Author Topic: How to have a badass start in Brisbane, or MMM tips for soon to be Australian  (Read 1972 times)

radek

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After three decades on the old continent I'll move to Australia at the end of October and thought about slowly learning what to (not) do before or right after arrival to stay badass as much as it is possible.

Browsing through the forum I saw  several investing threads specific to Australia and wouldn't like to duplicate any discussions from there before I get myself acquainted. Besides my savings and investments are spread across two (soon three) different countries and will most likely need a separate topic ;)

What I'd like to focus here is some pointers that I think are rather scarce or unclear both on forum and internet and that relates to bunch of good tips on how to organize your life to avoid waste and accumulate stash while leaving good life. Seeing some posts by Australian posters here made me think that perhaps I cold ask for some advice.

Some background info: my job is confirmed and am now going through visa application. I'll be working at university with a fixed 2 year contract and it is unclear to me if and for how long I stay.

Some first financial decisions that started to appear and I would appreciate some advice are as follows:

- Health insurance: as a visa 457 holder I'll be required to sort out my insurance. Uni has an agreement with BUPA and basic care model should set me back 25$ per week. Is that reasonable offer or should I hunt for something better?

- Brisbane living: Any Brisbane residents here? Or anybody that could offer some pointers on where to live in the city? My job will be on St Lucia campus and biking to work is super strong priority. I do not need any luxuries but would somehow like to be connected to 'city' more than 'suburbs'. Am also considering having one spare room to have it listed on AirBnB (currently doing it in Switzerland, and although it doesn't provide any huge income - it is a source of money and good fun for me and my partner).

- Car: As mentioned above, bike is our main mode of transport on daily basis. But I'd like to get a car at some stage. Preference would go to sth small or a budget camper - we both love to spend time outdoor and have an old bus here that provides us with great cheap weekends and holidays. So within a reason - would like to repeat that. I opt for (and know a little bit about) German cars but already saw that those will be pricey and I will have to search for sth else. Any pointers here? Where to get one? Private ad or dealer? Some reliable garages recommended by you?

- Practicalities: Any other important issues to remember when setting up life there: banking? credit cards? phone? internet?

Will be happy to hear about even more issues if something else comes to your minds. Would be awesome to grow this topic to a small MMM Australian relocation wiki =)

Thanks!

Some good info existing in older posts:

- Groceries in Australia https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/groceries-in-australia
- Australian Investing Thread https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/australian-investing-thread/


« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 03:01:33 AM by radek »

deborah

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It is Australia rather than Austria.

I suspect that the Uni will have a good deal on health insurance for foreigners - they generally do - as an Australian, I really don't know how much these sort of health insurance products normally cost, as they are for people trying to access our health system, which we already have access to. We have a lot of international students in Australia, so I would also think that the Uni would have a ton of resources for you - and they are likely to be mustachian resources!

Brisbane is quite warm and has very little temperature variation. When I lived there as a child, I only had one winter jacket. It does get cold occasionally, and is having a cold week this week. It is also located near a lot of World Heritage areas - the Gondwanaland forests are to the south west (fifty separate reserves totaling 366,500 hectares (906,000 acres)), and Fraser Island to the north (world's largest sand island) - both can be reached within a day trip if you push it. There's also the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. It has mosquitoes. It is subtropical, so when it rains, it buckets down, but it doesn't rain that often. When you go to the beach, make sure you swim where it is patrolled, so you don't have sharks, rips or blue bottles to contend with.

If you think European cars in Australia are expensive, you will need to get an expensive car. I think most similar cars are similar prices, whether they are European or Asian. We may or may not still have our own car industry, so everything is (or soon will be) imported. Australia is a food bowl and exports a lot of food, but we are a fair distance from everywhere else, so although we don't have much in the way of tariffs, things like cars tend to cost more.

I'm not sure about Brisbane AirBnb - some places in Australia have things against it if you are renting yourself. But I don't really know anything about this side of things.

alsoknownasDean

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Yeah I'm not sure how the rules go with 457s (I thought the visa class was abolished). $25 a month for private health insurance seems very cheap (I'm used to around $100 a month for a single person being at the lower end for private health insurance). Maybe it's per week? I'm not sure if 457 visa holders are eligible for Medicare (our universal healthcare system, funded by a 2% levy on most taxpayers), for example.

