Life in Australia

Moving to live in a place you hardly know is an exciting experience, and also a steep learning curve.

Why Perth?

About 10 years ago, Richard and I decided to stop off in Perth for a three-day look-see on our way from Sydney to Bali, and were really surprised how much we liked it. We’d expected a quiet, sleepy little place on the edge of nowhere, but instead we found a beautiful sunny city with tasteful modern architecture and very friendly people enjoying a great quality of life.

So when we decided to move from the UK to Australia, Perth was at the top of our shortlist for locations to check out, and now here we are.

Different to the UK

“Ooh look!” we say when we spot a cloud in the sky. The UK has three seasons, according to some — light grey, dark grey, and the one or two days of summer where the sun makes an appearance. But here the skies are vast and blue, and clouds are rare, fluffy white wonders, worthy of finger-pointing exclamations.

“Wow!” we say when we spot a green lawn. With 3,200 hours of sunshine a year, Perth is Australia’s sunniest city, but this takes a toll on the grass. Only lovingly watered turf survives, so it’s not an everyday sight.

“Aaah!” we say, whenever we park our car and can open the doors on both sides to get out. Australia is a big island, and the size of parking spaces reflects this. Not so in the UK, where all too often the front passenger has to get out before the car is parked, and sometimes the space is so tight that even the driver can’t open their door after parking. No wonder Clarkson Parking is catching on there (named after petrolhead and TV presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, who started a trend for taking up two parking spaces for one car).

“Yes!” we say, when we contact a company to help us set something up, and they are positive and helpful and get the job done with the minimum of fuss. In the UK, a cartoon sketch I once saw of a skeleton holding on the phone to get through to Customer Service sums up how difficult it can be there.

But “Oh dear!” we say, as we survey meagre organic produce sections of Perth’s supermarkets compared to the superb quality and plentiful array of Prince Charles’ Duchy Organics, available in all the many Waitrose stores back in Blighty. The hunt for good sources of organic food here is on.

And “Oh-oh!” we say, if we spot an indoor spider’s web. In the UK, we just get out the feather duster and clean it away but here a web reveals that a spider’s got in so we need to also find its access point and seal it.

“Hmm…” we say, as we peruse the complex Aussie taxation rules we need to understand to set up our new business. They are written in English but read like a foreign language.

And “Eek!” we say, when we discover the cost of calling an ambulance in Western Australia can be as much as $10,000. On the rare occasion we once needed one in the UK, it was free, but here “ambo” insurance has now been added to our ever-growing To Do list.

The long term

With each passing day, we discover a new aspect of Aussie life that needs to be researched and understood. We’re making good progress, but it does take time.

When we moved from Bali to the UK back in 2010, it took us two years to fully set up our lives, set up our business, and learn the know-how of getting things done. Seven years later, here we are, going through this process again. We’re happy to do it but have no plans to move continents again after this!

Related posts
We’re moving to Australia!
Perth it is, then

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Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2017

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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13 Responses to Life in Australia

  1. Ali says:

    Welcome to Australia!

    I’m on the East coast where organic produce is plentiful, especially at farmers markets.

    My advice is find the farmers markets, if there are any, and join a local community garden. There may not be as many as the East coast, but I know there are even some residential streets coming together to plant share patches on the verges. Verge planting is becoming encouraged and supported by councils. In this news article they mention Bayswater in WA as a place with verge gardens and a supportive council.

    Best wishes, Ali and family. Xxx

    • Hi Ali

      Thanks for the suggestions. We’re slowly finding organic suppliers in Perth, although they are far and few between, and wee plan to grow some of our own veggies when we move into our new home.

      I was in Denmark recently, where 10% of all food is organic, and the quality is amazing. It’s very easy to find organic food in the UK too, so we’re a bit surprised to discover how far behind Australia is, especially on the West coast. And I don’t know if it’s true, but a woman who runs a health shop here told me that only 1% of a product’s ingredients has to be truly organic for it to be advertised as that, so I guess the public has little faith in it. I remember once hearing about a study that found that the quantity of Australian free range eggs in the shops astronomically exceeded the egg-laying capabilities of the number of free-range hens at that time. Hopefully better regulation is on the way 🙂

  2. Danielle says:

    Hi Karen, you may already know about this but I wanted to be sure: As someone who’s had to navigate dire organic shopping experience the past few years after moving to Europe from California, I have really been helped by Environmental Working Group’s 2 lists, “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” – which rank the 12 safest foods to not buy organic, and the 15 worst. Also you can find many foods ranked in a big list, those are just the start & finish. I don’t know how closely it corresponds in Australia since this is for the US, but perhaps you can find out. Good luck!

  3. Joanne says:

    Hi Karen and Richard

    Glad you have finally arrived and are settling in. I’ve had my fingers crossed that you would choose Perth. Hope all is going well. Looking forward to when you start up again. Thanks once again for the clutter clearing, Richard. Still flowing on. Let me know if you need help with anything 😊 Jo

  4. Teresa says:

    Welcome to beautiful sunny Perth! Not a drop of rain all of April this year but glorious. I did your last course in Bali many years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would love to take you out and show you around, if you would like that. If you contact me on my email address. Best wishes, Teresa

  5. Jodi says:

    Hi Karen, have you learnt to speak ‘strine’ yet? 🙂 Two years seems to be the right amount of time settling in. I’ve just spent two years settling in Japan too. Enjoy Perth, I hear it’s lovely.

    • Haha! It surely must be impossible to be married to Aussie for 12 years and not become proficient in Strine, especially someone with such rich, colourful, and highly unpredictable turns of phrases as Richard. I’m getting pretty good at putting on the accent for fun too!

  6. D. Ikeda says:

    I stayed in Fremantle near a wonderful organic store called Peaches . Near South Beach. Just looked it up. Delicious produce, grass fed meats, heaven from Japan 🙂 Has 70 Google reviews at 4.5 stars though looks on the pricey side. As a visitor doing my own cooking it was wonderful! Very friendly and helpful people and a short walk to the beach .

  7. Jennifer says:

    How wonderful to see you changing continents with such enthusiasm. I love your blog and your decluttering articles and shall continue to follow them. Best of luck.

  8. Kirsten says:

    Congratulations on your brave move. You are an inspiration. I wish you the very best and I am looking forward to the positive flow that will come through you to your “people”.

    I have spent many years traveling. Born in Denmark, I now live in inspirational Eureka California. Much time was spent in New Zealand where my equine veterinary daughter now lives. My new interest is Iceland. I am excited! I am 77. I have enjoyed your insight as it allows me to be free.

    Thank you,

  9. Rosemary says:

    Wonderful to hear you are enjoying life in Oz and settling in. All our good wishes for a happy life there – and wish many British people could join you!!

    p.s. I have commented on your blogs before, but am now pleased to say that I am much more settled and happier in myself. Sorting is being done despite my husband not helping, and I am getting satisfaction for me, peace and happiness from life.

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