Making the decision to leave Ireland behind for a while and relocate abroad is seldom one made on a whim. The impact on your career, family, relationships, finances and much more need to be weighed up but often it’s the change in lifestyle and raging jealousy of others that’ll persuade you to do it.
We caught up with Irish health and travel blogger Judy Li, four months after beginning her Oz adventure in Perth with us. If you’re thinking of making the move Down Under in 2017, then this will help…
Irish people head to Australia for various reasons, whether it’s for a different lifestyle, job opportunities, the weather, or the urge to travel and see the world. Some may even emigrate just for a fresh start…
Whatever the reason, the experience will be personal and unique to each. Myself and Eoin decided to leave in August 2016, we only gave ourselves 10 weeks really to get sorted, but we knew it was the right thing to do, so why wait?? We organised our flights, visas, insurance and bank accounts through USIT. Literally an exchange of a dozen emails with the the most helpful rep ever, Trish. In no time at all we were good to go!
Getting set up – Our first few weeks!
We arrived in Perth on 8th November 2016, which was the perfect time for the beginning of Summer. So we will be here 4 months this week, oh how time flies when your having fun!!
We had been in contact with Eoin’s sister Emma, who has been living in Perth with her boyfriend Fergus for the past 4 years or so, this is one of the main reasons we chose Perth, and we are so so glad we did!
Most people who arrive in Perth stay in a hostel until they organise more permanent accommodation and a job. But there are ways to organise an apartment/shared house to have ready for when you arrive.
There are numerous Facebook pages such as ‘Írish families in Perth’, and ‘Irish around Perth’. Through these pages so many Irish residents of Perth advertise spare rooms they have, or you can put up a piece on yourself and lots of Irish people with a spare room or who know of a spare room will promptly respond!
Engaging Tourist Mode
We didn’t start job hunting until about 2 weeks in, so our first 2-3 weeks in Perth we were just in complete tourist mode, we spent almost everyday out exploring and doing something new. The first 2 days were spent in the city, figuring out the public transport system, collecting our bank cards (which was already set up by USIT), setting up our phones, and just getting to know our surroundings. We set up gym memberships, had day drinks in Northbridge, went to Kings Park and the moonlight cinema there, which is larger than central park in New York! There’s a little fact for you! 🙂 We tested Korean BBQ at the Friday night hawkers food market in the city centre (unreal), and beach hopping!
The beaches here in Western Australia are absolutely amazing, down along the whole coast are so many pristine and immaculate beaches to choose from. The water is so clear and the sand is so white and fine!! We made it our mission to visit as many as possible, and so far have visited about 11 and counting!
If You Spend a Christmas Abroad, Does It Even Count?
As we arrived in November, we were going to be spending our first Christmas together, away from all of our family and friends, and in the sun. It was exciting but quiet sad at the same time, well it was for me as I am a little bit soppy! I must say, celebrating Christmas on the beach and having a BBQ and drinks was not what I was used to but it was a welcoming change! It was about 30 degrees here so we were baked sitting outside.
I’m not sure if it is just Perth, or Australia as a whole, but there wasn’t much of a Christmassy vibe around at all. I suppose I am used to the cold, flurry pj’s, fire and shopping. I feel like there is a much bigger deal made out of Australia day, which fell on 26th January. But here I just didn’t get that Christmassy feeling at all, maybe it was a good thing or I would have been a lot more home sick!
Why Choose Perth For Your Working Holiday?
Perth has so many Irish immigrants, but in comparison to the East cost destinations such as Melbourne and Sydney, there aren’t as many. For myself and Eoin, we absolutely love Perth, and feel like it suits us down to the ground. Don’t get me wrong, we hope to explore the East coast cities as well, but we feel like Perth is a perfect first destination for us as a first time living in another country.
Perth has such a laid back style to it. A lot of people compare it to Galway back home, and compare Sydney and Melbourne to Dublin as they are more bigger and fast paced. But I can’t say for myself as I haven’t been there yet!