The perception here is that all European cars are 'prestige' and have a reputation for being expensive to maintain (although many people think European cars start and end at BMW/Merc/Audi). As such, Japanese cars (especially Toyota and Mazda), Korean cars, and Holden/Ford are far more common. I used to own a Peugeot and took it to a mechanic that specialised in the brand. You'll have no trouble finding VWs, and a number of Opel vehicles were sold here with Holden badges (and for a brief period under the Opel brand itself). Carsales (carsales.com.au) and Gumtree (gumtree.com.au) are common places to buy a car (and Gumtree for most other things too).

The big 4 banks probably offer all sorts of services for people moving to Australia, and most transaction accounts would come with a Visa or Mastercard debit card. There's often cheaper options with other banks if you shop around though. Finder.com.au can be used to compare services.

With mobile phones, are you taking your own or buying a new one here? It's easy enough to buy a prepaid SIM with one of the big three carriers or some of the larger MVNOs (supermarkets, convenience stores, the arrivals section at the airport, etc), and porting numbers is fairly easy. Typically you can buy a starter pack from one of the big three at a discounted price at Coles or Woolworths. Postpaid contracts (especially with phones) are more common, but might be unavailable to temporary residents. Although, there's always room to optimise those expenses. :)

deborah

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I'm pretty sure the $25 a month is to get in the door at a doctor's surgery or the hospital, and is specifically for foreigners (I had someone working for me once who had that sort of insurance, but I don't know what it cost him).

Sydneystache

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I don't live in Brisbane but spent a week there recently for work.

Don't count on Airbnb as a source of income yet. Strata committees here are cracking down on Airbnb lets. See if you can ask what available short-term accommodation there are before deciding which 'burb you want to be in. This will allow you to do a proper reccie.

Bike paths are great in Brissie! If I were to live there, South Bank is the hip and happening place with cafes and the arts. But it can get awfully eccie. I think there's a ferry service to Sta Lucia so if you can get on a bike path or ferry stop your commute to work will be awesome.

The weather is awfully tropical and humid so no Swiss climes for you. If you miss the cold, visit Tassie. On the bright side you'll have access to amazing fruits. There's a phrase here called "going troppo" - look it up :-)

Try HCF, Medibank for other health insurance choices as BUPA can be rather nasty.

Don't get a German car as the parts and service costs will kill you as Australia is an island and we don't have a strong manufacturing base anymore so all these car parts need to be imported. Even a humble VW Golf will have a service cost starting at $1K. Try a Holden (GM), Ford or Toyota instead as they have locally made parts still.

Get an Aussie dictionary if you need any translation of the above.

Bee21

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The area around st lucia is very bikeable, public transport is fairly reasonable around there, but the rents are shocking. Your mustachian little heart will be bleeding when you see the crappy 2 BR places renting for 800 a week.. It is one of the most expensive areas of brisbane to rent, so you will probably have to compromise , ie rent within biking distance for a ton or move further out and drive. You will need a car to make the most of Queensland, I wouldn't scrimp on it, make the most of your stay and check out everything you can (that might mean getting a 4wD, so I should duck for cover now. But seriously, if you enjoy the outdoors, don't get an econobox). There are some fantastic places within an hour either direction.

Health ins sounds reasonable. They are all nasty. Be prepared that they don't cover everything.

Ps. If you can bike in the summer heat and humidity, you are a hero😁 summers are brutal around here.

zinny1

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I'm a Brisbanite. Due to the Green Bridge (Eleanor Schonell Bridge more officially) St Lucia is more accessible than ever and biking to Uni is a popular choice. You can also make use of a great bus network on days of tropical downpours when cycling may not be an attractive option. Showers and locked bike rooms are available in many of the faculty buildings for Staff so the heat/sweat isn't too much of an issue. Lots of options for suburbs - I'd personally choose West End/Highgate Hill or Milton/Auchenflower - bike paths almost 100% of the way to UQ.

Health Insurance - have a read of http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/overseas/457visa.htm and use that info to see what you need to consider. I would recommend having some savings set aside for 'self insurance' as free GP visits aren't always available (and maybe not at all for 457 visa holders from Switzerland?) and a hospital trip for a broken bone may cost a few hundred $$ and your insurance may only cover 50% or less.

