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Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Old May 18th 2007, 5:55 am
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Default Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Some of you may recall an earlier thread I posted about how I wanted to persuade my OH to move to Brisbane, where it seemed it would be easier for me to get a job and housing was more affordable. OH however is a big fan of Sydney, and more importantly the beach. So did I pull it off?

Last weekend we flew up to Brisbane on our reccie. It was an oddly lucky trip. At the train station, there were huge queues to buy a ticket. But OH spotted a work colleague at the front and got her to buy us a ticket, saving valuable time. At the airport, the check-in assistant put us on the next flight, leaving in 15mins, instead of the one we were booked on because it had been delayed.

Of course, once we got to Brisbane our luck stopped...along with the Airtrain into the city, where our hotel was. What kind of city stops running trains from the airport at 8.30pm? Got a taxi instead, but unfortunately the driver was new to Brisbane and had even less knowledge of the city centre than we did. Thank goodness for satnav.

Our hotel seemed fine, so we dumped our cases and went off to find something to eat. I was worried we’d have a problem finding something open, as many Sydneysiders seem to be of the opinion that Brisbane’s closed after 6pm. However, the city was very busy for a Thursday night it seemed to me, and we had no trouble finding somewhere to eat on Edward Street. We passed plenty of pubs which were open and looked full of people enjoying themselves – again a surprise, as according to some there are no pubs in Brisbane. We then went on to have the worst night we have ever spent in a hotel: gurgling pipes, noisy guests, banging doors, clashing cups and unpleasant smells from the bathroom.

The following day I slapped some make up on, reluctantly shrugged on my suit, and set off for a fun-packed Friday of job interviews. OH went to the hotel gym and then went sight-seeing! The interviews were with recruitment consultants, who were very positive compared to the consultants I’d met in Sydney, and seemed to think I would have no problem finding a job. Even the salary prospects were on par with what I earn in Sydney, which I found reassuring. There is a huge amount of infrastructure work happening in QLD, and my skills and background (marketing communications) are ideally suited to that market, unlike in Sydney which is dominated by IT and professional services.

It was an exhausting day, and apart from lunch at Eagle St Pier I saw little of Brisbane besides the insides of office buildings. That evening we took advantage of a tasty $6.95 steak deal at a pub near to our new hotel.

Saturday we were up bright and early to go exploring suburbs and to look at houses to see what we could get for our money compared to Sydney. Unfortunately, we took so long lazing about (we were on holiday!) we missed the first few viewings. Then, we were too lazy to bother hiring a car, deciding instead to rely on public transport. A bit of a mistake that one!

First stop was Hawthorne (after I realised we wouldn’t reach Bulimba on the rivercat in time for the viewing there). Travelling on the river was a very pleasant way to spend 30 mins, and the ferry staff were helpful. Hawthorne may be a really exciting place to live, but I didn’t get to find out because we had about 2 mins there looking at a replica Queenslander (by the state of it, you could have easily fooled me into thinking it was original, it was so decrepit). A quick dash back to the ferry wharf, and off to Brett’s Wharf where we decided to walk to Ascot to see the next house.

Jeez, it’s hilly there. But I preferred it to Hawthorne, mainly due to the presence of pavements. Brisbane’s not really designed for pedestrians, IMO. It takes forever waiting for the green man to appear when you want to cross the road, and I didn’t want to risk being fined for jay-walking. Nearly everyone in Sydney jay-walks. Nearly everyone in Brisbane waits patiently. That’s when you can find somewhere to cross the street in the first place.

Another plus about Ascot was the greater variety of housing styles, with some art deco properties along with Queenslanders and modern houses. There were also some cute little shops that reminded me of Balmain, where we live (nearly). Unfortunately the house we went to see was a dump, although it was huge and had some nice features from the 1930s.

To get to our next destination, Graceville, we had to catch the train. Stupidly we bought two tickets, not realising that our one day ferry ticket also covered the train and bus. But what great value! The trains were clean, arrived on time and air conditioned, which made OH happy. The Graceville house seemed to be good value, especially compared to Sydney prices, and it had a pool which was an added bonus. We had time to explore Graceville and to have lunch at the German bakery, though it wasn’t until we returned to the station that we discovered there was another lot of shops etc on the other side!

That was our final suburb to explore that day. In the evening, we headed out to the Valley for something to eat. We were a bit worried we were the oldest people out that night, as everyone seemed to be ‘emos’ in their teens or 20s, but found that the restaurants were full of people our own age. So much so, it was difficult to find a table!

Sunday was sightseeing. We visited the South Bank, then went over to Paddington (again, I was surprised by how hilly it was!). I had hoped to visit some other markets, but we were too late for them. Instead, we caught the rivercat to Bulimba. I liked Bulimba a lot, it really reminds me of where we live now, just not so ‘urban’. It was here we had another piece of luck, finding two $50 notes on the ground and no one in sight to whom they could belong to.

Monday was our last day, and I kept my fingers crossed that no one would want me to do any interviews! We caught the train to Manly, and thought it was a great place although a bit heavy on the geriatrics. This could be because everyone below the age of 60 was probably at work or school. It was peaceful, and pleasant down by the water and we both thought it would be a nice place to live. Shame about the café staff, who wouldn’t serve us anything but drinks because the breakfast menu was over and it was another 10mins until the lunch menu.

Never mind, it meant we caught the train back to the city and had to time to visit New Farm. Sitting by the river, eating a gourmet lamb burger, and thoroughly relaxing. What more could you ask for? We caught a ferry back (which took quite a long time, but the journey’s always nice), and spent a few hours wandering around the CBD until it was time to get the plane home.

