Lucy and Rod's Story

Stories, adventures, tips and questions about moving to Australia
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rod
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Lucy and Rod's Story

Post by rod » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:05 am

The Short Version

I was born near Perth, Western Australia of an American father and an Australian mother. We moved to the US when I was four years old, making me a dual US/Australian citizen. I spent almost all my adult life there and seldom gave any further thought to Australia. In 1994 I married Lucy and we ended up in Northern California.

Then on November 8, 2016 Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

On November 24, 2016 my very first Australian passport was issued.

... yada yada yada ...

On July 6, 2018 we moved into our new home near Coffs Harbour.



More to come....

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rod
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The Scouting Trip

Post by rod » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:49 am

Thus we were motivated to visit Australia and see what it was like. Some of it anyway... it's a BIG country!

We decided to time it to attend a friend's wedding in Hawaii on the way back. This was virtually free as Honolulu is a common intermediate stop for flights to and from Australia. So this trip consumed the month of July 2017.

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This picture is from the video display at my seat as we approach Sydney. Long flight!

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We spent our first night at an Airbnb in Waverton, near Sydney. Lucy enjoys her first Australian dinner.

We rented a car in Sydney. The plan was to explore the coast as far as Brisbane and back.

Our next stop was an Airbnb near Coffs Harbour, which is about midway to Brisbane.

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The beach was a short walk away.

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Just up the road near Emerald Beach is the Look At Me Now Headlands.

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Next stop, Brisbane. Here's the view from our high-rise Airbnb on the South Bank.

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James Squire was a convict who started one of the oldest breweries in Australia.

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Exploring the South Bank.

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Visiting the Koala Sanctuary.

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Back at the headlands near Coffs Harbour, I think this is where Lucy decided she really likes Australia!

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We venture inland a bit and visit Dorrigo.

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Back in Sydney, the Botanic Gardens.

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Of course we had to take in a performance at the Opera House.

Then on to Honolulu and back home. I'll spare you the Hawaii wedding pics. :D

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rod
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Getting Ready!

Post by rod » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:33 pm

Now at this point we couldn't be sure Australia would work out for us, but we did know we wanted to move somewhere. We had been in Northern California long enough and wanted to find our last home, smaller and suitable for retirement, with fewer people around. The plan was to get rid of the junk we don't need, sell the vehicles and the house, put everything else in storage, and look for a new home starting with Australia.

We did decluttering, garage sales, painting and repairs inside and out, organizing finances, selling the house and vehicles, and moving a ton of stuff into storage.

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rod
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Back to Oz

Post by rod » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:05 pm

After we had a contract to sell the house in California, there was the matter of setting a date for our return to Australia and a checklist of things to do before that -- a good topic for another thread. We'll just skip to the actual departure date, March 24, 2018.

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In the San Francisco airport, ready for our direct flight to Sydney. Most of this stuff is not mine. :mrgreen:

We had also booked our first Airbnb, in Parramatta. Why Parramatta? Because we needed to buy a car and that's where the dealerships are!

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Parramatta is quite lovely, especially near the river.

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First order of business, getting Australian drivers' licenses.

We found a respected dealership and scored a lightly used Camry. We might have spent a bit less on a private party sale, but being new to Australia we wanted to make sure the paperwork was done properly.

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Then we would spend the next three months exploring the East coast, trying to find a home that we liked.

What we didn't know, and would soon learn, is that Australian lenders don't give a flip about your stellar credit rating in the USA. They want to see Australian income and Australian tax returns. Self-employment income that comes from other countries is also not in their comfort zone. They are very risk-averse, partly due to recent crackdowns from government regulators.

We drove up the coast, first exploring Newcastle.

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And then on to Port Macquarie where we did a great deal of house-hunting.

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Some places didn't feel quite right.

Next stop, Valla Beach, which as the name suggests is on the beach. We made friends with the owners of the Airbnb and had a lot of fun there!

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And then on to Emerald Beach. Walking distance from our place there is the Look At Me Now Headlands which is home to a large number of kangaroos. This is also just up the road from Coffs Harbour.

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Then we found this place:

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It's in Boambee East, just South of Coffs. By then we were fed up with lenders. The price was low enough that we could afford to pay cash with the help of some retirement savings, so we made an offer and the deal was done!

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