The suburbs I have mentioned above may be worth a look - don't like your chances with Air BnB as a renter - subletting is usually not allowed.

Car - I'd get a second hand new-ish hyundai (i20 and i30 have won multiple awards, cheap to run. cheap to insure and cheap to maintain) you'd get a very good i30 for ~$8K i20's even less (Second Hand cars are $$$$ in Australia).

Practicalities - You are unlikely to be eligible for a credit card for a few months as you are a temporary resident who could disappear anytime. Savings interest rates are low (around 2% +/- 0.5%). Phone plans are more expensive for less data/calls/texts than just about the rest of the world so take your time to find a plan that suits you. Home internet is also dearer than Europe and the US.

Bonuses: As a UQ employee you will get 17.75% of your gross pay into your Super (pension) account - the usual amount for most workers is 9% so you're getting a big bonus there. You will also likely have access to a staff kitchen at work so you can bring your lunch. Cheap eats in West End (lots of international cuisine - meals for $10 are possible).

Enjoy!

radek

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Thank you very much for tips @deborah! Particularly for outdoor and

It is Australia rather than Austria.

And my sincere apologies for a typo! Embarrassing.. and already corrected in original post

Brisbane is quite warm and has very little temperature variation. When I lived there as a child, I only had one winter jacket. It does get cold occasionally, and is having a cold week this week.

I've already researched that part and looking forward to a change of climate and sliming down my small amount of winter clothes even more =)

And great to hear about the outdoor options This part I'm very very much looking forward to. Stumlbed upon 'List of Queensland's Q150 Icons Wikipedia list (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Queensland%27s_Q150_Icons)and will definitely work my way through this list.'

As for health insurance - I do apologize for not providing more details. I now got access to the offer of Bupa and read a bit more what I need (details in attachment). 25$ quote referred to weekly insurance for me. I'm hesitating now between essential and gold cover. Basic difference seems to be that the gold cover would set me back 20$ more per week in return for more extended coverage. Either of the option I'll manage to 'subsidize' with additional travel/work insurance from Poland that additionally covers medical expenditures.

radek

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Thank you @alsoknownasDean!

$25 a month for private health insurance seems very cheap (I'm used to around $100 a month for a single person being at the lower end for private health insurance). Maybe it's per week? I'm not sure if 457 visa holders are eligible for Medicare (our universal healthcare system, funded by a 2% levy on most taxpayers), for example.

Again, my apologies for confusion. More details are in response above. It is weekly price and offers basic minimum required for visa application. This I have no other option as to get (with or without Bupa).

The perception here is that all European cars are 'prestige' and have a reputation for being expensive to maintain (although many people think European cars start and end at BMW/Merc/Audi). As such, Japanese cars (especially Toyota and Mazda), Korean cars, and Holden/Ford are far more common. I used to own a Peugeot and took it to a mechanic that specialised in the brand. You'll have no trouble finding VWs, and a number of Opel vehicles were sold here with Holden badges (and for a brief period under the Opel brand itself). Carsales (carsales.com.au) and Gumtree (gumtree.com.au) are common places to buy a car (and Gumtree for most other things too).

Thanks for the pointers! Will do my research on prices and models and report back what I managed to achieve.

The big 4 banks probably offer all sorts of services for people moving to Australia, and most transaction accounts would come with a Visa or Mastercard debit card. There's often cheaper options with other banks if you shop around though. Finder.com.au can be used to compare services.

This is good to know. I expected that the start might be hard and will explore where and how I could keep my credit card. One option is to hold to my Swiss account (but being abroad would increase my monthly fee from 5 to 25 CHF (sic!)). Alternative that I want to explore on my next trip to Poland is to go back to banking there. Having some reasonable stash and permanent address there I might get free or very cheap account and credit card will not be an issue. Otherwise I'll have to pester my partner for booking all plane tickets ;)

As for more general banking. Any useful pointers here? Barefoot Investor page recommended ME bank (http://mebank.com.au/lps/eta/me-bank-everyday-transaction-account/) and ING direct (https://www.ingdirect.com.au/everyday-banking.html) for their commitment to no ATM fees (is that really such an issue? o_O). They also recommend citi bank credit card for low international fees. Any comments suggestions here?