It is generally a very easy city to get around, public transport is good with in the city and surrounding suburbs, but not if you wanted to go further out! You would probably need a car. From one length of the city to the other would only takes a maximum of about 40 minutes.
There are also the coolest and quirkiest suburbs to explore such as Leederville and Fremantle which have markets, coffee shops, clothes shops with a lovely hippie/ hipster vibe. I also feel that Australians are very welcoming and generally friendly, and as a female I feel that Perth is quiet a safe place.
The Best Things To Do In Perth
Hamelin Bay Camping & Cape Leeuwin
Camping is so popular in Western Australia, it is full of camping locations whether you wish to go up north or down south. Early in the New Year we headed down to Hamelin bay and Margaret river for a few days. We had gorgeous weather and our campsite in Hamelin Bay was right by a beach with giant stingrays swimming along the shore! I would highly recommend taking a spin down here, we really enjoyed it. We also went further down south for one of the day, to Australia’s most south-westerly point – Cape Leeuwin, which is eerily reminiscent of home…
Perth is full of various outdoor cinemas, we used to go to the cinema religiously at home so I was so excited to visit all of the outdoor ones here over the summer! Some of the most popular ones are Kings Park Moonlight cinema, Rooftop movies in Northbridge and Sommersville auditorium. We went to kings park and the rooftop and they are so good. I especially loved the rooftop movies, you can buy pizza and beer on the roof and they have the comfiest beanbags to lie on for the film. And such a bargain at $16 a ticket!
Rottnest Island is one of the main attractions while in Perth. It is located about a 20 minute ferry ride from Perth in the Indian ocean and has some of the most outstanding beaches and snorkel destinations I have ever laid eyes on, 63 beaches to be exact! It is a lovely little island that covers about 19 square km, in which you can rent bikes and cycle around, lay on one of the many beaches, snorkel, and enjoy some food and a drink afterwards while you wait for your ferry back to the main land. We had such a relaxing day here and got perfect weather for it at about 33 degrees! We cycled around in the morning while the clouds were out and chilled at the Basin (pictured left below) when the sun came out.
You will find little Quokkas which are native to Rottnest Island, they look almost like a squirrel, but are about the size of a cat. I’m not a fan to be honest.. their tails just give me nightmares :(. But a lot of people find them cute and seek them while on the island.
To spend the day here will cost you on average $110 per person, this includes the ferry to and from Freemantle and a bike for the day. This is how much it cost us for a Friday! Weekends are more expensive and Tuesdays are a lot cheaper.
Hardest Things To Adjust To
One of the most difficult things to adjust to, for me, is how much I miss my family and friends! I would probably say that everyone who emigrates feels the same about this matter.
Western Australia is 8 hours ahead of Ireland, which also makes it a little difficult timing-wise to contact home. The times that suits us best is between 6pm-10 pm on weekends, as it is around 10am-2pm. Because everyone is mostly working at home during these times on the weekdays! So this is a factor to be considered, unless you don’t mind ringing after 2am to catch everyone in Ireland when they are home from work in the evenings.
Another thing you will have to get used to is grown up matters! You will have to sort out your own bank account matters, car reg, tax etc. if you’re not already used to organising these bits yourself.
I feel like our quality of life is a lot better here. When myself and Eoin are off in the evenings we can head out for a drink in the sun or go to the beach and watch the sunset, just the little pleasures. Not that I don’t like Ireland, it will always be our home. We are just embracing the options we have now and the lifestyle we’re experiencing.
I can genuinely say that if you are thinking about it, just do it. Maybe it will work out and maybe you will decide it isn’t for you, at least you tried!
At the end of the day, it’s not all easy and may not be for everyone, you may face your own personal and individual obstacles. But you have to take some risks in order to reap the benefits. You need to step outside your comfort zone in order to experience personal grow and learn as a person!!
Made up your mind that a new start is for you? Thousands upon thousands of Irish come through our doors each year for help with visas to Australia, with an All-In package including your flights for under €1,000!