Particular thoughts about Brisbane:
1. Despite the weather forecast predicting rain (which led to us taking our umbrellas with us), there was only the occasional shower. The parched landscape was a shock – Sydney is also suffering from the drought but is still green and grassy. Parts of Brisbane’s parks were dustbowls, a sad sight.
2. I was impressed by the public transport system, but amused by the letters in the MX newspaper complaining about it, just like in Sydney.
3. Back in Sydney on Tuesday, I was struck by how noisy it was compared to Brisbane and how much busier the roads were.
4. On the whole, I found people in Brisbane nicer and friendlier than people in Sydney.
5. The shops were open later in the city centre than they are in Sydney’s CBD, and there are more independents (not surprisingly, with Pitt St mall rents being among the highest in Australia).
6. My skin loved Brisbane – usually it’s a bit dry, but it improved dramatically. Water or weather? Who knows.
7. The mozzies in Brisbane love me just as much as they do in Sydney, which was disappointing. I was hoping they’d leave me alone but after straying too close to the Rainforest section in the Parklands it wasn’t long till I was scratching.
8. There seems to be lots happening in Brisbane – bands play there, there’s opera (to keep OH happy), open air cinema, the art galleries and museums looked interesting, and there were plenty of restaurants and bars. This wasn’t the impression people were giving me before we visited!
9. The contrast between what we can afford to buy in Sydney and what we can afford in Brisbane was staggering. Although there were still some suburbs/properties out of our reach, there were plenty of lovely houses which weren’t under a flight path, on a busy road, next to a prison, miles out of the city centre, with no public transport facilities, on tiny blocks and/or needing demolition.
10. Brisbane city centre at night seems to get taken over by flash cars and slightly tarty girls. It felt just like being back in England.
11. Everyone was wearing footwear.

Conclusion: OH is now a bigger fan of moving to Brisbane than me! He managed to get hassled by his work on Friday, despite being on holiday, which encouraged him to work on his CV back in Sydney. He was surprised at how much more we could afford housing-wise in Brisbane and started talking about buying a right bargain and being mortgage free, with this idea of retiring before he's 40. I put him straight on that one. He was impressed by the sporting facilities, such as the cycleways (?), the rock climbing at Kangaroo Point etc. And he loved the idea we may be able to afford to live by the sea, even if it doesn't have a beach and surf for him.

FINALLY (phew, I hear you think, if you've read all this far), have we decided to move? Not yet. We plan to have a long talk about the pros and cons, and do some more research. But I have a second interview for a potential job next week, so watch this space...
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Old May 18th 2007, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Phew!!

Good luck with your interview and whatever you decide
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Old May 18th 2007, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Great post. It's interesting to read people's thoughts on places compared to others, especially when you have some experience on the areas Good luck with the decision making.
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Old May 18th 2007, 6:41 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Originally Posted by chels View Post
Not yet. We plan to have a long talk about the pros and cons, and do some more research. But I have a second interview for a potential job next week, so watch this space...
Blimey ... busy 'holiday'. Never been to Brisbane myself - hoping to scope it out in the spring.
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Old May 18th 2007, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

That's a really interesting post, thanks Chels. We'll be moving to Brisbane when we come over next year so always good to hear info about the place.

We like the sound of Bulimba (although don't really know anywhere well enough to know where we'll end up yet). Do you know if it's under the flight path?

Also good to hear there are cycleways - we would like to keep riding our bikes to work like we do here in London.

Thanks for the update, and for tomorrow - come on the Chels! (that's not meant to sound rude by the way....)
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Old May 18th 2007, 7:44 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Chels - sounds like the reccie went reasonably well - good luck witht he job interview

Scubaemma - Bulimba is in the flight path... you can check out the latest noise monitoring report here
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Old May 18th 2007, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Originally Posted by ridds View Post
Chels - sounds like the reccie went reasonably well - good luck witht he job interview

Scubaemma - Bulimba is in the flight path... you can check out the latest noise monitoring report here
Thanks very much, I'll have a read of that.
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Old May 18th 2007, 1:32 pm
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Why's my thread been moved? Pour my heart out about our dilemma (along with a bit of a rundown re Brisbane) and it gets moved to Updates!

Sulk over.

Wendy - thank you! I've never done a video confence before, let alone an interview that way, so it should be interesting at the very least.

moneypen - I hope it does shed a bit of light on things for other people, I know I found it really helpful reading others' experiences before we moved here.

Hutch - I'm cream crackered. I think we tried to fit a 2 week reccie into a weekend! Enjoy Brisneyland (and the surrounds, QLD is a lovely place).

Scubaemma - glad you found it interesting (and didn't give up after the first paragraph - I think most people probably did! It's just once I got started, after days of saying I was going to write about it, I couldn't stop ). And re tomorrow - if they could win SOMETHING this season, it would be nice

ridds - my Brisneyland guru (I picked up the term Brisneyland from the Courier!), thank you for all your help. And that's great to have the link to the flight path info, OH is obsessed with such matters after 18months of living under Sydney's. Though we can't see people's faces at the windows, so we're better off than many other residents! The planes we noticed when we were in Brisbane didn't seem ridiculously low - are there any suburbs that are very badly affected?

Now how do I go about getting my thread moved?!
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Old May 18th 2007, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Chels

this was really interesting, it must have taken you a while to post so hanks for that
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Old May 20th 2007, 7:01 am
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Default Re: Did I persuade OH to say farewell to Sydney after our Brissie reccie?

Good post Chels. let us know the outcome.
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