With mobile phones, are you taking your own or buying a new one here? It's easy enough to buy a prepaid SIM with one of the big three carriers or some of the larger MVNOs (supermarkets, convenience stores, the arrivals section at the airport, etc), and porting numbers is fairly easy. Typically you can buy a starter pack from one of the big three at a discounted price at Coles or Woolworths. Postpaid contracts (especially with phones) are more common, but might be unavailable to temporary residents. Although, there's always room to optimise those expenses. :)

This is great resource. I've been choosing prepaid phones for many years now and will come with an unlocked phone. So only SIM is needed. Will go through yor resouces and post / ask back in case of troubles.

radek

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Thank you @Sydneystache - lots of good tips and I can slowly get used to the language =)

Don't count on Airbnb as a source of income yet. Strata committees here are cracking down on Airbnb lets. See if you can ask what available short-term accommodation there are before deciding which 'burb you want to be in. This will allow you to do a proper reccie.

This seems to be widely confirmed by others so we gave up on the idea and will simply try to get one bedroom flat for us.

radek

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Thanks @Bee21

You will need a car to make the most of Queensland, I wouldn't scrimp on it, make the most of your stay and check out everything you can (that might mean getting a 4wD, so I should duck for cover now. But seriously, if you enjoy the outdoors, don't get an econobox). There are some fantastic places within an hour either direction.

I agree here. In Switzerland we own an old 4x4 VW T4 bus which we converted on our own to a camper (that can be quickly converted to delivery car or 9 people carrier again..). We use the car once per week in the city to deliver one large weekly shopping (I know it's possible by bike.. but car saves time and energy here - I get enough biking to work ;). And on weekends and holidays car provides us with cheap transport and accommodation. Ideal solution for me.

Ideally, I'd like to replicate it in Australia and will investigate the market - I think it could be feasible with Toyota or Mazda replacing VW and a weekend or two invested to convert interior (if it's not a camper.. which usually saves a lot of money..).

You are also right about the benefits of 4x4. We would definitely like to travel around, climb and spend as many weekends and holidays exploring outdoors. So 4x4 could come handy here too. Car like that with a popup tent on the roof or teardrop trailer would be solid alternative (albeit costly).

One problem might appear if my partner gets a job in Australia too. The place she is in contact with is 1.5h by bike from the city. So bike will not be an option for her. Commute is ~25min by car and if she has to do it 2-4 times per week driving 4x4 or a van so often would be rather bad.

Ps. If you can bike in the summer heat and humidity, you are a hero😁 summers are brutal around here.

I'm accepting the challenge. I've survived as the sole biker in my office during the harshest winters here (and that with many hard core bikers around) so as long as the campus offers me a shower - I'll try the opposite side of equation and see how much I can sweat during one commute to the office ;)

radek

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Thank you @zinny1 - local inteligence is highly appreciated.

I'm a Brisbanite. Due to the Green Bridge (Eleanor Schonell Bridge more officially) St Lucia is more accessible than ever and biking to Uni is a popular choice. You can also make use of a great bus network on days of tropical downpours when cycling may not be an attractive option. Showers and locked bike rooms are available in many of the faculty buildings for Staff so the heat/sweat isn't too much of an issue. Lots of options for suburbs - I'd personally choose West End/Highgate Hill or Milton/Auchenflower - bike paths almost 100% of the way to UQ.

Great to hear that! West End/Highgate Hill were our first choices after some explorations online but I was afraid I'd have to pay premium for living there. Milton/Auchenflower are also good alternatives. Brisbane's climbing gyms are located there and since we climb 2-3 x per week I'd love to be somewhere around.

Health Insurance - have a read of http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/healthinsurance/overseas/457visa.htm and use that info to see what you need to consider. I would recommend having some savings set aside for 'self insurance' as free GP visits aren't always available (and maybe not at all for 457 visa holders from Switzerland?) and a hospital trip for a broken bone may cost a few hundred $$ and your insurance may only cover 50% or less.

Bonuses: As a UQ employee you will get 17.75% of your gross pay into your Super (pension) account - the usual amount for most workers is 9% so you're getting a big bonus there.

This is correct - Super is on 17% level and I'm glad to hear that this is good solution. At later stage I'd have to choose between Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2 solutions. This is still unclear to me.. especially that I cannot predict at the moment how long if at all I'm going to stay in Australia after my initial 2-year contract.

