right here. However, I am only an email away, so if you want to find out more, please write me and I will be happy to assist if I can!
About this week’s Guest writer:
- “Joe” who is constantly craving is a cool dude who’s passions in life are food, food photography.. er, is there much more to life!? Anyway, to know more about this fun loving guy, just check out his space/blog, where there are lots of delicious photos and writings on food floating around. Feel free to email him at chen.z.jun(at)gmail (dot)com
Check out Joe’s Blog : here
Follow Joe on Twitter: @lotsofcravings
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOE OF LOTSOFCRAVINGS DOT COM