Well g’day from down under :)
I was hoping that I may still be able to post small updates and it looks like, due to the wonders of technology I can.
Well, actually, thanks to the wonders of smartphone technology.. For anyone remotely interested. I’m currently using my SPV M2000 to post updates to getting down under (google SPV M2000 for more info).
I had roaming activated on the phone so I’ll be posting via the Vodafone Australia network. I wasn’t sure if the roaming had been activated in time as I never got the SIM update I was promised but thankfully it appears to have worked.
Not sure how much the GPRS roaming costs will be but the posts won’t be that big since using the small thumb keypad on the m2000 isn’t particularly conducive to typing massive entries.
Anyway, here I am in Sorrento Perth. It’s 6:50 am which is a whole 2 hours later then it was when I woke up yesterday morning. Jet lag is a curious thing but I slowly appear to be getting over it.
Staying at the London Heathrow Hilton was an interesting experience. Nice hotel but damn, very expensive. The plan was to use the Hilton to reduce the stress of rushing to the airport first thing in the morning. The hotel links directly to terminal 4 at Heathrow airport so you can stroll over from your room, check in and then stroll back to your hotel room to relax until about an hour before departure where you can then wonder on back to your departure gate for your flight.
The only problem was, Singapore Airlines departs from Terminal 3 at Heathrow airport. Doh!
So, one train ride to terminal 3, a taxi back to the hotel to check out and a second train ride back to terminal 3 later, we were checked in.
Then we had to wait 45 minutes to get through security (due to some increased security checks…cue increased stress levels) culminating in a 1 mile run to the gate (literally).
The gate was displayed as ‘closing’ as we made our final dash and we could only run so fast due to the limited sprinting abilities of our 3-year-old little boy.
It reminded me a little of an old TV program that I used to watch called ‘treasure hunt’ presented by Anika Rice (spelling!) where she had a set amount of time to find clues which she would do before shouting ‘stop the clock, stop the clock!’ But we made it, and there’s nothing like getting yourself, hot, bothered and sweaty in preparation for a 17-hour plane journey!
The flight itself was excellent. We have flown with Singapore Airlines 6 times now and I would highly recommend them. The inflight entertainment is excellent although, with a three-year-old to look after, we didn’t see that much of it.
The flight time was a little shorter then I was expecting. Just over 12 hours from London to Singapore and then 5 hours flat from Singapore to Perth. It’s longer by about 2 and a half hours on the return (something to due with jet streams apparently).
Our little boy slept for approx 4 hours of the first leg and 2 hours of the second which really helped us with the flight. Last year when he was just over 2 he didn’t sleep at all! Saying that, neither myself or the missus slept this time, however, reduced inflight stress made this flight a much better one and we were both really proud of how well our little boy did this time around :)
So, we’ve landed in Perth, go through immigration and get our visa’s stamped. Two years of blood sweat and tears and we’ve made it. We are now officially Australian Residents!!
I actually thought our Visa’s (the sticker they insert in your passport) would be stamped. However, the lady in immigration just stamped our passports as normal.
She explained it’s the date on the stamp which is this important thing. The paper Permanent residency Visa is the Actual Visa but the date on the stamp in our passports validates the visa as it was dated within 12 months of issue.
We now have a further 5 years to settle permanently in Australia although we know it will be much sooner.
So, the permanent residents :) pick up the hire car from Hertz and drive the 45 minutes north from Perth Airport to the beautiful town of Sorrento.
The drive was great and we were thankful for the aircon. It was 32 degrees C when we arrive at 2:30 pm but who’s complaining. After the miserable weather we’ve had in the UK of late, it was a seriously refreshing change.
The layout of the highway network in and around Perth seems really well organised and pretty logical, almost modular. With my co-driver/primary navigator at the side of me, it wasn’t long before we came over the brow of a hill and caught our first glimpse of the Indian Ocean and Hillary’s boat harbour…Stunning!
Off to the estate agents to pick up the keys for the house we’re renting here in Sorrento. Get to the house (nice!) drop the bags off, back in the car again to find a shop for some grub (it was getting near dinner time) and some wine of course! Back to the house and time to finally sit down and relax.
First impressions of Sorrento? Fantastic.
Compared to the East Coast of Australia Sorrento seems so much more chilled out. Lots of people chatting and walking along the beaches.
There are mainly residential areas lining the beaches in Sorrento. Dee Why beach near Sydney where we stayed last year, by comparison, seemed alot more commercial. More cafes and shops.
I know there will be places more like Dee Why in Western Australia to, but for the time being, I’m liking what I’m seeing.
Time to check out now, typing on this small ‘thumb board’ is going to leave my thumbs permanently deformed if I’m not careful. However, I’ll post further updates as our Aussie adventure continues.
Small sidenote: My roaming charges came to over £100! Next time I’ll get an Australian SIM card ;)