You will also likely have access to a staff kitchen at work so you can bring your lunch. Cheap eats in West End (lots of international cuisine - meals for $10 are possible).

Couldn't get any better than that! =)

Gremlin

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Where is your partner's potential job located?

radek

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Where is your partner's potential job located?

Hi @Gremlin. It's southern part of Wacol suburb.

Julard

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Hi radek,

Another Brisbane resident here.

Health insurance
I used to pay around $80 a month for basic cover, but I'm not sure if your visa arrangements would impact on costs.

Living
It depends on your budget to a great extent.  Inner city suburbs have lots of character, but you'll pay for it as you will have noticed.  Also, those sweet little old wooden houses (West End, Paddington e.g.) can be very noisy, as well as hot in summer and cold in winter (we can get down to single figures at night). Are you looking for a unit or a small house?  Old with character or new with facilities?

Biking
Have you seen this? -: https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/sports-leisure/cycling-brisbane/bikeway-shared-pathway-maps.  Personally I've found bike paths to be very hit and miss.  Some routes are fantastic, but other areas have absolutely nothing and leave you to take your chances with heavy traffic. Part of the reason I largely gave up on biking.

Public transport
It's a good idea to be near a Busway station, train line, or arterial road with multiple bus services.  Counter intuitively, I think it's easier to get to UQ from the eastern side of the river than the west, as there are strong links across the Eleanor Schonell Bridge.  Get yourself a go-card as soon as possible for use on all public transport; you can buy paper tickets on boarding, but they're MUCH more expensive. Most newsagents sell go-cards and you can top up credit either in the store or online.

Cars
Private sellers as well as dealers post on carsales.com.au and I've found it a good place to start.

Cheers,
Julard

Gremlin

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Where is your partner's potential job located?

Hi @Gremlin. It's southern part of Wacol suburb.
The suburban train goes to Waco.  It's on the same line as Auchenflower/Milton.

Gremlin

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*Wacol

PDM

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Wooh! All the Brisbane MMM in the house! 

Some good tips from the other posters. Especially the one about your partner's work at Wacol. You'll definitely want to be on the Ipswich line if she plans to catch the train to work.

Brisbane is a nice place to live. It may not have the culture or excitement of the other two Australian cities, but it is a perfect place to live. Here are some of my tips:
- Public transport is a bit shit at times - the trains have been sucking hard lately.
- You'll want a place with air conditioning - at the very least in the bedroom. Sleeping on a 30 degree night is impossible.
- Motorists hate cyclists and can be abusive and down right dangerous. Many 'bike lanes' are just a picture of a bike painted onto a lane of traffic with no barrier or segregation. The bike network is a mishmash of non-connected bits.
- The bayside is pretty nice - but the beach it is not. 
- UQ is a beautiful campus with some amazingly brilliant alumni (i.e me).
- Supermarkets close early on weekends - although this is better than it used to be when they didn't open at all on Sundays.
- Coffee is good pretty much everywhere these days.
- Make sure to check out Kangaroo Point Cliffs if you're into climbing and have your own gear or just for some bouldering.
- Don't buy an apartment, they've built a bazillion in the last few years with a bazillion more planned or under construction. If renting an apartment be sure to negotiate hard on the rent. 
- The city cat is a relaxing and enjoyable ride - but it isn't particularly fast or effective to get places. Lovely though.


Fresh Bread

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Apologies, only just saw this thread.

I was a 457 visa holder and had v basic insurance but I also had reciprocal health cover because I am from the UK. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements Have a look in case you have a passport for any of those countries.

We didn't have any trouble getting credit or debit cards on 457 visas. You just need to be employed - the credit card company will call HR at your workplace. It is easier to get one once you are already here and have started work.

Check out https://www.canstar.com.au/ to find zero fee transaction accounts and credit cards etc. There are plenty of options. https://www.canstar.com.au/compare/everyday-transaction-accounts/?profile=High+-+Average+of+35+per+month&state=QLD&amount=1000&provider_link=Yes%2C+only+show+results+with+links

Solvent

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This is good to know. I expected that the start might be hard and will explore where and how I could keep my credit card. One option is to hold to my Swiss account (but being abroad would increase my monthly fee from 5 to 25 CHF (sic!)). Alternative that I want to explore on my next trip to Poland is to go back to banking there. Having some reasonable stash and permanent address there I might get free or very cheap account and credit card will not be an issue. Otherwise I'll have to pester my partner for booking all plane tickets ;)

I'm an Aussie but no longer in Australia, so I will limit my advice to this, which caught my eye.
I recently relocated away from Switzerland, but wanted to retain my Swiss account. This meant I needed to switch from UBS, which charges a 30 CHF/mo account fee on non-Swiss residents. I went with one of the Cantonal Banks, which is much cheaper. There may be others that are cheaper still (such as some of the French banks with Swiss branches). Still, if you can, closing your Swiss account may be a better option. Banking in many countries (you mention Poland as an option) is cheaper than in Switzerland, as far as custody fees are concerned. I retain a couple of Australian bank accounts (including one with a credit card) for zero annual fees.
Measure prosperity by less activity, not more. Do fewer useless things.
-J. Fisker, Early Retirement Extreme

radek

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Hi @Julard and thanks for joining! This is slowly building up to awesome Bris/Aus resource =)

Health insurance
I used to pay around $80 a month for basic cover, but I'm not sure if your visa arrangements would impact on costs.

canstar comparison is really useful here suggested by @Freshwater is really useful here: https://www.canstar.com.au/health-insurance/working-visa-health-cover/. iman & Bupa seems to have decent ~100$ packages.

Living
It depends on your budget to a great extent.  Inner city suburbs have lots of character, but you'll pay for it as you will have noticed.  Also, those sweet little old wooden houses (West End, Paddington e.g.) can be very noisy, as well as hot in summer and cold in winter (we can get down to single figures at night). Are you looking for a unit or a small house?  Old with character or new with facilities?

I think we'll be happy with 1 bedroom unit (ie. I think in Australia that means one bedroom, one living room apartment). Decent kitchen would be good since we cook a lot at home. Standard is of no big importance to us as long as there isn't anything annoying that gets into your daily life. Cold we can tolerate quite well - double digits on minus can happen here during the winter and we rarely open heaters.. but then house is decently isolated.

My take on that (and also on biking and public transport that you mentioned) is probably going to be a temporary room rental for two months at the end of the year, waiting for  my partner. I'll either bring/ship my bike or get one asap.. supplement it with go-card (thanks for info!) and get a little exploration on few n'hoods that you and others pointed me to.. as well as check few flats to orientate myself a bit more on standards and prices.. there is so much you can get from internet & good people on the MMM forum.



radek

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The suburban train goes to Waco.  It's on the same line as Auchenflower/Milton.

Cool - would be good to leave car behind. Is it possible to take your bike on the suburban train? Does it cost more?

radek

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Check out https://www.canstar.com.au/ to find zero fee transaction accounts and credit cards etc. There are plenty of options. https://www.canstar.com.au/compare/everyday-transaction-accounts/?profile=High+-+Average+of+35+per+month&state=QLD&amount=1000&provider_link=Yes%2C+only+show+results+with+links

many thanks @Freshwater  - this is really useful. Nice comparison of credit cards particularly and glad to hear there should be no issues with that.

radek

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Thanks for chiming in @PDM!

- Make sure to check out Kangaroo Point Cliffs if you're into climbing and have your own gear or just for some bouldering.
- Don't buy an apartment, they've built a bazillion in the last few years with a bazillion more planned or under construction. If renting an apartment be sure to negotiate hard on the rent. 
- The city cat is a relaxing and enjoyable ride - but it isn't particularly fast or effective to get places. Lovely though.

I've already had a (virtual) peak on Kangaroo Point Cliffs - very much looking forward to having a crag in the city! Don't have such a luxury even in Switzerland ;)

I cannot predict Australian future beyond initial two years so I think buying is not an option. But thanks for the tip on negotiating the rent! Is that a norm? Because here prices are fixed.. and not only that - in popular spots you are facing being part of a 'casting' among 20-30 applicants :/ Can rent be negotiated when you rent from owner directly? Or through an agency too?


Fresh Bread

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Thanks for chiming in @PDM!

- Make sure to check out Kangaroo Point Cliffs if you're into climbing and have your own gear or just for some bouldering.
- Don't buy an apartment, they've built a bazillion in the last few years with a bazillion more planned or under construction. If renting an apartment be sure to negotiate hard on the rent. 
- The city cat is a relaxing and enjoyable ride - but it isn't particularly fast or effective to get places. Lovely though.

I've already had a (virtual) peak on Kangaroo Point Cliffs - very much looking forward to having a crag in the city! Don't have such a luxury even in Switzerland ;)

I cannot predict Australian future beyond initial two years so I think buying is not an option. But thanks for the tip on negotiating the rent! Is that a norm? Because here prices are fixed.. and not only that - in popular spots you are facing being part of a 'casting' among 20-30 applicants :/ Can rent be negotiated when you rent from owner directly? Or through an agency too?

Interesting on the Brisbane market - in Sydney a number of years ago I heard you could offer a few bucks less than advertised but we never managed to achieve a discount because we were always looking in popular locations, I'm interested to hear how people get one! In the past year or two as a landlord in Sydney I've had people offer more than advertised to secure the place (all that happens then is that the other applicants are informed and can choose to match the higher rent so it secures nothing except higher rent for everyone).

PDM

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Renting and negotiation: pretty much depends on the type of property and demand. I was referring to units in the inner city areas. They've built thousand but not to meet a demand. Just to create investments.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-27/freebies-with-brisbane-rental-properties-amid-apartment-glut/8555420
https://www.domain.com.au/news/brisbane-apartment-oversupply-rents-predicted-to-fall-10-this-year-20170405-gvdxoh/
http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/push-to-encourage-brisbane-cbd-landlords-to-drop-office-face-rents-to-reflect-true-value/news-story/1f1f27bffaa804421bd88b473a9f6684

The process would be to find a unit, inspect it. Low ball the real estate agent. $50/week cheaper is easily done in some places.
Even better when renegotiating a lease that is due to expire. Say "we will stay for this reduced rate". Then it's over to the landlord to accept of roll the dice on finding a new tenant, time vacant and unknown quality if tenant.

R.e Sydney, no clue about why it's so mental. Crazy market.

Gremlin

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Re health insurance: I know there are different rules for non-residents to Australian permanent residents.  Not sure what they are (sorry!), I just know they are different.  A couple of non-residents in my office are not eligible for "standard" Australian health cover.

Jules13

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My hubby and I lived in Brisbane about 15 years ago (can't believe it was that long ago).  I'm American, he's the Aussie.  We still travel back every couple of years to visit family on the Sunny Coast.  I worked at UQ at St. Lucia and took either the bus (changed buses in the CBD) or the CityCat (ferry) to work.  We lived in Morningside (near the train and Hawthorne and Bulimba areas which both have CitiCat stops).  We've driven back through Morningside on visits and are surprised how it doesn't seem to change.  I don't know what the prices are like, but it was pretty cheap back then.  And we could walk to the train, ferry, bus stops, restaurants (Bulimba can get quite busy), 2 movie theatres, the library, and shopping.  I loved it and thought it was a great location.  We didn't have a car the first 18 months, but we didn't do a ton of traveling either. (we had just finished traveling so we had no money!)  I am actually surprised more has not been done with the area.  I don't know about biking to St Lucia from that area, but I'm pretty sure my neighbor did. 

Good luck!  I loved working at UQ.  I worked at the School of Human Movement Studies and our kitchen/break room had a huge balcony that overlooked the tennis courts, pool and Brisbane river.  It was gorgeous. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 09:33:22 AM by Jules13 »

Stash Potato

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The suburban train goes to Waco.  It's on the same line as Auchenflower/Milton.

Cool - would be good to leave car behind. Is it possible to take your bike on the suburban train? Does it cost more?

They don't charge to take your bike on public transport but there are rules:

Special conditions apply if you want to take your bike on the bus, train, ferry or tram.

If your bike can be carried in a bag no bigger than 90cm x 70cm x 36cm, you can travel on any bus or tram, and certain train services.

You cannot travel with your bike on the train between the hours of:

7am and 9.30am (travelling towards the city)
3pm and 6.30pm (travelling away from the city).
Bikes can be brought on trains at any time on the weekend and public holidays.

Travelling with your bike on the CityCat is subject to space availability—you may not be able to travel on your desired service if there are other bikes occupying space.

That's from the TransLink website https://translink.com.au/travel-with-us/bus-train-ferry-tram/travel-tips